Wednesday, November 15, 2006

rest of australia part 1

so i'm now in new zealand, trying to figure out where to go and what to do, but can't so i'm hanging around auckland updating my blog. i haven't done much so far in the country so it makes more sense to finsh with austrlia first.
fraser island was cool. it's the largest sand island in the world and half the island came back with us in the truck. 5 4wd trucks set out from the hostel with 10 or 11 ppl in each. in mine, there were 5 swedes, 2 germans, 2 swiss germans and a girl from france. we headed out to fraser and drive that day to lake mackenzie. it's so clear that you can see the bottom of the water from pretty much anywhere in the lake. we then headed to our campsite and enjoyed a good meal cooked by our chef (one of the swedes) and drank what we had brought as alcohol. the ext day was out full day on the island and we saw lake wabby. to get there you walk almost one km through a sand dune that is so larg you fell like you are in the desert. after swimming there for a little, we headed back to the truck and went up to indian head at the north and drove along the 70 mile beach. our chauffeur (he use to drive trucks for the swiss army) was really good and got us there ahead of the other trucks. so when we climbed up indian head, we saw sea turtles coming up for air. that was really cool. we then checked out some colourful cliffs and at this point the engine wouldn't start. so lckily someone stopped and boosted the battery. this happened the rest of the trip so it was a bit annoying. we stopped at a ship wreck and floated down eli creek (or walked down depending) and then with the rest of the group, found another camping spot. that evening, everyone saw dingos or the same one and some girls had there clothing bag dragged away from the front of the tent. the third morning we headed back to mackenzie lake and then drove back to the ferry to get to rainbow beach. and finally just was we tried to start the truck again, it got stuck in the sand (1st time in 3 days, not bad)(after driving for about 2 hours, we didn't have battery prblms anymore). the evening was good food and good drinks back at the hostel. fraser was cool, but given the european makeup of my group, it was the only time i would have liked to know german or swedish (the frech girl didn't talk much after the first day). it's weird being on the edge of australia and you hear mostly german and swedish.
next day was a trip to brisbane where i hung out for about 2 days. the coolest part was taking aferry across the river and the was a possum taht climbed down from a tree as we were getting of the boat. so we got good shots of it. and of course the austrlia zoo. i went there with an enligsh girl from the hostel and saw the entire thing. it was pretty cool seeing the shows and all the animals that i had yet to see. we fed the elephants, saw birds fly around the crocoseum (a huge stadium where you get to watch the animal shows), and saw active koalas near closing time. i was sad to find out that harriet (darwin's turtle) had died a few months earlier. at least she was one celebrity you are sure to see in the zoo. and the next day was off to byron bay, the most eastern point of australia.
byron bay was really cool. i got there and immediately spotted the bead shop. so i went in a picked things out to make a necklace and ended up talking with the woman who worked there. her boyfriend is a jazz musician heading to montreal for the jazz fest next year and is friends with xavier rudd and australian-canadian whom i first idscovered at the same festival. rudd played in montreal just a few days ago. then a guy from england walks in looking for a necklace and we convince him that he can make his own, so we are all sitting in this shop in byron bay talking and making necklaces.
since it was the 31st of october, that evening i headed out with someone from the hostel and saw the end of a show featuring local bands then headed to what someone told me was the best bar in town(after stopping at another one for a free drink). the costumes all the backpackers had were really cool. unfortunately the night was rather short as i felt sick after the first beer and headed back to the hostel.
the next day was great. i had my second ever surfing lesson and the school garanteed that you would stand up on your board or get your money back. so on the first try i was standing on the board. the instructor picked the wave for you and all you really had to do was stand up in a 3 step movement instead of jumping up like i had been taugh in france. it was really really cool. and they took photos so i have some good shots of me surfing :)
the rest of the day was just walking around town, not doing much, well really booking tours for the last few days in australia. and last day in byron, i walked to the light house and enjoyed the view. then i biked out to the arts industrial area of byron and spent a fortune on more beads. it was nice to be on a bike again. i ran into 2 of the swedes from the trip on fraser then caught the night bus to sydney.
the morning was spent at paddy's market, sort of a huge flea market and that was really cool. i picked up a few things there. and it was finally raining in australia so it was perfect weather to be inside. then i headed to the blue mountains. the weekend weather was sort of crappy. so on saturday, the weather for the parade for the rhododendron festival in blackheath (where i was staying) was rater wet. but they still had eveything a parade needed: pipe band, floats, a horse, scouts, cadets, schools, clowns and the fire department. for a parade that lasted about 10-15 minutes, that's pretty impressive. that afternoon as there wasn't much to do, i taught my sort of uncle how to make hemp necklaces: being a hippy at heart i was surprised that he didn't know how. he did really well for a first timer. the next day was a short walk and hanging around the house and since the weather wasn't too good i stayed an extra day and headed into kattomba to do some shopping and more organizing.
next part: the least week in australia, featuring sculptures by the sea, canberra, melbourne and cute little animals!


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