My last two days in Cairns were spent hanging out (mostly by the lagoon) with Stine and Bella who had made their way up from Brisbane. Such a nice and relaxed way to end my vacation. But it didn’t really leave me with any time to catch up on blogging, and since I’ve been back in the real world other things have been prioritized.
After hugging Stine and Bella goodbye I set out for a four hour drive to Hervey Bay.
I arrived at my motel just in time to catch a bit of sun by the pool before it was time to hit the local crossfit box. Or at least so I thought.. Their webpage said one address, Google Maps and instagram another address and in reality I never managed to find the place. And suddenly it was past the time the class was supposed to begin so it didn’t even make sense to give them a call. I was quite frustrated after I’d been driving around searching like a maniac so just to use some of that energy I found a regular gym – not quite the social workout I’d hoped for but it was better than sitting in my motel room being angry with the entire city of Hervey Bay (because yes, it was the entire city’s fault?).
Although my only reason for visiting Hervey Bay was to go see Fraser Island it turns out that there is one other thing you really should do while you’re there: go on a whale watching tour. It’s pretty much the capital of whale watching in Australia and the whales actually come up close to the boats by themselves. Unfortunately there was no way I could squeeze that into my plans but consider yourselves warned now if you ever visit this part of Australia!
Anyway, that was a bit of a detour. The next morning I was picked up at 7.15am for my Fraser Island tour.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place where tall rainforest grow on sand. It is 123 km long and 22 km wide. The main road across the island goes through no less than five different eco systems! If I heard correctly then the amount of sand that Fraser Island is made of is equal to one quarter of Sahara.
Our first stop was Lake McKenzie which is one of the more than 100 freshwater lakes on the island. This lake is a perched lake so it consists only of rainwater coming from above. It was very beautiful and I can only imagine that it’s even prettier when the sun is shining.
After Lake McKenzie we followed the main road across to the other side of the island. It is a really rough drive in the soft sand and I think I now might know how clothes must feel when it’s being tumble-dried. The only bitumen roads on the island are right around the resorts, all the other roads are soft sand so a 4WD is required.
On the eastern coast runs the 75 mile beach which is also a highway. It’s an official designated road with speed limits which I tried to snap a photo of but the thing is when you’re going 80 km/h in sand it’s really difficult to get a good photo! Oh and by the way the beach also doubles as a landing strip for the airport!
The first stop on the beach was the wreck of SS Maheno. It beached in 1935 when it was being towed to Japan but the tow rope snapped during a cyclone. It had been sold to Japan for scrap and by law the rudders had to be removed before so with the rope snapping there wasn’t to do.
Then it was on to the Champagne Pools. It is the only place on the island where it’s safe to take a swim in the ocean. The rocks form two small pools that are protected from the rough waves and because of those rocks the pools are filled with bubbly foamy water.
After a lunch buffet on the back of the cars it was time for a little climb to the top of Indian Head where there’s a pretty good view.
On our way back to the ferry along the highway slash beach we made a stop at Eli Creek. It is the largest creek on the island and 80 million litres of water flows through the creek and into the ocean every single day. So the flow is actually strong enough to float along on a floatie in case you brought one with you.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any dingoes but we did actually see a snake on the side of the road! I think I’d preferred the dingoes..
I was back at my hotel around 6pm, absolutely knackered after a long and sandy day but now able to tick off one more UNESCO Heritage site.
Warning: Contains pictures so cute that your heart is going to melt a little.
Last winter my friend Stine (whom I know from crossfit and the occasional mud bath slash obstacle course run) told me that she wanted to do a semester in Brisbane and that sort of kickstarted my travel plans. Like most people I’ve always dreamed about going to Australia, just not really knowing when that someday would be. But with Stine spending six months here I got the ‘excuse’ I needed.
So I left you in suspense on where I went to when I’d had enough of the pretty – but cold – Blue Mountains. Well I’d found a coastal town called The Entrance, not much of a detour towards my plan for the following day.
One last workout at Crossfit Athletic, a quick breakfast and then it was time to head to the suburbs to pick up my wheels for the following three weeks. The rental company had been so ‘kind’ to upgrade me to a larger car. Sounds nice but I really would’ve preferred a smaller one. It’s difficult enough to get used to driving on the [wrong] left hand side without also feeling that you’re maneuvering an elephant on wheels! To be fair it might not be that big (it’s a Toyota Corolla Ascent) but compared to my own cute and beloved car back home it’s gigantic!
So my goal of the day was quite simple: get me and my car to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains without any of us getting hurt.
Monday morning started out with a drop in at Crossfit Athletic City for a quick workout including three rounds of running around the block in between lots of people dressed in suits heading to work.
From you jump on a train at Sydney International Airport till you’re standing at Circular Quay looking at the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge it only takes 15 minutes. 15 minutes? I still don’t get how that is possible! But I loved finally being there – on the other side of the world.
After more than two weeks on the road it wasn’t all bad that I had to wait for a couple of days before Louise could fly up to SF since it gave me some much needed time for blogging and relaxing.
I’d opted for Santa Cruz to be my base for the two days and it turned out to be the perfect relaxed city just as I’d hoped. So after admiring the redwoods in Muir Woods I drove to Santa Cruz south of SF.
My second full day in San Francisco was all about exploring the city on two wheels. So I started out by picking up a bike and then doing a 2 hour guided tour to Sausalito north of SF.
My two and a half days/three nights in San Francisco were pretty jam-packed so I think I might have to split it into two separate posts.
On my way from Yosemite to SF I stopped by an outlet center so I didn’t arrive in SF till late in the afternoon. I was staying very close to Fisherman’s Wharf and I went for a walk around the neighborhood straight after checking in.