So a couple weeks ago I was messaging with Natasha about things that I thought were awesome on the East coast since she was working her way down the coast from Cairns at the time. I kept saying over and over that Fraser Island was SO FUN and SO COOL and then I realized “Hey wait a minute, I have four days off… maybe… I COULD COME!?!?!?!”.

After some furious flight/rental/accommodation research it all came together and a few days later I was flying to Hervey Bay to meet Nat so we could go on an XXXXXXTREME 4WD adventure on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.

Last time I went to Fraser (2008) I did the normal backpacker thing where they put you in groups of 10 people and give you a 4WD and an itinerary and set you free. It was an awesome adventure and I made great friends, several of which I am still in contact with. Turns out they don’t even offer that anymore, I guess too many people got into trouble? Now you can still go in groups of 8ish people, but you have to drive in convoys where the lead car has an actual experienced guide. Zzzzz. But all those groups were full by the time we were organized so instead we just rented our own 4WD just the two of us. :D ADVENTURE!!! The rental place did a briefing and made us an itinerary anyway, so actually it was pretty much the same thing, you just have to arrange it more yourself now.

I wasn’t too nervous about the sand or track driving, because we are both good drivers with snow experience (similar to sand), but I WAS legit worried about getting stuck, because how were we supposed to push ourselves out with only ONE PUSHER!? Thankfully it had rained a lot a few days before we got there so the sand was quite moist and getting bogged was not an issue.

So yeah, the entire 120 km x 24 km island is made of sand. The main “highway” is the beach along the Eastern side, which you can drive on around low tide, dodging waves, deep sand, and washouts (**more about this in a minute). There are also some very rough tracks inland through the forest to get to the extremely beautiful lakes. There are tons of things to look at, walks to do, places to swim, but no towns or anything, just a few little shops and resorts in a few places. It’s a cool place.

So the first morning we drove as far up the beach as we were allowed with our two day itinerary, and back, stopping at all the interesting things, like this shipwreck! It’s been there for almost 100 years.

The pinnacles look like rocks, but they’re just sand! I wanted to pick at it so bad.

Eli Creek was one of my favourite things last time, and it did not disappoint this time. (Because, spirit animal). It’s a freshwater stream where you can run up the boardwalk and then float down. It looks murky in the pictures, but actually that’s the sandy bottom, the water is actually super clear. We did it twice. Lots of giggling ensued.

Oh yeah you also have to keep an eye out for PLANES, who use the beach as a runway as well.

We also hiked into Lake Wabby, a bright green lake at the end of a giant sand dune. More prepared people bring sandboards which you can ride right into the lake. We didn’t have much time to spend here though because we had to drive to our campsite well before sunset.

We camped on the beach that night. Didn’t get eaten by dingos. FIST BUMP.

The next day we went on a long hike into a “secret lake”. I had low expectations but we actually did have the whole lake to ourselves! Cool! Well actually we had to share it with a giant goana who was doing laps on the beach. We thought we might be lost on the hike back to the car because we didn’t recognize anything, but turns out we’re both just super unobservant I guess.

Last stop was beautiful Lake McKenzie. So photogenic. So clear.

The best part about all of these lakes is that the sand is just pure soft sand. No rocks to stub your toe on. It’s so fun to run your hands through the sand underwater and on the beach because it’s so smooth. Also they’re freshwater lakes, so no stinging eyes or jellyfish or anything. Perfection.

Natasha and our 4WD Pink Betty. (Bam ba lam.)

** STORY TIME! My nickname from 2008 was Crazy Katrina because of the group’s assessment of my driving on Fraser. Well, the torch has been passed to Natasha, because she kinda… DROVE OFF A CLIFF!! HAHAHA. We’re not actually sure exactly how big the washout was, (reports vary between 10 cm and 2 metres) but it was extremely shocking and made everything in our car go flying from the trunk into the front seats, including 1) a camp stove, 2) a loose knife, and 3) a dozen eggs. I remember yelling WATCH OUT! and then turning around and seeing the knife flying through the air in slow motion hahahaaaaaaa. Anyway, we were fine, and the car passed the inspection at the end, so all is well. XXXXXXXTREME!!¬†Cartoon coming soon.

View of Fraser Island from my plane home! The thin strip of beach along the ocean is the road, the big lake is Lake McKenzie, and the small lake is Basin Lake (the secret lake). You can also see a bunch of the dunes. Pretty neat.

All in all it was an excellent trip. 10/10, and I can’t wait to go back again some day. Next time for a bit longer though, because we didn’t have enough time to get up to the champagne pools or Indian Head, where you can very often see whales. I’m so glad it worked out at all though. Thank you Scott for letting me hashtag YOLO and go.

Things have been pretty routine lately, over here.

I’m still only working two days a week (plus occasional on call). I’m hoping I get full time, at least temporarily, early next year. Cross your fingers for me, because I really do like the hospital.

I’m still training at Phoenix weightlifting club three days a week. Things are starting to feel slightly less awkward (but still terribly awkward). My best snatch so far is 31 kg, and best clean and jerk is 40 kg. It’s so hard though, like one time I decided to count up every single thing I thought about or checked in one skeleton run, which is about 60 seconds long.. and it was like 180 things or some ridiculously high number like that. But now each lift is like 2 seconds long and there are DOZENS and DOZENS of things to think about!! I guess I just have to keep doing it and doing it until most of the things become ingrained. Luckily that’s easier to do than with skeleton.

And I’m still making the occasional sale in my Etsy shop. Those are my favourite emails to get ever.

Exciting things coming soon though…

I’m going on a spontaneous trip to Queensland this weekend to visit Natasha, which is going to be SO FUN. We’ve got an XXXXXXXXTREME adventure organized, and the weather is looking fantastic. I hope to spend a significant part of the trip submerged in water. Fingers crossed we don’t spend too much time submerged in sand in our 4WD.

And Scott and I finally bought our flights to Korea for the Olympics! We are going for two weeks in February. We’ve got tickets to mens and womens skeleton, and mens super G so far, and are hoping to watch hockey and curling as well. The rest of the time we’ll stay in Seoul, and explore (/eat) from there. Rosemarie is planning on popping over for a visit as well, which will be super cool.

I found jian bing outside of China again! This time it was at Mr Kitchen, in Melbourne CBD. It was extremely authentic and brought me right back to the streets of Beijing (except for the price). Jian bing really make such a great breakfast.

How to make jian bing: make a very big thin mung bean pancake. Crack an egg over it and break the yolk and push it around so it cooks in a thin layer over the whole thing. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, cilantro, and green onion. Flip it over. Paint on some sauces, including a nice spicy one. Place a crispy fried wonton wrapper type thing on top, then fold it all up. Done!

Delicious.

Mr Kitchen also has that donut option instead of the crispy option, which must be from another region of China. They also had that noodle, meat, cucumber dish that I used to eat all.da.time in Beijing, but we were just after a small snack on the way to the footy game.

Mr. Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This was a couple months ago but it was so delicious I still want to share it.

Cassia took me to Ebeneezer Place, a cute little side street in the Adelaide CBD with a lot of little cafes. We checked out every option and then decided on Afghan for lunch.

Neither of us could decide anything because every single thing on the menu sounded nice, so with the help of the very patient waitress we both got mixed plates where you can choose three items. Cassia picked Morgh Degee (chicken marinated in yogurt and Afghan spices), Banjan Borani (eggplant simmered in tomato, with yogurt sauce), and one of the dumpling options (sorry, can’t remember which).

I picked the eggplant, dumplings, and Lamb Qormah (lamb curry).

Both plates came with rice and a little side salad.

It was all so good!!! The eggplant was delicious, the chicken and dumplings were great, but the real highlight was the lamb curry. It was tender and meaty and super yum. I also liked the casual relaxed vibe of the place and how all the dishes were mismatched pieces. Very cute.

Kutchi Deli Parwana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Me and Ava reading Rudie Nudie. MAN, she loves that book. Also Ava is very cute.

Cristoforo’s sweet ute and house that he is renovating in Adelaide. He’s pretty much gutting the entire place, it’s crazy. Lots and lots of work to do still.

7 Wonders, all the time.

Me with the birthday treats from the flight attendants on our flight back to Australia. We got champagne, cheese, ice cream, pastries, chocolate etc. Pretty nice!

Most of our haul from Canada. Yeah….. we did a lot of shopping. But all of these things are either not available in Australia or significantly cheaper in Canada. Example: embroidery thread is $1.29/skein here, and with a coupon I got them for $0.50/skein at Michael’s. Another example: a hockey helmet that fits Scott’s giant head… not easy to find here.

Jemma did a really nice job on the cake and decor for Vicky’s 60th birthday party. I really like the icing succulents!

I stole this picture from Facebook. The finalists from the Carcassonne tournament that Scott and I competed in. We were very confident going in, but didn’t end up doing that well. I beat Scott though, so all is well. It was so so so intense, my heart rate was probably 150+ for the entire day. We will be much better prepared for next year, and ready to get aggressive on turn #1.

Scott got me this cup and supplies to make Moscow Mules for our copper anniversary. What a delicious drink.