Caloundra, Kings Beach, Moffat Beach, Dicky Beach, Noosa (Dec 11th)
Our first stop was Caloundra. Its main beach – Kings Beach – was very crowded because of the school holidays. The waves were awesome – there were lots of them and they were big. The conditions were perfect for bodyboarding, unfortunately we didn’t have any room for surfcrafts in the car. For a second or two I thought about stealing a bodyboard from some kid… I could probably take one or two of them (of course not at the same time – let’s be realistic!). I didn’t resort to such means. This time! We ended up jumping into the waves which was heaps of fun until suddenly all the joy was cut short by Rachel’s deafening screams of pain and agony.
As I looked at her with terror in my eyes, my knees became weak and wobbly. It was difficult to breathe and as I gasped for more air I saw the cause of her misery. Her back and stomack were flaming red with dark red goosebumps – she was stung by a marine stinger. The screams… the screams… I still have nightmares of her screams.
I don’t remember exactly how things unfolded but here’s how I recall it. I single-handedly carried her out of the water and rushed her to the lifeguards. They hosed her with some fresh water and sprayed something on the irritated skin. She didn’t need any more medical attention because Canadians are made tough – mothers leave their babies in the woods right after giving birth. This, they say, is natural selection at its best, it builds character and also helps bread a nation of survivors. Only the toughest ones will make it.
Other than that, Rachel was just fine. It was a bluebottle sting, nothing serious. I’ve never been stung so I don’t know how painful it was but from the look on her face it wasn’t too bad. She didn’t really scream but all the rest of the story is true… more or less 😀 After Rachel’s encounter with Australia’s wild and ferocious wildlife we enjoyed a bit of sunbathing and continued our journey towards the next beaches in Caloundra.
Moffat Beach was crap. It had a plateau with nasty stuff growing on it – I don’t know, algae or something. Right next to Moffat Beach was Dicky Beach. Hahahah Dicky …. hahahahaha no further comments necessary. 😀
There was an old shipwreck at Dicky Beach. I think it was Captain James Cook’s vessel. No doubt in that. It was very rusty and full of razor sharp edges. Both Agni and Rachel cut their knees and even I was bleeding from a toe after exploring the ship and looking for survivors – sadly there were none.
We continued towards Noosa despite our severe injuries and potential tetanus and cholera infections. Our visit to the Noosa National Park was wonderful. I’ve been there a couple of times and I love it. My favorite part is when I’m on the way back towards the carpark (from trail #2 switch to #4) and suddenly everything becomes so quiet. You can only hear the sounds of the trees, birds, lizards and drop-bears. Noosa was crowded, it was full of surfers enjoying their school holidays. We didn’t see any koalas, snakes or dolphins.
Our final destination for the day was a camping site at a place called Noosa North Shore. Benn, Emily and Sean (their friend) were already on the island waiting for us. We had to cross a bit of water, it took 2 minutes on a little ferry and only cost $6 for a car and all its passengers. It took us about 30 minutes to find the Aussies. Once there, we set up camp, had some beers and kumba-ya!
As I watched the drunken lot I learned a new pickup line. One guy, let’s call him Shredder, said to a girl that her hair was soooooo asymmetric and that it was brilliant! 😀 It seemed to me that his line actually worked. The girl melted like butter.
The night became darker and darker and darker. Benn shared a story. He was camping with one of his friends. They were minding their own business, bushwalking tra-la-laa-di-daa, and then suddenly out of nowhere a drop-bear attacked his friend. It ripped out the victims eye and made him watch with the other eye how the beast devoured the eyeball. Nom-nom-nom-nom-nom. After that the drop-bear slashed the victim in a savage rampage. Benn barely escaped the same fate.
Rainbow Beach, Bundaberg, Seventeen Seventy (Dec 12th)
I woke up aroud 5:40 and went for a jog on the beach. There were hills in the distance and I noticed a strip of sand on a hill. I decided that I’m going to jog over there and check out the view from the top of that hill. It took me about an hour to get there but I did it. The view was good but I didn’t like the wind which was blowing sand into my eyes. Then I jogged/walked back to the camping site.
We packed our tents and left the site around 11 o’clock. Yep, nobody was rushing.
It took 2 hours to reach Rainbow Beach. During the drive I remember seeing a big roo next to the road. I called it out to others but they didn’t see it. So I counted down the seconds until the car reached the roo. As my countdown reached zero the roo turned out to be a small crow just hopping on the grass. My, oh my, I was seeing things. Of course everybody in the car had a big laugh 😀
Rainbow Beach was a beautiful beach with massive sand dunes. We climbed the dunes and tried to sled down on a piece of cardboard. That didn’t really work out but we had fun trying. Later we needed to go for a swim to wash away all the sand.
Today’s best part was the drive to Bundaberg. That was Agni’s drop-off point. We were all very happy once our ways parted at her hostel. It was a magical moment full of joy and happiness. Everybody had a huge smile on their face. Finally, more room in the car! We weren’t a good match with her either.
Our initial plan was to reach the Lake Monduran caravan park but its reception closed at 17:30 so there was no point in going there. We decided to drive towards Seventeen Seventy and just camp somewhere along the road.
About 25 km from Seventeen Seventy I took a left turn onto a dirt road, drove to the end of it and decided that this was our camping site for the night. We set up camp. One guy drove down to us and tried to scare us away. I used my highly developed communication/negotiation skills to change his mind. He allowed us to stay and warned us about starting fires because the area was very dry.
That night was very scary because of all the forest sounds. The roos were jumping but that sounded exactly as if someone was walking past our tent. When the wind blew the grass against the tent I almost shat myself. It sounded like somebody was trying to get into the tent but didn’t find its door. Luckily I was sleeping in the middle of Pete and Rachel. Therefore in case of a drop-bear or a serial killer, Pete and Rachel would die before me. That thought gave me peace and helped me fall asleep.
Seventeen Seventy, Agnes Water, Capricorn Caves, Mackay (Dec 13th)
We survived the night, packed our stuff and drove to Seventeen Seventy. I have been there twice before but this time it was a big disappointment. The water was much higher and thus most of the beach was gone. We visited Cook’s Monument Cairn and went for a walk in a national park.
Agnes Water was only 5-10 km away. None of us was very enthusiastic about going swimming because of the stingers. Eventually Pete and I gathered up our courage and had a go. Rachel and I did a little Gangnam dance because that’s the way we roll… 😀
Next we visited Olsen’s Capricorn Caves. Entrance and a guided tour cost $27 each. We saw stalactites and stalagmites and caves and stuff. We were told that in the caves we were walking on dried bat guano (crap). Good to know, considering I was barefoot.
The highlight was the Cathedral – a cave with great acustics. They even had wedding ceremonies in that cave. We listened to a song in the cave… halleluyah, it was beautiful.
After the caves we went to Mackay. Benn’s mother (Annette) agreed to host us for a night. It was good to see her since the last time I saw her was several months ago. She made dinner for all of us. It was delicious. I ate as much as I could because I knew this was the last decent meal during the next 2 weeks. Everybody was done eating but I was still munching food and adding more stuff onto my plate. Nom-nom-nom-nom!
We spent most of the evening planning our trip. Annette and Jon were a great help with their suggestions. I was super tired that day. Who knew that traveling was so exhausting?
Finch Hatton Gorge, Araluen Falls (Dec 14th)
We loved it at Annette’s place and didn’t really want to leave. It took Rachel ages to pack her stuff and we left around 11 o’clock. Our destination was Finch Hatton Gorge and Araluen Falls in the Eungella National Park.
We jumped into the water from the cliffs at Araluen Falls. It was entertaining. Some other kids jumped about 2-3 times higher than we did. I would’ve joined them but I didn’t because of all my prior injuries from the shipwreck. It had nothing to do with being scared.
After the fun in the water we drove to Airlie Beach to book a day trip to the Whitsunday Islands. We could only choose between two options because everything else was fully booked. Since we all wanted to snorkel and scuba dive we chose the Illusions cruise.
We spent the night in a caravan park.