Week 4

DAY 22
Monday 20/2/06

Happy birthday to me... in Hervey Bay in a sunny 28oC at 11:00am.

Went on a day trip today to Fraser Island. The Island was beautiful, it is just made of sand and there is vegetation on it that grows quite well. There are 7 or 8 of the top 10 most venomous snakes on the Island and quite a number of spiders too. (tell me why I did this trip).
Every drop of water on the island is fresh water. The bus was more of a 4x4 Truck worth $400,000 (£170,000). The driver, Mitch, on the way back told everyone that it was my birthday, very embarrassed (thanks Nuala).

We got back to our cabins about 6pm and were going to have dinner with Kareen who was doing a two day Fraser tour. She met us and said there would be another girl joining us who had just arrived that day. Guess who it was... yes, Kelly, the girl we met in Sydney. It was very exciting to see someone you didn't think you'd ever see again.

We left at 8pm for the Greyhound to Airlie Beach.
Hervey Bay to Airlie Beach
13½ hours
Hervey Bay to Airlie Beach

DAY 23
Tuesday 21/2/06

At Airlie Beach in a sunny 28oC at 9 pm after about fourteen hours, arrived shattered to find another girl that was in my cabin at Hervey Bay at the hostel, so we are all going on a day tour to the Whitsundays tomorrow.

Airlie BeachAirlie Baeach Youth Hostel

Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach, often referred to as the "Gateway To The Whitsundays", has boomed in the last five years and undergone a significant and well planned expansion. The town has been thoughtfully developed with tasteful low rise resorts which blend in with the surrounds rather than dominate them.
This cosmopolitan town now has a good selection of restaurants, cafes and bars and a new boardwalk which runs from the lagoon to Abel Point Marina. The Marina is also being extended and can currently host over 200 vessels, anything from leisure craft to 40m super yachts. Excursions to the Great Barrier Reef also operate from the marina.

The Whitsunday Mainland
Airlie Beach is on the mainland side of the Whitsunday Passage and overlooks the magnificent Hayman Island lying just 25 km offshore. As the town is 350 Km north of the Tropic of Capricorn it has a truly tropical location.
Being north facing on the eastern coast of Australia means Airlie Beach is blessed with an increased amount of the late afternoon sun in winter and, when you need it, cooling breezes and shade in the summer.

When on expeditions I learned that as well as planning your route, you also plan an escape route. Well I am going to use the escape route. As we are ahead of time, today we changed our flights and will now fly out to New Zealand a week earlier which will give more time there, but that's a while ahead yet.
DAY 24
Wednesday 22/2/06
Did the one day trip of the Whitsunday Islands on the Mantaray tour.

Hill InletWent to Whitehaven beach which is 7km long with white silica sand. Headed up to the Hill Inlet lookout point that was a fantastic view of the beach and the different colours of the water, then spent 3 hours on the beach where we met up with 3 Australians, Gertrud, Jane & Chelsea, and an English girl called Jen, can't remember where she was from (I think its Bath). Helen also came on this trip so it was a good wee group.

Back on board we had a buffet lunch and made our way round the island to Mantaray Bay where you could go snorkling and scuba diving of which I did neither, not my cup o tea, but I did go out in the dingy with a viewer and she took me and another guy around some of the best places to see the coral and loads of fantastic fish of all shapes and sizes and colours. As I was on the back of the Mantaray boat, June, one of the staff got a finger roll and held it out and a huge 4 or 5 foot fish came right out the water and grabbed the roll. Only two or three people saw this, it was amazing.

The Mantaray is an award winning craft 54ft/16.4mtr in length and the excellent staff made you feel quite at ease.
Airlie Beach to Cairns
10½ hours
Airlie Beach to Cairns

DAY 25
Thursday 23/2/06

Cairns Youth HostelThe bus trip to Cairns was only 9 or 10 hours I can't quite remember. I slept on and off right through and arrived at 06:25 to find that there was no bus to pick us up, so about an hour later we started to walk to find the youth hostel. It said it was around 550m away from the bus station but I think the M stood for miles but found it eventually. Put my bags into storage 'cos couldn't get the rooms 'till noon, went for a coffee and some raisin toast and had a walk about the shopping centre as well, then came back and they gave us access to the tv room and I fell asleep there till 12:10. Went to check in my dorm but it absoloutely stinks. If we stay here for a few more days I'm going to see if I can move rooms we are staying at the Cairns Central YHA. You walk out the room and the pool area is right in front of you, thats the good thing about this room but I feel sick everytime I go into it.

On the coach here, we met 2 girls from Scotland, Ilona & Sarah. Ilona was in the same year of nursing as Nuala so we met up with them tonight and had such a laugh. We met at an Irish pub (you don't seem to get Scottish bars). I didn't realize you had to have ID. This was the first place so far with this policy. We had dinner then sat and had a few drinks at 10:30pm they moved us all inside the pub. (I had been served up to this point). I tried to buy another jug of lager and they refused to serve with no ID, the strange thing is the girls would buy the drinks with no ID and I wasn't asked to leave, which I found very Irish (pun) 'cos I was still drinking but not buying from the counter.
DAY 26
Friday 24/2/06

Got up at 8:30am, had a shower, went to 'healthy habits' and had some fruit salad and raisin toast and coffee. Wandered round the shopping centre to find the post office then went back to the room to sort out the next package home.

Went down to the lagoon at the front of Cairns, it was really nice except for the weather. It's pouring with rain, still not a bad heat though, wasted the whole day at the lagoon waiting to see if it was going to clear up...It didn't.
DAY 27
Saturday 25/2/06

We had met up with Ilona and Sarah again today which was another good laugh. I was meant to meet them tonight as well but I never went on my own as I didn't want to be intruding by forcing myself upon the two of them.

Going horse riding tomorrow which sounds kind of fun, again going with the two girls.
DAY 28
Sunday 26/2/06

I was horse riding today on a ranch and throwing boomerangs for about 2 hrs in the morning (what a time for a boomerang to come back) No, we were riding and trotting for about 2 hours then back for lunch. Lunch was a lovely salad selection with either steak or fish done on a sort of bbq, but it was like an oil drum. I've got a couple of photos of this contraption. After lunch we went on another couple of hours ride, this time trotting and galloping it was fantistic although a bit scary to start with but got back into the swing of things.

Met up with Sarah and Ilona and went to the pub and a couple of nightclubs, it was a laugh. Again I think we will try to meet up back home when everyone has stopped travelling (but don't get carried away, I'm meeting a lot of girls but they've all got boyfriends at home or here, we all just get along ).
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The information on these pages is compiled from 'hot, off the press' text messages, emails and phone calls and may not be quite accurate but will be corrected later when confirmed