Brisbane, famous for having the only fort in Australia with a moat, and XXXX beer. We did the tour of the brewery naturally, and had to partake in the free samples afterwards, as to turn down free beer is one of the most serious ways to offend an Australian, fact. We didn’t make it to the fort.
The tour was good, the Becks one in Brevenhaven is better if anyone was wondering out of the two which to visit, the Aussies just don’t have the German’s sense of humor.
Brisbane has quite a small town feel to it but is actually quite big. There were some lovely walks by the river, there used to be more but the recent floods claimed a lot of them. You can still do them though, but only with the aid of an oxygen tank and a scuba mask. We spent a couple of days window shopping and with Lonely Planet in hand doing the guided walk. It’s a nice city; the rain again took the edge off for us but other than the Adelaide hills, is a place we could live.
We met up with a guy called Ranga and his family, who had got in touch through the Australian Land Rovers club and had a great evening eating fresh prawns and chatting Land Rovers, travel, and our favorite topic of the moment, the cost of living on the road. We have no conversation currently other than the cost of food, (we saw bananas for £10 a kilo!) and fuel. Hope we didn’t bore him too much…?
I used to go to college with a guy called Adam and rumor had it that he now lived in Brisbane, any excuse for a free night’s accommodation so I thought I would look him up, and after a bit of Facebook stalking, emails to mutual friends and ringing a number of random ‘Adams’ in the phone book I managed to get hold of him. After seven years he hadn’t changed and was still as friendly as ever. One thing that had changed was, where as I had spent all my money on fast women, slow Land Rovers, the latest gadgets from Apple, and over priced beer in London he had married a lovely girl called Sharon, had two kids and lived in an awesome house with sheds and workshops everywhere, bastard. He put us up, fed us only our third roast meal of the trip and let us leave crap we didn’t need in his garage. I swear, there is a trail of rubbish following us from London to Australia as we discard things we brought with us but don’t need. So thanks Adam and Sharon!
From Brisbane we went to Fraser Island, an off roading Mecca, home to many dingoes and the largest sand island in the world. There are no sealed roads on Fraser and once you have purchased your permit and taken the choppy ferry ride, (I should have taken my motion sickness pills) you are free to roam around on the beaches and forest tracks in your 4×4.
We were both a little nervous, as the last time we drove in sand was in Dubai and there, students of the blog will recall, we got stuck only 10 meters from the road, and this time we wouldn’t have our friend Mike to pull us out. However the car was a lot lighter and my driving skills had improved immeasurably… We dipped our tires into the sand it was clear that those factors made all the difference, as we flew across the sand leaving others in our dust.
Low ranges were selected, diff locks were engaged, run ups taken and rivers forded. The level of testosterone in the car was frighteningly high, an 11 in fact. It was great fun and for once it seemed as if we had indeed taken the right car on this trip.
The Island is simply amazing: we camped in forests and on beaches, and amongst the sand dunes and simply had a great time. We even managed to do a little sun bathing, something that had not been done since Perth, and judging from my pasty white chest something that was quite timely. On our last day on the island we enjoyed the sunbathing a little too much as the time slipped by far to quickly and we ended up trying to beat the tide and catch our ferry back. As the tide was getting higher we ended up having to drive higher up the beach and in the soft sand. I didn’t like it, Megan didn’t like it and judging by the temperature gauge the car didn’t like it. By the time we had made it down to the southern part of the island the sea was lapping the wheels and clouds of black smoking were pouring from the exhaust, and as we pushed the car to its very maximum it was reminiscent of something from a World War II naval battle (FYI ‘Cruel Sea’, greatest film ever). We made it through though, and after changing t-shirts and reapplying a bit of deodorant we boarded the ferry and headed back to the joys of tarmac.
Currently we are heading up the coast in search of even more sunshine. We have just crossed the tropic of Capricorn and the weather has most definitely improved. I can’t decide if it’s the weather or the price of fuel that has most affected my mood- diesel up here is the cheapest we have found, so I think I might start a table, or possibly make a graph, charting my mood against hours of sunlight and diesel price. I’ll publish