Jan 2: I don’t remember much of this day – we drove until Carmilla. We have been driving on the Bruce Highway for days. Every time I see a “Bruce highway” sign I have to think of Monty Python’s sketch about Australia. We met a nice but slightly passive guy named Mick at the campsite. He told us that the plantations we drove through the whole day are macadamias.
Jan 1: We got up pretty late and quite hung over. Barbara didn’t sleep very well and was even grumpier than usual.We decided we need to get some hats. I wanted an Akubra hat, and Barbara some Crocodile Dundee-style leather hat. Apparently we had just passed pretty much all of Australia’s biggest hat suppliers (for some reason they’re all around Gold Coast and Brisbane), but we started looking for them. We went to multiple stores, but they all were either closed or didn’t have what we wanted. We drove until Agnes Water where we camped. There were some very strong winds and rain during the night, so we had to close all doors and windows of the camper. It got very stuffy and hot inside, very hard to sleep.
Dec 31: Barbara scheduled to come back in the evening. In the morning, I drove over to Tin Can Bay. It is a very flat bay which is strongly affected by the tide. I arrived in low tide, and walked out onto the beach between stranded boats and seagulls pecking worms out of the ground. Pretty nice.
I also found out that you can use the camper on the hostel parking lot for a small fee.
When Barbara came back, we did laundry at the hostel and then spent the evening drinking beer at the hostel bar until shortly before midnight. An Australian dude showed up who spends his life driving around in his 4×4, going on the beach, catching fish and crabs, and drinking beer. For reasons unknown to me (and to any reasonable person), Barbara suspected that his 4×4 had a very high fuel consumption, thus being very unfriendly to the environment. She demanded numbers and insisted that they be metric, not imperial. The Aussie called her a German accountant, but agreed to the demands saying “Darling, I’ll give you the raw data”. It quickly became obvious that neither of them knew how to calculate fuel efficiency though, and they came up with some boneheaded numbers. I wisely stayed out of it and kept drinking beer.
There was a “white party” (where everyone wears white) for new year’s eve going on at the local party place (a pub with a mini casino inside). All the local bros and broettes were going there, so we went to the beach instead with some dutch people we met at the hostel. This was a great decision – at the beach we found another party organized by some locals (free and with no dress code) and we danced and drank beer until it was over. New year is much better in summer.
Dec 30: I still had a couple of blisters on my feet from the previous day, so I decided to take it easy. I spent the day going to the beach and drinking beer at the hostel bar and other places. I slept at the hostel again.
Dec 29: Got up early (6 or so) and dropped Barbara off at the hostel. I spent the day doing a 20 km hike through the rainforest to nearby Poona Lake. Totally worth it, the forest is amazing.
The water of the lake was slightly red – Barbara later told me that this is because of the eucalyptus leaves.
I checked into the hostel for two nights because I didn’t feel like driving back to Inskip point, and had a couple of drinks there in the evening. This was a party hostel, and I was reminded of the fact that I’m not 20 any more.
Dec 28: Drove to Rainbow Beach, where Barbara wanted to go to Fraser Island. Stopped at a hostel called the DIngo’s. While Barbara was inside getting briefed, I got a camping permit for Inskip Point. We didn’t go there though, and slept in the camper parked in front of the hostel. At midnight, security kicked us out, and we drove to Inskip after all. I think it would have been a nice place during the day, but we couldn’t see much of it.
Dec 27: Rachel drove us to some nearby waterfall with no water. We then left and drove to Brisbane, where we met my friend Gwen and her girlfriend Leigh. I hadn’t seen Gwen in about seven years, but they let us sleep at their place. We went out for dinner in Brisbane – the weather still sucked but the dinner was nice. I should have taken a picture with Gwen to see the progression over the last 5 years. It was fun to see her again after such a long time, I never thought this would happen. For your entertainment, here’s a picture from 2009, somewhere in Golden Gate park in San Francisco: