Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sharks in Airlie & A Whitsunday Sailing Trip

Spent the last few days sailing the Whitsunday Islands on the British Defender, coolest trip ever! (For those of you Facebookers on the trip, click to see my original blog post, click on the slideshow below, and download all our party pics!) Whitsundays...crazy sailing, hot goon (cheap Aussie wine in a box), vegemite penalties, and horserace card games :)

Airlie Beach itself is a backpacker party town that sleeps few hours a night. Vic Hislop's Shark Museum was definitely a highlight...great info on the Great White & Tiger sharks, horrific stories, bureaucratic shark attack coverups, and a frozen specimen of the Great White, caught by the shark hunter himself. Let's just hope the diving waters in Cairns are shark free in the next few days!

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Short Glimpse of Fraser Island

One of those times I wished I listened to the travel agent...should probably have taken the 2 night/3 day packaged camping tour organized by Dingo's hostel. My one-day glimpse of Fraser Island was beautiful, but the freshwater lakes and miles of beaches and ocean could have definitely used a few days. Lake McKenzie is gorgeous, and riding in a jeep-like vehicle over the sand is a fun adventure. Spent the last few days in Rainbow Beach, a cute place but one whose surf was incomparable to Noosa's (surfing instructor included). I'll let the pictures do the island justice...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Noosa: Surfing in a Deadtown

Noosa itself is just another beach town, more for vacationers than backpackers...although I'll say my private surf lesson was amazing! (Picked the right day I guess, nobody else showed up!) Surfed every wave, and definitely ready to surf more up the coast...and maybe in Sydney's icy-cold waters. Other than that, would recommend Noosa as only a stopover...when it's not pouring rain!

Met some cool German girls though...Prost!
Pictures below: verr├╝ckte Schlampen!

Surfer's Paradise : Catching the Waves & Backpacker Parties

Surfer's Paradise was not as picturesque as Byron Bay, but definitely a backpacker party town. Crazy pubcrawls, more surf lessons, beach shops, and beautiful night walks along the beach. Pubs with names like "The Shack" and "The Bedroom"...all tattooed on your arm in pub entrance stamps. Practically indelible ink...took 2 days in the surf to get that off! As per usual, every second person I met was British, so there was some awesome times!

Top Row Pics: Backpacker's night out: Sapna, John, Hannah, & the Irish boys on the pub crawl! And all of us with the Brits..Ian and Dave
Bottom Row Pics: Cherry, Joanna, Sarah & Sapna..girls night out!
Pic: Sapna & Matt, beach night

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nearly Normal Nimbin: A Hippy Town

A surprising day today in the Australian countryside on our daytrip to Nimbin. Beautiful two hour drive up to through farms and tiny towns near Mt. Warning, an old volcano, and Uki (a teeny town that would apparently have been one of the world's safest places to be if Russia had attacked in the Cold War...where do they get these stats anyway?). Not the rainforest-like scenery I had expected near the Gold Coast, but a refreshing and gorgeous change from the beach.

The town itself? Hippies, veggies, hemp clothing stores, druggies...oh, wait...I repeat myself! Although we refrained from the magic cookie offers, it's a crazy experience to see...a recommended detour :-)

Hannah, & Steph @ the Rainbow Cafe
Hannah & Sapna in Nimbin

Byron Bay: Surfing the Waves

Byron Bay is a cute little surfer town on the Gold Coast of Australia, where I've spent the last few days trying to ride the waves. Our instructor, a typical surfer-boy, took us out to his town, Lennox-Head, the most easterly point on the Australian coast and a less touristy beach. Surfing, though, consists mainly of swallowing too much saltwater, getting sucked under waves, and avoiding the inevitable strikes by your own (or someone else's) surf board. Good fun though...unfortunately no pics of me falling off the board. Stay tuned...I'm signing up for more lessons in Surfer's Paradise.

Byron as a town is a bit touristy for sure, lined with little shops along a beach, full of British backpackers, overpriced brekkie places, and 23 hour coffee shops (seriously!). Backpacker hostels line the streets, and a campsite is available for the more adventurous tenters, and those with campervans. Great place to meet people from the UK...and watch hilarious arguments over the Irish and Aussie pool rules...completely different apparently!

Top left: John, Justin Steph & Hannah at The Rails bar, Byron Bay
From the left: Cherry, Sapna, Justin & Steph at The Rails bar, Byron Bay.
Sapna & Steph @ Cheeky Monkey bar, Byron Bay.
A random guy wearing a pylon hat

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Brisbane: Dull City, Awesome Daytrips

After spending the last 5 days in Brisbane, I can tell those of you on a time crunch, budget, or any sort of logic, to SKIP IT! Ok, I'll give the tour guides some credit, it's overpriced but kinda cute. In a Victoria, BC kinda way (without the ocean)...nice to visit, dine at restaurants, see the cafes, meander along the river, but that's it! There is one main bar, a backpacker bar, full of...you guessed it, backpackers. Not too bad, but so fully packed you can hardly talk. Also, it's a good realization that you've been in Singapore too long when you forget your jacket at an internet cafe at 1 am, come back 6 hours later looking for it...and genuinely expect it to be there! Nope, my black fleece is gone...which in Canada, is no problem, but after Singapore's humidity, 17 degrees is COLD!

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a cute place to cuddle a koala, although the Australia Zoo definitely tops it for a place to be with animals. They really do sleep all day, and are super cute to look at, but wild ones are dangerous, the zoo staff warn! Daytrips out of Brisbane, these two sites beat the city for a good time, for sure.
So, I'm headed to Byron Bay to check out the beaches, meet people at hostels and go to a mini surf camp this weekend. Soak up the sunshine...before this Aussie winter turns really cold!

The slideshow below is a quick look at a few of the gorgeous animals at Lone Pine and Steve Irwin's zoo...so cute!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Farewell Singapore...for a couple months!

My last nights with everyone together in Singapore were amazing...thanks everyone for making an awesome dinner and party better than I could have ever planned. It was a great time, will miss you all and I'll be back to visit those of you still hanging out in Singapore in July.

Amazing dinner at Prego, in Raffles City Plaza...an authentic Italian restaurant! Great pasta, followed by delicious cappuccinos and dessert at Menotti cafe---my favorite coffee shop in the city.
Following that, a party at Crazy Elephant pub, and hanging out at the bridge with beer, into the night, on to the sunrise.

And the next evening, a visit again to Werner's Oven...the delectable German bakery before heading to the airport. I'll be in Australia the next couple months, but I'll be back for a couple more weeks of fun before heading home. Keep reading the Singapore Lizard though...Aussie posts will be online soon.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tioman Island: Drinking. Climbing. Swimming.

Drinking. Climbing. Swimming. That's what you do on Tioman Island. 3 possibilities and yet a world of adventures! We spent the nights on the beach meeting other backpackers, the days on the beach sleeping, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and riding boats in clear blue waters. The entrance on the beach declares that Malaysian law prohibits Muslims from selling, buying, or drinking alcoholic substances...yet they were available everywhere, off the menu. The restaurants were touristy but still had a touch of local feel, the beaches were gorgeous even in the rain, the underwater life was beautiful, and the locals running the tourist bars were so much fun :-)

From the top left: Jordan, Michael, Kristin, Mikael, Sean,
Sapna, Jens,Pierre-Ric, Kamil, Konrad, Michael & Roland

The slideshow below is an overview of the fun we had on an island. Drinking. Climbing. Swimming.