East Coast Christmas

Hello folks! Merry Christmas 😀

Bit of a weird one, first time I’ve actually spent Christmas without any family at all. Sure, I’ve been away from my own before, but someone’s family has always been there to welcome me. Even if it was only a family of psychopathic Zambian farmers who spent Christmas Eve firing arrows randomly into the night. It was family and that’s what counts.

We’re in Brisbane at the moment and so far I’ve wandered down to the South Bank, where Laura opened her presents in a bit of rainforest (novelty Christmas earrings seemed to be the theme) and indulged in Tin Billy’s all-you-can-eat-for-$25 Christmas dinner. Going to call family and lovely girlfriend later, so hopefully that’ll help things feel a bit more seasonal, but so far it just seems like 365 days to Christmas…

Still, now that I don’t have the pressure of finding new and interesting ways to ruin the big day (I think I managed it by shooting Old Man Bloomfield in the eye last year) I can sit down and catch up on all the writing I should’ve been doing.

Sorry about the wait, but it’s been action packed and by-and-large, well out in the sticks; where for some folk it’s perpetually 1988.

That reminds me, how come the elder Australian gentleman thinks he can get away with pristine, white knee high socks? Answers on a postcard please…

Anyway, we left Cairns about 10 days ago now, first stop Mission Beach. This is the best place to go rafting in Australia. It also offers a pretty mean sky dive. However, I got there at about 8 at night and was off again 12 hours later. Doing the East Coast in 3 weeks is pushing it more than a little. I did have time to eat some excellent kangaroo though. What’s that Skippy? I don’t care if Little Jimmy is trapped down the old tin mine. Shut up and get in the plum sauce. Eating a national emblem is a somewhat disconcerting experience, but ultimately rewarding. I also had time to laugh at the fact that, without a trace of irony, Scotty’s Beach House has named its late night drinking den ‘The Hard Banana Bar’. Not that I’m in any way childish of course.

The Oz Experience has been well worth it so far. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect to be honest. I’ve always hated tours, group travel and organisation in all its many guises and for the first morning I did sit there in a bit of a strop. What if I don’t want to go for a swim now? What if looking at strangler figs is against my religion? What if I’d just rather have a bit of a sleep? I’m my own worst enemy most of the while though, with tendencies towards being a miserable git. Turns out that they’ve been doing this a while now and know what they’re about. Pretty much as soon as I’d seen the waterfall from the Timotei commercial (Millaa Millaa Falls, somewhere in the Atherton Tablelands, if you’re interested) I cheered up and got on with it.

If I was on a normal bus, I’d have had a lot more time to sit here typing, but would probably have missed out on everything from koala spotting on Magnetic island, to learning to play the didgeridoo in Rainbow Beach. Every leg of your journey takes you to out of the way spots that are mostly devoid of other backpackers. Crowded with locals sometimes, but that’s generally a good sign. Plus, you get to meet some nice folk, instead of just sitting there musing over the knee high socks thing.

I have had time to get off the bus for a bit in a few places though. Which is what you’ll find in my next couple of posts. Go and make yourself a nice cup of tea, have a little break and when you come back I’ll tell you all about the Whitsundays, Fraser Island and Kroombit.

Whether you’re a newbie traveller looking for help or a backpacking veteran with words of wisdom to share, our community is waiting for you.

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