Saturday, March 12, 2011

nearly 6 months in....and 1 to go (warning: lotsss of pictures)

So I officially changed my ticket...after numerous calls to air new zealand (unfortunately I was calling during their huge earthquake crisis two weeks ago) I finally got my return ticket for April 19th to LAX! I had to pay a relatively small fee.....but there's not a doubt in my mind that the extra month will be more than worth it. 
And on that earthquake note..I just want to mention ONCE lucky I feel to have all of my friends, family, (and myself) safe and sound, despite the reoccurring natural disasters over the past couple of months. I must have heard 5 people say to themselves, "what is going on in the world??"... as we watched the incredible footage of Japan today. After experiencing the worst flooding Australia had seen in 50 years...... watching a (similar to Katrina) sized tsunami touching north of us on our very same coast.....wildfires in south australia, and lastly.....devastating earthquakes in both New Zealand and Japan................. How I got so lucky...still trying to figure that one out...

On that note..this blog will be dedicated to the friends and family that have been with me on this trip (whether via a plane..or just email/skype/facebook/blog)
Beautiful Byron Bay..Nat soakin up the hippie nature of  this town...

The secret spot...Broken Heads. (I have a picture of this in a previous post, except this visit has the sunshine!) Also, notice the lone fisherman down there. We were all pretty envious of him...(ironically)
Hangin out at Broken Heads...aside from the fisherman and the large manatee we saw in the water...the three of us were the only ones in this beautiful spot. The most secluded piece of land I've probably ever been in..
DD visited all the way from Santa Barbara..and stayed for about 3 weeks. DD, my sister, Craig, and I tried to hit the local spots that even locals don't know about! That furthest point up there is Coolangatta...
Hiking back up to the car...DD made enemies with fire ants on this little stroll.....
BUT..little did she know we would go to the magical tea tree oil lake that seems to heal anything! ok..not anything...but with tea tree oil being an abundant (and native) oil to Australia, you can pretty much buy it anywhere over here. The oil is mainly used as an antiseptic...and this lake contains a diluted mixture of tea tree oil! you walk out of the lake with silky smooth skin....
we finally made it to our destination, Yamba. It's definitely more of a quiet town..but still just as beautiful as the rest of the east coast. This is looking out from a Tavern...we had a few beers and livened the place up with a horrible game of pool.....
Australia's largest prawn!
we made it back in time for Craig's birthday. We went paintballing that day, and then Nat got to test her fire skills with the pressure of all of us watching...
Needless to say, she was successful :)
Soon after that trip....Alyssa and DD took off to Sydney...while my sister and I took off to a VERY unforgettable trip to the largest sand island in the world....Fraser Island.
the telephone booth at a hostel we stayed at overnight. Just some words of wisdom for all those backpackers!
Our fancy hostel room...we stayed with a German lady. "Well that's life isn't it!!" ;)
my near heart attack...................Nat driving on the wrong side for the first time...
We hired a 4wd Suzuki Jimny the morning after...and headed straight for the ferry that would take us to Fraser. After Nat passed the driving test in our other car..I decided that she could take the wheel of the 4wd. She drives fire trucks and other such that was good enough for me!
Nat gazing at our beast of a vehicle. Little did we know, this thing would take us through some tricky spots on the island..
the view of Fraser Island from the ferry

Made it to the island..and off we go! This far...the most paved the road ever got. It's sand..all..the..way.
We first had to drive across the island to get to the east side of the island where all the cool tourist spots were. The road was unbelievable.  I don't
 fully understand how it's legal to allow any legal driver onto this island with a steering wheel in their hands. but oh well! on we went......

Managed to make it to the east side of the island..where it was all open sand, small streams, and a handful of other 4wds!
Fraser is known for it's may look like a dog to you....but if we would've messed with this thing, I'm pretty sure we would've had to put of a major fight. Their supposedly pretty vicious Nat contemplated the idea of feeding it some ice cream...................TO BE CONTINUED! (for the sake of me getting some sleep) 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

little fish in a "massive" pond

 Ok, so let me start off by saying that none of us(alyssa, katie, and I) had EVER tried paddle boarding before. It was a beautiful day, so we decided....why not go out and have some fun in the water. We chose the most windy of days...and there was more falling than paddling. Nevertheless, it was one of my most favorite days in Australia! We miss you Katie, thank you so much for visiting!
 Since I work at Rip Curl, I get access to paddle boards and surfboards. So we took out two huge paddleboards and a longboard, and went to town!

 We spent a lot of time just trying to get our sea legs....they never really came.

Looking a bit unstable.....

All I have to say's way better falling OVER AND OVER with your friends...

                                                   ... Rather than falling alone!!!

yeahhh!! You can't see it, but there were little
surfer kids right next to me thinking this was the funniest thing they had ever seen. oh well, still an accomplishment!!
We all eventually had some success...even if it was just standing up for a few seconds! we know now that windy weather isn't paddleboarding weather. (come on, I need something to blame it on!)

 I personally think the award goes to Katie. She shredded on that longboard!!