Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Three-Toed Sloth of the Blog World

Yeah I'm a champion, I haven't updated my blog in a month and a half. Life gets in the way sometimes, but in any case, I will write about what I've been up to lately. Buckle up, because we're going all around Australia for this one.

At the beginning of April, some friends and I went to Fraser Island, the sandiest island in the world, with a tour group (though the group was just us plus a Belgian backpacker named Maxine and our ridiculous guide, Darren). It doesn't futz around. There was sand EVERYWHERE. It was about a three and a half hour drive from Brisbane to Rainbow Beach, where we boarded a ferry to take us to the island. Our guide took us in his 4-wheel drive (hereafter 4WD) on the sand around the island and to our campsite (yes, I camped for the night... believe it.) After this, we started checking out the island, starting with the Maheno shipwreck. It washed up on the coast of the island during the '30s and the Anzacs apparently used it for target practice... whoops. History.. psh. There wasn't too much to see there so we took some pictures and went to Eli Creek, where the water was so pure that you could actually safely drink out of the river at one point! Sure enough, it tasted fine. Don't think I would recommend drinking out of any other rivers though...

Next was Lake Wabby, which was quite the walk to get to through the forestry of the island, but when we got there it was really relaxing. The beach was actually at the bottom of a sand dune, which means that they're just asking for people to run down it and stumble into the water. Which many of the people there did. Have fun with your soon-to-be-broken necks, dudez! Anyway, what a great place to nap, huh?

After resting here awhile, we walked back to the beach and were then driven to our campsite, where we had dinner, hung out, and crashed for the night. The next day, we were driven to Lake McKenzie, which had oodles of silica-based white sand- our tour guide said that if you had jewelry, you could use the sand to polish it! Pretty epic (as seen below). Later, we did a rainforest hike and then left the island. One four hour van ride later and we were back in Brisbane after a crazy weekend.
The next trip was a week later with IFSA-Butler, to the Hinterland on the Gold Coast for a hike on Mt. Tambourine and a visit to a vineyard. Sorry if I'm brief on the hikes, but I don't find that there's much to say about hikes... you walk through a forest, you see some wildlife and really green trees and say "cool." There was a really nice waterfall that I got a picture in front of though.
The vineyard was also quite nice and we got to sample their wines fo' free. Obviously the wines themselves were obnoxiously expensive, but I will take free samples any day. The vineyard was very pretty, and I decided to take a picture to prove how even I can look classy in front of one.
The next couple weeks featured another Queensland Reds game (which I did not bring my camera to), late nights writing my midterm papers and studying for exams. Thankfully, I got through it and made it to mid-semester break beginning on April 22nd! The next day, I flew down to Melbourne to meet up with some of my brother-in-law's family who recently moved to Geelong. Luke & Sam (and their King Charles Cavalier, Gimli) kindly took me into their new home and showed me around parts of Victoria for the next few days! Luke's brother Adam and his family (wife Christine and toddlers Keziah & Judah) were staying there for two nights as well.  I was also thankfully able to do some laundry there without having to pay the exorbitant costs for one load in my apartment complex ($3 to wash, $3 to dry... blech). On Easter Sunday, we went to church in the morning, then took the train into Melbourne and saw an AFL match! (footy match to those of you who "habla Australian") It was the Richmond Tigers (Adam's team) against the North Melbourne Kangaroos. It took forever to figure it out, but with some help from the brothers I was at least able to determine how they scored (6 points for kicking the football between the goals, 1 point for missing and getting into the outside poles). It was very high-scoring but very fun to watch! Much to Adam's pleasure, the Tigers were able to make a big comeback and win it, prompting their silly fight sing to blare over the loudspeakers ("oh we're from TI-GER-LANNNN-D!").
The next day, we drove to Airey's Inlet to check out the views and the beach. We walked to one area where there was a lookout and I swear I saw penguins on a small island not far away! Very cool. In town, we stopped to get a meal of fish & chips, a staple of going to the beach for Australians. They were quite greasy and the box of chips (fries) was huge but delicious. They had these hash brown things called "potato cakes" as well which were quite delicious and there were mysterious dim sims as well... don't know what's in those. Here's a picture just to make you hungry...
We went down to the beach and took some lovely pictures of the southern Australian coast. This post is going to get TOO long if I keep going with the rest of break, but I'll continue soon. In the meantime, here's a picture of the coast. Beautiful.