A Decade of Reflection Part 6

So after a tough couple of years off I was to Australia, this time on a one way ticket with no date set to be back. Now I tried a blog while I was out there and although It was amazing to read back on it was so riddled with spelling mistakes and rushed that ill try again here.
Before I flew out I decided to follow through with a plan id been working on since I was 18. Now at 18 I got my first tattoo. I got it on a whim and after a month hated it. So I planned this one for years. It is a tapestry of everywhere I’ve been, meaning it will keep growing as I travel more.
I flew out with a friend from the isle of Wight. We planned on spending a few weeks together before heading off on our own. Enroute to Australia  thought it would be a good idea to break up the monster 24 hour flight we decided on a stop over for a few day in Singapore. I was really excited to visit Singapore for a number of reasons. My granny was born out there and grew up in the area so I was keen to see the place she had known as a child. Singapore is such a modern city though I doubt much remained from her childhood.
Secondly it was another new continent for me. I desperately  wanted, and still want to tick off all 7 continents and after the disappointment of realising Mexico counted as North America I was keen to get back onto 5 continents.
My first impression of Singapore was just how new it all looks, all the buildings look brand new and the whole place seems so very clean. It was also pretty busy. Our  hostel was potentially to date the nicest place I have stayed. The beds were single beds not bunk beds, each bed had its own light, locker, bed side table, plug socket and privacy curtain. Now all of this may not sound much but compared to some places I’ve stayed this was paradise.
We were able to go to the top of the marina sands building which is the tallest building in Singapore. It is also quite unique as it is In fact 3 buildings joined together by what appears to be a ship at the top. The views from up here were great, I got a great view of the strangest football pitch I’ve ever seen.
We only stayed in Singapore for a few days and on our final day went to their main tourist attraction, Sentosa island. It’s an island made from reclaimed land filled with different attractions. We got the Angry Birds cable car over to the island (a fair indication on how commercial this place was) before going around and seeing the sights. We climbed the Merlion statue, a lion’s head with a fish body that’s the symbol of Singapore, we wandered along the beach’s, did some acrobatics training by hanging upside down on a swing and got to do some offroading on some Segway’s. I loved the Segway’s and would heartily recommend them to anyone. It still boggles my mind as to how the don’t fall over and how easy they are to control, but they really are great.
We finished off our day on Sentosa with a fabulous lights and water show. This was quite fun but aimed at children. They used a wall of water as a projected which produced some wonderful effects.
It was a great couple of days and if you have the time, it’s a great way to break up the exhausting flights to Australia.
We arrived in Brisbane In the middle of the night, hastily made our way to our hostel for some much-needed sleep. The next morning was spent setting up a new mobile, opening a bank account blah blah blah, boring essential things needed when setting up in a new country. Finally boring things out the way we started to have fun. We explored Brisbane but soon decided to head out of there. We had a 2 weeks until another 2 friends for the isle of wight were coming out to join us so we couldn’t go too far. So where else to go than the wonderful Maroochydore.
Now I have already written about the wonders of Maroochydore and the YHA hostel there. It was no different going back 4 years late. The management had changed but the hostel was still as wonderful. Paradise. We were able to explore Maroochydore a bit more and made some friends there who had a car so we were able to take advantage of that and head into some of the more remote parts of the sunshine coast. It was on one of these trips we stumbled upon a turtle just chilling out. Nothing says you’re in a different country than finding a turtle during a stroll in the woods.
We also massively lucked out while in Maroochydore. We booked a bus to go over to Australia Zoo, this was the culmination of Steve Irwins life’s work. Filled with all the animals native to Australia. It’s also the home on the Crocodile show. Where men and women as crazy as Steve Irwin get up close and personal with these ancient reptiles. It’s quite impressive. Anyway the day we decided to go there just so happened to be Steve Irwin day so there was a lot of cool things going on while we were there.
Finally 2 weeks ended and back we went to Brisbane to meet my 2 other friends. They landed safely and needed a day doing the boring paperwork stuff but after that we were set. What to do where to go. We decided on getting a car and seeing where to road took us. We settled on a small camper called Bender. It slept two people so we got a tent and set up a rotation system before heading north.
We hadn’t got much further north than Maroochydore before finding work for us all. Planting trees, 6 hours south and inland. Now for those of you that don’t know Australia well the majority of Australia’s population live on the coast.  The inland towns are smaller and similar to what you would imagine a small town in Texas may be like. Very friendly but with a very rough edge.  Our first night there we went to the only pub in town. We were like celebrity’s, these strange foreign drinkers. It was a great night getting to know a bit more of Australia.
The next morning we were up at 4 to start work and try to get a days work in before the sun kicked in and it became to hot to do anything. Now we were paid by how many rows we planted, so the harder you worked the more you earned. But planting trees can be bloody hard work, especially when you have never done it before and its so hot and early and your hanging. The first couple of days none of us got too many rows done. But eventually we were going at the same speed as the lads who did this professionally.
It was really hard work when the sun began to show up and you would try to squeeze in another couple of rows before ending the day. The chap who ran the show would ensure you drank enough water after every couple of rows and it became a real challenge to just consume that much water.
Anyway we did this for 10 days before moving on again, some cash in our pocket and a car.  First stop was a little town called Tin Can Bay. There is nothing here except my little Australian secret. Every morning a pack of dolphins will come to shore and be hand fed by a group of volunteers. Or a group of backpackers eager to have a close up experience with a dolphin.
Next we went to Rainbow beach where we tried our hand at sandboarding and 2 of us went over to Fraiser island for a few days. Fraiser island is a natural wonder. An island made entirely of sand, but supporting forests, animals and tourists: A lot of tours go on here, some more reputable than others. Some for backpackers to drive off-road in 4x4s. We took a more scenic trip. It was pretty cool seeing the island and swimming in some of the waterholes. Not the sea mind, Fraiser islands waters are shark infested. There’s a deep channel surrounding it that is filled with sharks. We could see their silhouette’s when stood on some of the higher cliffs there.

I enjoyed Fraiser island, however I regret not doing a bit of 4×4 driving instead as having seen the tours go past us I must admit after I got past my initial thoughts of “what bellends” I realised it was jealously as it looked great fun.
We stopped off in a town called 1770 on our way north for some more fun. We did the Scooteroos. You get dressed up, slap on some fake tattoos and ride around the town on chopper style motor bikes.  This was really good fun but I can’t imagine the locals like it too much, but well worth trying.

While in 1770 we did something called castaway. You are flown out to a deserted island, left there and then collected the next day. The flight over is in a tint plane by a crazy Aussie guy who likes to scare people. At one point he turned off the engines md flight to show me what would happen!! This was an awesome experience. We took so much booze and had the biggest beach party ever!! Very messy, By day the island was beautiful and I went kayaking and hiking around while others caught some fish for our supper. Since I’ve been this program has expanded significantly so id love to go back and be castaway for longer!!!!
Now it was around this point that all 4 of us in such close proximity started to become a problem. Arguments started, people all had different ideas and preferences on how to do things. The big issue is we were all tied together by the car we had all chipped in for. There was another month or so on its rental. I decided I couldn’t be bothered with everyone for the moment so when we got up to Airlie beach I decided to leave people to their squabbling and head to a hostel on my own. This seemed to help everyone and another joined me while the other 2 ended up in a different hostel. All 4 of us needed the space and all settled quite well in Airlie. The next morning I decided to settle here so went looking for some work.

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