Published: November 4th 2010November 2nd 2010
We arrived in Cairns from Singapore via Darwin Airport, it was not the worst flight in the world as for the second leg we had double seats to ourselves which meant I could get some sleep. The plan was to spend a few days in this “cheap” hostel which was $10 a night, more than I paid anywhere else since I’ve been away. But for that $10 you did get a free meal, a pool and the best showering facilities I’ve used since leaving the UK.
First night I was there I went down to the bar for my meal and a beer, only to feel like the bar tender slapped me across the face when he asked for $6 from me for my pint. I had just finished my dinner when I was roped into playing a pool competition where you had to pot as many balls as you can in 60 seconds. I went first and then left to explore. I found out a day later that I won and my prize was a 2-4-1 snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
In Cairns we also met a German and Italian student studying in Canberra and spent
Croc's & Stingers rife in these waters
most of our time hanging around with them cooking on the free public bbq’s or drinking, but usually a combination of both. Had some fantastic time and meet some very “interesting” people.
The idea we had in Asia was to buy a car when we arrived in Australia and use that as our transportation and accommodation between Cairns and Melbourne. So after being there four days and scouring the notice boards in the various hostels around town we made the plunge and bought a 1991 Ford Falcon estate with a double mattress in the back and various camping gear. Turns out its quite comfortable, but everyday I’m woken up at 07.07 and the car is like an oven as soon as the sun comes out.
The amazing Ozzy surf was still out of reach due to the Great Barrier Reef acting as a blocking device against all the waves, not that you would want to go in the water, everywhere there are warning notices up stating the water is riddled with Crocodiles’ and deadly jellyfish (which they call stingers). So one of the only chances we had for a bit of sea swimming was the Great Barrier Reef
day trip. You catch an early morning ferry to this pontoon stationed off the reef and you can go snorkeling, submarineing or take a trip in the glass bottom boat. All in all a good day out, the fish were bigger than I’d previously seen but the tide was high so you couldn’t get right down to the reef.
It was now time to move on and the next stop would be a small town called Airlie Beach, which is the jumping off point to get to the Whitsunday Islands. Although, you really can’t appreciate how large this country is till you try and drive somewhere. It took us two days to get to Airlie Beach, as we stopped in various towns on the way down. Not that we were speeding down the mile after mile of straight roads, the car is 3.9 litre so she guzzles petrol like nobodies business and I read somewhere that 90km is the most economical speed to drive at so we’ve been annoying truck drivers all the way down the Queensland coat.
There are more photos below