Friday, April 11, 2014

KKK: Koala’s, Kamel toes and Komodo dragon’s

We’ve been using a couple of resources for recommendations of the areas that we are travelling (north along the gold coast) for the best things to do in each area along the way. One of the books recommended the Booti Booti National park hike called the Booti Hill walking track. (Aussie’s call trails, “tracks”). 

The trail started on a beach and then basically went straight up for about 500 metres, and then plateaued for a bit. There were signs everywhere to watch for koalas, so we were looking hard for them everywhere, but had an epic fail. The hike was pretty uneventful in the end, we wouldn’t have called it a recommended hike. This was the first time in 10 days that ALL of us were starting to feel like we were finally getting into shape. 

After a quick picnic lunch in the back of the Mitsubishi, we drove to Bonny Hills which was our next 2-day overnight stop. We had booked a “tent” accommodation which included: a queen bed, a set of bunks, bull bathroom and almost full kitchen.

 This was probably one of the most unique accommodations we’ve ever seen. This was located directly on the cliff overlooking the Rainbow Beach, which was about 8 miles long.

The next morning we went to a recommended beach called Pilots beach; it was great for swimming, and didn’t have much of a surf, which was good cause we really just wanted to swim and cool off and get some relaxation and sun and freckles!

An interesting tidbit: there are A LOT of pie shops here. Meat pie shops are like Tim Hortons, but they are all independent. So we stop at almost EVERY pie stop along the highway for pies every day, for Brent, Todd and Wanda.

Just like all other tourists, we are excited to see animals that we would never get to see. We found out about a Koala hospital and thought, hey lets go see some koalas. 

They had feedings at 3 and it was recommended to go at feeding times. Here are some things that we found out about koalas: most in the hospital were injured from car accidents (there is signage everywhere on the highways!), the rest of them are there from illnesses such as conjunctivitis and chlamydia (yes the same one as humans) which affects their eye site, urinary tract and reproductive systems and will eventually kill them if not treated. Koalas are not bears but are marsupials and carry their joeys (baby’s) in their pouch. They are pretty docile (due to the eucalyptus leaves they eat) and only are active for about 4 hours per day, sleep for the rest. They have 2 thumbs and 3 claws. Eat a pound of leaves daily. During mating season they are VERY loud trying to attract a mate AND when they get it on (confirmed by Jill who questioned Sheena, the tour guide). Apparently if you have a koala in your backyard, they are annoying and loud from getting’ it on!

The highlight of the day, was when Todd accidentally walked into a MUSEUM voluntarily! Let it be known and on record that this event happened. It was called the Roto house, which was the oldest house in Port MacQuarie. Brent learned about “dance cards” from 1902. A full dance card apparently means that the girl is a slut, according to Brent.

The next day we had to pack up the Mitsubishi. Let me just say that we are MASTERS OF PACKING and everything get’s “tetris’d” into the vehicle very quickly and efficiently. In fact we left 20 minutes ahead of schedule because we are AMAZING! We may have been a bit anxious and excited for the next adventure. We had an appointment with 4 camels!

When Danni and I went to Turkey, we had planned to ride some camels and this didn’t happen. So it’s been on my mind that the next chance I got, I had to ride a camel; hence Lighthouse beach. Can I tell you how much I enjoyed this?!!!

Here are some interesting facts about camels: there were imported as work animals in the 1800’s, one-hump camels are for hot climates and two-hump camels are for cold climates, male adult can lift up to 600 kg for up to 12 hours, they can go for up to 90 days without water, there are 1.7 million wild camels in Aus, the first piano in Alice Springs was carried in by camel, they don’t have hooves they have pads like dogs. The guys who ran the company were super friendly, knowledgeable and fun! And looked like the Aus version of Duck Dynasty. It was quite funny when we realized that Jules Mooseknuckle was sitting on top of a camel toe!

The afternoon was spent driving and exploring on yet another recommended beach for snorkeling, red hat beach, where the river met the ocean. We didn’t get any pictures of this place, but when we walked up the path from the parking area to the beach, we saw, what I thought was a komodo dragon (but the men said it was a monitor reptile thingy, but I’m going with komodo dragon)! We ventured out snorkeling in the ocean towards a reef, or so we thought. We swam for quite a while and then gave up on the reef that we thought we saw, and headed back in towards land. Wanda finally found the spot we were told about and found puffer fish, some black striped tiger looking fish, stingrays, blue fishes, angel fishes, and transparent clear type fishies (Brent called the Australian Transparent Reef Fish). It was a great swim and excellent opportunity for freckles collection!

Our next stay was north of Coff’s Harbour at Corindi Beach Holiday Park, where each couple got their own studio cabin, right on the beach.

Some interesting tidbits about the holiday parks: you can rent an “ensuite” for your tent. Basically you put up your tent right next to the path that leads to your own private bathroom (full loaded with hot and cold water, shitter, sink and shower) how very civil! There are some really cool tent-trailers and trailers in general. Not many push-outs to the side, but most push-out to the top. Or some explode and look like the Sydney opera house!

We were told by quite a few locals in the area about Waterfall Way, which was a highway that had “waterfall, after waterfall after waterfall”. This sounded like a great day activity, so we got into the Mitsubishi and by 8 am were on our way. We ran into a major traffic jam going back into Coffs Harbour so we detoured on what we thought was an equivalent type highway, which we figured would take an extra 20 mins or so. The road was worse than the Hana highway, which was also gravel for 3/4 of it, and had NO guardrails. There were 3-400 foot drops into the jungle below. (Todd was in his element!) After 2.5 hours we finally had to pull over to take a break and check out this totally random MASSIVE tree.
Make sure you read the stats on this thing!

And then about 5 more minutes down the road, we finally came across the first waterfall: Dangar Falls.

The trek down was pretty easy, compared to other hikes we’ve done.

And the view was amazing from down below too.

We then drove to Dorrigo where we stopped at the Rainforest Lookout, which was pretty breathtaking.

There was a lovely café there, so we stopped for lunch. The menu was half gluten free, so I was very happy! All of us had great food, and I left just enough room for dessert: GLUTEN FREE ORANGE AND ALMOND CAKE WITH CREAM. Can you visualize how great this was for me? Let me repeat: GLUTEN FREE CAKE ON THE MENU! It was frickin’ amazing, so amazing in fact that it deserves 2 pictures, I don’t care!
Got back into the Mitsubishi, and toured the nearest waterfalls Ebor Falls, and two others I forget.

And then we saw some emu’s. We dropped Wanda off on the side of the highway to take some pictures. We turned around to go get her, and she was being chased down by 3 Emu's, but actually they are very curious birds and need to come check out who she was. Luckily there was a wire fence between her and the Emu's. However, we found out later that they can rip a wire fence with their legs, if need be.

The end.

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