Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It is pretty much impossible not to have a good time on the East Coast of Australia. Well that is my experience of the past few weeks anyway. I am truly having a ball.

Since writing about my Whitsunday sailing trip I have flown a plane, driven a chopper (the bike not the whirly kind), sunbathed on stunning beaches, swam in pristine lakes and driven along miles of beach in a 4x4 with some mad Irish people.

1770 is a tiny town where Captain Cook first set foot on Australian soil (in 1770, natch). He may have anchored in Sydney first - but he personally never went ashore. So this stunning spot was named after that historic landing.

The town itself has a permanent population of less than 100, and most tourists stay in the nearby (also very small) town of Agnes Waters.

I arrived with my Chilean friends JP and Claudio, who I met diving, and headed for Cool Bananas hostel. Here, the atmosphere was laid-back and friendly. You could lay in the hammocks all day if you wished, or take part in the plentiful activities. Here, for example, you can learn to surf for $16.50 or take a trip to pristine parts of the barrier reef for very reasonable prices.

I chose to take a 'walk on the wild side' - a jaunt through the bush talking about tucker, snakes and spiders with Scott or the Clay King, as he is self-named. We visited stunning, untouched coves near Agnes Water and learned about the celebrity residents living nearby along with his conspiracy theories of differing degrees of ridiculousness. He painted us with a clay mask which we washed off by jumping from lava rocks into the surf below.

A strange but very nice man, he brought a carpet python he had found the previous week to the hostel that evening for us to see.

Chilean lads JP, Claudio and some Irish lads I met at the hostel all went in for a scooteroo tour of the landscape around 1770. This involved learning how to ride a chopper (motorbike) and chugging around the hills looking for roos. We then hotfooted along a fast road (just 70km an hour mum) to 1770 where we watched sunset with a basket of potato wedges.

The fun didn't end there. The following day, JP, Claudio and I went up in a tiny Cessna plane. Just the three of us and our pilot, Bruce, fit inside. The runway was a stretch of grass...

Bruce was great fun - nose diving the plane and allowing me to take the controls and actually fly the plane. I learned how to bank and go up and down... all the time we were flying over the stunning 1770 estuary - as beautiful as Whitehaven beach at the Whitsundays, watching for whales, sharks and mantas in the seas and looking at the surf below us.

After a while we landed on a pristine and deserted beach on Middle Island. The only was to it is by plane or boat.

After tasting fresh oysters from the rocks, we swapped positions and Claudio took the front seat. My fun wasn't over yet.

I was instructed to unclip my safety belt, put my knees to my chest and wrap my arms about them. Bruce then sent the plane hurtling towards the ground - I was weightless, floating up to the roof of the plane like a spaceman...

My adventures don't stop there. It was off to Hervey Bay next for my Fraser Island adventure but I will post pictures and tales tomorrow...

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