The Fool is still Overseas and has restated the blog - more to follow very soon!!!
Arrival in Noosa saw a marked change in both the climate and the passengers on the bus.
Having booked online into the Dolphin hostel we were assured of a prompt pickup at the Greyhound drop off however the courtesy bus was late, it was rediculously hot with no real shade where we waited and the staff were extremely rude. The hostel itself is quite lively and funky with small 4/5 bed dorm rooms that were organised in neat blocks, each with a kitchen, showers etc included.
The following day I departed to the Gagaju wilderness camp, a simple set up alongside the river in the Gagaju National Park. Drinking games around the outside camp fire were recently banned as some previous drunken revellers had burned the wooden bar stools!! After a night in their large canvass dorm (sleeping in rough hewn, home made bunks) we spent the next couple of nights in small 2 man tents, basic yet perfectly adequate as the camps canteen had a fully equiped kitchen and there was a large, canvass tv room with a huge flatscreen tv which had a very large online film library (it was more like a small cinema really)
Day 2 saw us fully briefed and instructed in the safe use of canoes before we set off up the river to head towards the lake and the tree swing, myself being teamed up with the lovely Annie and a well built but largely ineffective hung over lad, Philip both from Germany. Our trip that day was pretty strenuous, being by far the longer of the two excursions we would undertake. With the sun beating down and no wind it got pretty hot so when we stopped on the shores of the lake (after wading through thick slimy mud in the shallow waters, some 300 metres from the shore, occasionally stepping on basking flatfish) everybody was much relieved. After a lunch stop we navigated our way down a backwater channel, allegedly coloured black due to high levels of teatree oils in it, to locate the tree swing. Whilst the Fool was happy to launch himself into the water via the swing, he drew the line at climbing to the top platform and jumping off - something many of the younger and obviously braver or more stupid paddlers managed to do!! Crazy but fun!!
On our return to camp we came across some guys fishing from the bank and drinking beers, sadly their only catch was of ugly catfish. We did, however, observe a snake swallowing a whole possum after it had snared it in the trees overhead and both had fallen to the ground during the possums eventually fatal struggle to escape. Fascinating seeing a creature swallow prey that was some 3-4 times its own girth.
Talking of creatures with amazing swallowing abilities - the nature of Kakadu's 3-day program means that new people turn up every day and today was no exception. Whilst preparing our evening meals we met the latest arrivals who were a very diverse bunch from a number of countries. A couple of them stand out - two scottish lasses who had turned up stocked up with the infamous boxes of goon which they tucked into with gusto. They seemed not to taste the cheap aussie plonk as they guzzled it at a remarkably fast pace, all the more surprising then that, in the morning, they seemed to have no real hangover (and no sense of balance as one of them capsized their canoe and dumped them all in the dhallows whilst boarding it at the rivers edge!!).
Day 3 saw the tired, sunburned and sore canoe brigade take on a shorter paddle which ultimately led to a good walk to the coast and a lovely clean and almost empty beach for our lunch. As Annie had to leave the camp early in the afternoon we left the beach early and, after failing to find a picturesque wilderness park walk back, we shared a beer before we paddled back to tent city and her departure.
The Noosa river is a great place to canoe with varied waterways to explore and the guys at Kakadu, Andy and Dave, are excellent hosts in what is a very enjoyable setting (providing you expect to camp out). Indeed they asked me if I wanted to stay on which was both tempting and flattering but in the end I had to decline!
Returning to Noosa town I once again checked into the Dolphin hostel to find the place awash with german backpackers.
Sadly I was not dormed with any of these seasoned travellers, I found myself roomed with some italian girls who were a very noisy trio and who arrived back in the dorm very late in the night, waking most of our block! I'll say one thing for them though - the next day they put on some music and, boy, could they dance Samba stylee - really good to watch.
Tuesday was taken up with a long awaited appointment - spending the day at Australia zoo, established by the swashbuckling and sadly departed Crocodile Hunter himself, Steve Irwin. As with many such places the zoo struck a chord with my inner child and I wandered around for hours just simply looking at the various occupants. Whilst I am no expert on the conditions required by captive animals, my total knowledge pretty much supplied by reading Life of Pi, they seemed to have plenty of room and appropriate environments to lodge in. Star attractions abounded for me - the giant tortoises, a large and beautiful tiger, close-up ugly camels, a huge albino python, a hide and seek elephant and the numerous crocs (complete with a demonstration of their ability to launch themselves almost vertically out of the water). The komodo dragon was a big lazy lizard and the tame roos a bit smelly, but the endearing baby koalas delighted the crowds simply by being there and the birds of prey show was pretty neat. In addition the bio of the late Mr Irwin showed his involvement in a lot more than the crocodile capture and preservation works highlighted in his tv series. A really good day out if you like animals!
Final day and woken at 4.30 by the new girls in the dorm, the tall quiet german's alarm shrill and then snoozed. She faffed about for around 30 minutes then got back into bed. After 5.15 the second one got up and shortly before they eventually left, the Vietnamese girl arose. They were all off to see the sunrise but, as I pointed out, it was already light outside so they may have missed the boat. Off they trundled leaving me awake at rediculous o'clock again!
I had decided to take on the Noosa coastal walk which turned out to be really neat, with angry seas battering the rocks and delivering waves to the surfers and beach dwellers alike on the one side and the national park trees on the other. On one particular beach I came across a large area covered in small holes which were surrounded by tiny sandballs. It turns out that these holes were the lairs of some small blueish crabs who created the tunnels by removing sand which they roll into a ball before taking it outside and dumping it around the entrance. The little buggers took some photo patience as they were very, very wary. The walk failed to deliver on sightings of whales or dolphins but they are a bonus rather than the norm, all other things considered it is a great walk around the Noosa cliffs and beaches.
Following some farewell tea and toast back at base I took the courtesy shuttle with Nick (nice guy who worked at the hostel) and met Phillip, our useless third Gagaju canoeist, at the Greyhound stop. There was no sign of Saskia and ginger whats-her-name (a couple of girls who had were doing the wilderness campsite trip after me), apparently "the red one" moaned about everything at Gagaju camp and lastest but one night.
Onwards to be reunited with my South American Zipline buddy Anita Jakins in Brisbane!!