02 May 2009

Peace and Harmony

After two busy days I really needed to catch up on my sleep and get my jetlag sorted out, so I slept in on Thursday, had a late lunch and went back to sleep after that. I could not help staying in at Noosa Blue since my bed and the hotel room were so nice, there just was no way I would leave them earlier. The day was not completely wasted though, as I went to explore beautiful Hastings Street, went to the beach and took a gondola ride to Ricky's to have some great dinner. Just all very relaxing and peaceful, especially the gondola ride! I saw some fishermen ashore, boats and a man canoeing on a longboard with a dog. The man is quite famous in Noosa I was told and he teaches the longboard as a new sport or means of transportation.

On Friday morning I went for a hike in the lush Noosa National Park. In the first gum tree on the left I saw my first wild Koala! Well, they are not really WILD animals, but you know what I mean. As Koalas sit in trees, I have to mention that I really think that in Queensland you can see the most interesting trees, they all look like they've got a story to tell: Paperbark tree, pandanus, mangrove, banksia and scribbly gum. On my wondrous walk through this for me new and fascinating vegetation, I also saw the best waves and some surfers going for it. Surfers from all ages and countries seem to flock to the point of Granite Bay. After having had my first successful and fun surfing experience on Noosa's beach two days prior I got a real itch to go for another one! I was expected for a local interview in Mooloolaba though and ended up having lunch there as well. Sea food. That is what I have here on the coast of Queensland, sometimes twice a day, it is so delicious!

Finally, I arrived in Brisbane and met the other 15 candidates for „The Best Job in the World“. I was very excited to see all of them, having seen their videos and read their profiles, I expected an interesting group of people. And I really didn't get disappointed! Peace and harmony kept on being the theme as we took a city cab on the Brisbane River to Southbank and enjoyed how everything along the walk was decorated for Buddha's birthday. In Southbank there are so many different restaurants and cafes to choose from, we chose a Turkish restaurant and nobody stayed hungry. I am very happy to say that all of the candidates seem to have the same attitude as me: We all are going to give our best for „The Best Job in the World“, but there is no need to start any rivalry. We are all quite different, everybody has their qualities and certain charm! Now it all depends what kind of person Tourism Queensland wants to represent them.

01 May 2009

29/ 04/ 09: Over the Big Blue

My day started early, as we had to catch our flight to Fraser Island. Once on board of the small plane, I was told that we would land on the 75 mile Beach Highway, which - being a beach - truly is a unique airstrip. I figured I was in for a bumpy ride, but surprisingly it all went very smoothy! Beach Highway on Fraser Island is actually a real road with stop signs, speed limit and police patrols.

But Fraser Island has more to offer than that. The Aborigines call it K'gari, which means nothing other than paradise – and it really is! It is the world's largest sand island and is listed as World Heritage. Peter Meyer, an award-winning photographer and ranger on Fraser Island, and Jodie Clark from Kingfisher Bay Resort showed us around the island. They took us on a scenic drive through the local rainforests and beautiful lakes. My favourite was the MacKenzie Lake: The sand is like champagne powder and the water is delicious to drink. Fraser is the place to see the purest wild living Dingos, but unfortunately I did not see one and was just able to take a picture of a picture of a Dingo. How sad is that?!

After this amazing day, we left the island on a boat: That's Awesome! Yes, that's right, that is the name of the company and let me tell you, they are not so far off! Later that day I arrived in Noosa. I was completely exhausted and was ready to go to bed, but I had a surfing lesson scheduled for me. It was totally worth it! As soon as I got into the ocean, all my senses were instantly revived. It was so much fun, the water was warm, the waves were perfect and my teacher was cute! I even managed to ride my first wave all the way to the beach! To be fair, I should mention I already had a week of surfing lessons in France, but that was a long time ago, so one could say I did well.
Again this day, the same as the day before, I thought it could not get any better, but Queensland keeps on proving me wrong.

30 April 2009

28/ 04/ 09: Queensland's Sunshine Coast starts in the Mountains

Early in the morning I arrived at Brisbane Airport, and after my suitcase got x-rayed and examined - contact lenses look really suspicious! - we headed for the Glasshouse Mountains. The mountains are listed as World Heritage. Standing up to 300m high and ethereally shaped, the Aborigines traditionally believe these peaks to be a family of mountain spirits, they are surrounded by national parks and little rivers. The Aboriginal legend about this family and how the rivers were born is quite sad.

But let's talk about more happy things as my experiences in Queensland have only been happy ones so far. The Tourism Queensland booked a cottage for me with an amazing view of the Glasshouse Mountains. I have never seen anything like it in my life! I seriously had tears in my eyes, it was so beautiful! I am not kidding you. The cottages were just perfect, very simple, very Bauhaus, but very modern and luxurious while and at the same time sustainable. Is there possibly more you could ask for?! The floor-to-ceiling glass walls and large open decks overlooked kangaroos grazing in front of the cottages, behind them the lush woods of the Hinterland and in the distance the two grandest Glasshouse Mountains: Mount Beerwah and Mount Coonowrin! Check it out on: www.glassonglasshouse.com.au

More excitement was in store though! We visited the Australian Zoo. What a great legacy Steve Irwin left! I had the best time ever in a zoo and let me tell you, I usually really don't like zoos. I haven't been to one in ten years, because they are so upsetting. But in the Australian Zoo the enclosures are really big and well kept, the birds truly have space to fly and the zoo gets really involved with protecting the animals in the wild. If you want to help as well, support them by checking out www.savestevesplace.com and sign their online petition. In the picture I am holding an one year old alligator! Surprisingly cute and fragile! Here Wayne Poole, an expert guide of the Australian Zoo, is explaining to me how alligators are more romantic lovers than koalas. They blow bubbles underneath the female's belly for weeks before mating. That is why they are my favourites and deserved a picture in my blog! Even though I also petted koalas, kangaroos, a wombat and echidnas (not really petted them! But they licked an insect cocktail off my hands!). What a great first day in Australia that was! I really thought it couldn't get any better.

One step closer to making my trip sustainable

Two days ago I arrived in Queensland and you won't believe all the exciting adventures I experienced since: Glasshouse Mountains, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island, Noosa, Surfing Lessons. Blogs about it will follow soon! Thanks to Emirates and them upgrading me to Business class, my holiday started on the plane and I arrived rested. Here a picture of crew members Mike and Bryana. Some more fun pictures will follow as soon as I get my hands on a scanner.

While I am very excited to be here in Queensland, from the outset my wish was that the natural wonders of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef would be there for future generations. Before setting off on my trip, I realized there is no better place to start making my journey sustainable than myself, so I went online to myclimate.org to calculate the emissions that would be created by my trip in order to buy quality offsets (Gold Standard CERs), i.e. carbon credits. The website offers a handy calculator for figuring out the emissions you generate in your everyday life and by travelling. It is surprisingly accurate and simple to use at the same time.

Luckily, my brother Andrej currently works in London in the field of carbon credits and knows a thing or two about emission reduction projects, so I got a decent idea of how offsetting can make a difference for our climate and nature, especially if many people do it. Most high standard emission reduction projects either fund renewable energy to replace fossile energy in places where this would not be economically viable without the sale of carbon credits or by funding the destruction of greenhouse gases, e.g. methane where they are created by waste, mining or industry. The resulting carbon credits, so called Certified Emission Reductions or CERs are issued by an agency of the UN after a lengthy process of registration, monitoring and verification. They represent emissions, which have already been reduced in a certified project, so this is not an investment into some vague promise about the future, but very much based on real data and emission reductions.
Sustainability is everyone's business.

26 April 2009

Meat Australian Wildlife

Actually I ended up trying the kangaroo and it didn't taste bad at all. Still I am much more looking forward to seeing them alive. Soon! Today I am leaving for Queensland! :-)