Location: Airlie beach, Australia
So we had an early start & a long bus ride to Krrrrroooombit (as our bus driver named Disco said it ... every time!) cattle ranch, playing silly games for points on the way. After arriving we were given dinner (& myself a lot of abuse for being a vegetarian!) & were then taught how to crack a whip & ride on a mechanical bull, which I managed to stay on for 10 bucks, some of those with it rotating too so I was pretty chuffed with myself! The next morning came far too quickly for my liking & I did some goat mustering, or herding as we know it on a lazy horse named Big Mama, followed by some lassooing which I couldn't get the hang of at all & a goat rodeo which really wasn't my thing but my team still won! We then had another long bus journey to look forward to with more games, resulting in me winning an awesome hand-painted boomerang! That evening we arrived in the little town of Rainbow Beach looking forward to the next few days!
Early (do you spot the recurring theme here?!) in the morning we were given our Fraser Island self drive camping tour briefing by an annoying rhyming dude & a safety video & after sorting out our car & equipment, we were off in a 2-car 16-person convoy to the world's largest sand island at 76 miles long! We checked out a big, old Japanese shipwreck & then found a camping spot, set up, cooked & settled down for a chilly evening of silly games & dodging dingos!
The next morning, I drove to the beautiful Lake Birrabeen, with the same white sand as Whitehaven beach on the Whitsundays & clean, clear water where we went for a dip. All the fun was in the driving so while it seems we did nothing, we had a LOT of fun in the car! That evening we set up again ... in an area which seemed to have a lot more Dingos than the previous night (eeek!) Unfortunately it was pretty wet in the morning so we packed away a soggy load of stuff, went for a long rainforest walk to a mighty impressive sand dune & lake & then headed back towards the ferry, our experience over before we knew it! That evening back at Rainbow Beach, we had a good sociable time with our group before parting ways in the morning.
We took the early bus to the town of Noosa where Hatty, Ross, Henry & I parted from Laura who was heading down to Brisbane & found a hostel, before spotting a Pelican on our afternoon's explorations! The next day we hired bikes & found the beach & shops in what was a lovely, pretty wealthy family town & that evening it was my turn to say goodbye to the others as I hopped on a bus back up to the awesome Airlie, where I've been chilling out & sunbathing for the last few days.
Tonight's another overnight bus back down to Noosa before heading to Brisbane on Friday! Here I am finally up to date, so expect one more blog in a couple of weeks time before I arrive home 1 month tomorrow ... it's gone quickly!
Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
So after leaving Cairns at 7 O'clock in the morning, extremely tired, we stopped off at a rainforest & waterfalls for a wake up walk, where my toe got bitten by some huge cling-on ant before heading to the next town for some breakfast at possibly the slowest cafe on the planet! We were then taken to a crocodile & kangaroo farm, where I was lucky enough to get cuddly with a baby aligator, some huge snake ... maybe a python(?!) & a black cockatoo. We were shown a number of savagely dangerous crocodiles & watched them being fed, before feeding the cute kangaroos ourselves & meeting some cassowaries (emu-like birds) & dingos. Mid-afternoon we arrived in Mission Beach & straight away booked a sky dive for the following morning. At this point we shared a room with Hatti, Ross & Henry who I'd end up travelling along with for the next 2 weeks.
The morning of the skydive arrived pretty quickly but we then had to wait around for hours for the weather to clear up, which then meant that timing got a bit tight & we almost missed our bus that we'd booked towards our next location ... but we did make in the end, just! So, the dive ... we got kitted out & went up in a wee little aeroplane for abot 15 minutes, with stunning views over the Great Barrier Reef, Dunk Island & Mission Beach itself. I was to be first out of the plane & when we reached 14000 ft my accomplice asked me if I was ready, but I didn't get the chance to reply - we were out straight away! 60 seconds of freefall with tumbles & twists & excruciating pain in my ears later, I was floating around above amazing blue waters & one of the best views of my life. It was all over within about 7 minutes & other than a couple of weeks of bruised eardrums & deafness to come, it was well worth it! We then raced to the bus, hopped on & we were on our way to Townsville to catch a sunset ferry over to Magnetic Island, where we were to spend 3 nights.
The nxt day was spent chilling out & exploring & climbing big rocks to look at awesome views of the bay & the mainland. The next day we decided to hire a car between the 5 of us as it seemed to be the best way to explore te whole island, which is pretty small so it wasn't hard. We got a nice, snazzy Toyota 4x4 & set off to spot rock wallabies & do some more climbing, visit a few lovely, secluded little bays & do a long walk up to an old fort to spot koalas (we found one & named him Geoffery after one of the bays on the island!) & admire an insane view from the top! We then hit the other side of the island & drove down a bumpy dirt track towards a quiet beach, where the others spotted a big, black snake, which with my amazing powers of observation I managed to miss! We watched the sun set over the horizon & in the evening Hatti, Laura & I went out for a delicious, but rather pricey Mexican meal without the boys before returning to the hostel to be a bit sociable.
The following morning I took it upon myself to be organised & get up early to return the car before catching the island bus to the ferry terminal for a pleasant, sunny ride back over to the mainland where we then caught the Oz bus about 3 hours south to the hip & happening Airlie Beach with the Whitsunday Islands (all 72 of them!) located not far off its coast. It's a small party town slightly reminiscent of Cairns with a big lagoon & nice cafes & restaurants. Other than an early morning jog, I spent the next couple of days chilling out & partying before embarking on the infamous 2 night boat trip around the Whitsundays on the biggest boat of the bay called the 'Atlantic Clipper'. It took 50 odd people plus the 7 strong crew, including a slight pervy 70 year old skipper! Whilst checking in, I also just happened to bump into a girl from the year below me at school (Nicky Jobson for those of you who know) who also lives in Caterham but whom I hadn't seen in years ... of all the places!!!
The first evening brought some lovely fish for dinner, getting to knwo the other people on the trip & a sing song with one of the crew & his guitar before attempting sleep in my pokie, but actually pretty cool little cabin with 2 other girls. We then awoke really early the next morning to a beautiful day, so after brekkie we all trekked out upto the viewpoint over Whitehaven Beach, one of Australia & the world's most photographed spots & the view did not disappoint! We then spent a couple of hours on the beach taking silly photographs, stringray spotting & lazing about on the finest white sand there is around. It's so fine it doesn't get hot so it was nice & cool under foot. Some of it was even used in the making of the Hubble telescope. We then got back on the boat & sailed to another location for a spot of snorkelling in our sexy stinger suits & more beach action. I saw some pretty cool coral & fish along the way so I was pretty happy! We then had an evening of fun & games on deck as well as dolphins frolicking around the sides of the boat in the lit up water, which was simply brilliant! On our last morning we did some more snorkelling with even better fish & coral than the previous day before setting sail back to Airlie for a restful afternoon before the boat trip afterparty, which was also good fun.
We left Airlie beach reluctantly the next morning & headed for a cattle ranch a LONG way south!
Watch this space for the final catch up installment!
Location: Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
So here it is, the blog you've all so desperately been waiting for ... or alternatively been hoping I wouldn't bore you with! Where to begin, where to begin?! At the beginning perhaps...
I met Laura on the plane from Singapore & we both checked into the same hostel in Cairns, called Giligan's (a.k.a. party central) with a bar, club, pool & 700 beds! We had to wait a while as we arrived so early so we went to pump ourselves full of caffeine in the form of large black coffees & look around the nearby mall. Needless to say we spent the afternoon in bed, followed by an evening meeting random on our balcony & dancing in the club downstairs. The following day brought very little other than a trip to the lagoon & another evening of boogying.
On our 3rd day in Australia we did the 'must do' & went on a day trip out to snorkell the Great Barrier Reef, which apart from severe sea sickness on the way out was a brilliant trip with a fun crew, (one who even did magic tricks for us!) great fish, beautiful weather, clear blue sea with a huge variety of fish & coral, fantastic tiny sand isalnds & sea turtles! I did a 10 minute scuba taster but realised very soon it wasn't for me (I wasn't a fan of the dry O2 being forced down my throat) so was very pleased it was free of charge!
After an early night I was recharged for day 4, a trip to the Atherton Tablelands & Waterfalls, which was also set to be brilliant. we had an amazingly informative guide names Sid or Coco who knew absolutely everything about the Cairns region, from flora & fauna to history & agriculture & random statistics & trivia. First stop was a Josephine Falls, a pretty impressive waterfall which was reached via a short rainforest walk, near Queensland's highest mountain of Bartle Frere. We had the opportunity to swim in the rapids but being the wimp I am it was too chilly for me. We were then taken to another waterfall to have lunch to the sound of gushing water, followed by a quick sto pat Millaa Millaa Falls, where Peter Anfre filmed his Mysterious Girl Video & the Timotei shampoo adverts are filmed. Next stop, the huge, ancient curtain fig tree, where I got my first sighting of some terrible, poisinous spiders, namely the black & golden Orbs (the females eat the males after mating). Unfortunately after this the rain came down with avengeance so our trips to Lake Eacham & to port Platypi/platypuses?!?!) were somewhat disappointing. When we returned to te hostel, Laura & I got ready at the speed of light for our toga Ultimate Party, which did not disappoint!
The next couple of days (& our last in Cairns) were pretty chilled out & ended on a high with free champagne for ladies' night (which I have now learned is a popular/regular thing all over Oz!) & very little sleep!