11.01.2010 - 16.01.2010
We fly into Brisbane where we spend our first two nights down under. The first culture shock we're faced with is just how much things costs in Australia. Coming from Asia where everything is dirt cheap clearly doesn't help, but this country really is incredibly expensive. $5 for a loaf of bread, that's 3 pounds! And the 10p little Cadbury's Freddo chocolate bars are 80 cents here, more like 50p. This is somewhat remedied on our first night when we manage to win the hostel's pub quiz and get a $100 bar tab! The other odd thing is how respectful people are of rules here. At pedestrian crossings there can be absolutely no traffic on the road, but until the green man comes in nobody crosses. It felt quite odd to us as Londoners who tend to rush about. There seems to be a fine for pretty much everything here, so perhaps that's what keeps people well behaved.
Brisbane is a nice little city, with some older buildings surrounded by high rises. Its highlight is no doubt the South Bank. Looking much like the South Bank in London, there are theatres and a ferris wheel along the river. It has landscaped gardens with static barbecues available for anyone to use. There is a fake beach along it, going into lagoon like pools for people swim in. This is free to use by anyone and is such a nice inclusion to a city, especially when it's in such a hot climate, but not actually on the coast. There are Ibis birds wandering about. These large long beaked birds look pretty exotic to us, but it would seem are pretty commonplace here judging by the 'Do not feed the ibis' signs all about!
In Brisbane we are joined by Alex's boyfriend who is out for a couple of weeks and we all head off on a trip to Fraser Island. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island and to get about you need a 4x4. After a scary briefing where they put the fear into you about absolutely everything... dingoes, sharks, car crashes, insects, 9 of us head off in our bright pink 4x4 to the island. It really is all sand and it really is big.
Crossing the island the sand tracks are pretty challenging, going through thick jungles and evergreen forests that both quite amazingly can grow there. The beach becomes a bit of a highway for 4x4s. You're not allowed in the sea because of tiger sharks, but we take dips in crystal clear freshwater lakes. Camping on the beach makes for a beautiful setting to wake up to. Although, you have to watch out for the dingoes, who prowl around at night on the hunt for scraps of food.
It's a great few days in a stunning natural environment, but you can't fail to have sand absolutely everywhere by the end of it!