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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Epic Aussi Adventure: Airlie Beach & The Sunshine Coast

Today's Scenery:
The beautiful Tin Can Bay

Today's Travelling Track:

My Chemical Romance- Famous Last Words

St Paddy's Day Breakfast
The rain is chasing us. Of that I am certain. Who knew Australia could be so very rainy? We aren’t even in the tropics anymore and still the bad weather continues. We’ve had some periods of sun however. In fact when we first arrived in Airlie Beach (which is where I left you in my last blog) it was a beautiful day, sunny, hot and calm. We stayed at the Base hostel, but in Turk. There seems to be a fair few hostels in Australia which will actually charge you less than most official campsites and allow you to camp on their premises, and use all the facilities available to their guests. This suits us perfectly; as the bed in Turk is far more comfortable than any hostel bed I have ever come across.

 Airlie beach is a place which is really only good for two things: partying and relaxing. Once the rain started again we decided there was really no point trying to relax and got down to the partying. 
St Paddy's Day Party Crew
We attended a St Paddy’s Day Eve party at The Down Under Bar, thinking it might be fun, however there were a couple of large functions being held there and everyone already knew each other making it a somewhat cliquey and insular event. The next day (the actual day of all things Irish) the rain was torrential (the Irish probably felt at home) we went around a few of the bars to see which were getting involved, had massive “Irish” breakfasts, acquired some comical green hats and commenced with the drinking. The Irish bar, Paddy’s Shenanigans, was extremely unfortunate in that its beer taps had frozen overnight and they had only bottles on offer which meant (shock horror!) no Guinness. They were really quiet until mid-afternoon when the aforementioned equipment finally thawed. It was then that we bumped into an actual Irish, who we knew slightly through a friend. He succeeded in collecting every other true emerald isle native and dragged everyone back to his house for a party. We had a great evening but retired to Turk early as we hoped to cover a substantial distance the next day.

As predicted, the next day we travelled a few hundred kilometres south in an effort to escape the rain. This was ground we had covered previously, and the stretch of road from Mackay to Rockhampton is famously boring anyway. We did stop just north of Rockhampton for an hour to visit the Capricorn caves, a stunning underground formation, which can be entered only as part of a guided tour. Finally, after a whole day of driving in varying degrees of rain, we stopped for the night at a free camping area, and hoped the weather would finally improve the next day. We awoke to cloudy skies, but no actual rain, and felt that this was good enough.

 We drove down to Tin Can Bay, a pretty little coastal town. We stayed at a caravan park in a small cabin (all of our electrical appliances were low on juice) spent the evening on boring housekeeping type tasks and awoke early the next morning to go and watch the dolphin feedings. The volunteers in this town have been performing this task for over thirty years, for the rare wild Indo-Pacific species which inhabits the nearby waters. We arrived at 7am, and joined a handful of people awaiting the arrival of the guests of honour. The feeding was supposed to commence at 8am but that hour came and went and there were no dolphins to be seen. More and more people arrived and finally, at 9am, Mystique swum right into the bay and up to the water’s edge. He was checked for any fresh wounds by the experts (his body was covered in scars from previous shark attacks and other incidents) and we were allowed to feed him two fish each.
It was a lovely thing to do and definitely made me think about the intelligence of these creatures; after all Mystique had over 30 humans waiting for him to arrive for two hours just so that they could give him food!

We drove over to Rainbow Beach. The sun was actually shining (and had been intermittently since the previous afternoon and our arrival in Tin Can Bay) so we walked over some sand dunes and across a few kilometres of beach to get a good look at the multi-coloured cliffs which give the area its name. It was great to finally feel sunshine on our skin again! We drove to Noosa and were there by the early afternoon. All of the nice hostels seemed to be full so we checked into Nomads, which was advertised as a party hostel and booked surf lessons for the next day. Not in the mood for a party we decided to go for a walk and ended up on a walk through the Noosa Headlands National Park which we probably shouldn’t have attempted wearing flip flops/ thongs. When we got back to civilisation we had some dinner at the Hog’s Breath CafĂ© (there aren’t a lot of budget eating options in Noosa) and returned to Turk to get some rest ready to start our surfing careers the following morning.

 We were raring and ready to go at 9am when the surf company’s van pulled in to pick us up. We went to the main surf beach, where the waves seemed comfortingly small, and spent what felt like an age being told about rip tides, sharks, life guards and all manner of other safety information. We practiced positioning and technique on dry land and were finally allowed into the water, first just to ride a wave into the shore in a push up type position, and finally popping up to standing. My first attempt at standing I forgot which foot was which and went in goofy which really didn’t help matters, after a few attempts though, I was up and riding the waves like a pro. I found that paddling before standing really made me feel stable. At one point I even turned accidently! The instructor made us have a rest and when we returned to the water the waves seemed bigger and the tide was further out. I totally forgot how I had been doing it before and started failing to stand all over again. As the lesson ended, the first drops started to fall and we decided it was time to leave Noosa. The weather forecast called for lots more rain and we had seen quite enough of that already!

 Next time: Brisbane Fun, Car problems and more of the wet stuff.

Turk Visits.....The Beach
Turk felt like some sun and a dip in the Sea

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