Wanted to do some fruitpicking and spent a week in Home Hill, which I called Home Hell, in Tropical Queensland. I did one day and hated it. Stayed for Michael's birthday and then headed up to the magical Magnetic Island to work on a horse ranch. It was only an hour and a half away and I left Michael doing his fruitpicking on an aubergine farm. It was really hard work for him, but he had really cool people there and got on well.
Magnetic Island was fantastic! I spent just over 3 weeks here. Bluey's Horseshoe Ranch was brilliant. Lived on site with 5 other girls; 4 English; Becky, Amy, Charlie and Milly, and Kitty is from the Netherlands. Absolutely loved Kitty, she was awesome! Sneaky monkey! The girls are really cool and we went out a lot to the Horseshoe bay after work for drinks and nibbles. The ranch has 30 horses and I enjoyed every minute of working there. Well maybe not the minute I got kicked by a little shit named Roscoe, or when I fell off the donkey (Banjo is 11hh fluffy pony)at the beach. It was really funny, Banjo is being taught the trails and as only me and Milly could ride him as the others were far too big, whereas we were just too big, it was my turn. I stepped on him at the beach and as soon as I went to jump up, he went bucking crazy and bucked me off the otherside. It was hilarious and luckily it was only me and Charlie and a couple of young guys who we went out with for a drink in the eve. Anyway.......
The track took 2 hours in the bush and on the beach. At the beach we took their saddles off and went swimming in the warm sea. In the sea we did around-the-worlds, swam backwards and stood up on our horses. It was fantastic and I got to ride twice a day most days. As staff we rode horses too naughty for the public and all the horses were a challenge and a great ride. Cinders was only 13hh but went nuts on the way home, bucking, rearing, jumping and cantering sideways! It was fun riding her. Then Mango and Maverick, arab crosses, were very strong and stubborn. My favourite ride was Duke, and arab cross. He was very aggressive around the yard, but it was all a front. Riding him he was perfect and spooked a lot, afraid of the local cats and wallabies. Dale is a Clydesdale, his bro is named Clyde. Dale is massive and he was a good ride to, very strong! The weather was great and on my days off I explored the island, doing a WW2 forts walk, going to the different pretty bays, snorkelling which was fab, and catching the rays at the beaches. Saw lots of wildlife, wallabies everyday, possums, tree frogs in the shower and toilet and snakes!
Met up with Michael ok and he rode on my last ride, riding a horse named Mischief, a big arab cross, and he was a bit naughty. Michael did really well and cantered. That night there was a big full moon party on the island and we got free tickets and had the best time. Me and Michael got wasted and danced the night away to dance music. Coolness! Didn't leave the party till 4.30 and the girls started work the next day at 6am. I had a nice lye in!
Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands:
Spent a night at Airlie, where we departed for our Whitsunday's Sailing trip. Airlie is a nice, small place and isn't a beach but a port. It has a nice man made lagoon where we spent time in the sunshine. Very hot here!
We did a 2 day sailing trip on an ex-racing boat called Boomerang. It was awesome and we enjoyed fab weather. It's not a big boat, but it fitted 30 people, 4 were the crew who were great. The other people were really cool and all up for a laugh, which is always good. The boat went super fast and was sometimes at a 45 degree angle up in the air. Sailed to the islands and stopped for the night. The islands are really beautiful. Enjoyed great food and a BBQ and playing drinking games and getting very drunk on the top deck in the evenings. The stars are fantastic and so bright here. Up at 6am the next morning to get over to the main Island, called Whitsunday. Went to a look out point and experienced fantastic views out over the beaches and islands. Then we spent the rest of the morning at the gorgeous White Haven beach. This has been the most beautiful beach ever! Bright white sand so fine you can exfoliate your skin and clean your jewelery, and I cleaned my rings and necklace so they were sparkeling. The waters are really shallow being the most beautiful blues and greens and really warm. I explored the bays and sunbathed. Then back on the boat where we saw a big green Sea Turtle swimming past. He came right up to the boat!
Then we sailed to our next destination for snorkelling. The water was a bit chilly, but we had wetsuits and the snorkelling was fantastic. Saw lots of vibrant corals and stunning tropical fish. Michael saw a reef shark, tapped me on the sholder, but by the time I turned, it was gone. They're very shy. Spent ages swimming around the corals. Then we watched the sunset on the boat.
Next day we had a little lye in and sailed home. We sunbathed on deck as the boat splashed through the waves. Had to cling on tight every time the boat went up almost vertically on one side. It was a thrilling experience. On the way we saw a whale. He came right up to the boat and was massive and was a blue colour. Had the best time!
This place definately lived up to expectations and was absolutely beautiful. We went on a 3 day guided tour with a co. called Trail Blazer, and they were fantastic. Adam, our guide, is a legend. The blue 4x4 bus picked us up in Noosa along with 6 other girls from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Poland. They were all nice and Michael moaned that he was the only guy on the trip, forgetting about Adam. You'd think he'd be pleased! The bus was so comfy and it's huge windows allowed us to experience great views as we travelled through the Cooloola National Park and along the picturesque beaches. We drove down the gorgeous Rainbow beach, named by James Cook because of it's brightly coloured sand cliffs. The weather was spectacular the whole time we were there.
We went to Eli Creek. This is a beautiful natural creek with pure water running to the sea. We enjoyed the pretty views from the boadwalk and then hopped in and walked down the stream. The water only went upto our waists and the current was very strong. Then we went to Indian Head. This is a huge volcanic rock that caused the sands, pushed by the tides from NSW, to settle here, creating the island. The views are fantastic, spreading out over the island, it's sand dunes, rainforest, beaches and out to sea. We saw whales in the distance. We also saw our first Dingo here and caught sight of another 2 later. Then we went to the Maheno Shipwreck. This is awesome, it's skeleton stuck on the beach. It has 5 decks under the sand. The ship was on it's way to Japan for scrap metal and was washed ashore by a cyclone.
Back at camp we enjoyed BBQs and sitting around the fire, toasting marsh mellows. The stars are unbelievable here. We could easily see the milky way and the Aussie staff, who we got on really well with, pointed out all the constallations.
The second day we ventured into the rainforest. Did a really nice walk and admired the lush greenery and pretty streams. Then we headed to lake Birrabean. The lake has crystal clear water and bright white sands. It was gorgeous. We then went to lake Boomanjin, the red lake. The pure water looks red due to the leaf sediment underlining it.
Last day we got up half an hour earlier to see the sunrise. It was so worth it and so beautiful. Then we climbed sand dunes to get to lake Wabby, which is amazing and surrounded by an oasis. Then back to the mainland and down Rainbow beach. We stopped at a nice lookout and also saw wild Kangaroos. We hopped off the bus to get a closer look.
Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Stayed at a beautiful apartment loaned to us for 2 weeks free of charge by friends of my Nana. You're the best Nana, you really hooked us up! The apartment was on the gorgeous Marcus Beach. We spent most of our time sunbathing here. Enjoyed stunning weather and the Sunshine Coast lived up to it's name. Spent time in Noosa Heads and Noosaville, going around the quaint little shops. Did a couple of great bush walks. One right into the National Park and another along the gorgeous coastline, enjoying the panoramic views. We saw wild Koalas, big goannas, kookaburras and Bruch Turkeys. The wildlife in Oz is fantastic.
My birthday was the best day ever! Spent the arvo learning to surf on the beautiful Main Beach. By the end of the session, we were pros and I rode the waves in style! Michael spoiled me lots, cooking me a delicious full brekkie and 3 course meal for dinner and showered me with gifts. The only thing missing was the family. Big up the Hammonds!
We did a day trip to the beautiful Island and had the best time. The weather was outstanding. It's the 3rd largest sand island in the world and not far off the coast of Brisbane. We did a 4x4 tour, which was so cool as the 4x4 sped, jumping and banging around, on the rugged sandy tracks. We had to hold on tight, it was exciting. Our tour guide, Hayden, is a typical Aussie dude and was loads of fun. Needed to work on the jokes though.
We did sandboarding on the sandy dessert. The sand dunes were stunning and we flew down steep big hills that were almost vertical. It was loads of fun and unbelievably fast! Then we checked out the gorgeous beaches. At the main beach there are 11 shipwrecks. They look so dramatic and were placed there to warn oncoming ships of shallow water. Apparently it was cheaper than building the standard warning posts etc. It was cool driving down the beaches. We saw a couple of pods of dolphins, playing and surfing the waves in the shallows. It was amazing. Then we went to a lookout point at the lighthouse where we saw Humpback whales, turtles, manta rays, sharks and dolphins below in the clear blue water. It was amazing.
We had a delicious lunch on the beach and spent time at the stunning Honeymoon Bay, where we paddled in the water. We also saw a sea snake washed up on the sand. Hayden, who's an expert on reptiles, flung it back into the sea. He was cautious as it was highly venimous, an Olive sea snake. We also saw lots of sea eagles. We visited the Blue Lagoon, one of the island's natural pure water lake. We had a swim, but it was pretty cold! It's full of natural minerals and nutrients that a good for the skin. It was very beautiful.
We had an awesome time in Brizzie! Spent 2 weeks with our friends, the Barnes family, and got completely spoiled! Did so much. We went to Sea World, which was loads of fun. The shows were cool and the rides were great. The walk through Shark Aquarium was amazing. We explored the city going around all the shops, Chinatown, City Hall, we went up the clock tower, the Botanical Gardens and the Roma Street Gardens (which were stunning). The Museum was fab. It was dedicated to Queensland and it's exhibits were so cool! The Gallery was nice, but they were in the process of renivating, so we didn't get to see all the collections. We did the XXXX Beer tour which was loads of fun. Enjoyed sampling their best beers and got a bit drunk by 4pm. The Kookaburra River Cruise was fantastic. It was an old wooden steam designed boat and we enjoyed the sights whilst dining on a yummy buffet lunch. We also enjoyed observing the city's night lights from a lookout not far away. We visited the weekend markets at Southbank and Riverside. They were beautiful and we also did a little rainforest walk. There was also an orchestra playing at Southbank and they were really talented. We saw the Broncos play and loose against the Tigers at the impressive Suncorp Stadium. It was loads of fun.
We also visited quiet mountain towns of Maleny and Montville, where the Barnes' have a property and enjoy spending their time. We tried to see the Glass House Mountains but it was a bit foggy up there. The towns were really pretty and full of cute shops and galleries, that I loved browsing around.
We were also taken to King's Island and it was beautiful. Just off the coast, we walked at low tide to the little island and explored. The views were beautiful as it was a gorgeous day and we saw lots of pelicans.
The best day ever was Australia Zoo! Crickey it was good! We picked the only day that it rained to go and we didn't get to see Steve-o. Damn! But we still had a great time. We got there at 9:30 and didn't leave till closing at 5pm. I fed Bimbo the friendly elephant. She was very muddy and her trunk scratchy. It was cool and she covered my arms in mud. We also fed more roos, stroked Koalas and got close to lots of birdies including Kookaburras. The shows were amazing; tigers, birds, snakes and of course a couple of croc shows. The Crocossem was massive.
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
We seemed to have brought the weather with us to Surfer's. We got picked up in a stretch white limo by our hostel which was cool. Apparently Surfer's Paradise is Oz's Hollywood. After checking into the hostel we spent the day exploring the city and window shopping at it's boutiques and shopping centres. Didn't find anything I wanted to buy though, which is probably a good thing.
The next day the weather was better, sunny and a bit cloudy. We went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This was fantastic! Here we cuddled a koala named Do-da. He was so cute, a little smelly, but very fluffy. Do-da tried to do a do-dee on Michael! He had to hold tissue under do-da's bum to make sure he didn't poo on him. He didn't, but did poo on the next girl. Ha ha! We also patted and fed Roos and Wallabies. They were gorgeous and we could have easily spent all day there. We watched the snake and croc shows and enjoyed observing the Oz wildlife. We also fed the Lorikeets. These pretty birdies loved drinking honeyed water and flew at us by the hundreds. We had them all over our heads, shoulders, arms and hands. It was a little overwhelming but fun.
The next day was gorgeous sunny weather - yay! We spent day at Warner Bros. Movie World. It was brilliant! We went on the new Superman rollercoaster 3 times. This was soooo fast, launching us from 0 to 100 km-h in 2 seconds! My other fave ride was Scooby-doo. This was surprising. It started off tame and then flew us around a course full of big dips and tight corners in the dark and backwards in parts. The Shrek 4D was awesome too. Had loads of fun.
The weather was wicked the next day and we spent all day on the gorgeous massive beach, soaking up the rays and watching the surfers (for their impressive skill of course!). We didn't leave for Brisbane until the afternoon the following day so we got to spend the morning on the beach again.
We got the overnight bus to Byron as the journey took 13 hours. It was really good and we slept most of the way. We arrived in the morning in gorgeous sunny weather. We dumped our bags at the hostel and spent all day sunbathing and reading at Byron's Mainbeach, which is stunning. The next day saw equally great weather and we did a walk to Cape Byron. This took us to different beaches, up and down hills with beautiful views, along the cliff edges and on the way back we went through the bush. The walk was fantastic and we saw Dolphins and Humback whales. It took us to Australia's most easterly point and to the Lighthouse. It took us pretty much all day and I enjoyed having lunch at one of the beaches.
The next day had horrid weather, wind and rain. We had booked to go on a snorkelling trip but it was cancelled due to the weather and strong currents. We spent the day going around Byron's cute shops, most of which are surf shops. It was fun. We assumed the snorkelling was cancelled the following day, but it wasn't. We went to rocks off the coast where there were lots of tropical fishes. We were told there was a 98% chance of seeing sea turtles but we didn't see any. The current was strong and it was a challenge swimming whilst the waves crashed above us. I choked 3 times! Even the fishies struggled to swim in the current. It was disappointing. Afterwards we were told there was a 50% chance of seeing the turtles, which was annoying. Never mind. Spent the rest of the day recovering.
Location: Katoomba, Australia
The Blue Mountains.
We went to the Mountains (really big hills and valleys) for the weekend. The weather was gorgeous, bright blue skies, but it was a bit chilly up there. We arrived about midday on Saturday. Got settled into the lovely YHA hostel and then walked to Echo Point to see the famous Three Sisters rock formations. Incredible views across Jamison Valley with the big blue hills in the background. We also did a little bushwalk to get closer to the rocks which was nice. There were lots of birdies and we saw brightly coloured paraquets, cockatoos and cute kookaburras.
The next day we went on a super long bush walk into the valley to see the Katoomba Falls. These were pretty, but they're suffering from a 5 year drought and apparently they are awesome when it had rained enough. We walked down into the valley by the Furber Steps and in areas it was pretty steep. The scenery was gorgeous and it's actually a rainforest. I never realized rainforests could be cold. After a few hours of adventure, we reached the bottom. We looked around the old coal mine and then caught the steepest railway in the world back up. This was really fast and quite scary. Then we got the glass cable car back to the other side of the valley. The views were stunning. Then we wondered to the beautiful Katoomba Cascades.
It was really beautiful and we had lots of fun.