Helen & Nigel's Around The World trip 2013/14 travel blog

Our nesting Loggerhead turtle

The ferry to Fraser Island

The sandy tracks of Fraser Island

Helen at the logging site

The dead bus

Mckenzie lake

An Iguana

A Kookaburra

A Dingo

The two of us at 75 mile beach Fraser Island

Heading back to the main land

Merry Christmas from the the poolside at Noosa Heads


Hi everyone this is our Christmas blog!

When we left you it was Friday night and we had arrived at Rockhampton YHA. We were allocated a room that was a portacabin and had been used in the Sydney Olympics as part of the athletes village. It was remarkably comfortable after the several nights we had been camping.

On Saturday morning we continued our drive leaving Rockhampton and heading south out of the tropics (again!) and to our next destination which was about 4 hours away and a small campsite on the coast, close to Bundaberg. This campsite was a little basic but was useful as the nearest to our next planned activity.

We had managed to book a visit to Mon Repos nature reserve to view nesting turtles arriving and laying their eggs on the beach that night. As you would expect, the park rangers can't guarantee that turtles will arrive on the beach so its a bit hit and miss.

We arrived at the national park at 6.30pm and prepared for a long wait as it could take until 2am. We all watched a video presentation and almost immediately after it had finished at about 8.30pm we heard a call from the ranger that a turtle had been seen on the beach.

We were with the second of four groups and watched enviously as the first group of about forty set off for the beach. We sought comfort at a nearby fast food van and about 30 minutes and a large portion of chips later we got our call. We gathered waiting for a briefing from our warden who would escort us to the turtle. We immediately found out that our turtle had been a bit sneaky and used a sandy path as her nesting spot. This apparently makes it easier for the turtle to get high up into the dunes. All lights had to be turned off and all photography was prohibited as we gathered around what was a Loggerhead Turtle estimated at 36 years of age.

Apparently they don't start laying eggs until their about 30 years old.

We watched as she laid her eggs, covered her eggs with sand and then made her way off the beach, into the sea and towards a full moon that was low and shining over the horizon, quite a special sight.

We were allowed a couple of photographs after she had laid her eggs.

(Photo)

On Sunday morning we got up after a late finish with the turtles and set off to a hostel at Hervey Bay. It was only a 2 hour drive and when we arrived early we eagerly sought a WiFi connection so we could find the result of the Strictly Come Dancing final. What happened - Susannah didn't win? Well done Abbey Clancy and to top it all Peter Crouch, her husband scored the winning goal for Stoke.

This hostel is where we spent a couple of nights so we could join a day tour group of Fraser Island.

On Monday morning we joined a day tour of Fraser Island which is apparently the largest sand island in the world and also a world heritage site.

We were driven to a large landing craft type ferry where drivers were reversing their 4x4's and trailers onto the vehicle deck, this is very difficult unless you know what your doing and these guy's did. We had a 30 minute ride to the shore of the island where we met Bryan our driver and his 4x4 coach. He explained that the whole of the island is made of sand including all the track systems. As we drove off into the heart of the island we came across a range rover that was stuck. it had been hired for an island tour and the driver had a lack of knowledge on how to drive in the sandy conditions.

Brian got out and assisted the driver. A few minutes later we were off again but we didn't know it at the time but this was an omen for things to come. After a short walk into the rain forest and an old logging area we set off to a fresh water lake and on turning a sharp corner we heard a dragging sound coming from under the vehicle. Bryan stopped the coach and gave us the bad news that there was a problem with the rear drive and we were dragging some part the drive shaft of the coach in the sand. Also just to make it more interesting we now only had 2 wheel drive. Just to improve our position we had also lost phone reception. Bryan decided to venture on with just the 2 wheel drive in an effort to hopefully get us to lake Mckenzie and assistance. Occasionally fortune doesn't favour the brave and this was one of these times as we got stuck in deep sand with only the front wheels having drive. As there is a limited track system we caused the equivalent of a 2 mile tailback on the M25. Bryan managed to get the coach off the track, the coach was dead but hurrah we had phone reception and a replacement bus was ordered.

About an hour later another coach arrived to ferry us to Mckenzie lake where we saw a monitor lizard and a Kookaburra while we waited for a replacement coach. This was not to be the end of our troubles - when the replacement coach arrived we had a 30 minute delay behind bogged down 4x4's and just managed to grab lunch, have a quick walk on 75 mile beach (where we viewed a dingo) (photo) and then Bryan raced us back to the ferry, just in time to get off the island.

The company were very fair and offered all of us a 50% refund for the disruption to our day which we both felt was quite reasonable.

Its Tuesday, Christmas eve and today we have arrived at our accommodation over the festive period in a town on the coast called Noosa Heads It was a two and a half hour drive and we have a small self contained apartment which has more facilities than we're used to and the plan is to have a Christmas day BBQ by the pool, having been to Woolworths (Aussie Tesco's) and purchased everything we require.

We're staying in Noosa Heads until Friday 27th December when were heading to Brisbane and then flying to Sydney for New Year's Eve where we will post the next update.

Merry Christmas to everyone! (Last photo)



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