East coast adventures..

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January 27th 2006
Published: February 8th 2006
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Barrier ReefBarrier ReefBarrier Reef

Not the team colours.. this means 'I have Divers down'
Jumped on an early tram by the skin of our teeth and made our way through the city to the the airport via the Skybus.
No dramas checking in, although we both got randomly tested for traces of explosives! Must look dodgy..
Our hostel in Cairns was called Gilligans, and was a huge place calling itself a Backpackers resort hotel, and had a lovely pool and out door bar, a huge indoor bar/club area with pool tables, giant screens (handy for the tennis) and well equipped rooms with balconys. A bit of a luxury really but still only 10 pounds a night.

We immediately booked up a trip out to the Barrier Reef to go scuba diving with TUSA Dive. It was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed the dive itself, which was good as I'd always been abit nervous about being so far under water and relying on breathing through a tube to avoid drowning!! In the afternoon we went snorkelling which was almost as good, with very clear water over the shallow reef and especially seeing large green turtles and a reef shark!

After a day relaxing by the pool and catching up on the chores,
Cape trib night walkCape trib night walkCape trib night walk

Keen as mustard..blind as a bat!?
we went north to Cape Tribulation with tour company Foaming Fury. Our accommodation was Ferntree Lodge situated on the edge of the Daintree Rainforest. We had great views out to the forest from our room, and we went up close and personnel to the wildlife on a guided night walk that evening. Saw lots of forest Dragons, sleeping birds and a forest kangaroo joey. On the way back to the minibus we saw a huge flying fox (bat).. we walked abit quicker after that!

Having enjoyed the Dive trip so much, we went out again with Odyssey H20 to Mackay reef and spent the day snorkelling over this beautiful reef. Again it was very close to the surface so easy to see the different corals and various sea life. I was lucky enough to see two turtles together and swam alongside one for a few minutes, seeing him surface for air and then hide himself in the coral. Looked great in our fetching anti-stinger suits!

Another day in Cairns before catching the Greyhound bus to start our journey south. Only a short hop to Mission Beach where we stayed in the Treetops YHA, a very relaxed place set
Mission Beach YHAMission Beach YHAMission Beach YHA

Keen gardener needed!
back in the rainforest with hammocks, no TV and trivial pursuit! Only having one day, we went straight out for a walk up to the summit of a nearby hill. 45 minutes up for views out to Dunk Island, then 20 minutes jog down to catch the courtesy bus back. This was so late we almost hitched back..
Mission Beach centre was deserted with people seeming to be winding down for Australia day, so we had a relaxed drink then went back for dinner.

Set off early again on the Greyhound service to Townsville, the port town giving access to Magnetic Island. At the time, Townsville was also playing host to 700 US Sailors who had arrived in two Destroyers that had been escorting the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier recently docked in Brisbane Harbour. Local TV showed pictures of the 3km queue of cars heading for a look at the carrier.

The ferry over to 'Maggie' was a catamaran that ploughed on over the huge waves caused by the increasingly inclement weather. It was pouring down when we arrived and this continued for two whole days! We still managed the odd walk, and when the weather brightened
Magnetic IslandMagnetic IslandMagnetic Island

Valentino Rossi eat your heart out!
up I hired a scooter for the day, and Lin went horse-riding which included taking her mount for a dip in the sea (Lin in a stinger suit - the horse not so!) Met some nice people staying at Maggies Beach House including our Dutch roommates Judith and Kim.

With the weather brightening up, it gave us hope for the Whitsundays.
We just had to hope that Cylone Jim didn't decide to folllow us!


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