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Published: September 30th 2015
Alright, well haven't posted in a while! I think my last post was my last day in Cairns (feels like forever ago!)
After Cairns, I went to Mission Beach. The hostel I started at is called Jackaroo. It felt more like a tropical resort than a hostel. They had a swimming pool, hammocks, a slip and slide, giant outdoor movie screen, games rooms etc. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and felt like a big family. By the time I left, I knew everyone's names, where they're from and a bit about them.
There isn't much to do in mission beach. The first day I checked out the beach and "town" (it's like 10 buildings). The beach was pretty nice and there was absolutely no one there. It goes on as far as the eye can see and I didn't see a single person.
Mission Beach is reknown for it's skydive. Everyone at the hostel was raving about the skydive. It wasn't a "are you going to do the skydive when you're here?" It was a "when are you doing your skydive? You have to do it." I had originally planned on skydiving in New Zealand, so I googled the best skydives in Aus/NZ and saw mission beach is #2 (after Wanaka). Since I didn't have anything planned for the next day, I booked it as kind if a spur of the moment thing.
The next day I actually wasn't that nervous. I'm really glad I booked it for the next day - I didn't really have time to get nervous or think about it too much, I just did it. Once the plane started taking off I got really nervous though. When we were at about 5,000 feet I asked if we were close and he said about 1/3 of the way. When we got to 8,000 feet I was like ok we have to be close now and the guy was like "yup just over half way" with a little snicker. I think I blacked out between the time the door opened and when we were free falling because I don't really remember anything. The free fall felt about 10 second (even though it was a minute). Went by so fast. When we were parachuting down he let me control the handles. That was really fun - I was just giggling the whole time. When we landed I just wanted to hop back on the plane and do it again.
The day after skydiving I decided to try out river boarding. I didn't really know what to expect from it. You basically have a giant kickboard, kneepads, shin pads and fins on. I didn't really have a great time doing it to be honest. The water was really cold and I was just shivering for 3 hours. The river was really low that day, so there were tons of rocks and my feet kept banging the rocks (they're still bruised a week later). Still glad I tried it though.
The next day I took a bus to Townsville, then a ferry to magnetic island. That evening I did a hike with some people I met at the hostel and saw 6 or 7 wild koalas including a mommy and baby koala. They are so lazy and don't even move. Apparently they sleep 16 hours a day. The big thing to do on magnetic island is a koala sanctuary where you get to hold them and get a picture taken, but I figured since I saw some in the wild I didn't want to pay to see any.
After magnetic island and Townsville, I took a bus to Airlie Beach to do a Whitsundays tour. The Whitsundays are 74 islands just off the coast with beautiful beaches and reefs. It was an amazing trip. The sailboat used to be a racing boat and we had to act as crew and pull ropes, switch levers, turn cranks to get the sails going. It was pretty fun. On the second day we saw Whitehaven Beach.
The beach deserves it's own paragraph. The captain and crew kept going on and on about this beach - how it's the nicest beach in the world, so beautiful, etc. Having grown up in the Caribbean I was kind of skeptical. They woke us up at 6:15 to start sailing. We got there at around 7:15 and we're the first boat there. It was really great being the first boat there. We had the whole beach to ourselves and felt really free and relaxing. The sand was incredible. It was the whitest, thinnest sand I've ever seen.
Anyway, you're probably getting bored of reading this by now (if you've made it this far). I am currently in a bus from airlie beach to Hervey bay where I'm going on a 2 day tour of Fraser Island. For those of you following geographically, you'll realize this is a 13 hour bus ride. The best thing about not showering when you're on vacation is no one sits next to you and you can put your feet up to sleep!
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