Monday, October 31, 2005

surfs up at byron


decided to have a go and practice what i had learnt at surfers paradise. went to the "local beach" (tallow beach) which actually took 30 mins though a national park. didnt want to embarras myself at the main beach in front of everyone!

when we got there, the whole beach was desserted, which wasnt a good sign. so i decided to wait and see if anyone else would turn up for a surf. after an hour or so, a guy showed up and then showed off. undeterred by this, I grabbed my board and entered the water.

if you imagine bambi learning to surf, then that was a picture of me. I was so useless, I gave up after about 10 mins. It didnt help that it was low tide, plus the board was different to what I trained on. hey, at least i gave it a go.

in the eve, we decided to splash out and eat at one of the nice resturants in town. we went to one called balcony, which is cozy, shilled and they have big couches to sit on. we saw valdmar and christina there as well, who were kind enough to buy us a drink as the left.

tanya had the veal and i had chicken. the nice thing about the evening was the bill came to $80, but for some reason, they only charged $50 to my card, so after a sharp exit, we headed for another bar. we then headed homewards, with a full stomach of beer and food, and $30 better off........

Sunday, October 30, 2005

lazy days


had a great lie in today and it was well deserved! also the clocks went forward and at home they go back, so now we're 11 hours in front!

had a look round town and tanya bought a few items! shock. had a look at the beach and bought back some memories from when we came here with my parents.

we met up with most of the gang from fraser island in the evening which was nice. we're all heading the same way. had a good gossip and finished off some of the alcohol they were getting rid of!

all in all, a quite relaxing day - befitting for byron!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

onto byron


got up early to catch the bus outta here and then onto byron. it was a fairly short journey and after checking into our "chilled out" hostel, we borrowed some bikes and rode into town.

got some shopping and headed back again. then lounged around in some hammocks for a few hours. made some dinner, had a drop of wine and watched the spurs v arsenal game on tv

Friday, October 28, 2005

surfs up!


finally had a go at eurfing today. booked up a lesson each so we headed down to the beach.

we were given a couple of warm up techniques and the basics in controlling the board and then it was into the water. it was low tide, so there wasnt much action as by the time you got anywhere, you were hitting the beach.

we only went in waist height and caught the waves from a standing position. we were taught how to stand and turn and then gave it a go for ourselves. we both managed to stand for about 2 seconds, but it was reallly hard due to the low tide. it was that bad, they decided to give us a free hour board hire in the afternoon on high tide.

so after lunch, we had another go and it was much better. still only managed to stand for a few seconds before falling off. gonna give it a go at byron to see if i remember the basics.

it was all out war again at dinner. after the stress of that, we went out for a few drinks around surfers, which definatley had a blackpool feel about the place

Thursday, October 27, 2005

surfers paradise


after leaving homestead backpackers, we set off for surfers paradise. the weather perked up a bit so after we dropped our stuff off at the hostel, we had a little walk round. weird coming back here without my parents.

the beach was a bit too windy so we got some shopping in and decided that we would then eat our instead - crappy kitchen at the hostel.

went to hogs breath cafe and had a nice big steak - well, you have to treat yourself once in a while!

went down to beach in the evening and watched an incredible thunderstorm take place. it lit up the whiole sky and at time it almost seemed like it was day time!

when the rain kicked in, we went and played mini golf in a shopping centre, where for once, i beat tanya! must be getting better!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



We caught the train to australia zoo today. the weather had been awful the night before, with a massive thunderstorm. after camping in fraser, i feared the worst.

in fact the weather held out for us. when we arrived, we watched the otters being fed. they make a right racket.

after seeing other animals, we did what tanya came to austrailia for - to cuddle a koala. we had pur pic taken too, and it was very cute. i think tanya appreciated it more than i did, but then she got to hold it and i didnt :(

we then saw the shows, in their "crocoseum". this is a 5000 seater stadium. there was a snake show, bird show, tiger show and then the crocs. it was amzing to see the tigers, but the rest seemed a little too scripted. plus, the man, steve irwin wasnt there, so there were no surprises.

we then had another wander round and decided to head off around 2.00pm. overall, i thought that the zoo in sydney was better, as there was more to do and more variety. but when in brisbane, you have to do the zoo!

the evening was karoke night, and the chance to finish off our bar tab. didnt get up and sing, but pretty much all of our hostel were out, so it was good to chat and meet the other people properly over a few drinks.

we really liked the homestead backpacker hostel, so if you're ever in brisbane, its worth staying at for sure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

little Brisbane


we had a little bit of a lie in to work off that bar tab we won. then we hit the town and had a look round.

brisbane is tiny - for a state capital. we walked to the queen street mall, where we saw the presidents of the united states of america performing (they did the song "peaches".

tanya saw loads of stuff she wanted to buy, but couldnt! so cruel.

we then walked down to southbank, where they have a river walk, and a man made beach with a lagoon. it was ok, but i prefer the real thing i think.

after that we headed over to the botanic gardens, and then up through the town again.

the evening, we wrestled the other guests for a spot in the kitchen to cook a meal. once that stress was over, we watched a movie and then went to bed.

Monday, October 24, 2005



Worked off most of a $100 bar tab which we won in a pub quiz.that was probably the only significant event of the day. it was another 5 hours coach journey down to Brisbane which was not eventful.

the quiz itself was good, as there were 4 rounds, and even a dance round! we beat 8 other teams to claim the $100 prize which is damn good considering there was only 2 of us!

mind you, I answered most of the questions :)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

huge spider


up at 5am AGAIN! and woke up to my worst nightmare! A huge spider was sitting on top of the tent, luckily on the outside. it was the biggest spider I had ever seen and that includes TV. If you put your fingers together to make an "o" shape, then you are close!

once it was chased away by some of the more manly members of our group, we headed to the 1st of 3 lakes. here we had brekky. the lake was quite murky due to the tea tree leaves that stain the water. we also heard a dingo howling in the distance which was quite eeriee.

the 2nd lake was the best of the lot and was pure paradise. pure white sands leading to crystal clear waters. There were so many clear colours it was unreal. we spent a couple of hours just sunbathing and splashing around in the lake cooling off.

we then hit lake mackenzie, which was pretty similar to the previous one, but was very packed. we didnt spend much time here.

from mackenzie, we headed back home and dropped off the 4wd. we checked back into beaches and had a good, long deserving hot shower.

we all met up in the eve again for a few drinks, but it had been a long day, so it was early to bed!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

happy daze!


what a difference a day makes! woke up to clear blue skies and scortching sun. its gonna be a great day. headed to a place called indian head which is a high point over looking the beach and the ocean.

as the water was so clear, you could see turtles, stingrays, fish and even a shark. may have been a tiger shark..... it was amazing to see it and it sent a chilling reminder not to swim around the island. also saw some whales and dolphins in the distance, but they were too far to cause too much excitment!

it was then up to the champange pools, which werent brilliant as the tide was in quite a bit. weird coloured water though.

we had lunch on the beach and then headed to ellie creek. then we went to a lake where we swam and spotted loads of small turtles popping their heads out of the water.

we then went back to the campsite and we all chipped in to make dinner and eventually polished off alot more alcohol.

Friday, October 21, 2005

let it rain!


picked up the 4wd and it must have been the shoddiest car in town. went through the breifing and then set off in the pouring rain.

when we got to the island, we went to central station, where they have loads of info and some rainforest walks. me and pete decided to opt out on the walk, and it was a good choice as the rain kept coming hard - as if someone was constantly chucking a bucket of water over you!

we then went to a place called lake wabbie. again, the rain took the edge off the view but it was still quite amazing. there were sand dunes backing right onto the crystal clear lake.

it was my turn to drive at this point. it was very nerve wrecking as it felt so unpredictable and you have 10 other people to consider. it was still raining pretty hard so no danger of getting stuck in soft sand. a bit slippy though!

we passed a TV crew who wanted is to go back round so they could record us.

we then drove into the beach where we saw a ship wreck and ellie creek. at base camp, we set up the tents as the rain had stopped for a bit. had a bbq and drank our booze. saw some interesting snakes, spiders and thunder/lightening. - I'm never camping again.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

hervey bay


greyhound to hervey bay today. getting up for a 6.25am departure....heavy rain all day again. got to beaches backpacker hostel ok and had our own cabin room. met up with our group that we weill be goin to fraser island with. the group is couples, and the youngest is 25 yrs old!

made some dinner and had a few beers before beddie byes

Wednesday, October 19, 2005



we walked around "deadsville"today. there wasnt much going on at all. then we went to the botanic gardens, where they have a zoo - which is free!

saw some koala's, chimps, baboons, kangaroos, crocs, wombats, emu's, cassowary's and loads of other birds in the massive avary.

wasnt too bad for a free day out. weather was thick grey cloud all day and reminded me of home weather.

dont think rockhampton will live long in the memories of aaron and tanya!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

long roads


Long 7 hr journey on greyhound to rockhampton. nothing much to report except some seriuosly heavy rain. the place here is pretty quiet so another early night it seems!

Monday, October 17, 2005

lazy days


today was about kie-ins and lazing by the pool and just doing nothing. the weather was great- no surprise there! so we sunbathed and splashed around in the pool at the logoon in airlie. its great having days like this even in a surrounding paradise like this.

we had fish and chips for dinner and watched some of our fave tv programs on tv.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

sail away


another silly wake up time, and we set off for another snorkel. not so good this time as the water was murky and the coral was further down. just about to give up and go back on board when one of the group spotted a turtle. so we headed off to find it.

it was so cool swimming with it, they glide so gracefully through the water. everyone cheered when it came up to the surface and caught some air. this made the dive very special, and one i wont forget,

we then headed back to airlie, where our cruise would end. caught some rays on the way back and took in the crystal clear waters and rainforest covered islands.

I cant put it into words how magnificant the last 2 days were. being on this boat made it totally enjoyable and perfectly relaxing. the crew and passengers were all top notch. shame we cant do it all again...or could we!

in the evening, most of us met up for some free beer and drinking games at beaches,. Corey and james (irish) were pretty bladdard and were stumblilng all over the place.

all in all a perfect ending to a great couple of days!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

whitehaven beach


got up at stupid o'clock to set off to our 1st destination - white haven beach. didnt realise there was a 5 o'clock in the morning.

saw some sea turtles making love on the way. when we got there, we walked through the rainforest to check out the look out. here you could get pics that you see on the postcards.

on the way up, we were constantly attacked by flies the size of bumble bees. it was worth the effort though as the views were stunning. the sun wasnt out but it didnt spoil the scene.

after the look out we headed down to the white sandy beach. on the way we saw a goana (a big lizard). the beach itself was beautiful. it was almost like it had been snowing.

you could walk right out into the sea, as there were banks of sand to walk across. also saw lots of fish and some stingrays. the water temp was perfect, even at 9am.

after a couple of hours, we left whitehaven and went snorkelling. we all had stinger suites, and looked very fetching. this snorkelling was better than cairns as there seemed to be more variety.

after lunch, we headed to another snorkelling place, which was better again. its hard to explain what some of these corals look like, but it could have easily been an alien planet. think i may have to give diving a go, maybe in Fiji.

had a steak dinner and finished off the rest of the booze, the sunset was perfect as well.

Friday, October 14, 2005



bought a very expensive breakfast today. $36. that blew a hole in the budget.
it was the 1st day of our cruise today, so we stocked up on red bear and carling and headed for the boat. we were on one called dream catcher, which only sleeps 14 plus 2 crew. there was a similar sized boat next to us that slept 30.

our captain was an american, but despite that, he knew his stuff. and the skipper corey was ex-navy crazy NZ'er who had a scooby laugh. the rest of the passengers all got on well, so we picked a great group.

we sailed for about 4 hours where we moored and stayed for the night,it was quite blowy, and the boat kept going round in cirles. the weather was great and the surrounds were perfect.

we had a meal prepared for us and had a few beers to see out the evening!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

airlie beach


caught the greyhound down to airlie beach today which took about 4 hours. checked into beaches hostel and they didnt know who we were despite booking ahead.

once it was all cleared up, we went into our 1st dorm (8 beds). had a look round. reminds me of newquay a bit. loads of groups of blokes around as well. all pissed by mid afternoon.

had some dinner and then watched a re-run of england v poland. got woken up about 4.30am when one of our "flatmates" returned to roll up a cigarette! dont like dorms for sure. no fit swedish girls running about in skimpy underwear!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

magnetic island


Early to rise today for a trip to magnetic island. caught the ferry over and hopped on the local bus to horseshoe bay. saw a mark duell look a like on the ferry which was quite spooky.

nice part of the island with some cafe's and shops all over looking the beach.

spent a couple of hours sunbathing and dipped into the warm sea. again, it was so warm, you kust didnt want to come out. had a spot of lunch and then decided to go for a little walk.

well, as it turned out, it was more of a hike. headed towards balding bay, but you have to go over the hills to get to it. the whole time (about 30 mins), tanya moaned. in the end she gave up and headed back. this didnt deter me!

it was worth the effort. there were some topless babes, and the small bay was very secluded. the beach was nicer than at horseshoe bay.

after walking back and gloating to tanya, we headed home. i got a txt to say that dawn gave birth to a baby boy in 2 hours weighing about 7lbs. (IN TWO HOURS!) and she was also expecting a girl as well. the pressure is on now, as my mum is hoping for a baby granddaugher.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

sheep, sheep, sheep shearer!


Today was one hec of an adventure. we booked a cattle muster - one day adventure and we were picked up at 8.30am and driven about 30 mins outsifde of townsville (woodstock). soon as we arrived, we had morning tea(to tan's delight) and damper bread which is a lot like scones.

then it was horsey time. now, i have been carrying a fear of horses for some years, just dont like their mouths. trust me, to end up with the biggest beast there - Clarence...

anyway, we were told the basics, and then headed off to round up some cattle. the onlu bad thing about riding here is the flies.100's of them all round the face and hitching a ride on your clothes.

we also did a bit of trotting as well, and it takes a while to get into the rythm, in tune with the horse. not sure if tanya mastered it, but i felt i gace it a good go. we actually saw some wild wallabies and kangaroos as well...unbeliveable..

once we found the cattle (there was 9000 acres to search), we had a 3 pronged attack to force them back to the ranch. some of the cows thought they were being clever by hiding in the trees but once you shout and hiss at them, they kinda move on.

the hardest part of this was to convince the horse to change direction. you have to be forcefull with them, but i was a little nervous and didnt want to annoy him - and he sensed that!

we probably rode for about 3 hours (that will hurt in the morning). then it was lunch.good spread but probably ate about 4 flies as the food was covered in them.

after lunch, it was cracking the whip. not as easy as it looks. managed to get a whimper out of it, tanya did quite well.

then it got interesting, sheep shearing! it wasnt the shearing that was fun. it was hard work in fact, but catching the darn thing. spent 5 mins running round like a lunatic and sweating like crazy.

after the shearing, it was cattle branding. after separating the big and little cows, we coaxed one into the branding area. red hot metal was used to scortch letters and numbers in to the cow. he didnt even flinch. then we had to take a corner out of his ear. me and tan had a go in each ear. its quite like a hole punch, you squeeze and then pull. the calf definately felt that one. then the pinnacle of pain....removing the horns! we left that to the expert this time. he got these massive shear type scissors and snipped away at the root of the horn, at this point, the calf was foaming at the mouth. there was plenty of blood too. we felt so sorry for the bugger, but all of them go through it.

its used to prevent cattle rustling etc, once he was set free, he looked very sorry for himself. certainly made me and tanya feel guilty! we did get to keep his pieces of ear though.

as the day was ending, we sat at the ranch and downed a cool beer watching the sun set. a perfect ending. it was a great day out and the couple that owned it (fran and peter) were real good hosts. plus, it was only me and tanya there the whole day. if you ever get to townsville then this is a definate must!

Monday, October 10, 2005

chillin in townsville


Had an adequate lie in this morning. rach and alex are heading down to airlie so it was fairwell and bon voyage to them, as we wont be catching them back up. Me and tanya headed up the strand, which is pretty much a man made beach with cafe's, water parks, swimming pools and shops all the way up.

the temp was soaring today which put ius off going up castle hill. the views are meant to be stunning, but it wasnt worth "dying" for!

we stopped a few time along the strand for a sun bathe and a swim in the sea. stinger nets are put up to stope the jelly fish catching you. its the time of the year for them.

we got all the way up to kissing point and had a snog and then some lunch. on the way back, we checked out flanders mall. not much there, reminded me of boscombe highstreet, but without the druggies and weirdo's...

Sunday, October 09, 2005



we checked out of mission beach and caught the greyhound to Townsville. bit of a nightmare, as the mango juice leaked into the food bag and all over my small rucksac. then the milk leaked in the other plastic bag. had to throw a load of food away coz it got all sticky.

the trip up itself was ok. stopped of at a place called Cardwell, and ate some lunch at the exact same place as rach and alex the day before.

when we arrived in townsville, there was noone to pick us up, so we had to get the local bus with all our bags and food.... then we had to walk to the hostel from the bus stop...alll because they dont do a pickup service on a sunday!

when we finally got to the hostel, I jumped stright into the roof top pool to cool down.

we met up with rach and alex and went to a local bar (molly malones) for a nioce cheap meal and a few beers. not very busy as it was a sunday, so we went back to the hostel to watch tv and play ping pong!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

on a mission!


saw off rachel and alex, but will be catching them up in townsville. went to the local beach (wongaling) in an attempt to sunbathe but there was no sun.

so we went to the actual mission beach town, where there were a lot more shops and a nicer/whiter beach.

had a coffee and a banana bread cake and then cue the sun.

got a couple of hours rays in, but was a bit sand blasted. the stuff got everywhere, to tanya's dismay!

a relatively early night, but wanted to watch england game. everything shuts by 1.30am with kickoff at 1am.

dawn (my sister) is supposed to be having her baby this weekend, but havent heard anything as yet!

Friday, October 07, 2005

mission beach


travelled down to mission beach on a greyhound coach today. only took 2 hours. checked into a quiet/out of the way hostel. went for a customry wander and decided to play 18 hole mini golf.

I drew with Tanya, and alex won. big bugs there!!!!

not much else happened. this place is very chilled and relaxed and reminds me of home and away as everyone seems to know everyone else.

had a look at the beach at night, but was quite scary as it was very dark. but the sky was illuminated with 100's of stars, which was very romantic.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

green island


got up fairly early and went down to the pier to get our boat to green island. there were about 15-20 of us which was a good number. we headed out to part of the reef 1st where we did some snorkelling.

saw some colourful fish and some pretty amazing corals. the weather was cloudy so it wasnt absolutely perfect. did this for about 45 mins and 5 mins after coming out, some reef sharks started circling the boat. I couldnt believe what I was seeing.

ok there not huge by any means, but we werent told about them and i sure as hell would have had a heart attack if I saw them when snorkelling.

it was lunch time at this point, which was a good spread. we then went to green island and sunbathed for a bit. the sun was out and yes we got burnt.

did some more snorkelling in the afternoon, but the sharks had gone. saw some amazing reefs that almost came out of the water.

on the way back, we had some wine/cheese/fruit and cake. had a pizza for dinner and a fairly quiet night. watched some of our camcorder dvd on the large tv. we also had a private performance from a wanna be Eminem......

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

roaming the cape


first port of call was cape tribulation beach. very similar to thorntons. then went to a water hole, which was more like a tiny stream. not really suitable for swimming in.

we ate some lucious ice cream at the daintree ice cream cafe. had macadamia, mango, chocolate pudding fruit and a coffee flavour. we then hit mossmans gorge. now this was a water hole. there were quite a few people there including a crazy aboriginal bloke who wore flourescent swimming trunks and kept offering the ladies his coke.....

shortly after that we headed home and checked back in to Cairns. staying at gilligans this time, which is a huge resort rather than a backpacker hostel. had a free drink and cooked some dinner. watched a bit of cricket, whilst the gals called home.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

cape tribulation - road trip


It was up to cape tribulation today. we stopped off at a few look out points and admired the scenery that was on offer. very similar to cape town when we went to cape point. also did a mini rainforest walk.

went on to one of the tropical beaches (thorntons beach). it was like being on a desserted island, with lush green trees right on the edge of the beach.

we then headed to our hostel/resort and kicked back at the pool for a couple of hours. made dinner and had an early night in with a few card games.

Monday, October 03, 2005

road trip 1


We picked up our little mazda and headed up north of Cairns. 1st port of call was a place called yorkies knob. took a few pictures of the sign post, had a giggle and then headed off to port douglas.

we had some lunch by st. mary's and then looked around. took some nice pics by the peninsula. Port douglas has some nice shops and bars etc. has a real local feel to it.

we had a bit of a sunbathe on 4 mile beach. the water was perfect, almost like in Thailand. we checked into our hostel and had some dinner. we hit a few bars in town, one of which was really nice but cost $28 for 1 round.

Definately worth paying a visit here for a one-nighter...

Sunday, October 02, 2005



A little rough round the edges, we headed off to kurunda to see what it had to offer. Didnt take the sky rail or scenic rail as it was a bit pricey. Once there, we decided to visit Barron falls. It was one hell of a trek in the searing sun.....

once we got there, it was picturesque, but not quite vic falls!! we had a spot of lunch there to build some energy and then headed back. In all, I think we walked about 10 miles...those who know me, thats pretty good.

had a look round the markets and shops, and was forced to buy a few jewellery items.

In the evening, we decided to get another cheap meal. chicken madras this time. massive.... also caught the rugby league grand final, which the west coast tigers won (sydney team).

Saturday, October 01, 2005



Our 1st full day in cairns and it was a scorcher! 28 degrees and clear skies. we had a wander round, and saw the lagoon (outdorr swimming pool), the markets and went down by the piers.

spent most of the day sunbathing, and relaxing, after our 3 months stint in sydney.

come dinner time, it was totally amazing. when u book with the hostel, you get a free meal at a place called the wool shed. well you can spend $5 and upgrade to anything on the menu. I opted for the TBone steak and I wasnt dissapointed.It was huge, and only worked out at 2 pounds 60 pence! BEATIFUL.

We stuck around for a few drinks and a boogie, and then headed home about 2am

travel tale - part II


Today we commenced our travels again. met up with Mike and sophia last night for a few beers. so quite hungover today. had loads to sort out, tie up the lose ends etc. saw the parade for the sydney swans.

filing a dodgy tax claim so we can get some of that 30% tax we paid!! spent 3 hours cleaning the flat before checking out, and the 1st thing that the letting agent said was how untidy the place looked.....bloody cheek.....

the flight to cairns was ok. there was one hell of a surprise waiting for tanya at the airport! she couldnt believe that her sister was waiting there for her! me and rach had been planning it for about a month. there were tears and hugs everywhere. managed to capture most of it on camera.

after the shock had set in, we went for a few beers and caught up the last 5 months. Cairns is a lot differet to sydney (duh), its almost like a ghost town in comparision. its also very hot here, shorts and t-shirts at midnight!