Peep Peep … The alarm clock again. Today, i.e. 28 January 2011, we had again to get up early, because at 7:10 am we were ready to hit the Great Barrier Reef.
Most of us were on time. Youngy drove us to the port of Cairns, just a few meters away from Dundee’s Restaurant. There we entered a large boat with some non-Contiki people.
Great Barrier Reef Tour
We went first for a longer time on to the open sea.
The price of this optional includes: The ride, multiple occasions to enter the
Glass-bottom boat, snorkeling and small snacks.
At an additional cost you could also book real dives (scuba diving).
During the trip we did stop several times, either to ride with the little glass-bottom boat , or scuba diving.
Our driver of the glass bottom boat was definitely a Frenchman. It just sounds funny
when you hear someone speak with french and Australian accent. At our second Stop, I decided to go out snorkeling.
While I was holding me on a ring and moved forward with dolphin fins , I was guided by one of these attractive Aussie girls working of the the Great Barrier Reef Tour team. She took Photos of me and the fish in the Great Barrier Reefs. She was using my disposable underwater camera, I bought before.
I’ve never snorkeled before, and then the first time right at the Great Barrier Reef (in the middle of the open sea), is therefore very special.
Contiki Beaches and Reefs Farewell Party
Today was the last full day of most tour participants. Therefore we had a small party with good food in Whoolshed, Cairns, the most popular backpacker bar . T-bone steak for $ 15 AUD is a good deal.
The bar was filling up slowly with other people and it got larger party.
After a long night in pubs it’s time to Swing!. At AJ Hackett in Cairns you can do bungy jumping and and a Minjin Swing. Since I’m already jumped off a plane at 12000ft, I decided to just make the swing. Unfortunately, it was less spectacular than expected. Skydiving is just not easy to beat.
I spent the rest of the day with some tour mates in a mall including lunch. It is possible to order a taxi at the front desk of the Cairns Colonial Club. Usually after 4 minutes one is there. In the Downtown Mall in Cairns, there is actually a pretty good Italian restaurant. A pizza costs min. $ 19 AUD here, but it’s worth it.
In the evening I went to Dundee restaurant with an Australian girl on the pier in Cairns. There we met further tour mates. Dundee Restaurant in Cairns is a recommendation from our tour guide Justine. You get “typical Aussie food“. Of course I ordered Kangaroo. It tastes very interesting, it has little fat and is just delicious. It was served with peanut sauce and some vegetables. A real recommendation!
After a really generous breakfast buffet, including espresso, it was unfortunately time to say good bye to few tour mates. For some tour mates Daydream Island was the end of the tour.
During our ferry took off, we waved after them a long time. But it also meant to know three new people. For three Australian girls Daydream Island was the beginning of the tour.
After a short trip to the mainland, we waited briefly on the coach, and bought some cool beverages. Then came Youngy with his beloved coach, we packed up the luggage and the journey continued.
Australian flags were hanging everywhere inside. Why? It’s Australia Day!
Australia Day is one of Australia’s national holidays. Most stores are closed. At night you can see many people with faces full of makeup and colorful clothes in the national colors of Australia.
We took a break for a few hours in Townsville at a shopping center to prepare for our Australia Day. I bought a green / golden T-shirt. Others also makeup.
Our accommodation in Cairns is the Cairns Colonial Club . Somewhat remote, but a relaxing resort, with pool and bistro.
Tonight we had a big event again. A pub crawl through Cairns. $ 30 AUD today for dinner, VIP access to 4 pubs / night clubs, as well one free drink at each venue.
Our pub crawl / party expert “Clipper” led us first to Gilligan,
here we got first to bite something. Then went from night club to night club and bar to bite bar including ( 4 venues), Dacing and games. One of my tour mates lost his shoes and socks. In another venue, there was a Toad race. Here, a tour mate has even won free bungee jumping. Australian girls and Australians in general can party! the big way! That rumor is definitely true.
At some point a few tour mates including me took a taxi to the hotel.
The third day was much more relaxed sailing, there were only a few races and “attacks”. Around noon we arrived in front of Daydream Island, where we first had to wait for the Condor. 🙂 Hammer wins!
Before we landed, we all filled out a feedback form and promised to join the Facebook Group of the ship.
Daydream Island Resort and Spa
As we entered the island, we were the first shell necklaces around the neck. Hawaii vacation feeling!
The entire resort occupies almost the whole island. Various buildings, pools, attractions, restaurants and shops forming the island. Our room was okay, for Contiki, 2 Bunk beds were provided instead of a king size bed. We had an ocean view room with shower bathroom.
I believe around 4:30 in the afternoon we did a tour of the facility, The island is home of many fishs, rays and sharks (and gorgeous female tour guides). I held for some time a mini-shark.
For tonight we had planned a pool party after dinner. First we had to do a mandatory group photo then went for dinner, which was really good, it costs just $ 20 AUD.
7:30am, time to get up. We went straight to breakfast because we wanted to save us the time to shower for tonight. We had only 60 seconds per day for a shower. For 3 days that’s just 3 minutes.
For breakfast they offered cereals, fresh fruits and white bread. Of course, I tried again Vegemite. Many Europeans would probably spit it out immediately because they do not like the extreme taste. I think it’s okay.
We sailed again until 9:00 in the morning, then we took a boat to Whitsunday Island.
Whitehaven Beach is a 7km long beach and is considered the whitest beach in the world. It is located in the middle of the Whitsundays Whitsunday Island. 😉
Before we could relax on the whitest beach in the world. However,
first we had to walk across the island and through the forest. After the forest we were standing at an observation platform, where we did again a group photo of us, the Contiki group of the hammer. At Whitehaven Beach it’s not allowed to wear shoes , so we put our sandals under a shady tree.
At 12:30 we went back to the boats, where we
enjoyed pastries and salad for lunch. As always, delicious.
After several hours of sailing, including many “attacks”, we set in front of a sand bank and took the raft over. There we had cold drinks and nachos for dinner. Some tour mates collected shells and took pictures.
While some people went at nightfall over to the Condor to rise the alcohol level , stayed a few (including me) on the Hammer and looked at the starry sky. The story that during the night a tour mate went astray on the wrong boat, stays on the Hammer 😉
I slept for some time on deck, but then I moved to my bunk, because it started to rain. Good night! 🙂
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!