Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hervey Bay to Noosa

Where have we been, you may have been wondering?

Well unfortunately we had some issues with our laptop and with all our photos stored there, we were unable to update the blog. We're back in Sydney now but don't want to leave anyone hanging, so I will be updating the last part of our trip.

We left off in Hervey Bay in Queensland. We were keen to do a whale watching cruise and were very lucky to get on one as the season was just coming to a close and many tours were no longer operating. We managed to get aboard "Shayla", a smaller catamaran, for her last journey of the season.

Unfortunately it was a bit of a choppy day and in the smaller vessel it took us three hours to get out to the northern end of the bay where the whales had been spotted. Being the end of the season we only managed to spot one whale and her calf and spent a couple of hours following them around. We got reasonably close but they were obvously feeling pretty lazy and didn't feel like doing any exciting acrobatics for us. We were only able to get a few photos - nothing too great unfortunately:

No modern search equipment needed to find the whales, just look for the spouts!

Relaxing in the sunshine:

On the way back in, the skipper Brent chucked out a line and lo and behold, something took!

And whaddaya know: not one but two mackerels!

We took one of the fillets home with us for dinner and it was yum!
The next day it was time to head for our 2-day, 1-night Fraser island Tour. Fraser Island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1840 km².
We were picked up from the YHA at 7:45am to catch the ferry across. We almost didn't make it onto the ferry as we had left our ticket back in the car and we were told by the nasty lady on reception that we couldn't travel without it but luckily the (much nicer) bus drivers snuck us on.
Ferry to Fraser Island:

Once on Fraser we joined a bus with about 30 other people (not our favourite way to see things but sometimes it must be done!)
Our first stop was Lake Wabby - a freshwater lake about 2.4kms in from the shorelines. A bit of a trudge through all the sand but very impressive:

And the lake itself was just beautiful. We came down to it from a huge sandhill. A wonderful place for a nice swim:

After a mexican buffet lunch at the Eurong Resort, the next stop was Lake McKenzie. This is a real drawcard for the island - the photos all show this crystal clear, still lake surrounded by sand but it was rather windy and cloudy when we got there and there were SO MANY people that it really wasn't like the brochure at all! Seemed quite strange swimming in fresh water at a beach like area though!
We then headed to Central Station which used to house the loggers that worked on the island up until 1990. We had a walk around the rainforest and Wanggoolba Creek:

Then it was back to our accommodation at the resort for dinner and bed.
After our buffet breakfast (Phew, enough with the food already!) we headed off to 75 Mile beach to the top part of the Island. We stopped briefly to have a squiz at a fishing trawler which had run aground during the night. The trawler was very aptly named "Impact":

75 Mile Beach (The highways of the Island):

There was the option of a scenic flight but we didn't bother:

We drove to Indian Head, which is the only rock to be found on the island. It gave us a great view of the surrounds:

Here you can see the long stretch of sand that buses and 4WD's drive up and down:

Throughout our trips we came upon various vehicles stuck in the sand (mainly the hire vehicles filled with young backpackers!) Our bus driver was awesome and managed to drive some of the more tricky terrain to the Champagne Pools:

So called because the water comes bubbling over like champagne:

One of the tourist buses that got stuck (obviously didn't have a driver as good as ours!):

After morning tea we called briefly past the "coloured sands" and then on to the Maheno shipwreck. This ship was stranded on its way from Melbourne in 1935 and has remained on the beach ever since, slowly sinking lower and lower into the sand with almost 3 and a half stories buried below:

We then drove to Eli Creek for a picnic lunch and swim. This is another crystal clear spring-fed creek, moving at quite a fast speed (over 1.4 million litres/day). We walked up the creek and then floated back down in the very cold water:

Then it was time to head to the ferry to take us back to Hervey Bay. An awsome trip - highly recommend it - the island is very unique and not at all what I expected. The only sealed roads are found around the resorts - the rest of the island's roads are all sand, sand, sand!
The following day - our last in Hervey Bay - we hired some (rather old-school!) bikes from the YHA for a very reasonable $10/day. We headed off on the 12km bike track along the Esplanade.

We checked out the beaches, jetties, shops and cafes. We rode right to the end and then returned slowly back. We had a little rain and stopped at the most AWESOME french bakery for some pastries and a milkshake. We stopped at the Vic Hislop Shark Show. This place looked like it was opened in the 80's and hasn't had a thing done to it since. Vic has hunted, captured and studied sharks for the last 30 years. There were walls covered with newspaper clippings of shark attacks throughout the world - rather confronting!

He even had a real Great White Shark in the refrigerator which was a bit gross frankly:

Then it was time to head back to the YHA - a great last few days!
We had a very important place to be at the end of November: In Noosa to watch Leroy compete in the Triathlon.
We checked in at the Noosa River Caravan park which we were very impressed with - had a spot right by the river's edge:

Noosa itself was absolutely packed out with people - with close to 10,000 competitors and many support people heading to the area.
We caught up with Leroy at the surf club - and were a little overshelmed by the packed pub - more people than Dave and i had seen in a long time!
The next day Lee had some things to organise such as checking in his bike.... alongside the thousands of others:

On the day of the triathlon, Dave and I headed out to show our support (and yell some abuse) for Lee.
Some spidermen:

Lee on the bicycle...

...Running (does my bum look big in this?)...

And of course, the all important nipple shot as he comes up to the finish line:

After the race, we went back with Lee and his fellow mates from his triathlon club to their accomodation, before we headed out for some food:

Later that night we headed to the Festival Village for the after party and a lovely sunset:

And if you're wondering what a bunch of athletes do after a big race? Re-fuel of course!

It was a great chance to see Noosa and catch up with Lee - good times!
It was then time to head down to Brissie to see Snowy, Di and little Jezza. I'll save that for the next post but will leave you with a pic of Dave at a place we just had to stop at for him to reminisce about his childhood: The Big Pineapple! (Not so big once you're an adult.....)

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