19th Apr 2012 - 23rd Apr 2012 - Headed up to the Sunshine Coast, stopping off to marvel at the Glasshouse Mountains named so because Captain Cook thought they looked as sharp as glass (basically).
We then drove to Noosa where we'd be spending the next few days. The first day we chilled at Noosa Woods, used free Internet at Peterpans and called home as it was my Dads Birthday. I found out I had received even more money back from Guernsey tax so we treated ourselves to an (average) Indian.
We decided to take a surf lesson in the morning. It's meant to be the most googled surf school anywhere and run by an ex pro. We learned more about rip currents and then we had a quick practise on the sand doing our 3 step manoeuvres then it was into the water. Shannon took to it like a duck to water (pardon the pun) and was standing up straight away for 20 seconds each time, he got that good he was taught how to make turns aswell. I on the other hand found it difficult to stand up, I was up for about 5 seconds before tumbling down with a mouth full of salt water. But it was fun (even if our instructor was a bit mean and rude) and glad I can now tick surfing off on my imaginary bucket list.
Then it was time for our Everglades, canoeing and camping trip 'Gagaju' that we had won in Byron. We were greeted by an 'anorak' and followed his van half an hour out of town, with him stopping at least 3 times to pick up beers (for himself) and laundry, and drove to a bush camp on the side of a river. Then we met his out of touch mates who all liked their beer and telling non funny jokes every 2 minutes. We didn't really know what to expect and it was mixed feelings.
Now when I say we followed his van out of town, what I mean is, Shannon followed his van out of town. We had just encountered a rare argument with each other and Shannon couldn't stand being with me so I got out of the van, and he drove off. I wandered around a car park for what seemed an age- was probably 20 mins or so. I thought he'd left me for good, which I was fine with, the only thing I was worried about was that I didn't have my passport or money! He had time to cool down but was in a convoy of vehicles following the anoraks van that he couldn't turn round to come get me as he wouldn't have known where to go. So once they all stopped for the beers, he came back for me. We sat silent for a bit then laughed at the situation and all was forgotten.
We were pleasantly surprised at how fully equipped the place was with a tv room, fridge, oven, pool table and even an outdoor gym which Shan tried. But then it was time to see the sleeping quarters- a wooden shack dorm with home made bunks made from 4 chunks of wood and a straw like mattress.
We had dinner and sat round the camp fire before feeling like we were about to take part in a bush tucker trial, going to sleep was scary, we had both chosen the top bunk and our heads were just inches away from the ceiling with cobwebs. When we closed our eyes we imagined things crawling over us. You know in 'I'm A Celebrity' when they go to sleep and start yelping and freaking out about something touching them when its just the wind? Well I was getting freaked out when my blankets tassels touched me. We had a very bad sleep and even got into one bunk at one point but it wasn't comfy.
In the morning it was time for the canoeing and I didn't realise what I was getting myself in for! We were a group of 14 split into boats, given an oar and told to be back before dark. It was hard work rowing and my arms ached from surfing, but luckily the Dutch girl in our boat was crap aswell so everyone thought it was her that was slowing us down. Poor Shannon had to do all the work himself. We sailed down the river into a huge lake. We went for a swim in the warm, tannin filled water which was only knee height. Tannin from the trees makes it go a reddish brown colour and there is tea trees around too. We stopped at a beach and headed straight for an old country pub for a well deserved schooner. Then it was back in the boat and we went to a creek where we (not me) jumped off rope swings and a high tree branch into the still waters.
Then it was back to the camp, we done 16km journey today and jeez did we feel it. At night we sat around the camp fire with our group which included a lovely Scottish girl Carley, a sweet English couple Rob and Rochelle, two other English guys (older then us... and that's old), the Dutch girl and her friend, an American girl and 3 rude German girls. We also chilled out watching movies and The Voice (Australian) which was good. We passed on a bush tucker eating trial when a girl caught an eel, waved it around and cooked it. But it was time for another trial named 'tent night', where we all had a hard floor in a bug infested tent (probably) and had to last the night. I was the only one to shout 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' and retreated to the palace of the van and lay star-fished all night. Shannon lasted it out for some reason, winning himself immunity.
And before we knew it, it was time to get in the damn canoes again but only a mere 6 km journey to do. We left the river heading to another lake and leaving our canoes while we trekked 3km to Cooloola Beach just a small part of the 60km beach. It wasn't the best beach, with 4x4s going up and down making the sand dirty but we went in a swim and I collected more shells. We headed to a pub on the way back for another deserving beer and even seen a kangaroo bounce out infront of us. The lake was incredibly shallow and at one point we all ran a ground, we all had to get out of the boats and pull them. It looked such a funny sight and resulted in me having the best moment of the whole expedition.
We chilled in the evening again with a few beers around the camp fire and Carley is a hairdresser so cut my hair for me. That night was also tent night but we both had the sense to stay in the van, taking pity on our fellow campers.
Also meant to say, we found out no one had paid for their trip, it was all a freebie. All we had to pay was $50 camping and national park fee. But I think it just went straight in the 3 weirdos pockets.
I was so happy that the canoeing had came to an end and I don't think I'll ever get in one again. We said our goodbyes and headed back to civilisation- well if feeding then chasing turkeys around a park counts. I took a walk around Hastings Street, the main shopping area and bought another stubby holder to add to our collection. Then we set off up the coast to Rainbow Beach and then onto Fraser Island.