Friday, June 20, 2008

20th of June


Happy Midsummer/Winter Solstice/Summer Solstice!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

19th of June 2008

My motivation to be on the road has so crashed down to nothing the last couple of days! Right now I just want to get back to Perth and take it easy. Been skipping sights here quite some but still there is so much around here worth seeing. But it feels like I’m not making any progress at all looking at the map, just standing still here on the east coast and still got faaaaar to go before I reach my goal, Perth. Don’t think my money will last me the whole trip either. Got about 40-45 days left if I stick to my budget of 50 dollars a day and don’t go on any expensive tours.

Headed north to Townsville next, not much to say about that trip except that I got a ride with a former bikie that had some really interesting stories to tell.
Townsville really made an impression on me, I reckon that I could probably live and work there because I just really liked how it looked and the general atmosphere there. Sadly idiot pom roomies, construction work, loosing my Tupperware I had with me from Perth full with cooked dinner and it taking me more then 4 hours to get out of town because I didn’t realize how big it was kind of ruined the whole Townsville experience for me. And I didn’t feel like staying around and have a look in town either because I was so tired not getting any proper sleep the last 4 nights.
Kept on going north and about 5 minutes before I got to Ingham I decided I wanted to go to Wallaman Falls which is about 50km west of Ingham.
In Ingham I had a beautiful girl in her 20s walk up to me while I was walking down the street and asking me if I needed a ride up north, dumbass as I am of course I said no because I was going west. But that’s a new one anyway!
Didn’t reach the fall that day and had to camp out just next to the Sugar Cane Fields in the middle of nowhere. 4 AM that night I got scared shitless because a train just passed at the other side of the road sounding its horn and keeping its lights on me, didn’t even know there was a rail track there!
Went to Wallaman Falls which was a nice place, highest drop falls in Australia with 268 meters single drop fall.
Mission Beach was the next stop on the road. Mission Beach consists of 4 small townships stretching along a 14km long coastline with nice beaches and Wet Tropics
area inland. The hostel here is probably the most laid back and nicest one I’ve been to yet. Went for a walk yesterday to see if I could spot a Cassowary, but no luck yet! In half a hour I think Ill try to hitch a ride to Cairns, don’t know if I’m staying there though or going to this Winter Solstice Party in the middle of the bush instead.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

15th of June 2008

Airlie Beach is a lot like the french Riviera (I think) and they are building another Marina there to get even more tourists. Its also a huge backpacker focused town and the entry point to the Whitsundays which basically all backpackers claim to be one of the best things in Australia.
Getting there was easy enough because it wasn't a very long ride, so I got there in the afternoon after saying goodbye to Gerwin and Karen. I booked my sailing trip when I got there on one of the last minute trips so I could get going already the next day and I didn't really want to stay long in Airlie (Think I'm becoming a bit of a loner, a bit uncomfortable when there is a lot of people around, especially backpackers),
The boat I got on was a Maxi Yacht called Matador, 24.9 meters long being the winner 31 races including 2 Maxi World Championship and the first Maxi to be built completely out of carbon fiber. We had a crew of 4 and had 13 tourists including me. Was a different backpacker group though without a single German or Pom (English) which is very unusual because they make up something like 60% of all the backpackers in Australia. Instead we had 6 Americans (don't know if they are much better though), 2 Danish, 2 Swedes, 1 Austrian, 1 Italian and 1 Aussie.
The trip was a 3 day 2 nights trip and we went around to a couple of islands checking out some beaches, including the famous Whitehaven Beach which has so fine and white sand they took sand from here to build the Hubble telescope! We also did some snorkeling and diving every now and then when anchoring in some bay. The highlight was probably the second day after Whitehaven when we were racing two other Maxi Yachts and we had a whale breach just 50 meters away from the boat, the first whale Ive ever seen! Also had a dolphin jump in front of us and eagles flying over, and we won the race!
But my impression of the Whitsundays? Cant really say they were what I expected. Its volcanic islands while I more expected atolls and beautiful beaches everywhere. Instead they are covered with forests and mountains and have very few beaches. Also the snorkeling/diving wasn't that great, been to many much better spots on the west coast.
But overall I'm glad I went on the trip, its was a bit dear (expensive) but I had a good time and was with a great group of people. It was fun going sailing for a change and do a “real” backpacker tour. The weather was nice but windy, perfect for sailing! And the food was excellent with a really good crew. I also got everyone to play Slaps (a drinking game) with me two nights in a row, hurray for me! (Really having a hard time to get people to play drinking games with me nowadays)
Stayed another night in Airlie which I got for free and got on the piss with the people from the boat, all good fun. Tomorrow I'm heading out on the road again heading north.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

11th of June 2008

Getting out of the Carnavron Gorge area proved to real easy, I stood on the road for about 30 seconds then this old guy I had ran into while hiking some 4-5 times the previous days pulled up and was heading exactly where I was.
But he didn't end up going all the way, but I just had to wait another 15 minutes before another car picked me up and I got a ride the whole way to the town of Mackay.
I went to Mackay to visit Brandon, the guy I went for the long detour with to pick up a car in Towoomba. But I never could get a hold of him when I got there so ended up at a hostel instead. Was planning to head northwest from there to Eugenella National Park the next day but got talking to a Duth guy and a Canadian girl which I ended up renting a car with and taking a drive into the National Park ourself instead.
Had a great day there and went on a short hike in the NP rainforest to a waterfall by a small rockpool which we went for a swim in, very cold but refreshing! In Eugenella I also got to see an animal I never expected to see my whole life, the Playtupus! And for the readers that doesn't know what a Playtupus is, Wikipedia is your friend :P Its an extremely odd, rare and shy creature anyway.
Went back to the hostel and stayed another night, checked out some local beaches this morning because we still had the car and this afternoon Ill head for Airlie Beach and the famous Whitsundays.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

9th of June 2008

I’m so in love with outback Australia and I seriously feel sorry for all backpackers that just stick to the east coast. The landscape is so beautiful and the people the friendliest ever! It’s just a completely different Australia once you go inland, the real Australia!
Leaving the farm in the morning I didn’t have to wait long before Bruce, the next farmer down the road picked me up. He promised to drive me to the NP but first we
had to go to his farm because a truck unloading cattle was stuck in the creek. After that we got to talk some and to make a long story short it all ended with me leaving most my stuff at Bruce's house, me lending his backpack that fitted me better and also he lending me one of his Ute’s (pickups) to drive into the NP! So I drove in there and parked the car and then starting hiking into the Carnavron Gorge for about 10km, then set up my tent, and the next day I hiked back checking out all the sidetracks
Carnavron Gorge is in my opinion one of the most spectacular places in the world. While hiking you follow the carnavron creek bed snaking its way up the gorge surrounded by 100-200m high walls on both sides. And every now and then there are side gorges going in, getting tighter and tighter with the huge walls rising on both sides. There are also a couple of places full of aboriginal paintings and other unique things around.
Coming back to Bruce again in the evening we had a couple of beers with some people visiting and a nice dinner before heading to bed where I got my own room and bed and Bruce telling me that I could stay longer if I wanted.
So next morning after breakfast and making myself some lunch I borrowed the Ute again and headed into the NP for another day of hiking. And coming back from the hike I rode around some with Bruce on his land which has to be one of the most scenic farms in the country with the Carnavron Range walls going all around the land, almost. And in the evening Bruce kids came over and a couple of rangers for a big proper aussie bbq, my first!
It’s just unbelievable how friendly and sharing some people are in the bush, thanks Bruce! Had an awesome time thanks to you.
Hell, I even got offered a job in the NP. They are building a big 6 days, 5 nights track on the top of the ranges and need more people. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and an awesome job, hiking in this incredible land trying to find the best spots for the track and getting paid for it! But, it’s just a little too extreme to me. It’s a 12 months job just meeting this small group of people because it’s so far away from everything else. With over 100km to the closest town and over 250km to the closest supermarket you really know you live in the bush. But as my life is at the moment I just can’t stay in one place that long, so much yet to see and experience while I still can!

Edit: I'm really sorry about the amount of photos in this entry, but I loved Carnavron so much and there is so many photos I want to show (lots more then just these actually).
Funny thing btw, weighed myself and my backpack at Bruce's Farm. I have lost 7 kilograms since I last weighed myself in December. No idea where they all went though because I still look the same. And my backpack weighs a scary 35 kilos :S

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6th of June 2008

Great Keppel Island was another island with just incredible beautiful beaches and different nature compared to what Ive seen before with a lot f tropical plants, tons of colorful butterflies and small skinks everywhere. I also saw a couple of 1 metre long Goannas there.
But I do think I'm starting to get fed up on nice beaches, I mean there is so many out there! Australia has more coastline then any other country in the world with so many amazing beaches, for example the ones around Esperance, Byron Bay and all the island beaches. But after a while I think you just seen enough, sure there is few things in life that beats sitting alone on a beautiful remote Beach, basically there is only one thing missing to make it perfect. Or actually two, a beautiful girl and a ice cold beer!
So now I more appreciate seeing more unique and different beaches like beautiful Shell Beach in Western Australia, the black beaches of Tahiti or Birdlings Flat
I only spent the day at Keppel because its small enough to walk around on, the map I was given was worthless though and trying to cross the island I got lost which wasn't to much fun, walking around in the middle of the bush just wearing a pair of shorts and my thongs (flip-flops).
Stayed another night in Rocky then I headed west. Being pretty lucky it only took me two rides to get the about 500km to the turnoff to Carnarvon NP. The first ride was a fella named Brett who was driving a brand new car that he just had picked up from the dealer before he picked me up, he drove me all the way to Emerald and fed me some lunch there before taking off again.
Getting into the NP (another 40km) proved to be a lot harder though and I actually started to unpack my tent to pitch it on the roadside when a local farmed picked me up and offered me a bed in their lunchroom another 20km up the road.
Sitting on the roadside now, Friday morning, waiting for a ride to get into the NP which I can see in the distance with the impressive walls of the Ranges

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

3rd of June 2008

And so I have reached tropical Australia, Crocodile and box Jellyfish (and a shitload of poisonous snakes of course) Country! Passed the Tropic of the Capricorn and came into the biggest town of central Queensland, Rockhampton.
But before that I went to Bundaberg the sugar and rum town of Australia. Had another day hitching in the rain to get there but wasn't to bad. The last ride I got there was the first girl under 40 alone in the car to give me a ride since I came to Australia (about 200 different cars) and she was really coolStayed in a pretty shitty hostel full of fruit pickers, funny thing happened there though. Ran into one of the german backpackers that gave me a ride on Kangaroo Island some 70 days and 7000km ago, its a small world!.
So in Bundaberg they make a lot of sugar, and next to the sugar factory is the Rum distillery (they use the molasses that is a bi-product from making sugar to make the rum). The famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer and Sarsaparilla is also made here. I went to the distillery for a tour which was quite interesting, they have one of the yummiest liquors I ever tasted there to! Sadly its only sold at the distillery and nowhere else.
So yesterday afternoon I headed north again and got pretty lucky and got all the way to Rockhampton. Today Ive been around town and at the county fair spending way to much money. Rockhampton is also supposed to be the beef capital of Australia which was noticeable at the fair where they were crowning a bunch of cows for all kinds of stuff!
Tomorrow I think Ill go to Great Keppel Island for a day trip then on Thursday I'm actually heading Southwest leaving the tropical part again to go the Carnavron Gorge.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

1st of June 2008

It’s hard to imagine that it’s June already and supposed to be summer back home. Because here it seems to be no end to either the rain or the winds.
Stayed two nights in Noosa and didn’t even see the beach once, but I had quite a good time there anyway and went to see the new Indiana Jones movie the last night. The movie was kind of a disappointment but still had its moments and Ford is great as always! It just got a little bit too much in some scenes, just too unreal to be enjoyable!
Leaving Noosa was not pleasant, had to stand/walk for more then 2 hours having the rain absolutely pissing down on me and didn’t want to put my heavy backpack on the ground because of fear of getting it wet. But eventually I got a ride and the other 3 rides I caught that day were under cover.
Went to the small town of Rainbow Beach which is just south of Frasier Island instead of Hervey Bay west of Frasier.
Frasier Island is the world biggest sand island and on the World Heritage List (I think, the Hervey Bay area is anyway!). Frasier is also together with Whitsundays the place all backpackers talk about and say is on of the best places to go in Australia, don’t really know why though.
But the rain is just pouring down and the winds are just getting worse, all the ferries to Frasier have been cancelled the last two days. The forecast says its going to get worse and that it will keep on raining at least until Wednesday. So after staying 2 nights inside this hostel I just say screw Frasier, I will keep on heading north for warmer weather! Can’t stay here several nights spending money just to wait for better weather.
At least I got to see the beach here and the sandblow which is like a beach up on a hill. Also got some great roommates so still had a good time here and yesterday when there was a hold in the downpour we went to the sandblow and took a bunch of fun photos.