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Noosa -Xmas, Mooloolaba and RAIN!

rain 27 °C

After Hervey we headed down to Noosa for xmas. We had booked 4 nights here in the YHA, staying in a 6 girl dorm. The hostel had a main building where reception, cafe, bar n lounge area were with some accommodation upstairs as well as a secon building set behind the first which is where the kitchen and the rest of the accommodation was. Generally the hostel was fine but they had signs up everywhere saying 'don't so this' and 'you must do that' which made the vibe more regimented than fun - and when we asked what Xmas activities were going on the staff answered with 'no idea' i.e. Nothing!
So I must say all hopes of a fun filled Xmas at the hostel were thrown out of the window especially cos it was raining so heavily (hence flooding news in Australia) so Whiteley and I knew we had to make our own fun! We went a walk to explore noosa heads, a tiny bit of noosa with elite posh shops n expensive restaurants (it's a posh up n coming place to be - why were we there?!) n found the beach. We went to the cinema that night to see Harry Potter! Pretty good really, I enjoyed it. The next morning it was still raining so we walked to the shopping complex and wet secret Santa shopping (with a budget of $10) then to the supermarket for Xmas supplies. Heading back home we had a cuppa tea and played monopoly - with a bunch of French travellers who joined in on the action, alas, Hel and I didn't win :(

Dinner on Xmas eve consisted of calamari - I'm no turkey fan so bypassed the Xmas dinner - and kitkat cheesecake to share. oh yes, i did say kitkat, and it was amazing. Probably the best thing about the hostel!
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A few drinks followed with the french until the hostel told us to turn the music off on Xmas eve at 11pm! They made us do this at 11.30pm! So we went to the park (like UK teenagers) but soon went to bed after in eager anticipation of Xmas. Xmas morning I woke up to find Santa had been! I had a sock at the end of my bed so hel and I got up, made our Xmas brekky of late on toast with tea and opened one our presents and cards. Then we took our mincepies in hand with out bubbly n went to sunbathe on the brag bealcause finally(!) the sun was out.
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This of course meant hel and I got sunburn. Cos it was slightly overcast and we fell asleep on the beach for a little while - it wasn't bad sunburn. Back at the hostel we prepared our Xmas day food - finger food buffet style which was yummy and played scable and made our Xmas phonecalls back home.
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The following day we checked out and were collected by George mum. So our thinking who is this? Helen has a friend called George and her mum lives in oz, nr Mooloolaba in fact. So we went to stay with her for two nights. She was a very generous host and showed us the sights
of Mooloolaba, broadwalks along the beach front, shopping centres, the university and kangaroos! We also went to Caloundra and Buderim nearby. It was lively staying in a house n Hel and I each had a bedroom! Something I've not had since I was in the UK! The weather hadn't gotten any better, despite the sunshine coast name, we were always wearing our macs and shorts so when we got wet we dried quickly, sometimes I needed my fleece! Flood warnings were issued for a massive area of Queensland, the part we'd come through from agnes to Hervey and down all the way to the gold coast which is where we were headed next!
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Posted by RosiePony 03:44 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches australia backpacking Comments (0)

Marbles, rocks n Ron

sunny 34 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

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After picking up Dave in Katheryn, we drove 600k south to Tennant Creek passing soil n brush. 6 hrs later we arrive in Tennant Creek. Now Tennant Creek, whilst this has a bottle shop (which by the way is seperate to supermarkets - you actually have to go to a seperate store to buy alcohol which I still can't get my head round, something to do with licencing laws out here) is by no means more than a stoppover which you make grudgingly - in n out as fast as you can go! We went to the old YHA which made our hearts sink slightly as we pulled up and saw what looked like tin containers... Infact they were our dorm rooms. With aircon. Apparantly. There were four bunkbeds in our room which was ok. Outside the kitchen were two bird cages with ill looking parakeets in them, a wall of rock samples (for some strange reason, but i loved it nonetheless), then onto the female bathroom (which has a sign in saying 'aids travels the world too!', a gentle reminder to those who were ignorant of this).
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There was a wooden outdoor pool, not sunk into the ground but a freestanding wooden frame filled with water. The steps had collapsed somewhat but it was still useable. Indeed the swallows or other equivalent birds frequently swooped down for a refreshing drink out of it mid flight. So all in all a fairly strange hostel on the outlook, but actually an ok place to stay. If forced. The next morning, onto Alice Springs, but not before reaching my highlight so far..... The Devil's Marbles!! 15 minute photo shoot later of me doing the usual photo poses it got crowded with people, so we made a move onward to Alice.
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We arrived and sought out Toddys backpackers, which was fine, had two pools and a kitchen but breakfast was a sorry affair- you had to ask for your breakfast at the reception desk and were given two pieces of bread in a plastic bag to do with as we wished. Which of course we toasted, but it was depressing they were too tight to trust us enough to ration bread from normal bread bags like other hostels...After settling into out room, we went for walk to find the tourist info centre for more info on Uluru, routes and weather forecasts, but they weren't that helpful. We called ahead to book our accommodation at two resorts in the red centre so that we wouldn't be left stranded in the outback then we went to Bojangles saloon bar for a well deserved beer. And a pack of crisps.

We set off the next day bright and early and drove the 6 hrs to kings canyon resort where we made our tea and prepared ourselves for the next days events. We got up early and drive to kings canyon, hiked up it. The beginning was 100m steep climb where we spotted lizards on the rocks on the way up, we saw the river filled with trees instead of water and the sides of the gorge, a deep orange with black crusting.
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The walk went along the canyon rim, and we were onstantly climbing up weathered rock that had formed a kind of stairway as the rain had eroded the outer parts away, to then go down to a lookout over the canyon, to climb back up to continue the walk. We went down to the Garden of Eden, climbing down alongside rock piles, to the bottom of the river bed where there was a stream of sorts, more stagnant pools surrounded by sand and trees with stones strewn throughout. We clambered over these before realising perhaps this wasnt the garden- didnt look so grand. So we went back to the main path and found some steps and a path which lead us to the proper garden, a huge pool of water, refreshingly cool which you could swim in. We didn't cos at that moment it started to spit and thunderclaps could be heard getting nearer n nearer and we weren't quite sure how much of the walk we had left! So we headed back to the car somewhat faster than we started and set of for Yulara resort near Uluru. It was more basic than the kings canyon resort but the same price unfortunatley! Just nearer to the next two places we wanted to go. We settled in and had dinner then an early night...
The next morning we got up and drove to the Olgas, which are north west of Uluru rock. We Walked along the trails stopping at three lookouts. This time the rocks were more eroded by wind than rain, they had black channels running down them, algae. It was cool when we did our walks and the wind certainly provided a fresh breeze. Once we finished the walk we drove to the su set lookout nr Uluru to watch the sun set. Whilst this was nice to watch it wasn't amazing as it's been made out to be (perhaps it was the weather?) but I took photos nonetheless.
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We drove Back to Yulara resort n had dinner, agreeing that whilst were in the Red Centre we'd make the most of it n get up for sunrise at
Uluru. So we got up and drove to the sunrise viewig point (same as the sunset one) and watched the sun rise over Uluru...with the crowds...then we had breakfast and drove to the visitors centre. We waited til the cafe opened at 7 and got a cuppa tea then at 8 made it to the free ranger guided tour at the base of Uluru. 1.5 hrs of bush talking later, desperate for a wee, we head back to the visitors centre to read up on the rest of the Uluru rock facts- mainly though, to use the toilets.
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Now, in case I haven't already, I should introduce Ron, Laura n Daves Ford Falcon estate that has faithfully been travelling with laura n I since we left Darwin. He has his moments of not liking my iPod music (he regularly skips my favourite tracks without notice or hanged the volume) and has certain 'features' you have to get to know but apart from that he's ace. The next paragraph is delicate ... We all lost a good friend on our last day in the outback. Ron would not start again - he stubbornly remained immobile outside Uluru Rock visitors centre, despite L and D trying all the tricks in the book. To cut a long story short, Ron ended up being towed to the Yulara mechanic on a Saturday afternoon, the outcome of which was that Ron is now awaiting to be crushed. Laura, Dave and I had to hire a car to drive back to Alice Springs so that I could catch my flight to Cairns n so L n D could regroup n decide what to do next...Back in Alice we had a day to recover from our loss and say our farewells. It felt strange leaving them behind, in Australia, after having so much fun, and I have great memories of our time together. In particular our three hour game of 'I packed in my suitcase' which lasted from Uluru to Alice Springs!! Agh...
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Posted by RosiePony 19:58 Archived in Australia Tagged australia northern backpacking territory Comments (0)

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