Friday, 3 July 2009

Bundaberg, Fraser Island and Brisbane (again)

So it's the last leg of my trip. The very last, in about half an hour I'm going to make my way to Brisbane International Airport and catch my plane to Singapore, and then another to Heathrow.



Anyway, for the past week I have made the final little bit to the places I wanted to see on the East Coast of Australia. First, I visited Bundaberg, which is a little town famous for it's sugar and rum. I did a tour of the Rum Distillery and had free tastings and all kinds of goodness. I'm now a convert to 'Dark and Stormy' which is Bundaberg Rum and Ginger Beer. Hmmm...nice. It's good, trust me. I only stayed in Bundaberg for one night, as the distillery is the only thing to do there, and believe me, that's enough. The hostel I stayed at was dirty and smelly and the bar was situated on the other side of the window, which meant I got no sleep. It didn't help that Micheal Jackson died that day, and so all I could hear was drunk singing of 'Man in the Mirror' all night long. But yet, this wasn't the worst night's sleep I've had in a hostel... but I'll get to that later.

From Bundaberg I caught the bus down to Hervey Bay, which is one of the main gateways to Fraser Island, and that's exactly what it was for me. The next morning I hopped on a ferry and went across to Fraser Island and saw some BEAUTIFUL things. Fraser Island is the World's largest sand island, so all it seems to be is sand, but then along with that you get amazing sand blows, freshwater creeks and lakes that are so clear you can see all the fish underneath. The roads are just sand, and the main highway is on the beach. Fraser Island is unbelievably pretty, and completely awesome. I met some good people there also, which makes the whole trip more worthwhile.

From Fraser I went back to Hervey Bay and then down to Brisbane for my last few nights in Australia. Here, I went to Australia Zoo! Home of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Simply superb - you can get right up close to the animals, and the show was awesome. They explained the dangers of crocs and how to feed them and their general behaviour in different scenarios. though, it has to be said, the Irwin children, you just feel sorry for. It seems they don't go to school and just entertain at the Zoo. Poor kids. The Zoo itself though is awesome, very educational, worth $43 to get in (I claimed to be a student...which is half true...) However, I think it would have been even more awesome to go when Steve Irwin was there, that would have been incredible.

So, also in Brisbane I've done a little shopping and mainly relaxed ready for my looooooooooong plane journey ahead. However, going back to what I said before, I had one of the worst nights sleep here because - and I don't know if you would believe me when I say this - the guy, a nice guy called Toby, below me on the bunk one night decided to bring back a lady friend and well... you get the picture...

But anyway, my last few moments in Australia are disappearing quickly. But be ready for an immense post when I get home - which will be an overview of the whole five months.

Thanks for reading :)

Your Bundy friend,



Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Maggie Island, Airlie Beach and Agnes Water/1770

I type this from 1770. No, not the year, the Town of 1770. Named so because that was the year that Captain Cook first set down on the East Coast of Australia and claimed it to be British. :)

But first, I must tell you about Magnetic Island (so called because Captain Cook's compass messed up at this point of his journey and so thought the island to be magnetic) which is very pretty. I overcame my sea-sickness on the ferry over by the marvellous sight. Here, I stayed three nights in the only hostel on the Island and had a blast. On arrival, I made friends with two other girls, and we went on one of the walking tracks called 'The Forts Walk' as it has the foundations of WW2 defence positions. As a historian, I loved it, walking on little pieces of history. Also, I got out the child in me by saying 'I want to get to the top of that massive granite boulder' and then found a way to get to the top and then take pictures. Much to the fear of the girls I was doing the walk with, who after the fifth boulder or so, called me a nutter. Oh I don't think they realised just how close to the truth they were...

But then - BUT THEN - four of my most loveliest friends came to Magnetic Island. My many thanks to Sam, Shaggie, Becca and Graham for making one of my lonely days travelling impossibly amazing. Unfortunatley, due to the way our schedules are working, we only got to spend one afternoon together, but man, what an awesome day it was. Despite the fact that we only walked to the shop and back and made dinner. I was filled in on their travels (they've gone through Asia) and I filled them in on whats been happening with me. It was immense to see someone from home. Made one ginger ninja very happy indeed (I even cried when they first hugged me!)

Next, I got to Airlie Beach. One problem with the name though - THERE IS NO BEACH. It's a man-made lagoon. Honestly...bloody Australians. It's fairly nice there. I met a few nice girls in my dorm, one who showed me round and the best bookstore ever. It's second-hand, where you can buy, exchange and sell all your old books. The woman who owns it is such a dear, and knows every single book in the store, what she has and what she doesn't have. I bought two classics for me to read on the rest of my travels. But then, on the whole, Airlie Beach is a nice place to go, if you're going to do a Whitsunday sailing trip, which looks awesome. Unfortunatley, due to my sea-sickness as I found out on a fishing charter in Darwin, I wasn't going to spend $300 plus on three days vomming over the side of a boat.

I moved onto Agnes Waters/Town of 1770 now. They're two little towns on the East Coast of Australia, and they are AWESOME. I went kayaking yesterday in the sea and fell in a million times. Then had a barbie by the sea at sunset with a beer. Today, I went on a tour around the towns on a motorbike! Well, a little 50cc twist and go one, but it's simply superb. We travelled round zooming our way past beautiful scenery and kangaroos. I really recommend it, it's a pretty unique tour. We finish by sitting on the rocks on the coast, eating wedges from the local pub and watch the sunset. It's pretty awesome, because 1770 is one of two places to watch the sun set on the East Coast.

I'm here for another day, and then I head to Bundaberg - home of Australian's favourite rum. Now, prizes for who guesses correctly why I'm going there? :P

Love, as always,

Nic xxx

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Cairns to Darwin to Mission Beach

So a lot has happened since I last updated here. From Tasmania (still undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on God's earth) I flew to Cairns. Easy, you might think, but however I caught three planes to get there. THREE! Honestly, that was the cheapest way... bloody Australians. Gradually I got fed up and annoyed because I saw the same demonstration three times, and was sitting next to fat people three times. Though, there was one consolation that on the last flight (Sydney - Cairns) I was one of the winners of a game the air hostesses played. We had to guess collectively their ages, and subsequently I won some pringles.

Cairns is what can only be described as a tourist town, and for this reason I didn't really like it. It's all party party party, and it's practically man-made for backpackers. I did go bungy jumping though, which was incredible, despite the burst blood vessels around my eyes from the impact into the water. I'd definitley go again if I can. Two jumps from fifty metres and an open bar from nine in the morning. Now that was cool. I also visited Cape Tribulation, and the Daintree Rainforest. Saw lots of crocodiles and tree snakes, had billy tea and a tropical fruit session as well as a full on Aussie BBQ with massive steaks. Yum.

Next I went to Darwin, again. I met up with Lionel again and we spent our time watching all the new releases in the cinema (Terminator Salvation - Christian Bale. Yum) and visiting bars and steakhouses along the main drag. Lionel even ate a 1kg steak in 25 minutes along with veggies and chips as Outback Jack's 1kg challenge. My week was fun. :)

Straight from Darwin, I went to Mission Beach, which is south of Cairns by a two hour bus journey. I'm typing this here, on my last night. I've spent a good few days here. Relaxing, drinking goon and meeting some awesome new people. I relearned yactzee (spelling?). But the best bit of all is that I went SKYDIVING!

Truly, one of the BEST things I've ever done.

Tomorrow I'm off to Magnetic Island.

Catch you all soon.


Saturday, 30 May 2009

Tasmania; one of God's best bits.

Oh my word - this place, state, little tiny island, is absolutely fabulous.

I landed in Hobart, the state capital, and wondered around for an afternoon taking in the sights of the tiny fishing city. Pretty little places, Georgian style sandstone buildings, fishing boats and unique cafes. I stayed in a nice, though a tad cold, hostel that night, before embarking upon my tour the next morning.

I was picked up at 7.30am on a cold and frosty morning and myself and 14 other people went to Freycinet National Park, which is famous for Wineglass Bay. I was told that it is called this because when whaling used to be occurring in this bay, the blood from the whales would seep down and into the sea and the bay would look like a giant glass of red wine. Of course, as sad as this is, I was more disappointed that we would be having no wine at Wineglass Bay. Anyway, also in this National Park we went to Sleepy Bay which is small and just granite boulders convered in orange lichen. You could get right up to the sea. Amazing. That night we stayed in the quiet town of Biceno in a nice hostel with a nice pub (as it's all about the pubs on tours) though, sadly, I left my glasses there... Ooops.

The next day was better then the one before. In the morning we visited Natureworld, where we fed kangaroos and wallabies, saw koalas and wombats being fed, many many birds and the feeding of the ever famous Tasmanian Devils. If this wasn't cool enough we then went on to the Bay of Fires, voted Lonely Planet's Tourist Destination of 2009. It's simply a strip along the East Coast with many B-E-A-Utiful beaches. One of which was called Cosy Cove, where you can camp for four weeks without any charges! And it's superb. We climbed all over the pink granite boulders and played like children, determined to get to the highest one and then best the others. Next, we visited Mt Columba's waterfall. One word: Stunning.

Our final day was Mount Cradle. We had the BEST weather, according to the Lonely Planet Guide, only one in ten days is sunny, and only 56 days in the year can you see Mount Cradle. Our day was one of this lucky days. Myself, the guide Ian (legend), and two others climbed to Marion's lookout, a fairly differcult climb (where chains are bolted into the rock to aid you) but a quick one, being half an hour. We didn't go to the summit (as much as I would have loved to) because that's a seven hour hike, and I have converse on, something that Ian kept teasing me about. It was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. We then had Devonshire Tea (cream tea for us english folk) in a chateau, and drove back to Launcesten to go to the pub and get a chinese takeaway after finding four litres of 'wine' for ten bucks.

Oh, such good times. Met amazing people. Saw amazing sights. And would do it again in a heart beat.

Next stop - Cairns.



Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tasmania - The Holiday Isle

Looks like England - rolling lush green hills.

Feels like England - ten degrees!

Tour starts tomorrow morning - will write a longer post then.



Monday, 25 May 2009

The City of Sydney

Well - what can I say? Sydney is superb! It's my last day today, for tomorrow morning I'm catching a plane to Hobart, and I've had some good times here.

Although I haven't done much 'culture' stuff or any proper sightseeing, I've learnt the city by just walking around and taking in the city air and grabbing cups of discounted coffee (thank you Starbucks) occassionally sitting down on a bench and reading a book. Yesterday, for example, I was sitting on a bench in front of the Sydney Opera House with my book and then talking to Lionel. There's something liberating about it. I've gone to cafes and sat for over an hour with my notebook and the bible (again, the nickname for my Lonely Planet guide to Australia) figuring out my plans for the next month.

I've noticed, also, the contrast between the state captials. Melbourne was all go-go-go, and had an industrial feel to it. Canberra was pretty, small and had a suit-wearing thing for the people in it. Sydney is a mix between the old and the new. You walk down one street, where the Queen Victoria Building and the Town Hall is and the next thing you see is some bloody great big sky scrapers. The harbours are beautiful - though Sydney Harbour Bridge is a lot smaller then you would imagine - and I could sit there for hours, again reading.

Oh, and if anyone comes here - go to the Botanic Gardens - they're the best ones yet.

So Nic is now travelling on her own and has (sort of) figured out an itinerary for the next five weeks, and thought you might be interested to know where I am and where I'm going...

MAY: -

27th - Flying from Sydney to Hobart at a ridiculus hour in the morning.
28th, 29th, 30th - 3-day tour around Tasmania, including walking up Mount Cradle.
31st - A day in Hobart.


1st - Flying to Cairns via three planes. *groan*
2nd, 3rd, 4th - Good times in Cairns (maybe including Bungy Jumping and a Rainforest tour)
5th - Flying to Darwin and meeting Lionel.
6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th - Good times in Darwin :) (and happy birthday Mum!)
12th - Flying to Cairns and getting a bus to Mission Beach.

13th - 4th - Sort of a haze at the moment. I'm buying a hop on hop off bus ticket for me to go from Cairns to Brisbane - so these three weeks will be filled with good beach times.

5th - Arriving back in England, jet-lagged and in love with Australia.

Hopefully this helps those curious minds out there :)

I have less then five minutes remaining on the internet now - so got to go...


Thursday, 21 May 2009


Two more states down - get in!

So, since my last post myself and Jenny have conquered the grand state of Victoria. We arrived in melbourne after a rather uncomfortable overnight bus from Adelaide in which two fellow backpackers in front of us reclined their seats all the way so my lanky legs got cramped and therefore I was not able to sleep very well. I was bitter about this for several days, as you are meant to look after your fellow backpacker...

Anyway, from the first few moments I was in Melbourne I loved it, it's a fantastic city. We checked into our hostel and wandered the city after booking two tours for the next few days. We pondered into a few museums and stood on gold ingots, rode trams, ate and longed for McCafe back in England...

Tours now - firstly we had a day on a coach down the Great Ocean Road, which is simply AMAZING. It was typically British weather; rainy, stormy and unpredictable but it only made it feel so much better. True nature, as it were. Myself and Jenny got extremely wet as we viewed the Twelve Apostles (though there are only seven now since many have fallen down) which are limestone stacks in the sea. We rekindled our love of OK! magazine and bought postcards and generally had just an brilliant day.

Another tour was Wilson's Promontory with a true bushman as our guide, named Andy. We made friends with a Canadian called Julie too and walked to the summit of Mount Oberon and then trailed the walk to Squeaky Beach. Simply beautiful.

On our other free day in Melbourne we went to the MCG and become true Melbourne Demons supporters, as Jenny lost her voice from calling the Western Bulldog players some rude names and I bought myself a Melbourne Demons beanie, which can be seen if you check out my pictures on facebook.

Next we hit Canberra, which compared to the busy and big city of Melbourne was actually really quiet. But it had some cool stuff. We hired bikes and I remembered how to ride one after so many months of driving. We cycled to the Australian War Memorial which was very interesting. I took the free tour whilst Jenny went to research her family history and then we met up and walked to the summit of Mount Ainslie. The view was the whole of Canberra, a sight definitley to be seen. Next we attempted to cylce round Lake Burley Griffin but got somewhat lost and ended up on two freeways and had to get out the bible (the nickanme of my lonley planet guide to Australia) to find our way back before the sun went down. In the end we worked out we cycled 16k, so there's the benefit.

Now, I'm currently aboding in Jenny's rellies place in Bulli (a suburb just outside Sydney) to which I feel very welcome. The Buchanans can only be described as a family like no other, and I'm having a chillaxing time here before starting the next leg of my trip, which consists of doing a tour around Tassie and then going up to Cairns and making my way down the coast from there, and maybe heading up to Darwin to have another sneaky peak at the city if I can fit it in.

So all is well with me - how about the rest of you?