Sunday, November 30, 2003

Bye To Ryan

UP about 8:30, slept so good! Showered packed, checked out, then Ryan and I went for brekkie, said goodbye's to Tina, Marina and Sonya, played ping-pong with Ryan (I won 3 games to 1), waited, Ryan got his bus back to Brisbane at 2:00, and Court and I got our bus to Airlie Beach at 2:35. Had to switch buses in Hervey Bay, and again in Rockhampton.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 3

Up at 7:00, packed truck and took off to Lake McKenzie. We had to get moving early to beat the tides. Realized at Lake McKenzie that we can take an inland road down to Dilli Village, and don't need to take the beach highway, which means we don't have to worry about the tides, so stayed at Lake McKenzie a lot longer, until about 1:00. Had lunch there as well. As we were cleaning up lunch, a big 1 metre goanna (lizard) invaded our lunch area and started trying to eat or leftovers and garbage. I had to keep kicking him away, and he kept swatting at me with his tail. They're not dangerous, but it's still kind of spooky fighting with a big lizard.

At 1:00, we took the inland road to Dilli Village, got there about 2:30, then a short beach stretch (tide was down enough to drive on it now) to the barge road, then back to the barge and got back to Rainbow Beach about 4:00, took our truck to the truck rental place and cleaned it out. We lost a sleeping bag, so that cost the group $25. The truck was ok, so didn't lose our bond or anything.

Back to the hostel, checked in, Ryan and I went to the Bowls Club for steak, then our group sat around the hostel for a few drinks. To bed about 11:00.

Met a guy from Caronport at Lake McKenzie! Closest yet!

Friday, November 28, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 2

Up about, not sure, had breakfast, walked to Indian Head for wildlife viewing, saw turtles and a few rays. As we were sitting at Indian Head, Webka, one of the German girls, remarked to me that now she understands why I wanted to come to Fraser Island a second time. It's beautiful. Then to Champaigne Pools. Awesome! Better than last time, because the tide is much higher, so more "whitewater".

Back to camp, had lunch, packed up truck and left camp about 2:15. Drove to Lake Wabby, but no time to walk to it, so kept going to Central Station campground. When we arrived, the park warden approached us, was very rude, didn't say hello, just bluntly told us that this is a family campground, not like Indian Head, and there will be no partying, there is a noise curfew at 9:00, and they will fine us or kick us out of the campground. Then he pretty much told us if we still wanted to stay, feel free to use the facilities, but if we wanted to leave, he'd give us directions to Dilli campground, where we could party. He wasn't a very pleasant warden.

Had a hot shower, we made supper, then partied until exactly 9:00, then we shut up. Everyone kind of started going to bed after that.

Central Station campground is set in the rainforest, it's just like any campground you'd find in a national park in the Rocky Mountains in Canada, very nice.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 1

Up at 6:30, free pancakes at the hostel at 7:00, and at 8:00 checked out, put bags in storage, got instruction on vehicles, checked out the equipment. Drove to barge, 10 minute barge ride across the strait, drove up to Eurong, stopped for toilet break and ice cream break, then on to Rainbow Gorge for a hike, the Eli Creek, Maheno shipwreck, but didn't have time to do The Pinnacles, then up to Indian Head, set up camp and made supper and broke out the alcohol. Sat around camp and talked and had fun. To bed about 1:30.

Gavin, the Irish guy, is a crap driver. Kept getting stuck, even before we got to the island!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Rainbow Beach

UP whenever. Had breakfast at the restaurant, Ryan and I played pool and ping-pong while we waited for the shuttle to the bus station. Shuttle left at 11:15, got bus at 11:35 to Rainbow Beach about 2:30. Checked into Dingo's Resort and had our Fraser Island meeting at 3:15.

Meeting not nearly as good as Fraser Escape. They don't tell you squat here. Got into our groups, we have 10 in our group, 6 girls, 4 guys. 4 German girls, 1 English guy, 1 English girl, 1 Irish guy and 3 Canadians.

Bought a $3 pasta ticket for supper at Dingo's, then we got a ride to Rainbow Beach sandblow and walked back to the hostel, then had pasta supper.

To bed about 9:30.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

More Beach Bums

Up about 9:00. Cold last night! Had breakfast at the restaurant, then we walked downtown, to Peter Pan travel, used internet, then booked a tour up the coast, including Fraser Island, Whitsundays, river rafting and skydiving (14,000 feet!). Then to the beach and got brown (or red in Ryan's case).

Stayed at the beach until about 3:20, then to Peter Pan to pick up our tickets and use internet. Finally got my online journal updated!

Back to the hostel on the 4:35 shuttle, then showered, lounged, then Ryan and I got the 6:00PM shuttle downtown to get something to eat, walked all over downtown looking for a relatively cheap place to eat, finally settled on a restaurant and I had a big-ass steak sandwich and coke for $20.00. Restaurant meals are expensive here. Noosa is a very upmarket place.

Walked back to the hostel and missed our street and walked too far. Ryan isn't used to this much walking, he's complaining. Back to the hostel about 9:00, I recorded stuff to my MP3 player, Ryan was knackered and hit the bed. I went to bed about 11:00.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Surfing School

Up at 7:00, had breakfast in the kitchen, Ryan went to McDonalds, then at 8:00, got the hostel bus to Roma Bus Terminal and waited for the 9:00 bus to Noosa, which left at 9:00.

Got to Noosa about 11:30, tried to check into Halse Lodge YHA, right across the street from the bus stop, but it was full. So we caught the Noosa Backpackers minibus to their hostel and checked in. Had some sandwiches for lunch, then got a surf board and two boogie boards from the hostel and caught their shuttle to the beach.

At the beach, I gave Ryan some surfing lessons, and I had him up and standing and surfing within 20 minutes. I used the boogie board.

Later on, gave Courtney a lesson and had her surfing quickly too. I rule as a surf teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the bus stop and got ther 4:35 shuttle back to the hostel. Had supper at the hostel restaurant, then Ryan and I played pool, ping-pong, pinball, then the three of us played cards, then we went for a walk with a guy from New York. We tried to walk to town, but got lost. Walked for about two hours in the dark, then back to the hostel and to bed.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Brothers in Oz

Up at 8:30, showered, dressed, Court and I went across to the train station to meet Ryan, then we both needed the toilet, so went back to the hostel to take care of that, then as we were ealking back to the train station, Ryan called me mobile from a pay phone outside the train station. I could see him in the pay phone from where I was standing. We went across the street to meet him, then back to the hostel and Ryan checked in.

We went to a travel agent at the hostel, and the three of us bought a bus ticket up to Noosa.

We went for breakfast, then went to Southbank for some rays, it started to rain, we waited for a bit, then walked around a bit, then back to the hostel. Ryan and I decided to go to the ScienCentre, and we walked around and around, and couldn't find it. It doesn't exist anymore!!!!!!!! STUPID LONELY PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!! So instead, went to the museum, free entry, kind of interesting, exhibits on the environment, animals, fish, culture stuff, lots of everything.

On the way back to the hostel, had a snack at McDonalds, back to the room, picked up Court, then we went for an expensive supper at Pig & Whistle Pub, then met Webke (sp?...a German girl in our room, pronounced Veebka, VB for short), and the four of us went to see "School of Rock" movie at the theatre. Pretty good movie.

After that back to the room and packed and went to bed.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

My Real Birthday!

Up about 8:00, showered, breakfast, Court and I talked to the travel desk, then Kristin, Court and me were going to go to Southbank, stopped off at a travel agent and got info on flights. I was considering ditching my Malaysian Airlines ticket, and just getting a new one-way ticket to Regina when I want to get back. Everything was booked up, travel agent couldn't get through on any airlines.

Used internet for a while, gave Kristin a big hug, because her and Louisa were leaving soon, then Courtney and I headed to Southbank, stopped at another travel agent on the way, and they found a way to fly from Sydney to Regina on Jan. 10 on Air Canada. So, I'll stay in Australia until Jan. 10, seeing everything I want to see. Dec. 11 was just too soon.

Hung out at Southbank for a while, then back to hostel, and ate, then went to the bar downstairs (Down Unders) for the final of the Rugby World Cup, between Australia and England. England won, in overtime, very good game.

After that, to bed.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Happy Birthday to Me (almost!)

Up at 4:20, went out to get our taxi, one didn't come. About 4:55, found a taxi driver who had a hire, but he called for another taxi to come for us. Got to the airport shortly after 5:00, we checked in (Louisa with Qantas, Kristin and I with Virgin Blue), Kristin and I had breakfast, then got on the plane and left at 6:00. Bathrooms in the Virgin Blue area of the airport say "Virgin Loo".

Landed in Brisbane about 8:00, found Louisa, got bags, took train to Central Station and checked into Palace Backpackers. Had to wait until after noon, so Kristin took some film to be developed, Kristin and I used internet, then I went to Malaysian Airlines to deal with my ticket, and got all my flights sorted. Sydney to KL, Dec. 11, KL to LA Dec. 24, LA to Regina, Jan. 10. Had to pay an extra $50CDN to get the seat. Kristin and I walked through the botanic garden, back to hostel and got into the room.

Met Court at 1:30, and at 2:30, met Kristin and Louisa for lunch next door.

Later on, we found a bar, Chill Restaurant and Vodka Bar, that had an international vodka festival with more than 90 types of vodka's from around the world, so we sampled some various vodka's. Strawberry vodka with Sprite was the best.

Back to the room to change, had a bottle of champaigne (courtesy of Louisa), then went out for supper, delicious steak.

Back to the room, Louisa did Courtney's tarot cards, then Court went to bed, she was not feeling well (headache), Louisa, Kristin and I went to Down Unders, the bar under the hostel at about 10:00 or 10:30. Kristin left after midnight sometime, Louisa and I stayed until 3:00AM, when the bar closed, then to 7/11 to get water, then I watched TV in the TV room until about 4:00, then to bed.

My whole night was free for me!

Louisa and Kristin got me a facial hair trimming kit for my birthday, because of my big, bushy eyebrows.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Cape Tribulation - Day 2

Up at 9:00, checked out, I showered, had breakfast, at 11:00, we walked to Cape Tribulation, where "Rainforest Meets The Reef". Back to the hostel about 12:30, then had lunch and waited for the shuttle bus at 1:30 back to Cairns.

On the way back, stopped at a lookout to see the mouth of the Daintree river, then stopped at the Mossman Gorge, then Port Douglas. Back to Cairns about 6:00, checked in to hostel, had the hostel order a taxi for us for tomorrow morning at 4:45, went to Western Union so Louisa could get her money from her mom. Then she took us out for supper, had pizza.

Back to the room about 9:00, I packed my bag, badly, got a call from Ryan, called Courtney, then to bed about 11:00.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Cape Tribulation - Day 1

Up about 6:45 for our shuttle bus to Cape Tribulation. Bus picked us up about 7:35. Stopped at a boardwalk for an interpretive rainforest and mangrove walk. Went on a crocodile spotting cruise on the Daintree river, saw a baby crocodile (4-5 feet) and a huge 2.5-3 metre crocodile.

Got to PK's Jungle Village about 12:30. Settled in, showered, had lunch, Kristin napped, Louisa and I went to the bat house. They have fruit bats (aka flying foxes) at the bat house, and you can touch them, pick them up, feed them, etc. They are soooooo cute!!!! Then we walked to the main store, about 1.5 km down the roead, and went for a swim in the swimming hole in the stream. One of the few places you can actually swim in northern Queensland (most places you're not supposed to because of either crocodiles or stingers).

Walked back to the hostel, Kristin and I walked the Dubuji boardwalk, about one hour, then cooked pasta for supper, and had a few drinks. Bunch of us went to the beach, we lost Kristin, so she went to bed. The bioluminensence was amazing at the beach.

Not sure when we got to bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Bus to Cairns

Up at 5:20, got shuttle to the main bus station in Airlie Beach. The bus was supposed to come at 6:25, but it didn't come. It was more than an hour late. Left Airlie Beach about 5:30. Watched "About A Boy" with Hugh Grant on the bus.

Once in Cairns, about 5:00, walked to Shenanigans, a hostel above a bar, and checked in, walked around Cairns for a cheap place to eat, had supper, walked along Esplanade and waterfront. Cairns is beautiful, awesome lagoon/pool area and park along the waterfront. I'd live in Cairns, I think.

Back to the hostel about 10:00, showered and to bed.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Whitsunday's - Day 3

Up about 7:00, had breakfast.

Bunch of people did a morning dive, including Kristin, I snorkelled and saw Elvis (huge blue fish, who will apparently swim up to you and let you touch him, if you humm to him...didn't work for me), and a huge clam. Finished on the beach about 11:30, everyone got back to the boat and we motored back to port, having lunch on the way. Saw dolphins. Back to the harbour about 1:30, then caught Reef'O's shuttle bus to the hostel and stayed around the hostel all night, played cards, had supper, packed.

Reef'O's is about a 10 minute drive from Airlie Beach, not in the town at all.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Whitsunday's - Day 2

Up about 7:00, had breakfast, motored to Whitehaven Beach, had to do a short walk to a viewpoint to get a birds eye view of the beach, then down to the beach. Beautiful, white silica sand. Very nice.

Back to boat, went to Luncheon Bay, had lunch on the way (roasted chicken...yumm!), then they dinghied everyone to the beach for snorkelling and diving. Certified divers got a real dive, uncertified divers got an introductory dive, which Kristin did. Louisa didn't, because she has a perforated ear drum, so she can't dive.

After diving, about 4:30, motored to Blue Pearl Bay, had supper (roast beef...yummm!), then four of us did a night dive in the bay.

Night dive was stressful, because you can't see anything, only what your torch lights up. Wasn't that exciting, actually, but I need to do more to get my nerves calmed down when doing them, so I can enjoy it more.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Whitsunday's - Day 1

I slept on the bus, I had two seats to myself, so it wasn't that bad.

We got to Airlie Beach about 11:00, more than 12 hour bus ride. Walked to the Tallarook office, checked in, stored our bags, walked around town, had lunch, nice town, they have a nice lagoon/swimming pool area near the ocean, with park, picnic areas, BBQ's, etc. Went to the wharf about 3:45 and got on our boat, New Horizon shortly after 4:00.

Sailed (actually motored) to a bay between Hook and Whitsunday Islands for the night, had steak for supper and applie pie for dessert, and to bed shortly after 10:00.

Not too much happened on this first day. About 26 people on the boat, not including crew.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 3

Up at 8:30, packed quickly, to try and beat the high tide.

Drove to Eurong for breakfast, then to Lake Wabby. Saw catfish and turtles in the lake. The lake is interesting, it's kind of oval shaped, bounded on side by rainforest, on the other side by huge sand dunes. We rolled down the sand dunes.

Got back to the ferry terminal about 3:10, had lunch, and waited for the 4:00 ferry. Back to the hostel, got a room, unpacked the truck, showered, Kristin, Louisa and I went for supper, I had an expensive steak.

To the bus station about 9:20, bus came about 10:30 and we left about 10:40 on the night bus to somewhere, not sure where as I type this.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 2

Up very early, so hot in the tent. Breakfast was cooked, then me, Erika, and Sharon walked to Indian Head, a big rock jutting out into the ocean. From the vantage point, we saw rays, tiger sharks and a turtle. Sometimes dolphins and humpback whales (when in season) can be seen too.

Back to the camp, packed, then most of walked to Champaigne Pools, except Kristin and Louisa, they were too hung over. Champaigne Pools is some "pools" barricaded behind a series of rocks, the ocean water crashes over the rocks, and into the much calmer pools, it's quite amazing, actually, hard to explain.

Then drove south to the Dundabara camping area for lunch and a hot shower, and to clean our dishes.

Then on to Eli Creek, where we floated/swam/walked down a cold river. Remember me having Kristin on my shoulders and I dunked her in the water. She screamed the whole way down. It was funny. It did make her feel much better, though.

Then to Happy Valley resort area for snacks at the cafe. Bought a birthday muffin for Erika (her birthday).

Then drove south to Rainbow Gorge, and camped there for the night. Only Fraser Escape trucks camped here.

There were dingo's running around the campsite here, not too afraid of humans, get quite close to you. The women went to the bathroom in big groups, often times me or one of the other guys coming along to be on the dingo watch.

We played drinking games, then me, Kristin, Louisa and Richard went up the hill to where some more campers were, and we stayed there way too late. We got back to our camp about 5:00AM, I went to bed, the other three stayed up and cooked bacon and eggs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Fraser Island - Day 1

Up early, 6:00, for a 7:00 meeting, an old guy swore at us and told us not too wreck his cars, and don't kill ourselves. Showed us a video of all the bad things that can happen. Then we were ready to go, Fraser Escape had 5 trucks going out today, and when they were going to take us to the ferry, our truck wouldn't work. The got another truck, had to wait an hour for it, then moved all our equipment over to the new truck, then they got the first truck fixed, so we had to move it all back, and we got to the ferry two hours later than all the other groups. They told us they would book us on a later ferry on the way back in three days.

Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. In the middle is tropical rain forest. Very veautiful. After getting off ferry, drove to Lake McKenzie, a beautifully clear lake in the centre of Fraser Island, with white, white sand. Very, very nice. Then drove along the beach, towards Indian Head. Stopped at the Maheno shipwreck, which was way cool, a big ship that got beached years ago. Then on to Indian Head, and camped at Indian Head. All the other companies' trucks camped here the first night as well, so it was one huge party. The park rangers came along and told us not to leave any food out, because of dingo's, make sure we go to the washroom in groups (especially women), bury toilet paper, etc., etc.

Big party, lots of booze. Kristin got very hammered, kept falling down in the sand. Haha. Not sure when we finally got to bed, I think I did about 3:00.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Hervey Bay

Up at 7:30, when I woke up, Kristin was already up. I had breakfast, finished packing, got on the minibus to get back to Noosa Heads. Got on our 9:20 bus to Hervey Bay, Louisa met us at the bus stop.

Got to Hervey Bay about 12:45, Fraser Escape mini-bus took us to their hostel, we checked in, had lunch at the cafe next door, then back to the hostel for a 2:00 meeting, which didn't start until about 2:45.

11 people in our group. 3 guys, 8 girls. The Fraser Escape guy talked about Fraser Island, the dingo's, the itinerary, what we'll see, where we shoudl stay, etc. Then we split up into our groups, we all chipped in money for food, Louisa and Kristin went shopping for our group while they shopped, I took some rolls of film in for Kristin to get developed, walked along the beach, picked up the pictures, back to the hostel, met Kristin and Louisa, used internet for a bit, we walked to a restaurant/pub near the beach for supper, back to the hostel, showered, packed, and to bed.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Canoe Trip

Up at 8:00, had breakfast, grabbed our lunch, got the Gagaju guy to take us to the canoes, we got our canoe supplies, and he showed us on the map where to go, and we were off shortly after 9:00. It was easy paddling upstream, as the tide was coming in, and the river reverses direction during high tide. We took our time, much of the time, didn't even paddle, and let the current take us.

AFter hitting Lake Cootharaba, about 11:00, we stopped at a deserted beach and laid down for a while, relaxed. Then canoed a bit farther to Boreen Point, a small town on the lake, had lunch at the picnic site, then walked through the town, looking for the pub. We walked right passed it first time, then on our way back, noticed it, went in and had a drink, then back to the canoe, and canoed back to Gagaju.

The lake is VERY shallow, we were out in the middle of the lake, and we got tired of paddling, so we hopped out and walked the canoe in about knee deep water for quite a ways. At one point, while paddling, we flipped the canoe over, just for fun, and we got soaked.

It was tough going on the way back, especially in the river section, the wind was blowing strong, strong current going against us. Kristin's arms were getting tired, at one point, Jason, from our camp, went by in a powerboat, and told us only two more turns. Kristin started singing a song:
She'll be coming round the bend, back to camp.
She'll be coming round the bend, back to camp.
If she paddles with all her might,
She might get back by night.
She'll be coming round the bend, back to camp.

We got back to camp about 3:00, I went and showered with seven 20 cent coins (14 minutes of hot water!). Kristin napped.

Kristin made supper about 5:15, she got sunstroke, she thinks. She got quite red. I'm fine, I had lotion on all day.

Watched "Shanghai Knights", packed, then sat around campfire. To bed about 11:00.

I played a didgeridoo (sp?) for the first time this evening.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Gagaju. Cool!!

Up at 6:10, woke Kristin up at 6:20. I scared her half to death, I was on top, and reached down over my bed to poke her. When she woke up, all she saw was my arm, and thought it was a snake. Hahahaha!

We walked to the bus terminal about 6:50 and got on bus. We started on our own seats, but sat beside each other when we picked up more people later on.

Changed buses in Brisbane. Got to Noosa at 11:30, Gagaju bus wasn't there. We waited. Nothing. Tried calling Gagaju, no answer. Called Travel Bugs, they eventually got a hold of them, and called us back to let us know that they were on the way. They arrived about 12:45, we loaded our stuff on the minibus, they had two other buses to wait for, so they took us to the grocery store, we stocked up on groceries and played on kids rides and they came back and picked us up about 1:55.

Got to Gagaju Bush camp about 2:30. Way cool! Very "campy", we sleep in army dorm tents in the bush.

About 3:15, Kristin and I walked to the rock quarry pools, small lakes formed in a rock quarry, some of them are mud pools. 45 minute walk. I convinced Kristin to get all muddy, she didn't want to at first, so I threw mud at her. Afterwards she was glad she did it. Then we washed off and swam in a clear pool. You can only swim here on the weekends, when they aren't working the quarry. It was fun!

Walked back to the camp via the road about 4:05, had a shower (showers were shared with a public campground next to us, 20 cents for about 2 minutes of hot water), then Kristin made supper, chicken pasta, delicious, once again.

After supper, Kristin napped, I tore apart my backpack looking for a 2nd battery for my flashlight. As I was doing that, someone came into the dorm room and said there was a big snake outside. I grabbed my camera to look. It was HUGE! Probably 1.5-2 metres long, perhaps 1.5-2 inches in diameter. It was moving really slow, just minding it's own business, slithering through the camp. It was a carpet viper.

Finished packing, wrote in journal. We made some sandwiches for tomorrow. Sat around and had a couple of drinks in the cool common area, around the campfire, and to bed about 10:30.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Horse Back Riding

Up about 10:00, Kristin and I made hash browns (real ones!) and bacon and eggs McMuffins. Yum!

Kristin and I went to get postcards, then to the post office for stamps, but it was closed (Saturday), but found somewhere else that had them. Then we bought tickets to Matrix: Revolutions for tonight.

Louisa went to the beach for a while, Kristin and I used the internet. I bought some Lemsip (Neo Citran) for my cold, worked great!

Back to the hostel, Pegasus Park (horse riding place) came at 3:30 and picked us up along with four others from our hostel for horse back riding.

It wasn't that exciting, just went around their ranch land. My horse was called Cappucino.

Back to the hostel about 7:30, packed, got key deposit back, then headed for the theatre about 9:00 for the movie. DUMB MOVIE!!!!!!!!!! Lots of good special effects, lots of action, no plot.

Back to the room and to bed about midnight.

Louisa told us today that she's going to ditch on the Gagaju canoeing trip and meet up with us in Noosa for the bus up to Hervey Bay.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Cape Byron Point. Tours Galore

I got up, showered, went down for breakfast, 4 bowls of cereal, back up to room, said I was going to internet. Kristin wanted to go tooo, then Louisa came and we went to Adventure Travel Bugs to book tours and trips. Spent three hours trying to figure out what Kristin and Louisa can do in their short time here. Tomorrow we go horse back riding.

So, here's the plan:
Sunday - Noosa, then Gagaju canoeing trip.
Monday - Canoeing
Tuesday - Noosa -> Hervey Bay
Wedensday - Fraser Island
Thursday - Fraser Island
Friday - finish Fraser Island, night bus to Airlie Beach
Saturday - Sailing Whitsunday Islands
Sunday - Sailing Whitsunday Islands
Monday - Finish sailing Whitsunday Islands
Tuesday - Airlie Beach -> Cairns
Wednesday - Cape Tribulation trip
Thursday - Back to Cairns
Friday - Fly Cairns to Brisbane; party for my birthday; meet Courtney
Saturday - Kristin and Louisa fly to New Zealand; Courtney and I travel; meet up with my brother

All that for just over $700 + $125 for the flight; includes all bus transfers, accomodations and some meals. Unlimited free internet from Adventure Travel Bugs because we booked tours from them, so used internet for a long time.

Mailed my Indonesian postcards, Kristin and I hit Subway for lunch. Louisa went to the beach.

Kristin and I walked Cape Byron Point, the easterly most point of mainland Australia. Also saw the lighthouse built in 1901 and wild turkeys. We walked along the beach on the way back, and did cartwheels in the sand. I suck at them.

Back about 7:00, showered, finished our subs for supper.

When I was at the internet today, the guy beside me had pictures in his e-mail from his home. I glanced over and the pictures were of a big snowstorm. I asked him where he was from. He was from Swift Current.

Funny story: Kristin brought some trainer-type shoes from Canada, and she keeps getting them wet, and they take a LONG time to dry. For the last few days, she had them drying on the balcony, and so she wore them today. We were climbing over some rocks on the beach, and a big wave came and soaked her shoes all over again! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!! She was sooo upset, I started laughing.

Sat around room putting CD's on my MP3 player. To bed about 10:30.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Lazy Day

Mobile rang at 9:53, and woke me (and everybody else) up. It was Court, we talked for about 15 minutes, then Kristin and I went down and made breakfast (2 bacon and egg McMuffins each), then I showered, and Kristin and Louisa slept for a while longer.

Louisa went to the beach, Kristin and I went to internet, I walked around downtown, then picked Kristin up at internet, Ibought ice cream, we checked out horseriding trips, walked around some more, then to the beach to findn Louisa and see if she was acceptable to the horse-riding. Back to tour agent to book horseriding, he called, and they are doing a beach horseriding trip tomorrow, so we can't do the jungle one we want.

The tour agent was having an information seminar at 6:00 with free wine and cheese. The seminar was things to do up the east coat of Australia, so we went back to the room, and headed back to the tour agency for the information seminar. Very informative. We decided on everything they wanted to see and do in the next two weeks, before they head to NZ.

Went to a Vietnamese restaurant for supper, then back to the hostel and to bed.

I have a cold, or malaria, but it's just a cold.

Free internet abounds in Byron Bay, all the travel agents have free 15 or free 30 minute coupons, handing them out every day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Byron Bay

Bus stopped at 5:45 for breakfast, I had a Brekkie Bun, then again at 8:30, and I had a scone and tea. Got to Byron Bay at 10:40, when I got off the bus, Aquarius Hostel was there calling my name, so I hopped into their minibus and to the hostel and got in the same dorm room as Kristin and Louisa. Nice hostel, but kichen could use a face lift.

Kristin and I went shopping at Woolworths, had lunch, used internet, bought a recharge card for my mobile.

We met Louisa at the beach about 3:30, hung out for a couple of hours. Some guy was building a professional sand castle on the beach...very impressive.

About 5:30, back to the hostel, Kristin and I went to Woolworths for a chicken, then back to the room and found a soy sauce disaster in the cupboard, so we cleaned it up, then Kristin and I made chicken alfredo soup and white cake for dessert.

Kristin's hair looks great! Shorter hair suits her.

Got an e-mail from Courtney, she can't make it up here until Nov. 20. Too bad, but oh well.

We sat around and drank some wine and vodka. Later on, we went to a bar for a while, then to another bar for a while, then about 1:30, to a third bar. I didn't bring my ID, so they wouldn't let me in, so I went to bed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Hanging With Court

Up about 9:00, showered, paid for another night, went for breakfast, then hit the internet. I've pretty much decided on taking the train up to Byron Bay tomorrow. After the internet, went downtown and went to the rail office and one-way train ticket to Byron Bay is $102...they don't have any backpacker concession. I can take the bus for $70, it's a night bus, so I also save a nights accomodation too. Decisions.

Walked around the park and downtown are for a couple of hours trying to decide what to do. I was sitting on a park bench, all the pigeons and seagulls all over the park, all of a sudden all of them flew right at me, over me, around me towards the edge of a park, a huge flock of gulls and pigeons. I turned and looked at where they were going, there was an old man, could barely walk, entering the park, carrying six big plastic grocery bags. The birds followed the old man, all over him, he walked past me to a big patch of grass. He proceeded to open up each bag at a time and feed the birds with bread (and whatever else he had). It was funny, the birds, as soon as they saw him coming into the park, knew. As I was walking around, I also stopped into the Australia's Great Train Journeys store, they have great backpacker rates for train journeys across Australia. Sydney to Perth for $250. Sydney to Alice Springs for $200. Unlimited travel for $450! I'm going to try and do that.

After that show, I decided to get the bus ticket for tonight, so back to the Greyhound office and bought a ticket for the 9:45 bus to Byron Bay.

Now that I'm actually going to start travelling Aussie, I'm excited to do so!

Went back to the hostel, checked out ($5 late checkout fee) and put my bags in the store room, used internet for a while, seeing if I can get my Sydney to KL flight changed to Perth to KL instead.

Back to the hostel, Court called, going to meet up with her about 7:00.

Took my bags to the bus station, and put them in a locker there (cost me $11!), then met Court, and we walked around, took pics, went to Starbucks, had fun, then I went back to the bus station about 9:15, checked in, boarded the bus and we were off about 9:45.

About 12:20, stopped at Karuah for driver rest and snacks and whatever for about an hour.

Monday, November 03, 2003


Landed in Melbourne about 7:00, had to get off and reboard the plane about an hour later for the flight to Sydney, which left about 8:15. Got to Sydney about 9:30.

Collected my backpack from the baggage claim, checked-in to Australia, took the train to the Pink House hostel and got a bed. Had a shower, then I got my mobile out, and plugged it in to send Courtney a TXT, but it didn't work! I tried a bunch of outlets around the building, it wouldn't come on! And I didn't have Courtney's mobile number, so couldn't call her on a pay phone. I took my phone back to the shop where I bought it, they asked me how long it has been since I used it, I told them 5 or 6 weeks, and they told me I'd probably have to leave it plugged in for a while, the battery goes into a sleep mode when it hasn't been used for a while, and it might have to be plugged in for a while before I'll even get anything in the screen.

Went back to the hostel, and plugged it in, chatted with a girl in my room that's from Vancouver. She used to work up in the Yukon. Checked on my phone, and it's alive! YAY. Had three voice messages from Courtney, I called her, and we made a lunch date at Gloria Jeans at 2:00.

At 2:00, met her at Gloria Jeans, we went to a small place for something to eat, then to New Zealand Naturals for ice cream, caught up, and talked about our plans.

Shortly after 3:00, she went back to work, I hit the Greyhound office for their bus pass prices, then CounrtyRail for their backpacker rail pass prices. Back to King Cross, used internet, Kristin was online, so chatted with her. She cut her hair really short and coloured it red. She thinks it's too red, and may have to dye it more darker. Totally blew me away!

Back to the hostel, trying to decide what to do. Court will be 1.5 to 2 weeks before she's ready to travel, so should I go to Melbourne and travel around there for a while, then back to Sydney and pick up Court? Or should I go up to Byron Bay now and hang out with Kristin and Louisa? And Court can catch up later? Should we get a bus pass or a train pass? Too many decisions!!!!

Sat around, reading, whatever, and to bed about 9:30.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Heading Back to Oz (boohoo!)

Up at 8:00, first time in a long time I didn't have to wake up to my alarm!

BTW, it's Rhamadan, Muslim month of fasting. It started last Monday.

Bathed, down for breakfast, packed, then went to the internet for half an hour, back to the hotel, checked out and paid.

Bus came at 10:20, got to the ferry terminal about 11:00, had a Sprite and Fanta Orange at a stall while one of the guys played the guitar.

Got on the ferry about 11:25. It left at noon.

About 3:30, the ferry stopped, near Bali, it had to wait for another ferry to leave the terminal.

While we were waiting, the Indonesian version of Family Feud was on the tube.

We finally docked about 5:15.

I got on the Perama bus, and had to wait 15 minutes for the Perama boat, which was just coming in, which had five more tourists.

We drove to Ubud to drop off a few people, then to the airport in Kuta about 8:00, the bus dropped be off, I hit McDonalds for supper, then checked my baggage, and bought a bunch of postcards. It'd damn hard to find non-Bali postcards in Bali!!! I searched, and found a few. Good thing, I didn't want just Bali postcards, because BALI SUCKS!!! Compared to Flores and Lombok anyway.

Boarded the plane about 9:45 and took off.

On the plane, the audio for the movies wasn't working for most of the seats, and they were showing Freaky Friday, I wanted to see it (or hear it, would be a better term).

Slept so much and so good last night, I didn't sleep on the plane.

I like boiled eggs from old lady's in the street!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Refund Grief!

About 2:15AM (I think), the bus stopped at a restaurant for "supper". Got to Sumbawa->Lombok ferry about 4:30, and got to Lombok about 6:00, then to Mataram about 9:00. Bemo'd it to the Shanti Puri hotel, bathed, had breakfast, then walked to the internet to check my e-maio. I had 50 new e-mails, most from a very worried mother. When 3 days goes by and she doesn't hear from me, she starts getting sick. It was almost a week before I sent her an e-mail! Spent more than an hour reading and replying. Then to McDonalds for lunch.

Then walked to the Perams tourist office and booked their shuttle from Mataram to the airport on Bali. They tell me I'll get to the airport about 7:15 or 7:30 Sunday evening, perfect, my flight leaves at 10:15.

Then walked all the way to the beach end of town, to find the office of the shuttle ticket I have that was no good. It doesn't exist!!! Just a bunch of boarded up buildings, like an area of town 40 years after it's heyday!

The long trek (took me an hour in blistering heat, sweating crazily) totally wore me out (and then I had to walk back), and I had no desire to spend the rest of the day trying to track them down all over the huge city. 190,000 rupiah is only about $30CDN, so it's not that much in the overall grand scheme of things.

Walked back to the hotel. HOT!!!

Back to the room about 3:00, slept for a couple of hours, when I woke up at 5:00, I was in a daze, and thought it was 5:00AM, I was so out of it. Took me a few minutes to realize it was only Saturday afternoon, 5:00PM! It was pouring rain out. Start of the rainy season, I think, it's been getting cloudier and more rain in the past week or so.

Went back to the internet at 6:00, updated all my journals, more than two hours. Over to KFC for supper in the Mataram Mall (a few stores down from McDonalds) , then back to the hotel, wrote in journal.

My feet were killing me from all the walking today.

To bed about 9:00.