“Of the ten most venomous snakes in the world, eight inhabit this island.” This was what we heard when we arrived on Stradbroke Island (Straddie for locals) and were greeted by our tour guide for the day. What a warm welcome! Fortunately, he assured us that he would take care of us…
Just a few hours earlier, some sixty very sleepy Questies had gotten on the bus to catch the ferry to Stradbroke. The ferry ride, while very hot (especially to those from the northern hemisphere, like myself) was lovely and gave a good view of the island. After being greeted by the indigenous guide, he talked us through the history of his culture, that of the local Goenpul people. Afterwards, we painted boomerangs! After being shown some examples (like the infamous ‘killer boomerang’), we got right down to it. I don’t think I should make boomerang painting my profession, but it still was heaps of fun. While our own boomerangs were drying in the sun, we were invited to try our hand at throwing some! And let me tell you; it is DANGEROUS – especially because some of them came back, while others didn’t. There was never a safe spot to hide from the throwing madness…
Next on the programme was a tour of the area. We went to Point Lookout which offers a gorgeous view of the lower-lying beaches on Stradbroke. We also visited some cliffs overlooking the sea, and we spotted whales (!), sea-turtles (!) and some of us were lucky enough to see a stingray (not me alas…). We were told an interesting and somewhat creepy story about Wailing Rock, where lots of mishaps and accidents have been happening since an old woman died there.
After taking many beautiful pictures and learning more about Goenpul culture, the local wildlife and dangerous fruits, we ventured to one of the beaches for some fun in the sun. The waves were huge, according to my standards – although an Aussie guy said he could make more impressive waves in his bathtub… A quick swim later, we headed back to the bus, which took us on the ferry. On our way to the mainland, we finally saw what we had been waiting for all day – dolphins! (Granted, it was only one. And I just barely saw its tail disappearing under water. But still!)
After this long day we were dropped off in the city and at UQ, sunburnt and clutching our hand-painted boomerangs. It was a wonderful day; it was interesting to learn about the local indigenous culture while at the same time exploring beautiful Straddie. Thanks to QUEST for organising this event!
On a different note; my bags are all packed – I’m ready to go to Cairns! (As well I should be, because my flight leaves in 12 hours…) Off to a week of rainforests, beaches, reef trips and pure relaxation… I am going with two friends – one of whom is April, who desperately wanted to be named in this blog
Everyone, enjoy the midsemester break! See ya later!
(Thanks to Michaela for the pictures! :))