I ❤️ Mission Beach
So we arrived in this spot on the 24th September which means we’ve been here for TWO MONTHS! Can’t believe the time has gone so quickly. It really it beautiful here though. Mission Beach is a real gem of a place. Unfortunately the weather turned a little when we first arrived and it was more drizzly England than bright North Queensland.
The town of Mission Beach is divided into a few collective beaches; they are – South Mission, Wongaling Beach and North Mission. If you’re driving to Mission Beach, the signs will take you straight to North Mission, where most of the restaurants/bars/shops are. Our lovely friend Gareth lives in Wongaling Beach so this is where we have resided. The hostel we are staying at is close by to all amenities – we have the beach, the supermarket, the bus station, a collection of small shops and Millers, the restaurant where we work a few days a week.
Sarah and I both applied to be assistant managers of the hostel – and we succeeded. This gives us a bit more to do around the place and more money on the side too. Before, we were just working for accommodation. Our jobs would include doing the laundry, making beds, cleaning the kitchen and general tidying for three hours a day. It’s nice that hostels offer this to backpackers but of course it is always in accordance with what suits them. For three hours work anywhere else, you would be expecting to be paid upwards of $60, and for a room at the hostel, it’s only $23 a night. You get the idea. But it’s free accommodation, and the things you do for free accommodation!!
Mission is a lovely, quiet beach town where a lot of holiday makers come to visit. I quite often get chatting to them when they come in for dinner at Millers – just the other night I spoke to someone who takes his boy to football practice in East Grinstead! Such a small world.
Currently I am writing this in the safe haven of our air conditioned room. It is getting pretty hot out here, and by pretty hot I mean absolutely sweltering. I definitely notice the change from when we arrived at the end of September to now (the end of November). We are leaving tomorrow. It feels hard to believe after 10 weeks. How the time has just flown by. We have managed to fit a lot in but mostly we have just been working our butts off at the hostel and at Millers. On reception at Absolute Backpackers our duties include: checking people in and out, making bookings, dealing with reservations and administrations, managing staff, doing the washing and selling tours. I have really enjoyed being a part of the company and hostel life, despite the workload and the shoddy pay. We get to meet so many different people on a day to day basis, which is the reason I came here of course. Germans especially are a nation of backpackers it seems – there are sooo many every where we go. Other countries I have found to be consistent with adventuring in Australia are France, Holland and Britain. It seems these are the main four, with Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the USA and Australia itself taking second place.
We met a lovely person on our travels whilst at Absolute. Her name was Jen and she was marvellous. You know those few occasions in life when you just meet some real gems of characters. Well Jen was a gem. She was from the USA and would delight me with her stories of bartending in Miami, getting into trouble, and paying $9000 for her fake boobs. She was always bubbly and charismatic and kind-hearted. At this point, we (I) had begun to plan our East Coast trip and to our delight, Jen wanted to tag along. I was in the process of fitting both our plans together when she received some devastating news that meant she had to fly back home. I will never understand why what happened happened at that precise moment, and why it could not have waited until she was ready to fly back home, or even never happened. However, we all know that life is not fair and this unfairness left a big hole in our absolute gang. She is currently working in Miami and hopes to fly back out soon.
Not everyone we have met has been so wonderful however. To the point where we have come to the conclusion that men in North Queensland over the age of 40 are all perverts. As well as that, there continues to be a lot of backpacker exploitation happening over here with regards to working. It’s a shame as I thought Aussies were at the top of the world friendly scale. Not everyone is nasty or pervy or unfriendly of course – we have met a whole bunch of people who are extremely welcoming and hospitable. It’s just that they all happen to be either female or under the age of 40. Haha.
A couple of weeks ago we went white water rafting with a company called Wildside Adventures. They gave us a free trip because I and a few other staff members had painted a paddle for their competition (they wanted a new design) and it won second place! The rafting took place on the Tully River and my gosh is was beautiful. I had been before (see blog post ‘Tully Gorg is Gorg’) but this time we had a whole 6km of river to look at and navigate through. The guys who ran it – Al and Stevo were brilliant and really took care of us when we needed help. How it worked was that we each got given our own boat – sort of a rubber dingy/kayak – and a paddle and got straight to it. We had a quick go at capsizing ourselves and getting back in (beware of the crocodiles though!) and on we went. The morning run was easier as the river was low but frequently you would get stuck on rocks and would have to bum shuffle your way out of the situation. I found the boats easy to steer as they were pretty light, but I still felt very safe. Mostly the rapids were exciting but very tame apart from one near the end of the run. Both Al and Stevo got out of their boats and stood in the water, ready to help us if we needed assistance. The river forked at a precarious point – one way was a raging rapid and the other a series of roots jutting out from the bank. The aim was to take on the rapids as you could get yourself into serious harm by getting hit by the root system. Sarah managed to head down the root way and had to paddle very hard to get herself back on track. I was laughing of course. (She was fine!)
We broke for lunch at the campsite – a delicious feast of watermelon and chicken salad wraps and in the afternoon we did the same route again, however this time water from the damn had been let out so the river was much higher. This meant that you didn’t get stuck on rocks as easy but also that the rapids were more treacherous. Sarah and I had a go at paddling in a boat together, however despite our rowing experience, we were no good at all. It was soon decided that we should split, but we sure did have fun laughing in that boat together, holding everyone up in the meantime. The whole experience was brilliant from start to finish and I wouldn’t hesitate to go again.
Another activity we undertook (why am I being so formal?) whilst we were at Mission beach was paddle boarding. This involved renting a couple of boards off the local hire shop and jumping in the ocean with them. It takes a while to get to grips with the board as, although it’s huge and has a large surface area, it’s still tricky to manoeuvre in the water, especially with you on top. Often we would fall in and be a laughing stock to the hire shop owners who were watching from a distance.
I also found time to get to Dunk Island off the coast of Mission Beach which I had been meaning to do ever since we arrived. We got a water taxi there and spent the day rainforest hiking, swimming and having a picnic at Muggy Muggy Beach. The island is a delight and offered fantastic views from the 5km hike. It’s best to go either Friday, Saturday or Sunday as then the Sunset Bar is open and you can reward yourself with a refreshing beer before heading back.
Apart from these few activities, we haven’t really been up to a great deal. The hostel work took care of a lot of our days and the bus up to North Mission was expensive if you wanted to go out. We mostly spent our days chatting to groups of guests and staff and chilling at the beach or beside the pool. I also spent a lot of time researching for our East Coast trip and also for when the boys come to visit. We had a few nights around our lovely friend Gareth’s. We both so enjoy his company and having to say goodbye to him was a punch in the chest. I nabbed his address so hopefully I will get round to sending him a painting to say thank you for all he has done for us.
Sarah’s friend (and mine now!) Georgia came to visit with her lovely friend Morgane whom she had met in Sydney. They stayed for a week and it was wonderful to have them here. We had the best and naughtiest sausage sizzle night the first day they arrived and we also had a fantastic night out at a hippy bar in North Mission whilst they were here. The plan is to meet again in Melbourne and I can’t wait.
Janneke and her brother Thjis also came to stay for a few nights more recently and it was glorious having them too. We had not seen Janneke in a good 9 weeks and were eager to hear all her gossip and travel stories. One evening, Sarah decided it would be a good idea to out drink Thjis and ended up being horrendously ill in our room before passing out and having to work a busy shift at 7am the next morning. Hahaha. I think she has learnt her lesson now. Or at least I hope so…
For now, we are at the beginning of our East Coast Adventure. We’re up in Cairns and it is SWELTERING. I’m not sure how I will cope with visiting here again in a few weeks with the boys when it will only be hotter. Today, Sarah did a bungy jump. Tomorrow, I am seeing the tablelands and the day after we pick up our car and drive to Townsville. I am eager to see what the East Coast has to offer.
Stay tuned for more adventures to come!