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Published: June 24th 2009
We've finally made it to Cairns after 10 days of driving from Brisbane. After we left Eungella National Park, we returned to the coast for the rest of the trip. We were sort of in a hurry to get north so we skipped past some of the good places to stop knowing that we'd be returning down the coast along this route anyway. We passed through Proserpine and Bowen looking for grocery stores but this being a public holiday we had no luck until we found a great fruit & veg store on the outskirts of Bowen. We stocked up with enough food for the night and even bought a 6kg local watermelon for less than $6. We settled in for the night at a roadside rest stop in Guthalungra to the soothing sounds of James Taylor and passing road trains. The following day was much the same with a lot of driving and another night on the side of the road just south of Ingham. It was here where we saw our first snake in the wild, a black and red beauty that I'm sure was viciously poisonous. We also picked up a fellow backpacker hitching his way to Cairns
One of the first snakes we've seen in the wild here in Oz. This guy was hanging out on the fence right next to our van
and drove him as far as our camp for the night. He was a nice guy, from Montreal, but we let him pass out in the back as he'd been going non-stop since Brisbane.
The next day, after a short, rainy drive through Tully and Innisfail, we finally pulled into Cairns and found the hostel where the Munich Boys and a couple other friends from Mooloolaba were staying. The group was all hungover when we got there so the first night was quiet and spent catching up with each others travels.
Our first day in Cairns we went on a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef at Green Island. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to Australia. We hopped on the boat early in the morning for the 1.5 hour ride to the island. The boat was rocking back and forth pretty good and the rain was hammering down when we left but as soon as we got out to the island, the weather was beautiful with plenty of warm sun and no rain. We grabbed our snorkel gear and went straight out to the reef. It was only 10m off-shore
He's on the move! At this point Jay was hiding inside the van
in parts but still very vibrant and unspoilt. Throughout the day we swam alongside giant sea turtles, a blue-spotted sting ray, an octopus, Parrot fish, Smooth Flute Mouth fish and countless other fish species. The coral was amazing as well, all sorts of different colours and varieties and we had to careful not to touch it in some of the shallower parts. The first half of the day absolutely flew by while we were snorkeling but we did manage to leave some time to walk around Green Island and check out some of the preserved rainforest and tropical bird species.
That night we went out on the town. Cairns is definately party central for backpackers in Queensland. They take over the town at night. We had fun at Gilligan's but aren't big clubbers so we left before the late night shenanigans started to unfold. The next day we walked around Cairns to see the sight and the giant public lagoon. Unfortunately the rain had returned so there was no swimming and sun-tanning to be done. We had another big night with the crew (well I did because Jay had a massive headache all day for some reason) and the
Hanging out on the beach before putting on the snorkel gear
following day we were meant to be off. In the end we decided to stay one more night as it was still too miserable and rainy for camping in the tropics. We spent the next day lounging aroud Cairns again and slept in the van outside the hostel to save money.
Despite more rain, we convinced ourselves we needed to leave so we didn't get stuck in Cairns like all the other young foreigners who'd been here for weeks. We shoved off for Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park just north of here. We're now heading into the rainforest and with all this rain we've been having over the past few days we're sure to experience the true wet tropics!
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