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December 5, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Hervey Bay to Brisbane

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Before Natalie and I head back to the good ol’ U.S. of A, we make one last stop in the land they call ‘down under’. This time, we’re headed to Brisbane. It’s Australia’s third largest city and it reminds me a lot of San Diego. One reason is the topography of the land, the other, the athleticism of the locals; they’ve got the same laid-back attitude as many of the people I’ve encountered from San Diego. There are lots of other reasons, too but you’ll have to read on to discover them. If you’re pressed for time, there’s a two-minute Johnny Jet video at the end of this week’s story. Plus, join Devin Janosov as he continues his trek through Scotland, still on the hunt for the Loch Ness monster. This week, we feature part two of his story. And as a special bonus, we’ve got our consumer affairs correspondent and watchdog, Buzzy Gordon joining us this week with a few words of warning for travelers headed to Baja California.

Last week, we left off from the amazing Fraser Island. From there, Natalie and I took a 45-minute ferry to Hervey Bay. Our flight wasn’t for a few hours and we were told by the boat deck hands that our best bet was to relax, shop and have lunch at the marina. We did just that by pulling up a chair at Café Balaena. The restaurant serves a wide variety of decent food but the service was painfully slow. The other disappointment was that their cookies don’t taste nearly as good as they looked. Café Balaena, Shop 7, Tourist Terminal, Boat Harbour, tel: (07) 41-2547-99.

The Hervey Bay airport was much nicer than I had expected. It was indeed small but modern with a fine café and a tiny souvenir shop. There was no line at Qantas Link’s check-in counter and I was shocked that there wasn’t security. I’m not sure if this is reflective of the every day procedures because there was a metal detector but it wasn’t on and no one was manning it. To be honest, that didn’t bother me as much as the fact that my carry-on bag (which always fits into overhead compartments) would not fit on this Dash 8 plane. So, I was forced to check it ... and it essentially has my life in it, so I was not happy to be forced to part with it. If this ever happens to you, always take out all of your valuable belongings. It’s not that you really have to worry about your bag getting lost; it’s theft and damage that won’t be covered. So, I sat there in seat 4B, clutching my laptop and cameras (and a few other items I refused to part with) like I was a vagabond. Fortunately, the flight to Brisbane was a quick and smooth 50 minutes. And even given the short flight time, the flight attendants still managed to serve a snack and a spot of tea.

A funny chap picked us up at the airport, for the 30-minute drive (20 minutes without traffic) to our Southbank hotel. Note: A taxi normally costs between $40 and $50. Michael, who drives for Brunel Chauffeurs, had the thickest Australian accent you’ve ever heard. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below. I asked Mike what his favorite thing to do in the city was. He said that without a doubt, we should check out the Friday night Latin dance party (conveniently situated between the shops and directly across the street from our hotel). This surprised me – I didn’t expect Michael (or Brisbane) to be particularly multicultural. But I was wrong. The last Australian census (2006) showed that 21.7% of the population was born overseas and approximately 16.1% of households speak a language other than English. And as for Michael, that man can really shake it. We took his advice and headed down to the street party on Friday night and I just watched in fear. If I set foot on that dance floor, the authorities might’ve detained me for my suspicious convulsion-like moves. It’s too bad because occasionally, I do like to dance and in my mind, I’m comparable to MC Hammer (it’s Hammer Time!) Unfortunately, I’m told I move more like the Tin Man on crack.

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Fraser Island Ferry


Hervey Bay


Hervey Bay Airport


Dash 8


Inside the Dash 8


Flight To BNE


Qantas Snack


Latin Dance Party


Our Hotel


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