I know it has been a while since my last update. I assure you that I am alive and well, it has just been hard to find a reliable internet source (or at least a cheap one). If I remember correctly, I left you guys off when I first arrived in Brisbane. Well one thing is for sure, the time since then has been amazing and fun!
We did not stay in Brisbane very long; we arrived one night and left the next morning for Noosa Heads. I know Noosa Heads sounds like a weird place to visit but we went there for two reasons: 1) Eric’s uncle lives very close to there and 2) It is known for its celebrity population, so we thought we would give it a shot. I am glad we went; it was home to one of the nicest hostels we stayed at. The rooms weren’t the greatest but the rest of the place was beautiful. The hostel itself was located on a hillside and looks a lot more like a bed and breakfast than a backpacker’s haven. It had balconies on every room and even a restaurant and lounge that rivals even some of the fancier hotels I have been to. Furthermore, the view from the hostel lounge was amazing with the “Glass House” Mountains in the background and an array of winding rivers in the foreground.
If I may go off on a bit of a tangent, the Glass House Mountains are quite amazing on their own. They are not your standard mountains, caused by two continental plates colliding, but rather they are ancient volcanic plumes that remained when the rest of the surrounding sedimentary rocks eroded. That being said, they do not look like your ordinary mountains, they are much pointier, some having mostly vertical cliffs. I recommend a quick Google search on them, there are 11 in total. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of my own.
On our way to Noosa, we made a stop at the Australia Zoo. The Australia Zoo is the legacy of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, now diseased. You may remember that Steve died just over a year ago when he was stung by a Sting Ray while diving. The Australia Zoo is the home of hundreds of animals, some of which Steve caught himself. With daily crocodile feedings and amazing features on deadly snakes, the zoo has a demeanor much like its creator. The best part, however, is in its kangaroo and koala departments. The kangaroos are housed in a large field where you can actually go up and touch them. The kangaroos are allowed to roam freely, but the zoo provides you with food to get them to like you. Once they like you, they would let you touch them and even hug them. They are surprisingly soft, so soft that I am surprised that they are not hunted for their fur. Not only did I get to touch a kangaroo, but I got to touch a Koala. They are also very soft and extremely thick furred. The koalas just sit there when you pet them, so they are not overly exciting. There were many more exhibits, to many to mention, but I will mention some of the more interesting ones.
First off is the Tasmanian Devil: At first I thought the Tasmanian Devil would look and act similar to that of “Taz” on Loonytoons but in reality they do not spin really fast. In fact, they look a lot like a normal household cat, despite the fact that they have the second strongest jaws in the world. Another notable animal is the Giant Tortoise. Apparently this tortoise is so old that it was originally found by Charles Darwin in 1884 (ish, I don’t remember the exact date) and brought back to England. It then made its way through hundreds of years to finally reside in the Australia Zoo, where it died in 2006. They had other Giant Tortoises, but they were not as old. I also finally got to see a Wombat! At every other zoo they were sleeping or otherwise not visible. In fact, there were about 6 or 7 of them walking around. Despite my earlier statements, they are kind of cute. They are a mix between a pig and a very large groundhog. The last notable thing was the tiger cubs. They have several full grown tigers, but they also had two young cubs, no more than 3 weeks old. They were also very cute and playful, though we didn’t get to touch them. I imagine they don’t let people touch them because they bite especially since one of the handlers had a large bandage on his leg that looked like it may have covered a bite.
After the zoo we headed to Noosa where we met up with Eric’s uncle who treated us to a nice home cooked meal of stags (sausages) and kabobs (kabobs). They were very nice people and they gave us some suggestions for things to do in the area. One of their suggestions was to attend the Coolum Kite Festival, and we did. The next morning we headed to Coolum Beach where I saw some of the coolest kites that I have seen in my life. On top of that, I got to try some different kinds of food; my favorite was the “Momo’s”, a Malaysian dish). Some of the kites were HUGE! And I do not use this term loosely. Some of the kites would engulf my house in Kingston and then some. On top of that there was a skydiving show and an air show featuring the Roulettes (the Australian equivalent of the Snow Birds). We stayed for the skydivers (really cool) but we got rained out and missed the Roulettes.
Another cool thing that happened that day actually happened before we left for the festival. While sitting at a picnic table eating breakfast at our hostel I noticed that there were a bunch of Parrots in the trees behind us thinking nothing of it until one flew down and landed on our table. I use the word parrots loosely, I have been told that they are actually called Lorikeets but they were bright green with red, yellow and blue on their chest; they looked like parrots to me. I decided to feed the parrot a bit of my toast. After a few more minutes another parrot came, then another and soon they were even on my arm and my shoulders. I had up to three on my at once but there were at least five in the area. I have tones of pictures posted on my website of this.
The next morning we went to Noosa National Park and hiked on a walking trail for a good couple of hours. Nothing to exciting happened, but I got some nice pictures. One thing that I would like to put out there is that we were within 200 metres of a nude beach but Meghan would not let us go. Not that I really wanted to go because I figure that if there was anyone naked, chances are, they are either old or really ugly (or both). Regardless, now I can say that I was within 200 metres of a nude beach :P. That day we also found my new favorite store. It is called Dick Smith’s Electronics. It is like an American Radio Shack (the good ones) but with 10 times more cool stuff. They have electronic kits for everything from FM transmitters to solar cells. I was very impressed but Eric and Meghan dragged me out of there kicking and screaming :(. That day we also went to a Macadamia Nut Processing plant. It was kind of boring but they had free samples, so I was happy. Across the street was a Ginger factory and I got a nice glass of ginger beer (non-alcoholic of course).
Our next stop was North Stradbroke (Stradie, for short) Island. From what I understand, this is the cheap man’s Fraser Island. Unfortunately we did not have the time, or the money, to go to the highly recommended Fraser Island which is about 400 km north of here. Our first day here was quite eventless, in fact the most interesting thing we did that day, besides driving was the huge portion of “Snapper” and chips we had for dinner. However, early the next day we embarked on a sea kayaking tour. The tour lasted about 3 to 3.5 hours and consisted of kayaking and snorkeling through the Pacific Ocean and through a Mangrove. A Mangrove is kind of like a forest, except there is no grass, only water. It has trees and other plants, but the ground is not dirt, its water. The tour was very interesting, though tiring, and we got to see a lot of cool wildlife. While snorkeling we saw thousands of crab dens, some hermit crabs, blue bottle jellyfish (the deadly kind), lots of clown fish and other tropical fish and much more. That afternoon we went to the beach and chilled for a few hours.
Today, we do not have much planned, but I’ll let you know what happens next.