North Queensland Tropicana, and a van named Gecko.

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a great Halloween and that Fall is going well. They don’t celebrate Halloween quite the same here; I miss the costumes and the leaves and the candy of home. I did have a close encounter with about a thousand zombies however… more on that in a sec.

Since I’ve been running around travelling so much (5 countries in 4 breaks!) I decided to lay low this break and spend it closer to home: ‘home’ being Queensland for the time being. I got sick before I flew out of camp, so spent the first week just taking it easy and catching up with Elspeth in Brisbane. It also gave me a chance to get gear and supplies together for my next big adventure: Project Island Mist (more details on that in a future post).

Els was in the midst of med school exams, but we still found time to explore the city a bit and I have to say, although Brisbane doesn’t stand out too much from the crowd, there are some very nice bits here and there: parks along the river and the Mt Coot-that lookout. At one point, we also found ourselves in the midst of the worlds largest ‘Zombie Walk’: totally by accident, we had a front row (sometimes interactive) experience as all sorts of zombies lurched, crawled, limped, screamed, ran and wheeled themselves past. I’m not sure how many hundreds, possibly thousands of zombs were there, but they thronged past for nearly an hour. It was amazing, there was every type of zomb imaginable. I think Annemarie, Pam and Kae would’ve really enjoyed something like this, I can totally seen them doing it. I’ll try to throw together a video of it as soon as I learn to use the new iMovie app on my new computer… [insert zombie walk vid here]

After that I made my way to Townsville via the “Sunlander” train. It was a 24 hr train ride, and I’ve been wanting to take it since reading that it was rated as “one of the top 25 most scenic train rides in the world” by ‘Train Riders International. With an endorsement like that I had to check it out, $200 ticket be dammed! Video of that coming soon too, I’ll post it here, so check back in a week or so. Was it all that? Well, I’ll let you decide once you see the vid, but let’s just say that it was likely towards the 20-25 range of that ranking list lol…

[insert sunlander vid here]

Gecko

In Townsville I met up with my co-worker and fellow geo Tatjana who lives there. We had planned a camping/road trip to check out the northern QLD coast, which neither of us had really seen much of to date since arriving in the country. We rocked out in her sweet green 1976 VW ‘Kombi’ van (better known to folks perhaps as ‘Toaster Vans’) named Gecko.

 

putting the 'holiday' into 'working holiday'

The further north you go from Townsville-the nicer it gets! The coast was simply stunning: sun, palm trees, perfect warm but still mild weather, green hills and cane fields, and lots of stops to cool off in the awesome swimming holes found throughout the forested national parks which line the coastal hills (they call them “mountains”, but come on-no British Columbian would call those little bumps a mountain range haha). We drove north from Townsville to Mission Beach area, up past Cairns, along the Captain Cooke Highway (one of the funnest drives and most beautiful stretches of highway I’ve ever been on. It’s a winding road hugging the coastline along the tropical rainforest about an hour north of Cairns) and up past Port Douglas and the Daintree Nat’l Park and back. Wonga Beach (in fact ALL the beaches), Paronella Park (a crazy decaying castle and grounds built beside a waterfall, the dream of a Spaniard in the 1930s) and Mossman Gorge  (gateway to the Daintree rainforest) were some of the highlights, but it was really super nice everywhere; I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Palm Trees.

The Boulders-one of many nice camping/swimming spots not far inland from the coast.

Anyways, check out the pictures on flickr! (CLICK HERE). There were lots of warning signs for crocs and I was keenly on the lookout for one, but sadly not this time- saw a cassowary however! (oh and a pretty dried lookin stingray hehe).

Anyways, that’s the latest adventure. I hope you are all well. Drop me a line or comment on my post, it’s always really nice to hear back even if I’m quite notoriously slow at correspondence. Now it’s back to work for a few weeks before the next adventure, which I’ve been planning for a few months now with my buddies Phil and Marty. I’m really really really (did I say really?) excited for it: we’re calling it Project Island Mist and man oh man, it is the kind of thing that I live for. Much more on that to come in a future post tho!

As always, take care, have fun, keep your stick on the ice and can’t wait to catch up when it happens.

Later!

Erich

[insert camping trip vid here]