Internet 2 Days in a row.
17.08.2010 22 °C
Our time in OZ is going quickly! WE are really getting a mix of weather and have been able to be part of a number of weather records being broken. On the night of Tuesday Aug 10 we were in our tent making it through a ferocious thunder storm. As the rain continued to pelt our Copper Canyon 1512, Gwen was inside mopping up the water seeping through the floor from the puddle accumulating under the tent, and Paul was outside of the tent trying to take down the awning that was serving as a collection spot for the massive amounts of water coming out of the sky. With day break, we were wet, tired and seriously praying that the rain would stop by the afternoon as the weather forecast predicted so that we could dry out our beds and tent. We passed the morning in a local mall trying to find a stand up heater that we could use inside of the tent to help dry it out. We were successful. With the sun tentatively peeking through the clouds we zoomed back to the camp ground and the dryers to get our tent dry for the night. Turns out this storm broke a 120 year record for the most amount of rain to fall in one day. We just seem to be hitting all this weather change records. Wish we were not! Anyway, we survived!!
The location that we are in for this wonderful rain storm is Hervey Bay ---off the coast is Fraser Island...the world’s largest Sand Island.
This is also the location were humpback whales come to birth their young. So on Thursday we went whale watching.
Great view of the whales...saw 3 pods, also saw dolphins.
It was just incredible. The sheer size of these and then their grace when moving through the water is a sight to behold. It did make us feel small when we were in the boat bobbing around on the water. Although the sight of the whales and dolphins was incredible, there was one problem. Due to the incredible storm that we had the day before the water was very rough. It was so rough that both Ayden and Gwen, even though they had taken Gravol, were both sick. It is rather difficult to be totally amazed with the amazing whales breaching before your eyes when vomiting into a little bag!! On this adventure out on the ocean we saw only one baby, a number of youths, and the rest were adults.
Our last day in Hervey Bay was spent on a day tour of Fraser Island. After taking an hour long boat ride to the island, we then boarded a four wheel drive tour bus...very neat...had no idea such a thing existed but now we do!! The 4WD is a necessity for Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. All the road are just sand....no pavement here!!
Once on the island we were all very glad that we did not go with our original plan and rent a 4WD on the island and tour ourselves. The roads on the island had very deep ruts, were mostly one lane, and had very few names on them. The island is 123 km long ... easy to get lost on and, not knowing the tides and waters well I think we would have been stressed the whole time. On the tour we visited and, Ayden and Paul swam in, a fresh water lake; Lake Mackenzie, (about 23 degrees Celsius/73.4 degree Fahrenheit).
We toured ship wrecks, tramped through rain forest, and dined on a buffet lunch. We also saw our first dingo!!
We wanted to conclude our tale from Hervey Bay by sharing with you our encounters with flying foxes. At the campground that we are staying at there are hundreds of flying foxes that live in the tree right by the ladies bathroom. At night these BIG bats screech at each other, fly around and, in generally, scare the life out of Gwen; a person who does not like bats!!!. Just as Claire and Gwen approach the path to the ladies bathroom the bats start swooping. Many of you are probably realizing that this would not ‘work’ with Gwen. So, an alternate and of course longer route to the bathroom had to be taken to avoid running the bat gauntlet!! Middle of the night bathroom visits did require male escorts ... the walk of terror could not be done alone!!!!
After our visit in Hervey Bay we headed south ounce again to the area of Australia known as the Sunshine Coast. The town of Maroochydore was our home for 3 nights. Maroochydore is right in the middle of the Sunshine Coast with the town of Noosa to it’s north (and location of Noosa National Park, a place we wanted to explore) and the town of Mooloolaba to the South (known for it’s great dinning....ideal for dinner for Claire’s birthday)
In Noosa National Park our day was spent hiking the coastal trail. What a wonderful hike! Of course the amazing weather...sunshine, breeze from the ocean, not a cloud in the sky, did much to make this a very enjoyable day. At the start of the trail we were luck to spot 2 wild Koala’s sleeping in gum trees.
We were very excited about this and thoroughly enjoyed watching these furry little guys. Given that they sleep on average 20 hours per day, we were luck to witness one wake up, eat some food from his hand, pee, poop, and then go back to sleep. Of course we also enjoyed helping other people spot these creatures in the trees.
At the half way point in this hike we stopped at “Hells Gates” and had a snack and paused to take in the incredible view of the rugged coast line. While munching our apples we were able to watch two pods of dolphins playing in the water and 3 sea turtles swimming and diving in the bay. It is moments like these that make you stop and truly be amazing at the wonder of creation around you, and also remind us of how very fortunate we are to be able to witness them.
August 16, Happy Birthday Claire!!! Today our ‘baby’ turns 11. To celebrate this we visited the Australia Zoo (AKA the Steve Erwin Zoo). What a fantastic experience! One of the wonderful things about this zoo is that people are able to get very close to the animals. This is partly due to the way the animal enclosures are designed and also due to the fact that there are opportunities to hold, feed, play with animals all through the park. So, we were able to feed Kangaroos, Wallabies, pat Koalas, play with possums, (the croc nipped off Ayden’s left foot, but other than that, they were fine to interact with). All dreams come true for Claire. Probably the highlight of her day was seeing a mummy Koala with her baby on her back. We all fell in love with this furry pair and spent at least half an hour just watching them navigate through gum trees, eat, groom etc. They were very active since we got to their enclosure right at feeding time. For everyone in our family, viewing this was most definitely the highlight of our day. To finish off this wonderful day we went to Mooloolaba and had dinner at The Hogs Breath ... the food was much better than what the name would suggest!!
Claire and the Kaola; Claire, Roo, and Ayden at Australia Zoo; Ayden and the Possum; Hitching a Ride; Open the Croc
August 17, Happy Birthday Gwen!
Today was a driving day. We are starting to make our way south to Sydney. So, after packing up our tent we hopped into our ‘people mover’ for an 8 hour drive to Emerald Beach Caravan Park. (just outside of Coffs Harbour). As we pulled into the park we saw our first live, wild Kangaroo!! Yippee!!!
To add to the excitement of this sighting was the realization that this Kangaroo had a Joey in her pouch!!!! So yet again our hearts were melted as we watched a Mummy and baby. We laughed as we watched the Joey, while still in the pouch; try to snag a few tidbits of grass each time his Mummy bent over to eat. Once we settled into this Park, the kids headed to the heated pool which they absolutely loved. (Don’t forget, we are in winter season here so night time temps are about 8 degrees ... pools that are not heated are rather crisp during the day) and Gwen headed to the beach to watch the sun set. This is such a beautiful spot that we have decided to stay here for 2 nights ... we will have to cut a night off somewhere else ... will deal with that later. Right now we will enjoy the beautiful beach, hike the headlands, swim in heated pools, watch kangaroos, hopefully see whales and Ayden’s favourite, enjoy a free pancake breakfast Wednesday morning!!