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October 5, 2003

One Fish Two Fish...

The Travel Channel

Everyone at the 'On the Edge' catamaran... red fish, blue fish, and the occasional dingo.

A trip by Extreme Adventures starring Svein, Gary, Darren, Daron, Jessica, Jeanne, Bina, Michele, Katherine, Katie, Kate, Laura, Laurie, and last but not least; our excellent tourguide Nathan!

Here I finally present the full traveldiary from the most awesome springbreak-adventure ever! In short this was the trip of the four B's:
Busses, Boats, Bathing and Booze!!

Day One - Brisbane to Hervey Bay
After the booze-cruise 9.00am - The adventure begins!
We all meet up at the Brisbane Transit Center, locates a big blow-up-roo and gets shown to our bus by Nathan. Noone knows quite what to expect so we mostly keep to ourselves on the trip to Australia Zoo. We wander around the Zoo for a couple of hours in small groups, the by far most spectacular sight beeing the feeding of the big crocodiles at noon! Then after catching a bite ourselves we get back on the bus and head for Hervey Bay. After quickly getting our accomodation in order at Beaches Backpacker we head out on the bay in a small catamaran for the traditional get-to-know-each-other-BOOZE-cruise! This means we sail around for about two hours watching the 6p.m sunset and beeing supplied as much free alcohol as we can drink. Everybody quickly gets more talkative and we all start to feel like a group! Then after returning to Beaches we get dinner as the party continues for many hours, ending with a late night swim in the pool with the bar-manager!

Day Two - Fraser Island (map)
Landfall at Moon Point ferry-stop7.30am - Up bright and early.
After a few hours of sleep we scramble out of bed to catch a bus to Fraser Island. This is by all means no regular bus, but a large 4WD with at least half a meter ground clearance and tractorwheels. It was very needed tho, for there is no real roads and no ports on Fraser, so the ferry just runs up on the beach and then there is a bulldozed clearing through the forest which is considered a road, and still the bus got stuck a couple of times and the engine water overheated more than once. We were set ashore at Moon Point and followed the road across the island through the Yidney Rainforest from there. In the forest we got out and walked a bit to take in the scenerey before going on down to the main road which is the beach along the eastern side of the island and further to Eli Creek, an idyllic small creek through which one can swim to a small pond on the beach. After an hour of relaxing here we drove on to the Coloured Sands and then to the wreck of the Mueno, a luxery cruiseliner that went ashore during a storm in 1946. After this we had lunch at the Happy Valley Retreat before stopping another hour at Lake Garawongera, and then headed back to the mainland. We even got to see a Dingo just 20 minutes before reaching the ferry-stop, it walked right past our bus out in the wilderness! Back in Hervey Bay we had an Aussie-BBQ dinner at Beaches before collecting our luggage and getting on the overnight-express bus to Airlie Beach.

Day Three - Sailing the Whitsunday Islands (map)
Tanning in the nets at 'On the Edge'8.00am - The start of the sailing and island adventure.
After arriving in Airlie Beach we went straight to the harbour and boarded "On the Edge", the fastest commercial katamaran sailing the east-coast of Australia. With it we did a daycruise out to Hayman Island where we anchored up outside of Blue Pearl Bay, which is excellent for snorkling and scubadiving as it is lying right on the edge of the inner-barrier reef in what is known as the Coral Sea. The trip was absolutely amazing with the best weather they've had for months, and down here that means totally awesome with 35°C from a cloudless sky and almost no wind or waves at all. Also the crew was totally great in making everyone feel at home and entertaining with games and show during the trip, with the flying-water-melon contest beeing the most memorable of them all. Next to this and the hours at the beach, most of the trip were spent tanning in the big nets up front at the boat. Sun overhead, waves directly underneath, and a lot of friends around you. Can life get any better?
Well, we were to find out when we went ashore to stay at the Long Island Club Crocodile Resort! We were picked up from the docks by a small train that took us over to the resort, and then got a couple of hours to freshen up before beeing served a great buffet. The resort-organinzer for our group were the lovely Jodie, whom made sure we had a perfect stay and even partied with us when it afterwards was time for an Hawaiian-party under the stars; with Limbo, several games of flip-cups, live music, and ending the night in the resort hot-tub before heading to bed.

Day Four - Long Island Free Day
Playing in the pool at Club CrocSleeping in after the last few days, and then spending the day on the beach in the closest thing I've seen to paradise. Long Island is absolutely beautiful and with perfect weather this was the best time! Me, Darren and Gary even got ourselves a boatride around the area after helping some guy push his boat off the shallows after the tide had gone out, and then we had plenty of time to swim around in the ocean and play water-volleyball in the pool. At night we again were served an awesome buffet for dinner, and then had a Toga party together with the Wednesdaygroup who arrived one day after us (we were the Tuesdaygroup), and the success of flipcups were repeated with its intake of beer. Live music, everybody singing and dancing, and another dip in the hot-tub before finding our room marked the end of our amazing stay in paradise at Club Croc.

Day Five - Sailing the Whitsunday Islands
The Condor7.30am - Early bird gets breakfast.
Once again we get dragged up real early to move on, but this time the last guy out of bed is actually Nathan, our guide. Seems even he gets tired from all this partying :-) But we still made the boat and left Long Island on the "Condor", the only maxi-yacht to have won every major ocean-race in the world twice! Again we spent a full day on the ocean, this time sailing to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. This is the finest beach in the world with the sand consisting of 99% silica, it felt like flour to the touch! After hours of relaxing and enjoying ourselves here we set course for Airlie Beach once again, the weather still beeing the best they've had for ages! In Airlie Beach we again stayed at Beaches Backpackers, where I had kangaroo meat for dinner! As usual we partied hard all night, starting with playing the game of 'Pass the pitcher' at Beaches before going to the club Upstais @ Shenanigans. At this point the trip had been absolutely fabulous and everyone agreed it would have been worth it even if this was the end, but alas! We still got four more days to go!

Day Six - Airlie Beach to Cairns
The skydiving crew8.00am - No rest for the wicked.
After partying until late last night, it was up early for a fruit&muffins breakfast and then catching the express bus to Cairns.
We spent the whole day on the bus, only stopping at Townsville for lunch before arriving at the Cairns Colonial Club Resort around 7:30p.m. Most of the people got dinner at the hotel resturant, while I joined Nathan and Steve downtown having thai at a foodcourt and then checking out the local nightlife for a short time before heading in early.

Day Seven - Great Barrier Reef
Me diving at the Great Barrier Reef6.30am - The Great Barrier Reef awaits.
Getting up another early morning the hotel busses us down to the port where we boarded the "M.V. Osprey V" high-speed catamaran to take us to the outer Great Barrier Reef. After a sleepy few hours of travelling above the waves we arrived at what was... ocean. As far as the eye could see there was nothing but ocean. The big sights still eluded us until we got into our wetsuits and hooked up our scubagear to finally take in the wonders of a world under the sea. Diving is absolutely amazing, and we got the chance twice on this trip! And for those who wanted a third time was available at a second GBF location. While the hours spent at the barrier-reef were mostly in the water, we occupied the sun-deck for the return trip, save a couple of girls who rather took a helicopter ride back ashore.
After everyone got themselves some food and freshened up, most of us then went on a pubcrawl through downtown Cairns which included funny rules about drinking, toad-races and lots of free shots on all the bars. Once again I had a *great* time, not leaving the Woolshed until late and then again taking a midnight-swim in the resort-pools with Gary and Katherine.

Day Eight - Cairns Bungy Day
'People Falling' sign9:00am - A good day to jump out of a plane.
Once again an early morning where half of us go out to the Cairns airfield to do a tandem sky-dive! This was totally amazing, even tho I felt kind of stupid after jumping out of a Perfectly Good Aeroplane(tm) and finding myself falling towards a very distant ground at high speeds. But it was quite a rush despite the price, and the view was magnificent! All of us jumped at 10.000 feet which gave us 30 seconds of free fall before ejecting the parachute and slowing the descent. I was a bit worried about the landing, but it went perfect sliding in on our butts.
Having quite the adrenalin shakes some hours on by the pool at the Resort was what I needed before we to top off jumping out of a plane went to the A.J. Hacketts Rainforest Bungee site, where every single one of us managed to throw themselves off a 54 meter tall tower into the worst rollercoasterride I've ever taken above a small tropical pond. But again it was great fun, even if my stommach doesn't like beeing thrown around that much. Jumping off such a tower is really a test of bravery and maybe the ultimate experience! They also had this thing called Minjin, the jungle swing, at the site where you are hurled just above the treetops at 140kph, but the bungee was undisputably the main attraction. After we got back to the Resort a bit later, everyone was so tired that we went to bed almost immediatly...

Day Nine - Tully River White Water Rafting
Photoshoot during rafting6.30am - Board the bus to the Tully River.
Another action packed day awaits as we prepare to raft along the Tully River. It beeing grade 4/5 means plenty of rapids, boulders and places to get thrown off the raft, but amazingly none of the people on my raft fell of unintentionally! Rafting was great fun, but next time I wanna do a slightly more challenging river. This is Nathans home area, so he really was in his element on this river, unfortuanatly only half of us could go along on his boat. There were a dozen boats on the river today, and afterwards everyone gathered up at the old Tully trainstation to watch the professional video they had made from the trip. Most fun was watching the japs as they kept doing wierd things, especially one of the jap tourguides who was totally crazy!
Getting back to the Resort we once again quickly got ready for another night on the town, with a great farewellparty with plenty of food and free drinks beeing held at the Woolshed. As the night progressed there were wet-tshirt competitions held for both men and women, and our very own Darren won the mens-comp! Strictly speaking it was a tie, but we all had great fun. Katie wasn't all that lucky and had to back down in the finals against a better dancer. The party raged on and didn't end until we got chased out of the building and had to get back to the resort to pack our stuff. This was also the time for goodbyes as most of the group were leaving on the early-morning flight to the Gold Coast, and its a miracle that everyone managed to get on the plane as some of the girls could barely walk on their own accord. I luckily didn't have a flight until noon so I got another dip in the pool and then a couple of hours of sleep before checking out of the room and heading to the airport. After a flight spent sleeping I arrived in Brisbane to get some well-deserved uninterrupted sleep!

This has definitively been the best vacation of my life! All the best to you guys and I hope to see you all again soon!

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