September 18th - We got up for our bus at 6am to catch our flight to Sydney at 8.50am and then a flight on to Cairns. We arrived at Sydney at lunchtime and had a sandwich in the airport and then waited around for an hour or so before catching the flight on to Cairns at 1.30pm. We arrived in Cairns about 4.30pm and got picked up by a free shuttle bus from our hostel. We got a free night in that hostel that night as we had stayed for 4 other nights in hostels of the same chain in NZ. We checked in before going for a little walk around the town. We spoke to the guy behind the reception in out hostel about getting buses around Oz and then a guy in a travel agent who was really helpful and before we knew it we had bought a six month open ticket with Greyhound from Cairns all the way down to Sydney with unlimited stops for only 200 pounds each.
We then had dinner in a bar which was a free meal from the hostel before getting an early night.
September 19th - We were up and got on the 9am Greyhound bus to Townsville. We arrived there in the middle of the afternoon after a good 6 hour bus journey which went so quick as they showed 2 films. We hadn't booked any accommodation in Townsville and ended up having to walk for about 40 minutes to find a hostel to stay in, he place was a lot more busy than we had expected. We checked in to a dorm room and decided to go out quite early and went out for a few drinks that night, there were some nice bars there and we had a good night, there was a good Rugby League game on as well between and Auckland team and a Melbourne team that we watched.
September 20th - We caught the 10.45am bus from Townsville to Airlie Beach and arrived there about 3.30pm. We were met at the bus stop by a shuttle bus from our hostel as it was about a 5 minute drive out of town. Bush Village hostel was really nice and was located in a wooded area and the dorm rooms were really nice, like little wood cabins with their own kitchen and bathroom and a patio area with a table and chairs. We did some washing and then chilled out for a bit and went for a quick swim in the hostel pool before catching the 7.45pm shuttle bus down to the town which was basically a 400 metre long street with shops, bars and hostels. We had a couple of drinks before going back for some sleep.
September 21st - We got up and caught the shuttle bus down to the Airlie Beach Lagoon with was lovely.
You cannot swim in the sea there because of stingers and other nasties so it is a really good place second to the beach. We sat around the pool in the sun and walked around the shops as well and we both bought some new swimming gear - both were bargains! We went back to our hostel at 4pm as we had booked the tennis court in the hotel next door for a hour so had a game. That night we cooked dinner before going out for a couple of drinks.
September 22nd - We manged to get up for the free breakfast this morning at 8.30am and were gald we did as it was fresh fruit, cereals, toast and muffins - really good. At breakfast the manager told us that he had recieved a fax from the head office of all the boat companies with the daily offers and there was a good offer on the Powerplay boat as the price was reduced from $420 to $280 which was too good to miss so we got the shuttle bus straight to Airlie centre to book it.
We wanted the powerplay as it was a fast catamaran and was meant to be the best. You could go on a proper sailing boat but this sounded more fun. When we got there we booked the trip and also our trip to Fraser Island
at the same time as it meant that we could get 2 nights free accommodation. Once we had booked the trip we went to the lagoon for a couple of hours, went back to the hostel for our lunch then back on the shuttle to go back to the lagoon for the afternoon. We went back to Bush Village at 4pm to chill out and Emma went for a run. She found the enclosed beach where you can swim as there are stinger nets and stuff. There was also lots of people having bbq's on the beach which we want to do soon.
Wewe made our tea and watched a film at the hostel.
September 23rd - We got up for breakfast again and then caught the shuttle into the centre. We shopped around the little shops and had a very relaxing chilled out day doing nothing! We both read lots as we have both now become book worms! That night we chilled out with other people from the hostel with a few drinks.
September 24th - We checked out of Bush Village this morning as we were booked into Beaches Hostel in town for the night as they had given us a free night as we had booked our trips with their travel office. We caught the shuttle bus straight into the centre and got dropped off right outside. We couldn't check in straight away as it was too early so we left our bags there and went to the lagoon for a couple of hours.
We went back in the early afternoon and checked in to our room. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting a few things we needed for the trip especially our alcohol!! That evening we had a couple of nights in the bar at the hostel which was the best bar in Airlie but also very very loud and our room was right above it. We went to and chilled out in our room for a bit before going to sleep.
September 25th - We checked out of our hostel at 10am and then slowly headed to the port for our 12 pick up. On the way we picked up some alcohol for the boat. When we got there everyone was there already and we waited to board the boat very excited! Everyone seemed nice straight away. Before we got on the boat the diving instructor Evian came round to ask us all if we were diving and we had to sign a disclaimer in case we got eaten by sharks! We then got on the boat.
It was really nice. There was a main covered area with 2 tables and seats all around and a smalll kitchen that was out of bounds, we had a double bed below the deck next to another double bed. It was quite cramped but fine for 2 nights. At the back of the boat there was more seating and at the front there was a jacuzzi and 2 large nets to lie on. We all sat in the covered area - there was 18 of us and had a briefing from the skipper and the dive instructor. Not many people wanted to dive which was quite surprising - we couldn't wait! We were then given our lunch and the boat headed to the most northern part of the Whitsundays, it was a rocky journey and quite a few people were feeling queezy, unfortunately Emma was the only one that was sick!! When we got to the point we were named 'Team Extreme' which was us and another couple from Ireland called Daire and Ainne.
We were dropped off at the shore by the small boat attached to the catamaran and we were kitted up already, we then practiced the breathing under water first and what to do if you have water in your mask under water or water in your mouth piece. Emma wasn't very good at first as she was the only one not to have done it before but soon picked it up. We then went for our first dive which wasn't very deep at first just so we got used to the equipment. It was so good as we met a massive blue/green fish that Evian had named Priscilla and called her his girlfriend as it always come up to kiss him, we all got to stroke it and it swam with us the whole dive. We saw lots of amazing fish and coral - Emma liked the striped black and white fish for Newcastle United! The dive lasted about 15 minutes and we then headed back to the boat and 'Team Extreme' then got in the warm jacuzzi to relax.
The boat then headed to our resting point for the night. We were given our tea and then we were shown pictures that had been taken throughout the day of us all and then us four stayed up to drink until about 12 while all the others went to sleep.
September 26th - We were woken up at 6am, had breakfast which was really good and were all taken ashore to visit Whitehaven beach. We were the first people on the island and at first we went up to the lookout point which gave an amazing view. We then walked down to the beach and our group were the first of the day there so we were the first footprints in the sand. We all chilled out for a while as Duncan, an English guy who worked on the boat, took lots of photos of the group trying lots of different angles and backgrounds etc, they all came out really well.
We then had a walk through the shallow waters and saw sting rays swimming around. We had a football with us so Neil, Daire and another one of the guys had a kick about before we all walked around the bay to a more secluded little beach for a swim, and it was still only 9am! We were there for an hour or so before heading off back to the boat and making our way back up the islands to the second diving spot where 'Team Extreme' did their second dive. This time we went in from the small boat and not from the shore so we all had to do a 'James Bond style' backward roll off the boat. This dive again was amazing with beautiful fish, coral and sea life. Straight after this dive there was an opportunity to dive again at another site but we both decided not to to save a bit of cash and we had had enough for the day.
We sat on the boat and chilled out while a few others dived and snorkelled before the boat made its way to the resting stop for the night. Dinner again was amazing and after we had another slide show with photos from the day, including ones that the dive instructor took of us under water. Team Extreme were again the only people to stay up for a few drinks that night and we had a game of cards.
September 27th - We were woken up early again this nmorning for a chance to dive again but we decided to go snorkelling instead. We were in the water by 6.30am and snorkled for 30 mins and were amazed to see a turtle swimming in front of us it was so cool and so glad that we managed to see one. After the snorkle we then headed back to Airlie beach as we had to be back for 10.
30am. Once we got there we went to beaches hostel to check in and went to the lagoon for a couple of hours. That night the boat had reserved a table in the hostel bar and depending on how many people turned up you got free drink and food, about 8 of us turned up so we manged to get 4 jugs of beer. After drinking there we then went to the bus stop to catch our midnight bus to Bundaberg
September 28th - After the 10 and a half bus journey through the night we arrived in Bundaberg at the bus station at about 10.20am. We both managed to get quite a bit of sleep but were glad that we took Neil's sleeping bag on as the air conditioning was good! We waited for 5 minutes or so at the bus station before Lorraine arrived to pick us up.
Lorriane was a friend of Neil's grandad when he was alive and visited Australia every year and they said it was ok for us to visit for a couple of days. Lorraine drove us around the town pointing out some of the hostels we could try when we wanted to try and find some fruit picking work. We then drove back to their house which is about 15 minutes out of Bundaberg at Bargara Beach. Their house which is a B&B was lovely and we had a really nice double room ensuite. They had some cleaning etc to do so for the first couple of hours we just swam in their pool and sunbathed enjoying being out of hostels and in a really nice place. Lorraine then offered to show us around a bit more and drove us down to Kelly beach which was packed with families out on the sunday afternoon and she showed us a few other places.
We then decided to have some lunch so we went to the Golf Club that her and her husband Norman are members of and we bought her lunch. We sat out on the balcony where there was a live Jazz band playing looking out at the sea. We went back to their place and took their dog Buddy for a walk along with two little dogs their were looking after while their neighbours were away. Their dog Buddy was a brown and white Jack Russel and was great and Emma loved one of the other dogs as well, she was called Bobo and looked like a little lamb! In the evening Norman, who was an excellent cook, did a bbq and we all sat around together watching tv and having a few drinks, they were really nice people.
September 29th - We got up to a lovely breakfast of cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt and tea and coffee, we couldn't believe we weren't having to pay for it! Lorraine and Norman had to be at a meeting in town at 10am so dropped us off so we could go and have a look around some hostels and try and sort out some work.
We first went to The Cellblock that had been recommended to us but the guy couldn't see us until 2pm so we tried some of the others. Basically none of them could guarantee work but we would have to pay for a weeks rent up front and hope they could, most of them said they had quite a lot of work on but the hostels were not nice - typical workers hostels and we were not keen at all, and the work they had was on vegetable picking so we were told that it would all be work on the ground and that it would kill our backs, all that in 90 degree heat. We had a look around the town and had some lunch and went back and saw the guy at Cellblock but that was also no good as they only take people looking to work for 3 months to extend their visas. By then we had both been put off anyway so got the bus back to the B&B and immediately phoned up to see if we could book in for Fraser Island and we managed to arrange it for 2 days time so booked the Greyhound bus straight away and were quite happy.
That evening Norman again cooked us a lovely meal and they opened a bottle of Champagne, we all sat around drinking again.
September 30th - Lorraine dropped us at the bus station for our 10.30am bus to Hervey Bay. We arrived there about 2pm and checked in to our hostel. That afternoon we walked down and had a look at the beach and then just had a look around a few shops before stocking up on alcohol for the next days trip. We had an early night as we had to be up early.
October 1st - We had to be in the bar for the meeting at 7am. We were put into the groups we would be spending the next 3 days with. Our group was us, a German guy on his own (Christian), and English girl on her own (Ruth), three dutch travelling together (2 sisters, Karin and Linda and a guy, Auke), and two Swedish girls travelling together (Tuss & Lovissa).
We had to nominate who would drive the jeep first and Ruth volunterred and then we had to nominate two people to go to the supermarket and buy and the food for the next three days so Emma & Tuss went, we all put in AUD$20 each and off they went. The rest of us were taken to the 4WD hire company to watch some safety videos etc. Once they had all the food, our jeep was packed up, everything went on the roof and we set off. There was another jeep leaving with us with 8 people in it (4 Koreans, 3 Spanish guys and a crazy Israeli guy). We arrived at the port and crossed over to Fraser Island on the 10.30am ferry. You are now completely on your on in your group on the island for the next 3 days, the driving at first took a little bit of getting used to for Ruth, we all found it very bumpy but we were soon making our way to the first place to visit on the map, we were given a basic itinery of the places to visit while we were there.
Auke took over the driving andd wwe were soon stuck for the first time, we could not get up a slope and all thought the car had broken down, basically we were naive at this point and not used to 4WD so after dropping into low 4WD and all getting out we made it up and gradually all more more used to it as the day went on. We changed drivers gradually through the day, and stopped off to have our lunch of sandwiches and salad and visited some beautiful places on the island, Lake Wagga was amazing with a crystal clear lake and surrounding sand dunes. Neil had his first go at driving along the beach in the afternoon, basically the beach is treated as a main road with all normal road rules applying, it is so much fun. We visited an anchient Tasmanian ship washed up on the shore in 1935 before arriving at our camping site at about 4.
30pm. At this site there was a dedicated area for the people travelling with the company we had booked through and so we set up our tents (it took some time!) before cooking up a bbq for dinner which was great. That night we all had quite a few drinks and sat around playing cards and drinking games before going to sleep. The tents were 3 sharing so we shared with Ruth.
October 2nd - We woke up about 8am and all had our breakfast. Karin, Linda and Christian had woken up to a massive Spider in their tent, which we later found out was a harmless Huntsman once Larry the owner had got rid of it, but it is easily the biggest spider either of us had ever seen. We had to wait until high tide had passed before we could drive down the beach so we all went and sunbathed on the beach until about 11am when we set off.
The first stop of the day was Indian Head which is a famous point on the island, a massive cliff that sticks out. You climb to the top and can look out over the ocean. We were really lucky as when we got up to the top a family of three humpback whales were passing byand we all watched them swim by. We stood there looking out for about half an hour and also saw Manterrays and a turtle. We then all sat on the beach and had our lunch before driving a bit further along the beach to visit the Champagne Pools, these are rockpools that have the waves crashing over into them looking like bubbling champagne. Most of us went in and had a swim and chilled out there for an hour or so. We then made our way back to the campsite but it was only about 3pm so we all sat and chilled on the beach, we bought a frisbee as well but it was a bit too windy! That night we cooked spaghetto bolagnese for dinner and again had a good boozy night of drinking games.
At about 10pm our group and a couple of other groups all went down to the beach to carry on drinking, it was pitch black but we had plenty of torches, we got our first sight of a Dingo but really only a shadow as it was so dark!
October 3rd - We were up early, had breakfast, packed up the tents and the jeep and left at about 7.15am. Today we had a lot to pack in so we got up earlier. The first drive was on the beach and while we were driving along we saw our first real sighting of a dingo. We stopped the van and Christian jumped out to get closer (which you're not supposed to do!) it came right up to him and was amazing to see how tame it was. We then kept driving and was turning inland and suddenly we weren't moving....we were stuck!! We kept trying to go forward then backwards but nothing was happening but digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the sand! We all got out and were digging round the van trying to make a track for the wheels.
Tried agian...still didn't move. We flagged a passer by who lent us his spade and we all dug and dug and dug. It seemed impossible to be able to get it to move again as the sand was so deep but luckily on the last try before we would ring up for help we moved! we were so relieved and so exhausted! We then carried on the drive to the first stop which was a lake where we didn't stay long as the water looked dirty and red. The following lake was much nicer as the water was so clear and the sand was white. We stayed here for a short time and decided to head on as we had more to see befor eour 2.30pm ferry. We drove inland to Central station where we had our lunch which was just all the leftovers of what was left. It was nice warm sweaty cheese and ham sandwiches mostly.
We then drove to the main lake on the island which was packed! It was really nice but we all preferred he quieter one we'd been to. We stayed about 30 mins and were lucky to see a couple of dingo's walking around everyone. The drive to the ferry was a panic rush as the cars infront of us kept getting stuck! It was a tricky drive as there was big holes but Karen who was by far the best driver on the trip got us there on time. We took the ferry and drove back to the van depot. Here we waited nervously to find out if we had any charges due to damage to the van or if we'd lost anything on the way....we were fine! Unfortunately the other group got a $100 fine each as one guy damage the bumper when he crashed it. After collecting all our stuff we got dropped off back at the hostel and we checked in.
That night we went for some food with the dutch guys in town and all went to bed quite early as we were so tired.
October 4th - We checked out at 10am and then caught the shuttle bus to the gryhound bus station. Here we caught the 10.30am bus to Noosa. it took about 5 hours, stopping for lunch on the way and got to Noosa about 3pm. Here we got picked up by our hostel Dolphin Beach House. The hostel was cool, really chilled out with lots of hammocks to lie in. Our room was in an apartment like style with 2 bedrooms with 6 beds a kitchen and sitting area. Once checked in we walked to the nearby beach sunshine beach and then caught a shuttle to the centre at 6pm.
We were meeting the others (Auke, karen, Christain and Linda) at 8.30pm so we just wandered round for a couple of hours and went for some food (as there wasn't anything to see!!). When we met them we had a drink then walked to their hostel bar at koala's as it was so expensive in the centre. Here we stayed until midnight and had lots of jugs of drink and danced. when it closed we went to a narby Irish pub before we walked home. It was a long walk, about an hour and we thought it would only take 10 mins!
October 5th - This morning the dutch people checked inot our hostel and then we all went o the National Park surrounding Noosa. It was a 2-3hr walk around the coast and was really good. We climbed through forests where you were meant to see koalas but we didn;'t unfortunately.
We managed to see a snake - not sure what type and it was only a baby, some whales and some old fat naked men on the nudist beach! After the walk we all just chilled out at the hostel in the hammocks and went to bed.
October 6th - We left the hostel with our dutch chums on the 8am shuttle bus to pick up the Coutesy coach to Australia Zoo ( steve Irwins's) at 8.30am. We were in the zoo by 9.30am. The day was good as we saw so many animals we had never seen before - Kangaroos, Koalas, and even a Tasmanian Devil! We think the Koalas stole the show though, they are great little animals and very cute. It was a good day although the only disappointing thing was the main show which we had all expected to be a lot better.
We slowly made our way around as it was the hottest day we had had since being in Australia and fed Kangaroos, patted Koalas and even managed to get Emma in the Aviary although she was very quick through it and took a table take at the sign which listed about 7 types of pigeons! We left the zoo at 4pm on the Courtesy bus straight back to Noosa. We then all stopped off at the supermarket in town to stock up to do a bbq in the hostel that evening for the 5 of us. It was good and we all sat around chilling out and having a few drinks, it was a really good hostel to do that.
October 7th - We checked out of the hostel and caught the 9.50am shuttle down to the bus station. We caught the 10.30am Greyhound to Brisbane and arrived there at the main bus station at about 1pm.
We waited a while and were then picked up by the shuttle bus to take us to our next hostel - Bunk - which we were using the two free nights we had got when we booked our Whitsundays and Fraser Island trips. We checekd in to the room and went out to have a look around the city and make our way to the Information Centre to get a list of Recruitment Agencies we could try. We visited 3 agencies that afternoon but none of them seemed that promising with the timescale of 2 to 3 weeks that we wanted to work. They all suggested that we email our CV's to them so we went back to the hostel and updated our CV's and sent them across to them. That night we decided to go to the cinema so went and saw Tropic Thunder which was a very bizarre film!
October 8th - We had a bit of a lay in and Emma had woken up with more nights on her face and her neck as she had got a few the night before at the Dolphins Beach House, Neil also had a few bites.
We visted a couple of Pharmacies and they both told us that they thought that they were probably bed bugs. Yuck! We bought some spray to spray onto our backpacks and hoped they would go away. Apparently bed bugs is a massive problem in hostels on the east coast of australia. After visiting the pharmacies we went to lots of hostels to see their rates and if they had job clubs and then a few more agencies. We then went to the library to use the free internet to apply for some jobs. After here we headed back to our hostel after stopping off at the supermarket for our tea. We went straight to reception and told them about our bed bugs and they told us that they had to wash all of our clothes and move beds. We were pleased as we got a free wash and dry! It took ages though, but hopefully they will have gone, we also sprayed our beds and backpacks with the stuff from the chemist.
they told us that they would have come form Noosa hostel or the koalas at the zoo as they take 48hrs to come out. We went for a quick drink in the bar after our cleaning then to bed.