Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hervey Bay Day 4

I just returned this afternoon from Fraser Island. What an experience the past 3 days have been! The island is just BOOMING with things to do.

My group ended up being myself and 8 brits - Toni, Barry, Jamie, Katie, Layla, Karen, Louise and Maria (note: 6 of them are girls, haha). They were a great group. We all got along, no complaints.

Barry was the main driver and since he used to be in the military he was also the most experienced. The island basically had tiny dirt roads literraly between trees when driving through the island and the east coast beach was basically like the highway. Barry knew what he was doing so well he got us from A to B in no time and due to that we got to see a LOT of things.

Here's what I've been up to:

Day 1 - We all got up early and packed our gear onto the roof of the 4x4 vehicle. We were then brought to the car hire place for a brifing on the dos and don'ts. Then we were off to the ferry. After a long ferry ride across the water we reached the island! Our first stop was at Lake Wabby. It was just like the sand patch in Noosa except there was a lake next to it. Great view too. After a quick dip in the lake, t started to drizzle so we moved onto stop number two: Eli Creek. Well we almost fell IN the creek. Maria was driving and we were shooting down the beach and al of a sudden there is this 1 foot drop with water. The creek runs perpendicular to the beach and we were told to drive closer to the water when we reach it to cross it but it came out of nowhere and we dove straight over it! Freaky but must have been damn cool! Once we got our bearing back we parked the car and walked along the creek and waded through it back to the car. We next reached The Mahona Shipwreck. The Mahona was a war ship that was to be scrapped in Japan back in 1935. however, on the way to Japan, the ship got pushed onto the beach from a bad storm and since then has been rotting on Fraser Island. Most of it is destroyed but the shell was still there to get an idea of the size of the thing and it aint small!After the shipwreck our last destination for the day was The Pinnacles/coloured sands. They looked like jagged peaks sticking out of the ground with different colours of white/brown/tan sands. We then made it to our base camp and set up tent. Dinner for the evening was sausages and hamburgers cooked by yours truley. The girls made a wicked salad and dinner was done. Was also had wine and played Ring of Fire (a drinking game). I called it a night at 10:30pm.

Day 2 - Got up around 8am and had left over sausages, cereal and eggs for breaky. Once in the car we made our way to Indian Head. It was a small climb to this cliff where I had an amazing view of the surroundings. I just sat on a rock and took it in for about 20 minutes, listenign to the ocean. So GREAT! After Indian Head was The Champagne Pools. They were this little rock pool just inside the beach and gets its name due to the foam that happens when the water from the ocean wades inside it. It was a nice little spot to get wet. On our way to our next destination we all took turns driving along the flat beach. Barry helped me with the stick shift and i got a chance at driving a manual car on the left side of the road (for about 5 minutes but nonetheless!). Our last stop was a long way through a really bumpy track but well worth it. We ended up at Lake Allom which is the home of Krefft's Turtles. I got to swim with turtles! We were told when you clap your hands lightly in the water the come to you and one got up to a foot away from me! After a quick swim it was off to camp for dinner which was pasta. After dinner we were all nackered and I went to bed early.

Day 3 - On our last day we took apart our tents, packed everything up and went to two lakes - Lake Birrabeen and Lake Mackenzie. Lake Birrabeen was lake with a white beach and clear water. Lake Mackenzie was like Birrabeen but 100% better. The water was SO clear and the sand was SO white. It was like swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool. We only had 1 hour to spend there but it was the BEST thing on the island!

I'm now back at Beaches and about to have dinner. Tomorrow I"m back on the bus and headed for Arlie beach with a stop in Bagara and also Dingo.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hervey Bay Day 1

I am in Hervey Bay! Hooray!
Got up this mornign and hopped on the Oz Experience Bus. I met these two Swedish Guys who were in my room and chatted with them a while. I also met this girl from England, Maria, who I remembered seeing on my bus trip from Brisbane to Noosa. Turns out she chose the same company as me for the Fraser Island trip, Beaches, and we're actually int he same room at the Hostel (where I am now). A little backgroaund of Fraser Island and what I'll be doing:
Fraser Island is the biggest sand island int he world. I was told that it was made by the particles that eroded down the east coast of Australia and got swept away to this spot byt he sea currents eventually building up to an island. It's not completely just sand anymore, apperently there are forests and fresh water lakes on it but it's supposed to have more sand than the Sahara Desert! What I'll be doing tomorrow until tuesday is roaming around it with 8 other people in a 4 by 4 all terrain vehicle. We are given a map and free to roam on our own! There is also a base camp located on the island where we return to cool dinner, shower and meet other people, etc. After checking into the hostel I got to meet my group which includes Maria (and 5 other chicks :) ). I think I'm going to get along with everyoen just fine. I was then deligated as one of the two people to go shopping for food (Maria was the other one). I'm glad I got to go shopping since it's now officially Passover and I'm not supposed to eat any bread for the next 8 days (or anything with yeast in it - this includes beer). I don't know if it's COMPLETELY kosher but I convinced the group to buy tortilla wraps since they are flat and have no yeast. Hopefully it's all good (Lorne am I wrong??). Well if not, no actual BREAD is as far as I'll get. I asked the supermarket if they had Matzah and the woman suggested I try looking in Brisbane (about 5 hours south of here by car...). Tonight I'm going ot pack everything and have to get up tomorrow mornign for my adventure. I'll write about my trip when I return on thursday so keep posted!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Noosa Day 4

Yesturday I returned from my 3 day 2 night canoe trip in the Everglades of Noosa. Wow it was something!

DAY 1 - Got up early and jumped into a bus for a 30 minute drive to a lake whose name I can't remember. I then met my group: An English guy named John, 4 guys from Scotland (Kev, Ian, Steve and Elliot), 2 couples from England and a couple from Israel.A the lake we loaded our gear onto a boat and went accross it to a Rangers Station. There we got briefed on what the trip is all about and was theb left on our own! I shared a canoe with John and the whole group went down this tiny creek called Kin Kin Creek. The surroundings were beautiful and it was a really nice day. I got to see a few interesting birds as well. We canoed down for about an hour until we saw this bridge and then turned back. John is 29 and a big guy so he took the back and the canoe kept veering left a bit. On the way back, we just BARELY hit this branch sticking out of the water but missed it and got stuck int he underwater tree. Everythign was ounder control and we pried ourselves free. Ten mnutes later though, I managed to navigate us DEAD ON into another branch. We hit it with such an impact that John went flying out of his seat smacking his knees against the seat in the middle of the canoe. I don't HOW i did it because the branch was about 2 inches thick and sticking out of the water about a foot. After the 'accident' we continued back to the ranger station and got all our gear on our canoes. We canoed north for about another hour until Harry's Hut. There is no hut or Harry it;s just the name of the camp ground. We unloaded our stuff and pitched our tents. I juped into the lake for a swim and the water was funky. Due to all the tea trees whose roots are in the water, the water was actually really dark and when I put my head under water it was just pitch black. The only thing I could see was my hands and arms and they were this golden orange color lke maple syrup. Afterwards it was basically eating dinner and drinking in the dark. We played this game Look-a-likes where you choose someone and name allt eh famous people you think they look like. All the usual ones were choesen for me: Egon (Ghostbusters), Skreech (Saved By The Bell), Weird Al Yankovick, Shaggy (Scooby Doo). We were all nackered and I ended up going to bed at like 9pm.

DAY 2 - Got up early, had breakfast and then we were off! We canoed for 6 km and tghen hiked up a hill for another 6km to reach The Sand Patch. Imagine a moutain with snow on the top of it but replace mountain with hill and snow with sand! It was like a forest with a desert in the middle. It was well worthe the treck. The view was phenominal and the sand dunes were really cool. After chilling up there for an hour it was time to head back. On the way back the new group who were arriving to start their day 1 passed us and apperently they missed Harry's Hut and canoed down for like 3 hours to where we were! We left them behind and went back to our camp site. Back at the site we had the pleasure of being invaded by 3 giant lizards aka Goanas. They were huge but very cool to look at. We then cooked dinner as it got dark and chilled before bed. Once I was in bed it started to down pour and ended up raining all night.

Day 3 - It stopped raining but it was time to go. Two nights out in the woods was plenty. It was a struggle to get back to the Rangers Cabin since the wind was against us. We finally made it back, jumped on the boat and headed back to land. I got back to the hostel by 1pm. John, the four Scots and I decided to go out for dinner and have a REAL meal. John had a car so we drove down to Noosa Ville, the more rich area of Noosa. We went to this Indian restaurant and it was delicious! It was the first time I ate in an Indian restaurant. After dinner we headed back to the hostel adn they guys had rented The Princess Bride. I could hardly stay awake so after 20 minutes called it a night. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the guys because they were all sleeping but if you guys are reading this, good luck in your travels and have fun!

Today I went to the Australian Zoo - Home of the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. It was really big and great. I got to be up close with kangaroos and koalas. I also saw the lots of other animals including the tasmanian devil and dingos. I went into the venemous snakes hut and while taking a picture of the most venemous snake in the world it flinched! Thank got it was behind glass.

Tomorrow I head to Hervey Bay.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Noosa Day 1

I am in Noosa! Yesturday I left Brisbane north at a place called Mooloolaba (try saying that 5 times in a row). I'm sick with a cold so the trip was pretty much a blur but the hostel was nice and I relaxed watching the movie The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and eating a large pizza from Dominos for just 7$! (Although a large here is like a small in North America, I kid you not).
I slept quite well compared to the night before and am feeling better today. I checked into Dolphins at Sunshine Beach and it looks like a really chill place. I'm right now in Noosa Junction and am about to buy food and stuff needed for my canoe trip tomorrow which I keep hearing good things about!
Really excited and will let you all know how it was when I get back on Thursday.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Brisbane Day 5

Well this is my final day in Brisbane. Yesturday I went shopping at used book shops for a new book. I recently finished Blood of the Fold by Terry Goodkind, the third book in the Sword of Truth series. It was quite good but someone had given me a free copy of the first Discworld book by Terry Pratchet, The Color of Magic. That book was getting quite interesting and funny, a real easy read. But then I lost it. I think I left it back at the first hostel I was staying in. So I was tempted to buy a used version of the book butafter having read half of it I didn't really feel like shelling out 5$ so I decided to buy a book by another author. I just bought Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb. I've only read one chapter. So far so good but i realized now although it's the first book of her new series, I thin kit's based on character from her other trilogies so I dont' fully understand who all the characters are yet. Hopefully as I continue reading things will make more sense. I traded my old book for it and th eguy sold it to me for 5$. I realized after buying it the book was BRAND NEW and there wa a price tag for 20$ on the back form the book store it was originally purchased from. So I saved 15$! Not bad!
After buying the book I went to the Lagoon - man made beach in South Bank and hung out with Andy and Mark - 2 guys I met in Surfers Paradise at the hostel who also happen to be on the Oz Experience.
At ngiht I met up with Josh and Luke again and then Ross, this guy from my room, joined us adn we headed to a bar/club area called The Valley (think St. Laurent or Cresent/McKay/Bishop area) and ended up at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow. It was quite fun with a happening cover band.
Unfortunately I'm beat and now my throat hurts. NO MORE PARTYING!.... for a little while at least, haha!
Tomorrow I'm on the bus and heading to Moloolaba and then Noosa where I'll be partaking in a 3 day 2 night canoe trip which I hope will be fun.

Also I found out I'm in someone elses blog! Here's a post from Sophie's blog and what she has to say about me:

Allo allo!

Voici mes dernieres aventures: Hier, je suis allee rencontrer mon ami Josh Budman que j'ai rencontre a Melbourne lors de mes aventures precedentes. Ce joyeux gaillard vient de Montreal, mais ne parle pas tres bien francais...Le voila donc a BrisVegas pour quelques jours. En moins d'une journee,il a trouve un endroit qui vendait de la poutine, donc nous y avons fait halte pour le diner. Malheureusement, nous n'avions pas nos appareils photos...Nous sommes ensuite alles au Museum of Brisbane ou il y avait quelques trucs interressant. Apres cela, nous sommes alles nous perdre dans la ville, en essayant de trouver le pont pour traverser la riviere qui nous menerait a South Bank. Nous avons reussi apres un assez long detour.

Pour me recompenser de mon tour touristique, Josh m'a fait un stir fried au poulet pour souper AND HE IS THE BEST COOK IN THE WORLD! MUCH BETTER THAN TYLER. Nous sommes joyeusement alle boire de la biere apres ca au bar en dessous du Palace Backpacker et nous avons rencontre ses 2 amis d'angleterre.

Donc cest ca mes dernieres peripeties...aille aille aille! Vivement le depart:)


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Brisbane Day 3

Yesturday was a packed day! I moved into a new hostel called Palace Backpackers. SO much better than where I was before. Nice and clean. I also convinced 2 birtish guys to come with me, Luke and Josh. They are really cool guys. In the morning I hung out with them and for lunchI met up with my friend Sophie from Quebec. She's been in Brisbane for 7 months now and I met her in Melbourne. She gave me a real tour of the city ( a bit unintentionally since we got lost at one point). We started the day with POUTINE at New York Fries!!!! I went ecstatic when I found out they had a NYF in the city! It wasn't the best tasting food but did make my day. After lunch we headed to the Brisbane Museum which is in the city Hall. They had an exhibit on the making of the city hall and it was really detailed and interesting.
After the museum we went to an area called South Bank which was a nice walk. This was followed by a bridge back over the river and into the botanical gardens, and then back to my hostel. As payment for the tour of the city I cooked dinner for both of us (Tyler if you are reading this she told me it was the BEST MEAL SHE HAS EVER EATEN IN HER LIFE!... or she might have said it was OK for a backpacker meal I can't remember...assume the former!).
After dinner we went down to the Down Under bar in the basement of the hostel and met up with Luke and Josh. It was Superman night. If you wore undies on the outside of your pants you got cheap drinks. Yes I did it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Brisbane Day 1

I'm in Brisbane! I havn't done much of anything yet. I arrived this mornign and have been at the internet shop for about 2 hours now. I checkedinto a hostel I got a free night in from when I worked for Peter Pan Travel but it looks really dodgy so I'm searchign this afternoon for a better place to stay the rest of my time in Brisbane. All in all it seems just like a big city just liek Toronto. I'm here a few days. I'm hoping to catch up with a friend who lives here and check out the city. I also plan on spending a day going up north to the Australian Zoo which is owned by the Crocodile Hunter himself, Mr. Steve Irvin.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Surfers Paradise Day 5

Friday day I met this great German named Tobias. We chated it up and then at night we went to a bar with the hostel called The Shack. I had a really good time and even bumped into 2 irish girls I met on my tour in Nimbim.

Saturday night I paid 25$ and ended up on a club crawl. We went to 3 club/bars : Melbas, Shooters and The Shack. It was an OK night but nothing great. I was hoping ot meet people on the crawl but no one involved really sociallized with anyone. I got a group photo and a keychain necklace, though, which is pretty cool.

Sunday I hung out at the beach and played some soccer with a bunch of guys from the hostel. I then took it easy sunday night.

Today I went to the beach with Tobias and hung out. The weather was finally nice and sunny, the rest of the time here it was rainy. In fact the weather was so good we went back to the beach again.

Tonight being my last night, I'm off to The Irish Pub and then Shooters for a free drink we get for staying at the hostel and hopefully some dancing.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Surfers Paradise Day 2

I left Byron Yesturday and ended up at Surfers a couple of hours later. It sounds like a popular surf place by the name but don't let that fool you. Surfers Paradise was a lot like Miami, LA and Florida mixed together. There is a beach thats 32km long but there are lots of tall high rises and residential buildings. About an hour or 2 away are 3 major theme parks (WB Movie World, Wet n Wild and Dreamworld) and there is also a Sea world somewhere accessible from Surfers Paradise. The only reason it's called that, I was told, is because the first residential building was called Surfers Paradise and as the area got built up they decided to just name the whole area that.

They are currently building the tallest apartment building complex in the world at over 100 floors or soemthing like that. Trust me it's tall!

I ended up walking around wit this girl from my room from England named Naomi to a mall complex called Pacific Fair. I pictured a big indoor mall but for the most part was an outdoor mall, like a maze of strip malls contained within a box. I bought new sunglasses that I desperatly needed. Now I look even more sexy when I strut my stuff in the streets.

Today the weather was a bit better and I ended upwalking along the beach from the city center back to my hostel.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Byron Bay Day 5

Last night at Cheeky Monkeys I bumped into two canadian guys from BC who I met in Melbourne. Turns out they were staying at my hostel. We went to the beach during the day and at night signed up for this game of pool called Killer. Everyone pays a dollar and we all take turns taking a shot. If you get the ball in you stay in teh game and then it's the next persons turn. If you miss, you lose a life. After 3 lives are lost, you're out of the game. The winner of the game collects everyones entry fee. I don't know how it happened but I won the game and ended up with 20$. Off to the bar I went to celebrate my final night in Byron Bay. At Cheeky Monkeys I bumped into these Israeli guys I saw the other day at the internet cafe and we started talking. They were really cool guys travelling across Australia after having finished their term in the army and were now having a vacation.
I ended up in another contest on stage where I had to play a didgeridoo. It sounded bad so I didn't win anything but I noticed a lot of people I reconized from my bus trip between Melbourne and Sydney. Most of them stayed in Sydney for a while and managed to catch up with me in Byron Bay that night.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Byron Bay Day 4

I ended up on a tour bus to Nimbim. Originally a place named for the spiritual rocks that the aboriginals would climb up to have cicumsisions done, it later became a dairy farm industry area but the industry collapsed. In the 60s there was supposed to be a big concert against the vietnam war but the was ended before they had the festival so they made it an environmental festival instead. most people who came for the show just never left.

It was a pretty far out place. They are really big on trying to legallize weed. The minute I got off the bus, I got asked if I wanted weed about 12 times. There was this funky 'museum' and accross the street was the Hemp Embassy where they are really trying to legalize the drunk as well as sell weed related items.

After Nimbim, we skipped swimming in a waterfall because it rained but ended up at a barbecue area and had a gigantic lunch. Then it was back to Byron.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Ok I have so many pictures and it's too nice a day to stay inside on the computer so here are a few pictures to wet your pallate:

Street Art in Melbourne
Pictures of the last two pieces I did in Melbourne: Bartman and Dead Pool

Suggan Buggan School House
A really old school that was used way back when.

Mt Kozciviszko
Pictures of my hike up the halfway on the tallest mountain in Australia. Includes Blue Lake.

NSW/Victoria Border
Pictures of me at the Victoria/New Douth Wales border.


Byron Bay Day 3

Yesturday I met some really cool guys in the hostel, one from Switzerland and th eother from Italy and we ended up on the beach all day. I didn't realize how close my hostel was to the beach! Not even a 5 minute walk. The beach was beautiful and i decided to take a walk along it to a light house. On the way I ended up the most eastern point in Australia and even got to see a bunch of dolphins in the water.

At night I decided to take it easy instead and hung out with my new friends in the room 2 doors down and we played some card games and then snuck onto the beach before calling it a night.

Today I'm going to try and book a day trip to this very popular town nearby called Nimbim. It's supposed to be a really laid back place and worth the trip so I"m goign to try and make my way there.

My plans for the rest of the day are to go and chil on the beach and possibly join my new friends at a bar. Unfortunately the great people I met are all moving on tomorrow but hopefully I can meet up with them in the future.

Byron Bay Day 3

Yesturday I met some really cool guys in the hostel, one from Switzerland and th eother from Italy and we ended up on the beach all day. I didn't realize how close my hostel was to the beach! Not even a 5 minute walk. The beach was beautiful and i decided to take a walk along it to a light house. On the way I ended up the most eastern point in Australia and even got to see a bunch of dolphins in the water.

At night I decided to take it easy instead and hung out with my new friends in the room 2 doors down and we played some card games and then snuck onto the beach before calling it a night.

Today I'm going to try and book a day trip to this very popular town nearby called Nimbim. It's supposed to be a really laid back place and worth the trip so I"m goign to try and make my way there.

My plans for the rest of the day are to go and chil on the beach and possibly join my new friends at a bar. Unfortunately the great people I met are all moving on tomorrow but hopefully I can meet up with them in the future.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sydney to Byron Bay Day 3

Despite it being a bar, I slept quite well.It was actually the best sleep I had all week. We left Bingara with a full day of driving ahead of us. We watched Starsky and Hutch on the bus to kill time. We stopped at Inverell for a quick break. It's actually a gayleck word for "meeting place" and is known to be a big scottish community hence it being a non-aboriganol name. We then drove through Glen Innes and went to Gibraltar National Park. This was followed by Grafton and then I got a chance to get a picture of the Giant Prawn in Ballma. Australia is known for having giant sculptures of things for restaurants and what not, like the giant apple that you see on the drive from Montreal to Toronto.
By late afternoon we stopped at Lennox Head to celebrate the birthday of 2 people on our bus. We had 14 bottle of champagne amonst 40 of us. Got a chance to see the pacific ocean again!

By 5pm I we got into Byron Bay! I checked into my hostel which was completely booked so I was very smart to book a couple of weeks in advance. The rooms are quite nice with a fridge, sink and proper bathroom. I'm sharing the room with 3 swedish guys. They seem like a lot of fun. After dinner I went to the msot popular backpacker bar in town called Cheeky Monkeys to meet up with my bus group. It was a crazy time there. For being part of the oz experience they got us involved with playing games on stage. I ended up in 2 games. The first one was to win some free beer or something and it involved my eating a meat pie, drinking a beer and then doing 20 pushups, situps and star jumps. I was so slow by the time i finished the beer, someone had beaten me and one the contest. The next one I was in was to win a free sky dive jump and involved choosing heads or tails. I was competing against others and when you got it wrong, you either had a choice to leave the game or remove a piece of clothing. Lets just say I gave it a good try and ended up in my undies butthen I ended up leaving the game. The winner ended up being a girl and she won because she decided to remove her top in order to have one more chance in the game.
After Cheeky Monkeys, I bumped into my bis driver Luke and we went to another bar right ebfore I called it quits.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Sydney to Byron Bay Day 2

The place I slept in last night was basically a giant cabin where we had dinner and a row of tiny bare rooms with a few bunk beds. The meal we had was delicious. For 8$ I got roast beef with potatoes and gravy. For dessert we I had sticky date and it was SO GOOD!

In the morning I got up and almost missed the bus. We went to the Warrumbungles National Park where we got to walk around for about an hour and saw lots of kangaroos and wallabies. We then had lunch in Narrabri and went to see the astonishing Sawn Rocks formation. Tres Cool. On the bus we watched Old School and finally made it to our hostel in Bingara. Everyone went horse back riding but I didnt really want to spend 38$ to sit ona horse so I stayed back and planned some more of my trip. The place we stayed in was actually a bar and there were giant dorm rooms in the back.