Mission Beach Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
The trip north from Byron Bay to Noosa took us past the Glasshouse Mountains, home to the now world-famous Australia Zoo, and home to the legendary Crocodile Hunter, a.k.a. Steve Irwin. We had already planned to stop and visit the zoo before leaving the UK, with the vain hope of seeing the mentalist in action first-hand. Unfortunately a cruel twist of nature meant that this was not meant to be, but we were undeterred nonetheless.
The main stars of the show are the crocodiles, who play along with the show in spectacular fashion. We now know that a crocodile hunts by sound, rather than by sight, but is still scarily accurate, will strike if you are within 2m, will take down a cow, and probably most importantly for you and I cannot run very fast, contrary to popular myth.
Other highlights of the zoo were the bird show, the elephants, the numerous venomous snakes, and lastly, but definitely not least, the tigers. Even though the tigers are in captivity they appear to be very well looked after, and much of the time is spent nurturing their natural instincts, rather than depicting them as commonal house pets.
We also had the pleasure of watching Bindi Irwin filming for her show on the Discovery Channel, under the watchful eye of her mum, Tracey, and a number of rather large bodyguards. Not bad for an eight year old!
After a good day animal watching, we got back into the Camper Sutra and made the short trip up to Noosa. The time spent here was very much chill out time to help us recover from the strains of Byron Bay (!?!).
With our livers well and truly pickled, the camp chairs were packed away once again and the Camper Sutra trundled on up to Hervey Bay, the jump-off point for our next excursion, the 4x4 Fraser Island Self-Drive Safari.
Fraser Island is the largest sand dune in the world, and is also a World Heritage site. With lots of sand comes some extreme driving conditions, hence the need for a 4x4. Pam and I took the option offered by many a hostel to jump in a very pink 9-person Toyota Landcruiser along with 7 other strangers, taking our own gear and food supplies, and camping on the island for 3 days.
In our truck we had a good cross-section of nationalities. They were: Matt & Nichola, from Bristol, England; Sun, Luna, J & K, from South Korea; and Carmen, from Germany. We were also travelling in convoy with another very pink jeep, which contained Mike & Rod, from Canada, Maxine from Germany (friend of Carmen - they drew the short straw), Supriya from Iceland, another couple from South Korea, two American girls and a Canadian girl (as you can tell they made a huge impression - sorry ladies). All-in-all a veritable mixed bag, but we are pleased to report that all international relations are still intact, and we now know how to cook a fantastic Korean dish.
Fraser Island was all about the sand, driving, sand, the scenery (which is stunning, especially the lakes, Lake MacKenzie in particular), sand, making new friends, sand, drinking too much cheap wine with sand, eating sand, late nights and very early mornings (mainly due to the heat of the sun and the not-so-friendly tide timetable). Did we mention the sand?
On a negative note, imagine walking through a desert for days on end, without any food or water, only to come upon an oasis that serves very cold beer. However, you cannot have this beer because you have left your wallet in the hotel. This is the ocean around Fraser Island ... the sun is baking down and the sea is so blue and inviting. But, if you take the plunge, if the tiger sharks or box jellyfish do not get you, the lethal rip tides will.
The second night proved to very eventful with Supriya ignoring the advice of, well, everyone, and choosing to sleep alone under the stars. Why should you not sleep under the stars alone? Because, as Supriya found out to her cost, the not-so-friendly dingoes like to have a good sniff around campsites at night in search of food. Food, which is now known to consist of babies! Supriya knew this but like all head-strong teeenagers knew better (only days to go until my 30th), only to wake up with one Dingo licking her face and another nibbling away at her feet.
Fraser Island was well worth the trip, and was definately topped off by the spontaneous after-party back at Hervey Bay. The Koreans decided they would like to cook a traditional Korean meal for us as we had introduced them to the Aussie Barbie and Pasta Bolagnaise. The food was fab and the Koreans were getting merrily wasted. With every beer their English improved which made for more beer! Once the hostel bar closed we, the party hardcore (us, the koreans, Rod, Mike & Maxine) dragged our leftover booze from Fraser to the beach to carry on the party. We were then joined by three Aussies, two of which decided it was funny to start pulling moonies, and other things which cannot be described before the 9 o´clock watershed , and a couple of the Korean lads joined in (J & K)! Crazy boys!! Anyway all good drunken fun with us staggering back to the Camper Sutra at about 4am!
Our next exciting adventure was sailing around the Whitsundays.
We were sailing on a boat called the Matador, which was a 80ft Maxi racing yacht and two times winner of the Sydney to Hobart race.
Getting up at 7 am the next day we sailed for a few hours before arriving at our dive spot. The site was good but the water was freezing so a 40 minute dive was more than enough, but as the dive was free we could not complain too much.
Very sore heads were cleared the next day with a dive in the ocean, off the boat, before breakfast, followed by some snorkling. We then, sadly, had to head back to shore. The whole time we were on board though we got to learn some sailing things.
The night we arrived back there was yet again an after-party, where we and the boat crew made the most of being ashore for the first time in three whole days, i.e. we drank, danced and drank some more! The Irish people on board, who had steadily drank continuously for the whole time aboard, dragged us to the Irish bar. Lots of dancing and staggering to the beach afterwards led to another 4am finish, and another good night!
The next day we headed up to Mission Beach, somewhat later than originally planned, and who knows what crazy, no scary, no fun things we might get up to there!??!.