View Full Version : Australia - Hydeaway Bay - The Lorikeets

26-11-07, 03:00
Hydeaway Bay - The Lorikeets

11th - 29th September

We woke up to the bird call of the Rainbow Lorikeet, a multi-coloured parrot-like looking bird. This was one of their times of day for feeding and there were a number of trees that flowered with a bright red blossom which the Lorikeets fed on….and made a lot of noise whilst doing so !

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One of the many Lorikeets we saw...and that you're about to see !!!

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The starting of Sylvia & I's feeding the Lorikeets...crazy..crazy !!

After waking up a second time over breakfast Sylvia and I discussed the options as to stay or leave and after a brief visit to check out the uninhabited beach 5 mins away we finally decided to stay for a week to try and catch up on the web-site entries and take a little rest enjoying the beach. At this point I was about 10 weeks behind with the web-site and that equates to a good few days of catching up. Later that morning we went into the “local” sugar-refinery town of Proserpine 40km’s away to get some food supplies for the week and we also found an Internet café to catch up on news and do some research for our travels.

We rode back to our Hydeaway bay and took dinner at the local Dingo Beach café/bar, bought a couple of beers to take away and rented a DVD.

The following day was to be our first day of sunshine on the beach. We were delighted to at last be able to stop for a while. Somewhere about this time the Lorikeets started to visit us at our tent area, the result became a twice daily feeding frenzy which became all the more crazy if we put apple on the menu. The following photos should convey our experiences clearly enough !!

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We got our sandwiches, drinks, fruit, swimming cozzies and sun cream on and trotted off to the beach. We found ourselves a nice spot just in the slight shade of a tree and settled down to some reading and sleeping. An hour later and I was feeling the heat so I went for a stroll to test the water temperature. It was lovely and I went for a swim immediately. What I hadn’t reckoned on was the amount of sharp exposed rock on the sea-bed and stubbing my toes and cutting both heels on them. On the way out of the sea I was walking on my hands in the shallow water, like a sea lion(according to Sylvia-thanks !) . We had lunch and went for a stroll to investigate the beach further, finally finding a sandy part where you could wander out to the sea and find yourself standing almost above the water on a sand drift. The water was again lovely and we both swam back to the point where our clothes and personal belongings were.

Not long after returning to our clothes we decided to go back to the campsite and get dinner together. Along the way we saw in excess of 5 cockatoos. I went for a run whilst Sylvia started to prepare dinner. During the course of dinner we met a group of Australians in the mining industry and enjoyed a few stories and a peculiar drink called smooth Cowboy. It’s a bit like Baileys-their particular twist to this was they added a butter-scotch Schnapps. We were kindly poured a glass of the concoction each(it was good !) and continued to chat with them, Sylvia mainly about horses as the man with the Cowboy drink surprisingly kept a number of horses.

We’d decided that we needed a mobile phone if we were going to ride in the outback so we’d have some safety net if anything went wrong,. We were led to believe that a CDMA phone using Telstras network would be the best. After a discussion we agreed to buy a new phone(I’d just sent my motorola home after hauling it around the world from South America.) so I went back to the Internet café 40km away. My Dakar was also due to arrive in England shortly and so I wanted to check all was going ok with my friend Habib.

Habib in fact was having all sorts of nightmares. The long and short of it was that they had delivered the bike to Felixstowe instead of Tilbury, the storage charges were double that estimated and agents in the UK required a further 275 Pounds !!!! Habib lives and works in Egham, Surrey ! He couldn’t easily contact me so he made a good executive decision to arrange for a transport agency to collect the bike and bring it down to him….this now adding another 175 pounds !! Arrgggghh. I e-mailed India to see what was going on and waited for their reply. On further investigation the phone we were looking at was in fact $AU350, not the $240 I’d understood. It turned out that the $240 site had showed up from an American web-site on an Australian search, even though it was a US site !!! I sat in the café with the knowledge of the additional shipping costs for the Dakar and the knowledge that even CDMA coverage in Australia is only around the major cities and towns, not in the outback where we were looking for a form of insurance.

In the end I sent a number of enquires and rode back to the camp site. Sylvia and I discussed it some more and decided that it was primarily money we didn’t need to spend on a questionable insurance policy. We had lunch, chatted a bit more and went down to a beautiful spot to watch the sun set with a Tooheys New in our hands.(Local beer) When we returned to the site we chatted again with the Australian coal mining group and said our farewells as they were to leave earlyish in the morning, and trotted off to bed.

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Seen at our sun-set point - Reminded me of Chris Boardman.

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The following day we planned today to visit the beach but the combination of a pretty strong sun & both just feeling like relaxing led us to stay within the vicinity of our tents. In the end we spent an hour or so feeding the Lorrikeets on the campsite with grain bread & apple. We had them literally eating out of our hands. I ended up having one on my head, thy, one creeping up my back and 2 or 3 on my hands. We were both bitten once by them and the one that bit me drew blood. Anyway, between them and the LP guide to Australia, and the many brochures we collected…not to mention the brie and nice salad we’d bought, we managed to stay satisfactorily put for the day. Just before sunset we knocked out a 3km run as part of our keep-fit plan.

The days at Hydeaway rolled by - We made friends with one of the owners Charlie, who arranged a fresh lobster & fish dinner for us(Bothe being caught by a local spear-fisherman that day.). He cooked the lobster in sea water and it was beautiful-Sylvia and I spent ages eating it with the fish and the lovely salad he’d made. He also lent us a limited edition of the Long Way Round so every evening for a few nights Sylvia and I would set up the laptop in a dining-type area and watching a few episodes whilst sipping our beers. We made a few more trips into Proserpine but generally had long days of Lorikeet feeding, Web-updates and generally bimbling about followed by a 3km run every other night.

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Another crazy session with the Lorikeets !!

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'ere, he's an ugly bugger ain't he..

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You're not coming here with anything less than RON 95 mate !!

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‘Our’ week came and went and so we extended by a few more days, they came and went and so we extended further by a few more days, they came and went and so we extended yet further still by a few more days.

On one of our trips to Proserpine we noticed that it was possible to take a tour of the sugar mill and so we decided that would be interesting and I phoned to make a reservation for the following morning.

We arrived at the mill and were offered tea/Coffee & cake/biscuits as we settled down before the tour briefing started. (Got my vote already !) We watched a brief video about the sugar industry which was partly informative and partly promotional. We were then kitted up with safety helmets and protective glasses. We couldn’t decide out of the two of us who looked worse so we’ll let you decide. I won’t bore you with all the production details but the most amazing fact for me was that the process from the cane being cut in the field to the sugar being in its final state of refinement is 16 hours, yes 16 !! Apparently this time is critical to the optimal product. There is a sugar cane rail infrastructure in Queensland which is phenomenal, something like 5,000km of track, and the trains are computer controlled to ensure that the cane is collected and processed in line with the optimal processing time. The mill is co-operatively owned and although only in operation for about 4 months each year, quite a few of the workers are kept employed in maintaining it for the following year whilst the rest of the work force is made up of casual workers. All-in-all the tour was interesting. I must confess to being surprised at how dirty the whole mill was, albeit that the actual refining process obviously takes places within sealed-containers. As part of this observation I also noticed how rusted and filthy a eye washing station was which was there in the event that an employee should get any aggravating chemicals in their eyes. That I thought was inexcusable. Tour over we left and did a bit of shopping, sampled some more cakes and pies in a local cake shop before heading back to Hydeaway.

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The Mill

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An opportunity for you guys to see that this adventuring is not all glamour !!

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Encouraging....eh ?!?..

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The sugar cane arrives by computer controlled railway...16 hours from cutting to sugar or the optimal sugar is not obtained.

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Is emptied from it's carriage onto a conveyer..

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...and then smashed to pieces to extract the juice..

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hmmm, ahem...not sure what's going on here.

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Inside the processing plant-not as sqweeky clean as I'd expected.

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This, believe it or not, was an emergency eye bath in the case of corrosive chemicals getting into a workers eyes...hhmmmm

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The boilers used to raise the temperature of the cane-juice as party of the sugar extraction process.

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A series of sampling points for the partly-refined sugar.

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The final product....just 16 hours after entering the mill.

The next day we started slow again and we spent the afternoon on the beach . Somewhere in our time at Hydeaway Bay we found that there were a few “resident” possums on the campsite and we were sometimes woken by them as they crunched up some seeds we’d bought for the Lorikeets during the night. On a few occasions we saw them and were actually able to hand feed them some bread we had.

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One of the Possums we'd been able to hand feed.

There were a few trips we were interested in doing. One was a day Kayak trip from Airlie beach to one of the islands and close-by beachs, including a lunch, and the other was a dive-trip to the Great Outer barrier-reef from a racing yacht. The Kayak trip had been inspired by a local company called Salty Dog and so there was no problem in booking this trip. The Dive & sail trip though proved a little harder and so I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Our Kayaking with Salty dog began from Shute harbour just a bit further along the coast from Ailie Beach. Anthony & Mark, our guides and instructors turned out to be an amusing double act. We were alotted with everyone else a double Kayak with the rear paddler having foot peddles to control a rudder which I’d never experienced let alone seen before. We’d chosen a full day paddling which we were really pleased about as the half-dayers only visited an island, had a snack and returned to the harbour. The Island was very pretty and from the top a rocky mound we climbed up ,gave a good view of the surrounding area, and a good enough view to see a turtle swimming by. To add to the interest of the island, the beach was covered in deal coral which felt like a light-weight stone, similar to pumice. We made 4 journeys in all. One to the Island, 2 to other beaches, and one back to the harbour. We had a nice lunch chatting with Anthony who we learnt had recently paddled from the Gold Coast to New Guinea, some 4,500km, and in the process had been sponsored by the Australian National Geographic. It was a really nice chat over lunch with no predominant egos and everybody contributing and/or listening as appropriate.

Back in the Kayak, the only problem with the design was the back support(or lack of it) My back had been giving me significant problems since we arrived in Australia(this may have been connected to the excessive weight we’d carried from India in our bags) As a result, after about 10-15 mins of paddling the back pain set-in and the remaining 20-30 were plain awful. We did however end up in a race with a French couple which naturally required a suitable back ignoring response and you’ll be pleased to know that we won. Despite the back ache I/we both enjoyed the day, the sun had been nice and the choppiness of the sea made for a good challenge.

That night I had an awful sleep as my back was hurting badly(funnily enough !)- I took 2 Ibruprofen which helped but not enough. By 6:30 I’d had enough of lying in bed and so got up and made some coffee and after a while decided to start updating this log. I also learnt that England had surprisingly beaten the Samoens 44-22 in the Rugby World Cup. The BBC web-site read as though Johnny Wilkerson saved the game but all the team seemed to play their part. I was disappointed not to have been able to see the match but the camp-site TV didn’t have the required channel.

We’d invited Charlie to a T-bone dinner and he came over and asked if we could alter our plans a little to take account of a promise he’d made to a friend to go fishing. As a result we agreed to go beach fishing with the original offer of a T-bone still standing if we didn’t catch anything. In the end the beach fishing was cancelled and we did the steak.

More days passed whilst we considered and re-considered the sailing/diving options and fed the Lorikeets. Eventually we whittled it down to one decision which was to take an incredible offer on a tall ship more dedicated to sailing and sightseeing as opposed to diving. We were really tempted as it was almost half-price but we would have had to share a cabin and that would have spoiled the romance of the event. Finally we decided to take a trip on a maxi-racing yacht for a day to get the experience of this type of boat and to treat the diving as a separate entity, probably from Cairns, traditionally seen as the point of departure for the Outer Barrier reef.

We went on the maxi yacht Ragamuffin, a previous Hobart winner. It was a lovely day, nice and Sunny but there was very little wind and so we motored to the snorkel/lunch point which was obviously disappointing.

Whilst snorkelling I took my Olympus waterproof camera which decided to leak about 6 weeks out of its one-year world-wide warranty but 10 and a half months within its European warranty. I tried to claim from Olympus in Australia as how can you lose a supposedly waterproof camera this way ? (The result was negative and pretty arrogant from Olympus as I no longer had the receipt but did have the dated and stamped warranty card!….The story will be told in a later thread.) The coral though was very nice and there was plenty of sea life to make it interesting for a while, that was before the water temperature made it too unpleasant.

On the way back the Skipper put the main sail & Spinaker out and we sailed for about 20-30 mins without a motor despite a very low wind. Only at about 6 knots but it was nice. We returned to the harbour at Airlie Beach, took a beer at one of the bars there and rode back to Hydeaway for dinner.

A day or two shortly after that (the 29th) we finally manage to leave Hydeaway bay to the amazement of everybody including ourselves !!

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Hairdressing Australian style - sorry but it's generally been true ! I heard that Australia is looking for Hairdressers and plumbers to immigrate !

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This, and the following photos are of the Lorikeets playing..we're not sure if it's part of a courtship ritual. Whatever it was, it kept us both amused. The males also did a very funny walk where they arch their back-tilt their heads forward walking towards their female sticking their tongues out like the all-blacks before a game.

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The last Lorikeet shot-I promise !!


10-01-08, 14:51
You've seen more of Australia than a lot of us Australians will in their lifetime. Well done. I hope Skippy behaves as she did for me.

11-01-08, 00:51
if you haven't bought your new 'phone already, I thought CDMA was about to be made obsolete, to be replaced by nextG (I think).

There's a thread at Advrider about it :



11-01-08, 21:24
Cheers Phil - In the end I settled for a Standard Telstra pre-paid as the coverage from the more expensive networks gave such a small advantage as to not be worth the extra cost for us.