After a very extensive breakfast we started our today’s ride. First we went to Rockhampton, where you could see a few remains of the flood. In Caneland Shopping Centre, Mackay QLD, we took our first break. Time for Subway, Smoothie and to buy drinks. On a sailboat, you can’t buy that stuff;-)
45 minutes later . On to Airlie Beach. Here we were waiting for our sailing boats. Normally, only a sail boat is chartered, but this time there had been a lot of interest, therefore a small and a large were chartered. Condor and Hammer also organize periodically race between the Whitsundays and at the sea. I, and many of my favorite tour mates were on the “Hammer”.
Sailing between the Whitsunday Islands – day 1
After we had stored our bags and we got explained the basics of sailing, it was going on already. First we used the engine to reach a point where sufficient wind was available.
But then we started already , including tackling, extending the sails, turning the sails
to the other side (“Attack”). We did that for about 2 hours every 10 minutes, until we came to a quiet little cove and laid anchor. Time for a snack. Before we went to the dinner, we ate this really delicious vegetables and crackers with a spicy sauce.
The twilight set in, and we ate freshly grilled meat. The captain grilled it on the bow of the boat.
We enjoyed the clear skies of the night, with many stars and some cool drinks. Then we went to bed, or rather bunk, because more sailing at sunrise!
For today, we were promised the stay at an original Australian farm, Country Homestead. Prior to it, we had to get back to the mainland.
All were excitingly waiting for the ferry and although there was a latecomer to the pier, but all reached the ferry on time.
After a short ride we were back in our comfortable bus.
After a break we arrived 6 hours later, at 5 clock in the afternoon the farm, just a three-quarter hour from Rockhampton.
Usually, for Contiki there’s always been taken a trip by truck through the area, this was due to the flood a few weeks ago in Queensland not possible. The water of the creek was still too high.
While we waited for dinner, we enjoyed ourselves with the little children of the owners. Some other tour mates played soccer with the son.
The second activity , however, took place. After
a really delicious dinner we went to the whip swinging. We were shown how to properly swing a whip, so that bangs in the air. Most tour mates including me got through the course. Why is swinging the whip so important? In this area there are many poisonous frogs, bites from these toads are fatal. What is done with the whips ? Right!
During the the evening the fun really began. Karaoke! Many people (including me) dared and warbled whole songs into the microphone.
During the karaoke evening some tour mates (Kat, Louisa, Sam, Shaun, I) created a Facebook group. “Dirty bit” is the name of the group. We named the group name after our morning song.
Morgensong – Black Eyed Peas – The Time
Every morning, Justine played the song “The Time” (Dirty Bit)” by Black Eyed at beginning to wake up everyone and to have an even better mood. Every Contiki tour, whether Australia, New Zealand or the USA, has its own song.
Sailing in Australia? Sure thing! In the next post more about it!
Good morning Australia! Okay, it was only 7:30 in the morning, but the sun was already shining. For me that means naturally best mood 🙂
We’re now ready to hit to Fraser Island. Most of us opted for the expedition.
Fraser Island Tour
Two huge buses that can drive through deepest waters, stood in front of us. Fraser Island Discovery is the name of the tour operator.
We climbed into the buses and our tour to Fraser Island started. At the beginning we rode on normal roads, then at some point on dirt roads. I think it was shortly before 10:00 when we had a stop near the cliffs, still on the mainland, to take a breakfast break. They offered instant coffee , cupcakes and juice. Many of us took photos of the cliffs. Then it went on. We traveled over a sandy path that leads directly to the beach. But before we went to the beach, our driver stopped briefly and explained what we should do, when we meet on dingos and crocodiles. We reached the beach ,in front of us was waiting a ferry. The two huge buses drove up . Then the ferry transfered us to Fraser Island. At Fraser, we were leaving the ferry on the beach.
We raced at high speed along the wet beach. Then we made a short stop. A dingo ran past our bus. Zeit für Fotos von Dingos. 🙂 Then we went down the beach. A short time later we saw a whale on the beach he was probably washed ashore. The driver got out and asked a man who already took care of the animal, what had happened.
Further along the beach! About 15 minutes later we were allowed to walk on the beach. After the obligatory beach photos , we were asked to put our cameras on a towel. Group photos! We all posed ourselves for the photo and the two Fraser Island experts took one camera after the other and shot the photos. Why some of the girls suddenly started to laugh loudly turned out later.
Fraser Island also has Rain forest? the question can be answered quickly. We were dropped in the middle of the forest and should follow a trail. Then they would expect us at the other end. The walk through the Rain forest is really fun, because the air smells really fresh and healthy. 30 minutes after we reached the bus. What to do next to Fraser Island? We went to a lake in the
Middle of the island. where we first made ourselves comfortable and jumped into the water. The temperature at this season is really excellent. To complete this real good morning, we went to lunch. As previously ordered, it was fish or grilled meat with fresh vegetables and bread. Really tasty!
After lunch we went to our today’s accommodation. We had all been excited to see what “Eco Lodges” on Fraser Island would mean.
Eco Lodges on Fraser Island
From all the accommodations, this was most unpopular.. Eco Lodge on Fraser Fraser Island means:
A house with sliding doors, a central room with a table, two bathrooms and several smaller rooms in which are each 2 bunk beds.
In the evening we went to a restaurant on the resort and enjoyed a pizza , the pitcher of beer were distributed even across all of us.
Some tour mates enjoyed the night with a lot of alcohol in one of the other bars, some other the intimacy of a walks through the resort.
Most of us went to bed early in order to pack the suitcase in the morning.
Drring! Okay, more like: Beep, beep. Get up early once again. Our stops today: Brisbane and Noosa. After all the suitcases and bags (+ Youngys Surf Board) were stowed away, we were able to recover on the bus.
Justine and Youngy (coach captain) first drove us towards Brisbane. While Justine explained us today’s schedule , the first already fall asleep again. Shortly before 9:30 we got a wake-up call for some of us . A list was handed around that we had to sign. Ths list was about what we want to eat during our Fraser Island expedition. The choices were fish, meat and vegetarian dishes.
Shortly before 9:45, we arrived in Brisbane. After a short ride through the city we were let out at a big square. From here we went to a jewelry store. where they told us something about opals.
Some tour mates including me went towards the city center to eat something / buy something to drink. Then we went shopping for Australia day. Shortly before half past 12! The journey continued to Noosa!
It was already after noon. shortly after 2:00 pm. Again plenty of time to
eat and relax. Except for extremely high-priced restaurants, there was not really something in the main street. I bought just a sandwich and a cappuccino-to-go from 7-11 and we enjoyed some time to stroll on the beach. At about 4 in the afternoon we went to our today’s accommodation, the Australis Noosa Lakes Resort. Here again we had some time to unpack the suitcase and make us fresh, because tonight we will go to a country club which looks more like a large restaurant with slot machines. Earlier we enjoyed some time of course in the pool at the resort.
Australis Noosa Lakes Resort
We had an apartment on the first Floor with a balcony with views of the lake. After the entrance you find yourself in an anteroom. There you will find a washer and dryer. The apartment itself has a living room with a open cooking area. The apartment is quite spacious, so plenty of room for a little party: D The couch can be converted into a bed. The separate bedroom has a queen size bed.
After dinner we went back to the resort, where we threw a little party in our apartment
College Party? I haven’t been to a college party yet, but our party was relatively quiet except for the music. Although some had a lot fun with alcohol and playing cards, others enjoyed the time on the balcony to chill out. 🙂
The alarm clock rang early. At 7:20, some tour mates and I had to stand in the lobby. Why? Because I’m going to jump out of an aircraft at 12000 ft. altitude
Gold Coast Skydive
Well, there it’s was, the shuttle to the office of the Gold Coast Skydivers. 4 people want to jump from a aircraft which is in my perfect condition. During our trip the first two tour mates (“Jumpers”) filled out a form. That must do every jumper. When we arrived at the office, we got the first instrutions and tips. As Ellen and I, were in the second group , we could relax a little, while the first two were driving to the airport.
My partner was the experienced skydiver jumping Steve, who is also among the first people who jumped from Mount Everest.
Now it was our turn. Following an instruction and the application of the jumpsuits, we drove to the airport, only estimated 5 minutes away. The plane took off, and slowly gained altitude. After a few minutes we reached the jump height of 12000 ft. The side door opened, and Ellen and her Skydive partner slid to the right place. A few moments later I looked through the door. “Ready?” “yes”.
Tied to Steve, he pushed us off the plane. A breathtaking feeling (do not take it literally;-)). Note:I have not yet ridden any rollercoaster;-)
After some time the parachute opened and we floated over the beautiful Gold Coast. “Amazing!” For a while me let Steve steer the parachute, which is quite easy. As we approached the beach a few minutes later, Steve was preparing the landing . During the landing procedure I had to put my shoes on his shoes. Even before I realized we were already standing on the beautiful beach of the Gold Coast. Butter soft landing on the Gold Coast! A “breathtaking experience” which anybody should do. It does cost $ 425 AUD with video recording, but it’s definitely worth it!
Meanwhile, it was just before nine and They took us by shuttle to the hotel. During the ride my dad called and asked what things am I doing. ( I posted a photo on the internet shortly before). I confirmed to him that I just jumped off a plane from 12000ft.
Explore Surfers Paradise
Since I had booked no further optionals for the day, I decided to have breakfast first and then to explore Surfers Paradise.
I decided after a detailed walk through the party town of Surfers Paradise for a yummy Dark Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks. Starbucks is part of my mandatory program, when ever I’m traveling around the world. 🙂
Afterwards I went for some shopping to Billabong. Yeah! Finally, in a Billabong flagship store. The day was approaching the early evening and therefore I was moving towards the hotel.
Draculas Cabaret Show
Almost all tour mates including me booked the by Justine recommended cabaret show at “Dracula’s Gold Coast”
It is “Australia’s favorite Dinner Theatre”. At the entrance we were welcomed by a creepy-looking character and had to enter the venue through a coffin-like door. After a high-priced cocktail at the bar, we went through a short ghost train into the “Theatre of the Vampire”: D We all sat around a large table, where we could enjoy the show and our more than delicious food (3 course meal) .
Before it continued properly, the vampire from the entrance announced that besides Contiki there’s also another VIP here tonight. Justin Bieber Screaming! 😉 In fact, Mr. Bieber was sitting not even 10 feet away from us and also enjoyed the show.
Unfortunately, in the entire location photography and filming is not allowed.
Therefore, here is the official TV spot for Dracula’s Gold Coast:
Dracula’s is definitely worth it’s $ 85 AUD! The food and the show including comedy and rock music parts are excellent! 2 hours High Quality Fun!
After a really excellent breakfast at Mojo surf camp “Spot X”, we went further towards Surfers Paradise, but before, , but we made a stop at noon in Byron Bay.
In Byron, we (2 German girls + one New Yorker and I) had a chilled-afternoon and ate a really delicous meal for lunch, while some other tour mates went to the beach.
Then we went to Australia’s most eastern point, Cape Byron. The quasi-mandatory photographing time just went by and we sat in the bus again. Let’s go to Surfers Paradise.
Surfers Paradise is the Miami of Australia. Surfing, beach, shopping, partying and much more can you expect here. Surfers Paradise is part of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. On the Gold Coast many TV series and feature films are produced. Even one of my favorite former children’s series was produced on the Gold Coast.
But before we traveled to Surfers Paradise, we made a brief stop at the Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland.
Here we had the opportunity to stroke kangaroos ,to see crocodiles and carry a koala bear on the shoulder (of course with high-priced photo;-)).
Contrary to the claims, the koalas do not stink. So much for rumors. Hehe! I got a koala placed on me and someone took a photo. Koalas are really cute animals.
Surfers Paradise – Day 1
Surfers Paradise! Welcome to the party paradise of Australia. I set myself some years ago the goal to come to this place. Surfers Paradise is a part of the Gold Coast and is also a part of several famous movie and television series. Even the famous Australian children’s TV series “H2O – Just Add Water” was filmed here. Some people say that Surfers Paradise is the Miami of Australia. We traveled across the famous Gold Coast Hv. to our hotel, the “Australis Sovereign Surfers Paradise” – a 4.5 star hotel.
Australis Sovereign Surfers Paradise
The hotel has a spacious lobby. Let’s see how the rooms are …
I shared the room again with my tour mates from the surf camp. The “room” consisted of a living room with a kitchen and a sofa convert to bed. The bedroom had a spacious king-size bed and one single bed, a closet provides plenty of storage space. The large balcony can be reached from the living room and bedroom. The bathroom was clean and has a bathtub with shower. The living room has a small flat-screen TV. In the rooms although is WiFi available, but as the Internet at the Internet terminals in the lobby, it’s not for free.
We got a voucher for breakfast from Contiki. Since we stayed for 3 days at this hotel, It was necessary to organize another breakfast.
Since we arrived relatively late on the first day, we had several hours free time to make us fresh and to select a styling for this evening. Our tour guide had already announced that we would now go into the night club “Sin City” – VIP Access Included! I went off earlier to explore the city.
The night – Sin City Club in Surfers Paradise
I arrived first in front of the club and asked my , whether the other tour mates
were already inside. A few minutes later, I answered my question. The first tour mates arrived. When all were there, Justine(tour guide) accompanied us to the VIP wait line and we went in after passport check. My first Australian nightclub. The atmosphere felt like one the large night clubs in Munich, just a bit more “cozy”. 🙂
After a really excellent breakfast buffet at the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, we continued towards Byron Bay.
However, we had a break at noon in Coffs Harbour, to eat something and fill up our drinks stocks. An Australian standard meal at McDonalds (Burger + chips) costs $ 9 AUD.
Mojos Surf Camp
In the late afternoon we arrived at Mojos surf camp “Spot X” in order to do something uniquely Australian: Surfing!
Yes we were warned, but it was very interesting. We should be accommodated in container like cabins for one night. Some were lucky and even had a patio door. We i.e., 2 tour mates and I got a container without a sink / toilet. Since we ,always had to , let’s say “go out”, we received a compensation. 1 Mojo Surf T-shirt and a coupon worth $ 150 AUD for photos that will be taken during our surf session .
Our surf session began with a brief and very funny, Introduction. Then we took our boards and went to the beautiful beach. time for dried exercise! : D
After that we went straight to the nice wet.
Unfortunately I was not really long on my board, but Australians, New Zealanders and Californians just have the home advantage. : D
In the evening we went to the buffet. It was cooked fresh for us. Really tasty! There’s something for everybody Here we also met Roxy Roxy “the crazy German”. She works here in the surf camp and clearly has fun doing it. 🙂
Contiki begins! To be more precise, the Contiki “Beaches and Reefs” tour began exactly one months ago.
After the everyday morning things (showers, clothing,…) I went to the lobby and saw already a large group of people standing at a small table.
However, I went first to the front desk to check out. Back to the small table. There was young woman wearing a Contiki polo shirt. After another friendly “Good morning” from me, I handed her my voucher for the Contiki “Beaches and Reefs” tour. Then I had to write my insurance details and emergency contact name on a list.
Wait a few minutes and a coffee from the breakfast room later we went to the bus to let our baggage be stored.
Then we started. First, We went to the Mrs Macquaries Chair, on the way our tour guide Justine explained us, what we have to expect for the next few hours:
Group photo, then 2 hours drive, short break, continue our ride to Port Stephens.
Group photo and the straggler
We arrived at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and first we ran around a bit, while the photographer set up his equipment. Then we all did (all ?;-)) our first group photo (+ some variants) with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
We had the choice between different sizes, and whether one wanted the “normal” or crazy version. While the photographer was preparing the prints , the tour mates including me took photos of the area. And I realized that someone was also from Germany. We quickly came in touch. A few moments later, someone came up to us and realized, oh, there are also two other german speaking people. In short: three German-speaking people including me, are on the tour.
I decided to go for the “normal” photo in the larger variant. $ 20 AUD. Yeah! but it is worth to me 🙂
While we are moved back to the bus, we heard , that Justine talked to someone on the phone. Someone had already missed us at the hotel.
She gave him 7 minutes, otherwise he would have to find his own way to catch up with us. A taxi came roaring up, the Texan made it and sat down next to me.
My first Australian rest stop station
After about 2 hours it was time, our first stop for 30 minutes. The first rest stop, that I visited in Australia. 😀
The sun was already very active again. To begin the tour calmly, I opted for the Dolphin tour, as an alternative, they usually offer sand surfing. Sadly, we could see a dolphin only very briefly. Too bad. But it was still a very good opportunity to get used to the Australian sun.
Shoal Bay Resort and Spa
The Shoal Bay Resort and Spa is a real find.
Our room had a double bed, and another room with two single beds separated by a sliding door and a bathroom.
We had a room facing the back yard of the kitchen, although it was quiet, but some other tour mates were lucky enough to get a room overlooking the pool.
Der Pool ist chillig, rund um den Pool sind Liegen und einige Sonnenschirme. Man kann hier ebenfalls an einem kleinen Stand nicht alkoholische und alkoholische Getränke kaufen. The pool is and some sun nice, deck chairs and sun umbrellas are lying around the pool. There’s also a small stand to buy non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. For the room party is a bottle shop only a few hundred meters away. 😉
The breakfast buffet was excellent, there is a huge selection of sweets and a coffee / hot drink machine.
On our first night we had actually a room party, with some other tour mates. Perfect make some new friends 🙂
Beep, beep , beep. 9:00 am in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It’s my second day (15th Jan 2011) in this beauty of city. It is time to explore Sydney! After the usual morning things (showers, clothing ,…) I was at 9:37 in the lobby. I decided not to eat breakfast at the hotel because I in my opinion the price is not adequate. I took out my smart phone and looked for the nearest Starbucks Coffee House. I already knew where it is approximately, but I wanted to be sure and prefered to view the route. I went to Elizabeth Street, on the edge of the CBD. As I studied the menu, I noticed that it differs slightly from the European menu. They offer Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuchino. Yeah!. I took also a bagel and a Australia Country Mug.
Downtown / CBD Sydney
Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Downtown you will find old houses like in New York City, but also modern skyscrapers. In addition,
Sydney has a monorail that runs through half the city.
I wandered through CBD just following my feeling. My destination was the harbor. On the way, I made also a short stop at an ATM. It was the first that displayed the actual transaction fee for a withdrawal.
I walked across a pedestrian bridge at Cockle Bay, in front of me I saw the Australian National Maritime Museum and an old sailing ship. Monorail above me drove to the other side. I wandered for a few more minutes and saw a covered area near the harbor edge. Here were several roofed benches and tables. From here you could see some certainly high-priced apartments with views to the bay. Nice place to live 🙂
I sat down and pulled out the Free Sydney Guide from Sydney International Airport. While leafing through, I realized that the Sydney Aquarium is pretty much praised. On his way, I had seen it from the pedestrian bridge. I decided therefore to make my way to the Sydney Aquarium, especially because it was noon now, and the sun was already very “active” .
The Sydney Aquarium is really quite funny, but you should particularly during the lunchtime allow some time in the wait line. I arrived there shortly after 12:00 clock more than 30 minutes in the wait line. If you need Australian money , there’s one rediATM just before the entrance . If you already have a ticket,you can skipthe wait line, because you can also buy tickets online. If you have no tickets yet, then you’ll have the choice of different packages with typically “Australian prices” . One-time access costs $ 35 AUD, an annual pass costs $ 80 AUD. There are also packages like e.g. a
Combined ticket for the Sydney Wildlife World. I opted for the General Admission Ticket. Tomorrow I’m already going on tour with the Contiki Beaches and Reefs Summarized it can be said that in Sydney Aquarium are many small and large aquariums with fish and turtles, as well as : Shark-Tracker, a large shark area with glass tubes, a huge “Great Barrier Reef” tank. At the end follows a large area that looks like the burger fast food chain with the big M. They offer e.g. Burger with chips (French fries) for $ 9 AUD.
Let’s take some time to do a city tour and see some other parts of Sydney. I already knew, that’s at Circular Quay is a starting point for sightseeing tours. Circular Quay is just 1.5 km from Sydney Aquarium. The tour has certainly points for Hop-on, which are closer, but I want to see more places in Sydney 🙂
City tour in Sydney
After about 30 minutes I was standing for the first time at Circular Quay in Sydney. The big red buses from city sightseeing can’t be overlooked;-)
A day ticket with unlimited hop-on hop-off costs here $ 35 AUD.
The Tour of city sightseeing tour is unfortunately only a tape recording.
After a relaxing sightseeing tour, I ate a pizza at Pizzahut and then I continued my the way to Potts Point, because tomorrow starts my Contiki Beaches and Reefs tour.
My first day in Australia, it was already after 3 clock in the afternoon. I decided to visit first Sydney’s most famous landmark. The Sydney Opera House!
Thanks to Google Maps on my smartphone, I already knew that the walk to the Opera House only takes about 25 minutes. So I got on the way to the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden.
The moment I entered, it was clear that I have a new favorite city. A city park in the middle of skyscrapers is pretty cool, a city park which is also on the waterfront is even better. The Sydney Opera House is located , as commonly known, on the waterfront and directly accessible from the Botanic Garden. A few minutes later I was already on the edge of the Botanic Garden. I took the road to the Open Air Theatre, also located there. However, I passed by a crowd of people waiting for an
Open Air Cinema presentation , and then I arrived already at waterfront. It was already possible to see the Sydney Opera House . Here I also made the first Picture Post from Sydney city for my “Maik Ter World Live” service (a website for friends and relatives to show, where I am currently in Australia).
Unfortunately the weather was somewhat cloudy, it was still T-shirt weather, in perhaps the best city in the world. I went on to the Sydney Opera House.
However, I spent some time at the Sydney Opera House and then made my way back. Thereby I met two girls in my age, with Australian accent, they asked me if I could take a photo of them. Sure! Incidentally, the two also had a camera from the Sony Cybershot series. (I currently use a Sony HX5V myself, see equipment). Sony’s small cameras seem to be very popular in Australia.
My way lead me to the hotel this time directly through the Botanic Garden, ie not down along the waterfront, but by the green areas. Similar to the English Garden in Munich, many couples picnicking, sunning here (Did I mention that I am single? 🙁 ).
In the background: the beautiful skyline of Sydney CBD (Central Business District) . I came back to one of the main roads. Surprisingly I noticed that a church / small cathedral is in the middle of this nice city , directy at a main road.
Around half past six in the evening I was again in Kings Cross. I discovered an interesting sign (look right). I already read in Contiki’s official forum that various tour mates were in the same hotel and would eventually have some fun in the neighborhood at night. I decided, however, for a chilling night in a king size bed. Although I had no jet lag (I’m always jet-lag-free), but I noticed that I had to refuel some energy. The mentioned tour mates arrived a few days before.
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