Due to the rough sea and low visibility as well as time constraints, I decided to skip Tow of 1770 / Agnes Water and the diving trip to Lady Musgrave Island. After returning from the sailing trip midday, I had to make arrangements for my next stop. The bus-ride further south from Airlie beach turned out to be a 13h overnight trip to Hervey bay. Thanks to the travel-agent at BASE in Airlie, I could book the 2D-Cool Dingo Fraser-adventure for the next morning, 30min after my greyhound was bound to arrive. The buy was perfectly on time but somehow my pick up didn’t show. After spending 10 precious minutes on the hotline, a taxi drove me to the ferry which waited 3min (just for me =) ). After reaching Fraser Island at Kingfisher bay resort, our funny bus driver put us in a pink 4WD off-road bus and we began our trip to lake McKenzie. Luckily we could hide in the crystal-clear lake during the short rain-shower and the weather didn’t disturb our lunch afterwards. Of course it rained it the rainforest during our walks before returning to our lodge-style accommodation at the resort. After the amazing dinner buffet, my new friends and me went to the ‘heated jacuzzi’ at the hotel. After getting excited as we saw the pool, starry sky and jacuzzi, the cold water was a slight disappointment 😀 but we found a solution: Getting out, into the even colder (‘heated’) pool or the fresh air and returning to the jacuzzi made it feel warm for a few minutes ^^. After some pool, jugs of beer and an amazing live-performance to a few tenacious D songs, we recovered for what was to come the next morning: A bumpy ride through the forest to the eastern coast of Fraser Island, the 75 mile beach. We visited the Maheno shipwreck and learned about it’s stunning history and embarrassing end: The conversion from luxury liner to a hospital ship transporting ~~18000 patients, holding the record of the fastest round-the-world-trip for 25 years and it being sold to Japan (wanting the metal) who dismounted the propellers and tried to tow it to Japan, hitting a cyclone and stranding the powerless Maheno on the sands of Fraser island about 79 years ago. We also drove all the way up to the Indian head and the champagne pools, where we spotted a few whales and saw pristine beaches. Later on we floated down the Eli-creek in tyres before our coffee-break. Best of all, I did a 15min scenic flight with air-fraser, starting from the beach and landing further up the beach to rejoin the bus (they claimed this to be the oly place where planes land on the beach apart from a single place in Scotland).
One of the most famous spots along the east coast is Airlie Beach – but mainly because this is where the sail-boats ad catamarans leave for Hamilton and Whitsunday island which is famous for Whitehaven beach. The beach consists mainly of silica instead of common sand (the inner part of the sand grains, beneath its (iron)-oxide shell) which is of such high quality that they wanted to use it for the Hubble space telescope’s mirror.
A friend I made in Cairns suggested me to join her on the ‘WINGS’ 2D/2N sailing trip since it’s one of the few that offers diving at different sites. Due to the super-moon and the resulting 2.5m tide, the water was a little murky during my 2 dives and night-diving would’ve been even worse but we saw a wobbegong-shark! underwater-pics will follow as soon as I receive my picture DVD (the one I bought onboard turned out to be empty 🙁 ) The sailing was great and we had a lot of fun on our catamaran, as well as on the beach with the awesome crew and people. See for yourself how stunningly beautiful this beach is:
After a 1-day diving trip to the outer Great barrier reef where we met a bunch of turtles, I went on a tour to the Atherton tablelands. The weathergod thought it needs to rain when I’m in the rainforest ;). We saw a Platypus (they are much smaller than I thought ~40cm long all black and swam in brown water), a few fig-trees (who start growing when their seed lands on another tree and cover the host tree with roots and twigs until it dies due to a lack of sunlight and nutrition).
On my last day in Cairns, I went flyboarding and it was amazing! If you get the chance, try it (Here’s a video about flyboarding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4Bm3cs9TFo)!
My ext stop along the greyhound-road was Townsville from where I proceeded to Magnetic Island (Ad yes, there are a few magnetic rocks lying around if I can trust the magnetometer of my smart-phone)
Ps: please excuse any missing N&n s, somehow this button isn’t reliable anymore.
During my time in Brisbane I visited the Australia Zoo which is still run by Steve Irwin’s family (may he rest I peace). Our busdriver told us a lot about the history of the zoo and the attached Wildlife hospital. Afterwards we watched a movie about Steve Irwin and his efforts to preserve wildlife and create awareness about it’s beauty. The zoo itself features many animals including tiger-cubs and the crocodile-show was quite impressing, especially taking into account that everyone deemed it impossible to get the crocs inside and out of the arena reliable and in short time.
Originally, my stopover in Brisbane was meant to be spent at the airport. Due to the difficulty of storing luggage for a week, I decided to book a hostel for the time between 02:00 and 09:00. After leaving my luggage in the morning, I drank my first ‘Flat white’ (which is basically a cappucino with minimally aerated milk) and – a little sad, having to wait to discover what this sunbathed city with would have to offer – took the airtrain to BNE-International to head for Fiji. On arrival I was told that my flight would be delayed by almost 13 hours until 00:50 the next day. [The flight the day before was cancelled due to malfunctioning altimeters.] Fijiair kindly set us up in the 4-point sheraton hotel right in the heart of Brisbane and provided us with vouchers to what turned out as amazing lunch and dinner. After a start in the rooftop gym with an amazing view on the story bridge and parts of the town, I spent the day discovering Brisbane, it’s history and the botanic gardens. While the locals were covered in winter jackets and restaurants provided heaters outside, I enjoyed the beautiful 23°C sunlit day in a t-shirt and shorts. What a lovely “Australian winter” :D. At 9pm Fijiair took us back to the airport and we had a few hours left to wait for our flight which lifted off almost on time. (Fijii-time!)