Published: June 15th 2011June 15th 2011
Wow! Our first blog for Australia. Time is going so fast - we've been here nearly 2 weeks already!
The weather in Cairns, our first stop was beautiful! 29 degrees, no humidity - wahoooo! Where we are now it's still beautiful but a little cooler about 23 degrees, we are making the most of the weather because we have heard that it's very cold down south.
We booked before we came out to stay at Gilligan's in Cairns, we'd heard the atmosphere was great and it had a good bar. Crikey, I thought uni was crazy but this place was wild!! There was a club underneath the dorms that went on until 5am seven nights a week. There were competitions every night and always something going on. It really was not a couples place at all, everyone was single but we still had fun and ended staying for 5 nights!
We knew Australia was going to be expensive and it really is a shock no matter how much you prepare for it. We had no idea how people afforded to go out 7 nights a week until we were introduced to goon. Goon is the cheapest drink there
is, at about $11 for 4 litres of this cheap wine stuff, it tastes like lambrini and apparently has fish extracts in it. Gross. Everyone drinks it because a pint of beer costs $7. We are also staying in dorm rooms now, bunk beds with about 4 - 10 people. It has its pros and cons but its not bad and its a great way to meet people. We have met some really great people, I'm losing track of all the names! We have no choice because private rooms are just way too expensive.
To start Cairns off we booked to go on a party bus on the Saturday night - $30 each, we got free internet, a really cool voucher book with some really good deals and free entry for all the bars and the clubs. It turned out to be a really good night - we were driven around in a red double decker bus with blasting music and taken to 5 different bars. They cooked a great big BBQ at one of the places and we had pizza at another place later on. They set up lots of games with some really good prizes - I'm
afraid the games are too rude to mention on here and to answer the question I know you are all thinking - no Andy and myself did not get involved. Hehe. We met some great people we hope to see again on the way down the coast.
In the days there's only one thing to do in Cairns and thats go to the lagoon swimming pool. Its by the water front, its free, theres nice toilets and showers and even grill areas to have your own BBQ you can use free of charge! They seem to have them everywhere on our way down and they are just amazing! You'd never get anyone having one of them back home.
Of course no trip to Cairns is complete with venturing out to the Great Barrier Reef! We searched for ages and eventually booked ourselves on a catamaran for the day - snorkelling and lunch included. We had to be there really early, which was a bit of a shock but it was amazing! The only negative thing I will say is the boat was well overcrowded, I think it was only meant for 60 people but there was 85 on
the boat. I think some of these tour companies are a bit greedy and they fudge the numbers a lot. We still had a great day. The snorkelling was brilliant, I wore a wetsuit, the water was colder than our bath water in Thailand and Malaysia and it also helped to float. They called the sea calm but I'd hate to see what it's like on a rough day, blimey we were thrown around like crazy! We saw 2 beautiful turtles, seperately. They were asleep and when they woke up they came even closer than the ones in Borneo. It was magical, they are amazing creatures. We were told afterwards that turtles need to come up for air every 20 mins or so, but when they sleep their heart rates drop so it only beats once every 20 minutes, amazing!
We were taken to two reef areas, we saw a sting ray which was pretty cool, but I didn't stay too long with it, remembering about steve irwin! There were hundreds of types of fish and the coral particularly in the first area was beautiful. Lunch was amazing, they gave us a marine presentation and a magic show on
the way back to Cairns. I got chatting to a lady who lives in Melbourne and she was really nice, she gave me her phone number and said if we are stuck in Melbourne we can stay with her! Aussies are lovely!!!
Something new for us on this trip was going to the supermarket! We are cooking ourselves now as the cost of eating out is shocking. Fruit and veg here though is sooo expensive, it's crazy. Because of the cyclone they had in February it wiped out most of the banana crop soooo one banana now costs $9! I kid you not! We sticking to noodles and pastas and if there's any meat on a deal we cook that. It's not great but some places we've stayed do offer free meals and they are ok.
We took our first greyhound bus trip to Mission Beach! We had heard that it was a cool beach, really chilled out which we needed before the craziness of the Whitsundays and Fraser Island! It had been very damaged by the cyclone, the tress look like they've taken a tough battering and unfortunately a lot of them had come down. The hostel
we stayed at was really nice - we went out for dinner with two lads from Sydney - steak night - $4 each! It was the best steak ever and really big!
The beach was beautiful, we had a good time jumping the waves, it's the end of stinger season (killer jellyfish) so the water was quite safe. We relaxed on the beach for the day - it was quite overcast but still warm, all of sudden about 9 parachutes came through the clouds and landed right next to us. It was brilliant to watch, and tempting to book, but think we'll save it for New Zealand, as long as we don't chicken out!
Right everyone, thats all for now, we have just done Whitsundays but I'm saving that one for the next blog! Take care! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
There are more photos below