Archive for the 'Queensland' Category

Published by Linda on 21 Dec 2008

Crikey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’ve been to Australia Zoo……

…..founded by the late Steve Irwin and to be fair to him, it’s a fantastic zoo.  The enclosures are as natural as they possibly could be and the animals have a lot of room to roam free. We saw more scary crocs, although after being in the Northern Terrirtory so long, the novelty has worn off a little. We were more interested in the otters, turtles, koalas, tasmanian devils, kangeroos and tigers. The koalas are pretty much as you would imagine, lethargic stoned little feckers but you can pet them and their fur is really thick so maybe that’s why they move soooo s-l-o-w-l-y!! Na just kidding, they are pretty cute though in fairness……

We wandered up to see the elephants and the tigers who are always pretty interesting I think….

We saw a little girl about 2ft old who was scared to get her picture taken because she didn’t understand that the tigers couldn’t come through the glass. Awwwww it was really sweet, oh dear god, I must be going soft!!

We had seen a few kangeroos whilst driving but we had to take a look at them up close. To be honest they are pretty lazy too, they were all just lying around. We had expected that they would be hopping around. The signs we saw asking people NOT TO CHASE THE KANGEROOS suddenly made sense. Still though at least I finally got to ask “What’s that Skip? Sonny’s fallen down a hole?” :-)

Funnily enough, he didn’t answer like in the tv show…… :-) I also finally got a picture of a Komodo dragon (remember my camera broke in Indonesia), these were the guys wandering around Komodo and Rince islands all those months ago…..

Off to Brisbane we headed afterwards and believe it or not we went to the dentist, Kate out of necessity, me out of addiction – I’m probably the only person in the world who loves going to the dentist. He gave out to me for brushing the enamel off my teeth and caught him by the collar and said JUST CLEAN THEM – okay, okay, I didn’t really but if it had came to it, well……. Ahem! We stayed with Kate’s brother, Andrew who kindly cooked us dinner. It was nice to chat with someone from home and get a home cooked meal – thanks Andrew!

Next was Surfer’s Paradise, another compulsory stop on the east coast trail. I was kinda expecting it to be like Cairns but in a small surfer town setting. Was I wrong, it’s a really big place with high rise buildings and a strip of bars and clubs. It kinda reminded us of Santa Ponsa or Ibiza, masses of people navel gazing on the beach, cheap eats and drinks & a lot bars and clubs. It’s the kinda place you have fun in but there’s nothing distinctive or memorable about it. Still though we headed out with the masses and had a good night out…..

We also met a fellow Irishman, Stephen, who we had great craic with. Somehow I don’t think white hair suits me though?!

I have to say, it did feel a bit more Christmassy in the likes of the bigger places like Brisbane and Surfer’s, the shops are busy and they have nice street decorations. Anyhoo that was the last stop in Queensland and the rest of the roadtrip will continue in New South Wales.

More photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157611390443456/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157611318752137/

Published by Linda on 17 Dec 2008

Sailing the Whitsundays & The Town of 1770

Okay, okay, okay I’ve seen some beautiful place in my life but sailing around The Whitsunday Islands was just breath-taking. I can honestly say that Whitehaven Beach is the beautiful beach I’ve EVER seen. We strolled up to the look out and it was AMAZING!!!!! Perfect white sand, torquoise and navy striped water, just beautiful. The photos don’t even do it justice really. The only slight downer was that we had to wear stinger suits because it’s stinger jelly fish season here in summer. The suits provided good entertainment value though.

Anyway we after messing around in the suits we swam here…….

You see, I wasn’t exaggerating, it is just beautiful. It’s supposed to be one of the top ten beaches in the world. Now for the science bit…… :-) There’s a really high silica content in the sand which makes it soooo white, so much so that it’s not even hot to walk on. It’s also really fine and soft, amazing!! So we chilled out there for a while and took some funny trick photos like this one……

Sorry, me thinks this blog is going to have a lot of photos…

We decided to choose a diving boat, Kiana, so we headed off to the outer reef on the promise of some great diving and it didn’t disappoint. We saw some amazing coral, tons of fish, including a few Nemos…..

……..turtles and white tip sharks. I did four dives in total and the last one, a shark came really close. No worries though, as the white tip shark has a mouth about the same size as a human’s so you could totally fight back :-)

It was such a treat sailing around for a few days, lots of early starts because of the diving and the crew were great fun. I’d highly recommend it. As The Whitsunday Islands are part of a World Heritage site, we were told to take nothing (unlike someone who allegedly stole a bag of sand(!) and got fined $10,000 or the guy who carved his name into a turtle – who does that!!!) but memories and photographs and leave nothing but your footprints, so that’s exactly what I did :-)

DO YOU SEE HOW SOFT THE SAND IS???????? Well satisfied, we headed back to Airlie Beach to get a good night’s sleep before our 9 hour drive (which we were dreading) to the twin towns of Agnes Water and The Town of 1770.

The drive wasn’t too bad at all actually, we swap around every couple of hours so it’s all good really. The Town of 1770 is very small but extremely chilled out, a real surfer town. It was a great place to stop after a long drive. We had a good night out in the pub and the following morning we signed up for a surfing lesson. Now I kinda thought, oh I have to try this but it’s not really going to be my kind of thing. Well, I just LOVED IT!!!! Only stood up a handful of times but I think I’m addicted already…..

Sooooooo have to try again and again and again!!!!!! I was just full of energy and on a high after it :-)

Please check out loads of great photos from the Whitsundays, including some great underwater ones (they really are worth a look) on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610926707351/ and the Town of 1770 is on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157611321653272/

Published by Linda on 14 Dec 2008

Townsville & Magnetic Island

Back to civilisation and we put our dancing flip flops on :-) to check out what the night life in Townsville had to offer. I heard that Townsville is really disappointing and only worth going to to get to Magnetic Island. In fairness though, I really liked it, it’s pretty big, I think the biggest city in Northern Queensland. There’s a real home style, almost cowboy saloon feel to some of the buildings, which I don’t really have pictures of as we had a really big night out…………

 

………and the brain/body were barely functioning the following day. Still though we’d good craic there, even though we were evacuated from the pub just after buying drink, due to a fire in the hotel adjacent. Anyhoo we headed off to the Mad Cow nightclub where it’s all happening. Well actually I think that’s where all the damage was done. We popped outside just after 3am. Queensland has a weird lock down rule so if you literally put a toe on the street, you can’t get back in. Disaster, although the state of us the following day was bad enough without another couple of hours there.

After a very slow and pretty early check out from our hostel, we eventually(!) set off on the ferry for Magnetic Island. It’s a gorgeous place.

 

I know, I know, I say every place is lovely but this is just perfect. We could have rented a 4-wheel drive and trekked around the island but as we are doing so much driving, we opted for a couple of days lazing on the beach, which was just lovely. I’ve decided that I don’t mind lazing by the pool or the beach during the day if I have my ipod. It’s at night I start climb the walls. I think it’s because I don’t have the attention span for tv, movies or books and there’s only so much internet you can handle. I think I must have driven Kate demented as all I did was research the Lonely Planet and find more and more things we could do.

Anyway we have almost booked everything down the coast so it’s kinda scary because it feels like our roadtrip will be over really soon. That said though, then we’ll be in Sydney for Christmas and that will be fantastic too. So it’s Sunday night and we arrived in Airlie Beach a few hours ago. Heading off on a boat to sail the Whitsunday Islands tomorrow. We are going on a dive boat and might even squeeze in a scary shark-filled night dive. I’ve also bought a book which I’m going to attempt to read on board. I may even be relaxed coming back, who knows?

More photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610847406936/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610780340239/

Published by Linda on 07 Dec 2008

Cairns, Crystal Cascades & Mission Beach

CAAAAANNNNNNNNEEEEESSSSSS is what the locals call it and it lives up to it’s reputation. We drove around the town (or is it a city?) and had a short stroll on the esplanade………

………..before heading out for the night. It’s a town built for backpackers, there are hostels everywhere so we were ready for action. Have to mention that we got a beer and a HUGE dinner in our hostel for the bargain price of $8!!!! You see, it really is a haven for backpackers.

So with our stomachs full, off we headed to P.J. O’Briens and were disappointed to find that it was pretty quiet but then it was a Monday night so I suppose we couldn’t expect it to be manic. Then we headed on to the Wool Shed which is a compulsory backpacker venue, complete with obligatory dancing on the tables and a Mr. and Miss Backpacker competition!!!

 

I kid you not! This is the Ibiza of Australia people and that’s all good in it’s own right, it’s also pretty entertaining :-) I think we possibly felt our age here more than anywhere else and the proof of that was when the Mr. Backpacker contestants were dancing on the tables and swinging off the roof beams, Kate turned to me and said “god, imagine if he fell”. These are the things you don’t even consider if you’re at the average Cairns backpacker age of about 21!!! So the place was heaving and it was a good laugh but it felt forced to me in a way, i.e. you HAVE to drink piles of shots, you HAVE to get wasted drunk and you HAVE to dance on the tables. I hate that, I’ll have too many drinks and dance on the tables with the best of them but it can’t be forced and should be somewhat spontaneous I reckon.

 

The following day we left Cairns and stopped at the Crystal Cascades, just outside town. It’s beautiful there, the scenery reminded me of Mossman Gorge up north, perhaps not as stark or bold or spectacular but lovely all the same. Had a nice stroll and a swim. The water was sooooo good. There was piles of fish in the water which turned off our Kate a little, I plunged in regardless, although I didn’t like the look of a rather large eel and a big black fish with whiskers!!! Oh dear! At least I only saw them afterwards :-)

 

We drove on to our destination for the night, which was Mission Beach. A really beautiful beach in one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. It’s a real sleepy town where you HAVE to relax. So I tried, I really did. We went for a walk on the beach and then for a swim in the enclosures (we’re still in Stinger territory). The temperature of the water is just amazing, so, so warm. Even though the enclosures kinda take away from the view, it’s still really lovely. This is Mission Beach with Dunk Island in the background. Sweet :-)

 

We strolled back through the “town” and the sun wasn’t even setting and the panic set in. I cannot relax, I need constant distraction or I start climbing the walls!!!!! We ate our dinner and watched them start to close up the pub around 9pm!! Right around then even Kate started to get a little agitated too, so at least there were two of us climbing the walls. I can’t tell you how lovely it is here but it possibly was just a little too quiet for us. We’ll probably be crying out for a spot like this in a couple of weeks time but hey, them’s the breaks. On the plus side, the humidity is back down so we’re not sweating like we were in the 85% humidity that Port Douglas offered! After a swim and a laze on the beach, it was back into our White Toyota Corolla to make the 4 hour journey on to Townsville……

More photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610575443605/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610779999611/

P.S. Did I mention that the Mozzie War is back on??? Thw two of us have got eaten since Port Douglas – boo to it :-(

Published by Linda on 30 Nov 2008

Lindybear – Licenced to Dive…..

Well we had another overnight journey, our flight was at 5am from Darwin and after arriving in Cairns, we picked up our rental car (yippeeeee) and made the 90 minute scenic drive to Port Douglas. Port Douglas is a really chilled out spot. Don’t think I could have worked here as it is a little too quiet but it’s a great spot to rest and relax.

There was no rest for us though as we did our open water course here, where the Great Barrier Reef is supposed to be much more unspoilt. I’ve always loved, loved, loved the water, especially being under the water but over the last couple of months for one reason or two I’ve developed a fear of it. In particular getting out of my depth. I bought some googles and I’ve been working on it over the last couple of months. So I was a little apprehensive about the diving. Off to the pool we went, and a little apprehension developed into a full scale wobbler. Got really, really panicked and I honestly thought I’d have to back out. Took a while to calm me down, I must have guzzled half a tank of air in the process :-) Anyhoo the second day in the pool was much better and once we had our medicals (how on earth??) and exams passed, it was off on the boat, on which we got to see some of the reef, check out the colour of the water people…..

Apart from a few problems with my ears, i.e. at first I found it really difficult to equalise, the diving went really well. We went to Tongue Reef on our first day. I’ve snorkelled a fair bit and diving, of course is much better as you get to go much deeper, but I think I’ve to be convinced that the Great Barrier Reef is one of best places to dive in the world.  Now to be fair it was much better the second day, we saw loads and I think we were more relaxed so probably enjoyed it better. Having said that I’m still a little disappointed in the Great Barrier Reef. Think we might try to fit in another day of diving on our way down the coast, maybe there are better spots. I’m so glad that I’ve finally got my licence, it’s been on my list for a while and we had good fun even though it was an exhausting week.

 

 

Feeling tired (and sick in my case – blah) since leaving Darwin, we also drove up to see Cape Tribulation, which is just spectacular. If you ever come to this part of the world, please come to see it!!! It’s described as something out of Jurassic Park in the Lonely Planet and it really does have that spooky, deserted rainforest feel to it……

 

…..and then suddenly the trees clear and you’re standing on a deserted beach with perfect sand and turquoise warm water……..

…….which we could only dip our toes in because of stinger jelly fish at this time of the year. We were really tempted to risk it but since the vinegar had run out, we didn’t really fancy peeing on each other if we did get stung :-) No swim – boooooo!!!

 

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????? It literally is the warmest water I’ve ever (kind of) been in – even warmer than the indian ocean and that’s saying something!! It is really so, so, so beautiful and it struck me while the two of us were driving along, how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do this :-) We spent the day alone on perfect beaches, walking rainforest trails, going to look-outs for some great views…..

…….and of course sampling locally made ice-cream made by the Daintree Ice-cream Company (funnily enough) which I actually didn’t really like – sorry :-(

Daintree rainforest, Cow Bay, Myall Beach, Noah Beach and Alexandrea Bay are some of the spots worth going to see. Soooooooo beautiful :-)

We also visited Mossman Gorge which is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I went for a cold, cold swim, as we had arrived there kinda late and the sun had left us. It’s also has stunning and unusual scenery.

And now that I’m officially a mermaid or at least a licenced diver, we’re heading south and our first stop is Cairns or as the locals call it CAAAAAAANNNNNNNSSS. You kinda have to hear but it’s really funny.

 

More photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610489119678/?photo_deleted=3069974963 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindybear/sets/72157610169944080/