Australia Wrap-Up

Well, we sure have enjoyed our time in Australia.  So much so, that we had planned to spend one month there, and ended up spending almost six weeks.  But despite the great, fun six weeks of partying we’ve endured, we are thoroughly exhausted and ready for a vacation from our vacation.  Australia is just one party after another – everyone around is fairly young, in contrast to New Zealand where we felt on the young side of things, and pretty much everywhere you go, you’re expected to get as wasted as possible and party hard.  Most hostels we stayed at were allied in some way with a bar, and it was expected that you should be drinking until the early hours and didn’t deserve peace and quiet until well after midnight, which caused us to sleep less than I would have liked.  Case in point – since Australia day 2 weeks ago, Kenna and I have consumed exactly 2 drinks each.  That’s how burned out we are.  But really, here I am complaining that Australia is too much of a good time – poor us.

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The Northern Territory: The Real and Rugged Australia

Everyone thought we were crazy for coming to the Northern Territory in the “wet season.” Naturally, being the rain attractors that we seem to have become, we weren’t really worried. What are we, made of soap? A little rain wouldn’t hurt us, right?

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Nemo, Turtles and Sharks – Life on The Great Barrier Reef

It feels like a lifetime ago since our last post – I’ll do my best to take up where I last left off.

Australia Day in Airlie Beach was fun, but nothing overly exciting to report…think of Whyte Ave on Canada Day, except that most of the crowd was international. We had a decently late night, which left us in a bit of shambles for another long driving day…and this time, we were racing the clock. We had to have our car back to Hertz by the end of the business day in Cairns. We barely made it – Scott returned the car just as they were locking the doors, and the lady almost didn’t take it. Boy, were we lucky, as we would have had to keep it for another 3 days while we were on our drive trip, since we were departing earlier than their operating hours the next morning!

Yay we're home! Wait... what?

Yay we’re home! Wait… what?

Oh and we passed a town called Edmonton on the way!

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Blown away in the Whitsunday Islands

We arrived in Airlie Beach from Bundaberg nearly a week ago – it’s hard to believe how much time has passed already.

Our first full day in Airlie was also fairly uneventful. We wandered around the town (of which there isn’t much) and spent some time at the Airlie Beach Lagoon. Now, this lagoon is pretty funny. You cannot swim in the ocean because of deadly jelly fish year round, but especially in the summer from November to March. So, the town decided to build a really funny outdoor pool of sorts – the lagoon. They made it to look like a true lagoon, complete with fake sand, to hang out at.

Kenna with the lagoon

Kenna with the lagoon

Not as nice or fun as a real beach, but it does the trick in the extremely hot weather that is characteristic of northern Australia. We spent most of the day at the lagoon, and then went for a beer at our hostel’s bar. We discovered that they have snake bites (half beer, half cider) here that are even better than at home because they use my favourite thing in the whole world – CORDIAL. Why we do not have cordial at home, I do not know – it’s this delicious syrup that comes in about 100 flavours that you add water to (the first time I had it I did not know this, however, and drank it straight. It was nasty). It it awesome, because you don’t have to keep it refrigerated, and it makes the disgusting tap water here actually taste good. So, instead of retsina or grenadine that they use at home, they use raspberry cordial. Yum.

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Mmm.... I love Rum and Turtles

Quick! What do rum and turtles have in common? They’re both made in Bundaberg!

After our hairy experience in Fraser Island, both of us were pretty fried and needed some alone time before heading to our next social experiment in the Whitsunday Islands, so we decided to stay in a smallish town called Bundaberg. We stayed in an awesome little homestyle hostel run by a really nice older couple, and it was nice to have a quiet place to chill out for a few days. We used the downtime to catch up on our personal affairs – responding to long overdue emails, shopping for new clothes (our summer clothes in Canada suck compared to what they have down here. I just threw out a few shirts and shorts in favor of the awesome new style we got down here), and trying to fix our dead camera (update: our camera came back from the dead miraculously! We almost sent it in for warranty repair, but they wanted to charge us $100 just to look at it, so we kept it and hoped that it recovered. And it did!)

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The Fraser Island Experiment Part II

Continued from Part I

That was probably when the tension began, and the social experiment started to go full force. The cool kids were identified (and consisted of the skin boarder guys and a few really cute girls) and the anal retentive ones emerged…which consisted of the Irish in our group. They cleared up all our dishes after dinner, and I thanked them for it. To this, they replied (in a not-so-nice tone), “Yeah. It was a lot of work. We’re off duty tomorrow.” I was a bit surprised by this….they had simply cleared the dishes and put them, unwashed, into the jeep. We couldn’t wash them at night, because we had to wash them with sand in the ocean (no dish soap for us to preserve the environment). Then, they all went to bed. Super early. The rest of our group segregated themselves by sitting in the sand away from the dance floor, while Scott and I joined the big party under the tarp, in search of meeting new people and making friends. We met tons of people that night and had a great time watching couples form and relationships develop. People kept wandering off to various tents and then rejoining the party…often to form a new couple. It was slightly disturbing. One cxibitionist couple even decided it would be fun to get naked and go at it right outside camp on the beach, to which many people with flashlights laughed and pointed their lights on. This didn’t seem to disturb them, and they went at it all night.

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The Fraser Island Experiment

It feels like we just got off some weird reality TV show/Gilligan’s Island experiment. Tag line: “One island. 10 people. One jeep. Four nationalities. How will they survive?”

Standing in the sand blow in Rainbow Beach

Standing in the sand blow in Rainbow Beach

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Brizzie to Noosa

Last I left off, we were on our way to Brisbane, aka “Brizzie.” Our shuttle van thingie dropped us off at a transit centre, and having been so relaxed and lazy in Byron, I hadn’t even considered where we would be dropped, or where we had to go to our hostel. Very un-kenna…but I am slowly becoming less and less type-A as this trip progresses! We decided we’d try to find a McDonalds, since they give free wifi in Oz. We found one – but it was just in a food court and had no wifi. Not really knowing what to do, we started wandering around…and randomly found a poster advertising our hostel that we had been booked into….and it gave a free call phone number and an offer to pick us up from the transit station! It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. So we called from a pay phone and they came to pick us up.

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Chillaxing in Byron Bay

Ok, starting to get caught up on blog posts here!

We arrived in Byron Bay after a long bus ride with the surfaris tour. After picking up the kids of the owner at a house, and dropping off Danny and Kyle (our surf instructors) at their house, we were off to the hostel. We stayed at a place called “The Arts Factory” – the surfaris group has a deal with this hostel so that they would guarantee us beds upon arrival. I figured it would be a good place to stay since all the friends we had made would also be there. I was a bit wrong – only about 8 others stayed at the hostel…the rest had either gone back to Sydney or were staying somewhere else in Byron. It was still fun, however.

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Surfin' with Surfaris!

This post is only a week or so late, mostly because we haven’t had a spare moment to write it, we’ve been having too much fun! I have to say that the Surfaris trip was one of the most fun weeks of my life. It meshed so well with my personality – get up early, work hard during the day, party hard all night. If you call surfing working hard. But the way my muscles felt at the end of each day, it sure felt like work.

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