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3… 2… 1… Action: Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur offers a mix of unique religious spectacles and gleaming skyscrapers.  See for yourself in the short videos below.

270+ stairs to reach the Batu Caves entrance, but first we are received by the massive golden Magura Statue:

One of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers do not disappoint. See them in all their majesty in the video below:

Now check out the view from the 41st Floor Sky Bridge:

Nightfall offers a wholly different experience of the Petronas Towers, particularly from the Trader’s Hotel Sky Bar. Complete with overpriced cocktails and rooftop swimming pool:

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) Typical backpacker threads are not always welcome in swanky locales. Check dress codes online before making the trip to some ritzy venue. Ash has several suitable dresses for such occasions and rocks flip flops. My zip-on pant legs and hiking shoes have passed muster so far.

3… 2… 1… Action: Aussie Outback

Litchfield National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory is simply busting at the seams with amazing waterfalls, termite formations, and swimming holes.

Below is a short video of Tolmer Falls with the rain pouring that ends in a shot of the Outback’s wide open spaces:

Next is a glimpse of the hard to describe Magnetic Termite Mounds.  Are they incredible, spooky, fascinating, strange?

Finally, witness Greg fight the formidable current below Florence Falls:

- Ash and Greg

Learn from our Footsteps:

1) Near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory are two national parks: Litchfield and Kakadu. While similar, much of Kakadu’s rugged terrain requires 4×4 access. In fact, in the monsoon season most of its sights are inaccessible. Litchfield on the other hand offers the same experience year-round and without the expense of hiring a 4×4 or paying for a group tour.

3… 2… 1… Action: Jumping Crocodiles of the Outback

During our visit to Australia’s Northern Territory, several saltwater crocodiles exhibited their ability to snag pork from a string on the Adelaide River. 

Check out Stumpy’s (missing one front arm) girth and muscle as he consumes a tasty meal of pig:

America’s southern neighbor may have invented it, but the Australian saltwater crocodiles perfected it. Here, a male and female are after the same thing and only one can get the pork. Watch the Mexican Standoff below:

How do they do it? See for yourself how these massive reptiles propel themselves out of the water:

 

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

  1. Before flying to another country, you should check out more than just the visa requirements. Nowadays, an onward plane, bus, or train ticket from the arriving country is required. Because we lacked arranged onward transportation, we were prevented from checking into our JetStar flight from Darwin to Singapore. Luckily, we had ample time and were able to book a train from Singapore to Malaysia as proof.

3… 2… 1… Action: Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

It is 5:15am and the sun has not yet broken the horizon over the Coral Sea, yet the sky exhibits wondrous colors as we sail for the Great Barrier Reef. Watch the relaxing video below:

Sailing back to Able Point Marina, the aqua water is nothing short of mesmerizing. Two sailing tenders trail Anaconda III as the Whitsunday Islands lurk around us. View the tranquil sea in almost HD below:

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

  1. Australia has been by far the most expensive location to date. $7 for a draft beer? Your pocketbook takes its biggest hit on accommodation. However, here is our unscientific way of limiting the damage. a. Visit www.wotif.com (offers varying levels of hotels at hostel prices) and select three viable options based on prices/reviews b. Compare prices/booking fees to www.agoda.com, www.hostelworld.com, or the actual venue’s website c. Select best accommodation choice and book via cheapest medium (usually www.wotif.com). When torn between two choices, www.tripadvisor.com is our tie breaker. The process eats up some free time, but comfortable accommodation in terrific locations at reasonable prices was certainly worth it.

World’s Largest Sand Island – Fraser Island

Ferry Docking on Fraser IslandConsistently moving north along Australia’s East Coast, we dropped our bags in Torquay and slept with anticipation before setting out for Fraser Island. It was a pre-dawn wake up call and we caught some more shuteye en route to the ferry dock. Motoring over Hervey Bay we approached what appeared to be an ordinary island with elementary green trees. However, the World Heritage site is among Australia’s most vaunted tourist sites for good reason.

4x4 Bus Driving on Cathedral Beach Silent Sand Creek

Boarding a formidable 4×4 bus, we rambled along sand tracks with deep ruts due to lack of rainfall. Our first stop was the former logging camp at Central Station. Though logging of kauri pines and blackbutt trees ended just twenty years prior, the island’s nutrient rich sand has done an admirable job in the reforestation effort. The bushwalking tracks found here exemplify the various types of flora found in the unique ecosystem and even a silent creek. Because the creek bed consists only of sand and is free of rocks, no sound is audible. Next we hit Cathedral Beach and drove through the surf, dodging smaller off-road vehicles.

Eli Creek Moheno Wreck and Equally Old Greg Ash and Moheno Wreck

Approaching a river pouring into the South Pacific Ocean, the large 4×4 bus came to sliding stop in the sand. We dawned our swim trunks and meandered up Eli’s Creek to a sign clearly indicating we were forbidden to penetrate any further. Thus we accompanied the 80,000,000 liters of water flowing to its daily saltwater death by floating on our backs. Here, Fraser Island’s uniqueness struck us. We were amazed how the world’s largest sand island can support a dense forest, produce such an immense amount of spring water, and have hundreds of species calling it home. Further along Cathedral Beach we came to a hulking pile of rusted steel jutting from the shore. Draped in history, the S.S. Moheno ran aground during a 1935 cyclone and has more than three stories buried beneath the sand. First a luxury passenger ship, then a World War I floating hospital, and finally a favorite target during Royal Air Force practice sorties. It is not everyday you see a seventy-five year old shipwreck stuck in such a state of limbo.

Sea EagleThe weather was not cooperating at this point with heavy drops falling sporadically. This did not bother a sea eagle who we spied carrying a fishy treat. Our last stop along Cathedral Beach was the Colored Sands where supposedly seventy-two different hues may be seen. We shall take the tour guide’s word for it. As we headed south for lunch, the steady wind blew the clouds away and revealed a stunning blue sky. The whole island looked decidedly different under the glare of sun though the tiger shark infested waters continued to look unappealing. Then a skinny dingo made his appearance! Eastern Australia’s only “pure” dingoes are a rare sight on Fraser Island so I followed him from a safe distance like his lost puppy.

Dingo Colored Sands Cathedral Beach

Saving the best for last and the weather on schedule, Lake McKenzie was more than we expected. Perched on top of compact sand three hundred feet above sea level, the nearly pure silica sand can be used to polish jewelry and exfoliate skin. Our Saint Christopher necklaces were in need of a deep cleaning. Once again, we were amazed by Fraser Island. Here we were on a sand island surrounded by saltwater yet our gaze was set upon a freshwater lake. The white sand gave way to a clear teal water then a deep blue. Snorkel and mask fastened to my sweaty head, I dove straight in to investigate our strange surroundings. Lake McKenzie’s sand bottom isn’t all that interesting, but I did see a young turtle making headway through the crystal H2O. Relieving the pressure from my ears as I dove deeper, the small tortoise was safely in my hands and headed for the surface. Clearly terrified by the gathering crowd surrounding him, the little devil refused to poke his head out. After releasing my treasure, Ash and I simply took in our tremendous surroundings. Certainly, Lake McKenzie ranks high among our favorite beaches in the world. And on a lake for crying out loud!

Lake McKenzie Beautiful Water Greg Catches a Baby Turtle

Check out the short video below showcasing Lake McKenzie:

Initially, we were reluctant to visit Fraser Island due to its “touristy” nature. But sometimes the destination lives up to the hype.

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) One can rent a 4×4 and camp overnight on Fraser Island. But be careful as the uneven paths and shifting sand cause vehicle accidents every year, some even fatal. Our hostel in Torquay had photographs of several graphic accidents to hammer home this point.

2) Booking excursions at your hostel can be hit or miss. Sometimes the hostel trips are market priced and offer the best options. Other times they are overpriced and miss the best sites. Most backpacker areas have several tour operators so check prices and options before booking. If the hostel offering seems acceptable, opt for the convenience.

3… 2… 1… Action: 440 Foot Bungy Jump

Watch and listen as we recount how New Zealand’s highest bungy jump scared the dickens out of Greg and barely raised Ashley’s heart rate.

Greg is up first and is all nerves:

Gravity proved strong on the way down and now that same force is draining all of Greg’s O+ blood to his cranium:

Ashley’s smile is genuine… she has no fear:

Taking in the private canyon views, Ash reflects during the ride back to the gondola:

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) After coughing up the necessary cash to own our experience on DVD, we regrettably discovered that the disc didn’t contain files that could be copied to computer.  Thus, the video below is taken from this tedious sequence of events: hook up external DVD player, position video camera to computer screen size, record video, save on thumb drive, upload in Internet Cafe to Flickr, post to FOF Blog.  Save yourself these headaches by ensuring that your adventure footage on DVD can in fact be copied onto a computer.  If not, the excursion operator may have an online option.

3…2…1… Action: New Zealand (Part I of II)

The beauty of New Zealand surpassed our expectations.  Of the places visited to date, Argentina and this incredible nation have left a lasting impression.  We hope these videos exhibit the variety of landscapes New Zealand offers.

1) Driving to New Zealand’s tallest Mountain, the majestic Mt. Cook with Lake Pukaki adding sparkle.  Don’t adjust your computer monitor, the shaking is Ash’s nervous habit when I drive.

2) Our favorite campsite of all: Lake Moke outside Queenstown.  The fog, sheep, and windy roads when arriving at night tested our nerves.  But my oh my was the view in the morning worth it! 

3) The rocky North Island coast at sunset along Cape Foulwind.  Greg on entrance vocals, Ash on Canon SX10IS. 

- Greg and Ashley

3…2…1… Action: Fiji

Take a peak at the beauty of Fiji through the lense of our Canon cameras.

1) Greg channeling his 10 years of age on an uninhabited island within the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji.  Ignore Greg’s stupid commentary, focus on the beauty.

2) Ashley continues to push Greg to greater heights of athletic ability.  This time in the pool.

3) A brief look into the incredible villa at Tokoriki Island Resort.  Hands down the most incredible place we have ever rested our eyes.

4) O Come All Ye Faithful by John Wade.  As performed by the adorable child choir of a local Mamanuca Island school in Fijian (Polynesian).  See if you can follow along.

Bula,

Greg and Ash

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