Rod dropped us off at the bus station and we headed South on the 9am bus. After a 1/2 hour lunch stop we arrived in Noosa at 3.10. We found our accommodation - a lovely historical house which is now a YHA. We strolled through town having a look at Hastings Street (a very posh boutique & restaurant lined street) and seeing Noosa main beach. We headed back to the Hostel for a free glass of wine at the meet & greet session, booked a few tours and then chilled for the evening. Stewart had a lovely veg lasagne in the hostel and a couple of cheap pints - hostel bars are great value!
Day 118 Friday 25/02/05 Noosa
Gillian headed off for a surf lesson
. Noosa is supposed to be one of the best places in Australia to learn how to surf because of reliable waves that aren't too high/scary for beginners. The lesson was fun but quite hard work. And yes, she did manage to stand up in her first lesson - just not for very long. [grin] Stewart had a lie in and well ...... did some of those mundane boring things you need to do when traveling. We met up at lunchtime and headed out onto the Noosa River to do some kayaking courtesy of Gillian's friend John O'Neill and his girlfriend Mary . We had never heard of Noosa before and would probably have missed it if they hadn't given us a wedding present of "canoeing on the Noosa River". It was lovely to kayak around the houses of very rich people and to kayak beside some lovely forests/rainforests - within about 40m we passed a heron, an egret and a pelican. The pelican was having great success with his fishing so we stopped a while and watched him fish and eat. After about 2 hours we stopped and had some fabulous muffins - home made by our guide Ray who is a qualified pastry chef. We relaxed afterwards in the hostel before heading into town for a disappointing Mexican meal - how can you get that wrong??
Day 119 Saturday 26/03/05 Noosa - Fraser Island
After breakfast at the hostel we were collected and headed for the beautiful Fraser Island with a lovely tour company (17 of us plus a driver)
. This was another wedding present, this time courtesy of Gillian's brother Keith. The driver was an almost 40 year old guy who was a great laugh - he has a section of land which is now being adopted as a national park as it contains quolls and other rare animals. The driver visited the major sights but tried to take us to these places when the larger buses weren't there - he also laughed a lot as the other drivers/pilots were looking very professional in their shirts and knee length white socks - he just seemed to wear his surf gear. You can visit here by self drive but they encourage you to join a tour to do less damage to this marvellous place. We took the back roads as the tide was in and we couldn't use the beach highways. Our first stop was the town of Rainbow Beach (for fuel - for the bus and for us!) and shortly afterwards we were on the ferry heading for Fraser. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, is a scientific marvel, has rainforest on it (of several types), is absolutely beautiful with white sands and green lakes and is a world heritage site. The beaches on the island and on some of the approaches are actually classed as highways and road rules apply just like a normal highway! We took a beach highway up to our accommodation and then headed out in our 4x4 vehicle (called Auntie Bette) to Lake Birrabeen (a perched lake) which was stunning - the combination of white sands, lovely green turquoise water and peacefulness was wonderful. We spent 2 hours there swimming, playing with the frisbee and sun-bathing
. What an idyllic spot. We left there and headed into the rainforest where we had a 3/4 hour walk to Central Station - the old centre of the logging industry which used to take place on the island. We headed home, had a BBQ dinner before heading to the pub to play a bit of pool and have a few beers (well for Stewart anyway). It was a local bar and the locals were ....... mad, to say the least. At one point 3 of them were overheard planning to chuck us tourists off their table and out of their pub. Stewart & Jane were a great partnership and ruled the table!! We headed home before closing and chatted away into the wee sma hours.
Day 120 Sunday 27/02/05 Fraser Island
We were on the wrong side of the island for a nice sunset so Stewart decided to get up at 4.50 to see a sunrise! He was joined by Kerry who decided she was mad too. After breakfast we headed for a huge Sand Bowl - after a cyclone/storm/fire part of the vegetation gets damaged and the winds erode the dunes blowing this sand slowly across the island. We spent over an hour walking in the sand bowl and still didn't see all of it - walking in sand in this heat is hard work and we were glad to know that he was taking us to another lake afterwards. We headed for Lake Garawongera which is more commonly known as the champagne lake because of the colour (we'd call it Pee Lake)
. It wasn't as nice as the first lake with a mossy bottom which felt fairly yucky anytime our toes touched the bottom, but still refreshing after our sand walk. We then headed for Indian Head where we climbed to the top for amazing views along the beaches - especially down 74 mile beach. We also watched for sharks, turtles and dolphins which you normally see in abundance - but nada. We left here and visited the very picturesque Maheno shipwreck. Then it was time to visit the Cathedral Coloured Sands which were lovely. Next stop was Eli Creek - one of the most picturesque places on the island. Stewart went for a swim (though most of the creek is only 2 feet deep) and found the water to be cold - still a brilliant swim though. Various people were sitting in the creek with an esky (icebox) full of beer passing the time away. We had the standard tour Spag Bol before spending the night chatting, playing cards and laughing a lot.
Day 121 Monday 28/02/05 Fraser Island - Noosa
Stewart and a few others took a scenic flight over the island. Taking off and landing on the beach were remarkably soft but the pilot decided to have a little fun in the air swinging from side to side which was rather sickening in such a small plane. We then had a 40 minute walk through the forest to Lake Wabby - passing some huge monitor lizards in the forest
. Lake Wabby was again spectacular - very lovely green water with catfish and one edge very slowly being covered by a moving sand bowl which produced a huge dune along one side of the lake. The dunes were ideal for body boarding down - Stewart and 3 others headed for the fastest bit which looked terrifying and you went off into the water skimming like a stone (after a massive thump against the water which had already snapped one body board). We stopped for lunch at a creek before heading back to the ferry round Hook Point - with the tide coming in and lapping our wheels - another 10 minutes and we would have had to turn back and go inland. We crossed over (hearing about Oonagh finally giving birth to a daughter, Caitlin Erin, when we got mobile reception back) and drove home along the famous Rainbow Beach which has something like 42 different coloured sands to see! We passed the famous Cherry Venture wreck (not stopping as it has asbestos) before heading back into Noosa. Stewart passed the night in the hostel with some beer and nachos chatting to two nice Canadians who had been on the trip. Gillian headed into town to do some work on the internet and grab a bite to eat there afterwards.