heading north finally!
01.09.2008 - 06.09.2008
The day had finally come and we were leaving Brisbane. After goodbyes to our collegues, a birthday celebration for Leanne and a huge amount of laundry and packing we were on our way to our coach terminal out of there.
Our first stop was a night at Rainbow beach, about 4 hours north of Brisbane we arrived at 6pm to find it pitch black and having only one shop that was open past 5 we hot footed it there for some food. In the morning once we woke up we decided to take a walk along the beaches and to a sandblow. The sandblow we could not find, the beach however, we did manage to locate! Rainbow beach is called that due to the colours in the sand from the sand stone cliffs. There is an interesting aboriginal story about how they came to be different coloured but its quite long and i have lots to say! We splashed in the sea, climbed mini sand dunes and carved words into the sandstone along the edge of the beach.
After a late lunch it was time for some reading (Englands Mistress - a biography of Nelsons mistress) and onto the coach where Adam was waiting for us to go to our next stop Hervey (pronounced Harvey) Bay.
AGain arriving late at night there was not a lot to do, we had eaten but Adam was left on the hunt for food - subway it turns out. The next day we were up and onto the beach again. Not allowed in the sea here as Hervey bay is the breeding ground for Tiger sharks and whales - death by shark no thank you! That afternoon we had a briefing about our 4x4 truck trip to Fraser Island. Fraser is the worlds largest sand island and home to the most pure bread dingo's left in Oz. We met our group, decided on a shopping list and hit the IGA (food shop) and butchers for some bbq food and pasta like goods, as well as some beverages. That night we had a drink together, some dinner all cooked in our lovely hostel then to bed as there is litterally nothing to do at night there at all! EVen the late night bar was not open and so therefore not late night at all.
The next morning we were up early to store our big bags, and throw our little ones on the bus before a video about safe driving on Fraser, Dingo Safety (hillarious - the acting is beautiful!) and some hiring of sleeping bags etc. Then we were off, escorted to the ferry and away we went. Our driver to start was a guy called alex who has driven in countries all over the world including a winter season in the Alpse. Lucky really as torrential rain started up with howling winds. Not really ideal conditions for seeing lots of sand and sand tracks. However he powered us through and up and down and around even reversing down a hill to avoid a 4x4 bus. Who knew they even made 4x4 tour buses anyway!? Our first view of Lake Mackenzie was a little.. damp. I paddled, Amy jumped in and promptly out as the heavens opened again and we hid in our truck. Next stop was seeing the wreck on the beach so after lunch huddled underneath the roof of the one set of cement buildings on tarmac we set off again down the beach. The rollers were amazing and the sea looked fantastic. But again weary of rip tides and the sharks i daren't paddle at all - not even a little bit.
We jumped out of the truck for some quick photos near the wreck of the Moheno and then were on our way to our campsite. Our tour leader (safe at home in Hervey bay) is not the most PC of men, nor does he agree with a lot of the government legislation so to avoid us getting in trouble for noise after 9pm or having camp fires (surely what camping is all about) we were staying the first night in an Aboriginal camp site. This also meant for us that we were able to sleep in a rotunda - or large round hut - so no camping in a monsoon for us! WOOHOO!
We bbq'd dinner then strolled down to the next group to use their camp fire and have a chat, roast some marshmallows etc. We did excellent fire building and Leanne and Adam even commander'd an ax at one point to take some branches off the largest fallen tree to better shape our fire. We were all suitably impressed.
The next day it was up and out fast to beat the tide up to Indian Head, and let me tell you, it was a race. The tide coming in, us having to get far enough up to be able to get over Indian Head to park safely on the sheltered other side. Once on top, we paused to have a look at the sea life below. Or had it been less rough we should have. Sadly the waves were still too busy crashing so no sharks, whales or turtles for us to see that day. Afterwards deciding we were behind schedule and driving on racing the tide again was a bit much, Leanne, Lorrain and I walked the next 2 k to the champagne pools while everyone else relaxed, burried alex up to his neck and played frisbee. The chapagne pools are there to swim in when its calm. but as it wasnt we just had a gorgeous display of the waves pouring over creating hundreds of tiny champagne like bubbles. Not enough for Leanne and I, we decided to paddle a bit - untill nearly getting washed away and scrambling out fast! We walked back and then drove up, we had lunch while everyone who had lunched before went to see. Then it was back down the beach to our next campsite via a shop for an ice cream! The sky's were clearing and it was turning into a beautiful evening. We were having pasta with sauce and some more roasted corn that night so started cooking early. As we were in a proper camp site this time there was the no noise rule so after dinner we trooped down together in a close group (ding safe, men at the edges women in the middle ) to the beach and sat listening to the waves and watching the stars.
The next morning back down the beach and an inland walk for 45 minutes to one of the most beautiful lakes i have ever seen. A Gorgeous deep bluey green it was a filled in sand blow so very very steep. Some paddling and jumping in as it got so deep so fast. Then as another group arrived with a boogie board some midly competitive boogie boarding down the dune over a jump (created that minute) into the lake with a huge splash! Back to our truck double quick to be able to see Lake Mackenzie in good weather and it was well worth the rush. A paler blue the lakes on sand islands are gorgeous. Then back to the ferry, to the hostel, to the showers, to food to our night bus to Airley beach where we were booked on a Whitsundays sailing trip with most of hte people on our Fraser Tour. Infact it all sounded so good with our group that Adam decided to move up his island trip to stay on with us.
Airley Beach and The Whitsundays to follow