From Outback, to Reef, to Rainforest


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns
August 10th 2010
Published: August 21st 2010
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Great Barrier ReefGreat Barrier ReefGreat Barrier Reef

Our view of the reef
We finished work in Augathella and after giving our van a good clean inside and out, stocking it up again with all our belongings and thanking our lucky stars that it the engine started after sitting idle for 3 months we were off. To get to Cairns we could either drive east to Brisbane and then up the coast or drive the road less travelled through the outback and rural Queensland which is what we did. So we went from Augathella to Townsville and the followed the coast north to Cairns. The first day was spent getting to Emerald and after advice from locals we decided to take a short cut which would save us about 300 kilometres. What we weren’t told though was that the shortcut wasn’t a bitumen road but rough track. And rough track in the outback is red, dusty and bumpy. Our poor little van made it though and while we definitely didn’t save time we did save valuable miles. We stopped the night in Emerald and once we had re-cleaned our van which was covered in a thin layer of red dust we settled down for a good night’s sleep.



We made it
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Reef shark swims below us
into Cairns late afternoon the following day and the landscape had changed dramatically, we went from red outback to the lush tropics passing fields and fields of bananas and sugar cane. Once in Cairns we met up with friends of Stephen’s Caz and Don and felt like we were back in civilisation, a big change from three months in the outback. We stayed with them for a few days in their 2 bed apartment and the first night it was all about hitting cairns night life scene which is great, as you’d expect a backpacker hub like cairns to be.



After our big Cairns blow out we decided that a must do day tour here was to visit the Great Barrier Reef. It was a rough journey out to the reef due to the sea swell but we made it just about and luckily didn’t get sea sick unlike many of our fellow passengers. Before we even dipped a toe into the water we could clearly see dozens of fish swimming around the boat, if we thought that this was amazing we were in for a treat once we got into the water. Words cannot describe the
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Maori Wrasse fish joins us at our boat!!!
sheer beauty of it. We visited three reef sites (snorkelling in the first two and a dive at the final one) spending five hours in total in the water. After suiting up in some super attractive all in one stinger suits, we dove in. The endless numbers of multi-coloured fish, coral and even reef sharks was breath-taking (or maybe it was just that Stephen couldn't figure out the snorkelling gear and initially inhaled his body weight in sea water). Even the photos attached don’t do this underwater world justice. The entire day was a case of us being the first ones in the water and the last ones out. We were also treated to a buffet style, all you can eat lunch on board, and after being in the water swimming for five hours we were hungry.

The following morning we carried on north to the tropical rainforests of Daintree National Park. We decide that a must do was a crocodile sighting boat trip down the Daintree River. We spent an hour on the water spotting salt water crocs in their natural habitat. The highlight was getting very close to the alpha made of the river, a 4
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wow.... a camera!!!
metre long croc named Fat Albert sunning himself on the river bank. After we decided to see just how far north we could travel and made our way north to Cape Tribulation. We only stayed the one night here as more rainfall than usual fell which left us with limited sightseeing opportunities. It was strange being back in the tropics as we haven’t been for all our time in Australia. It was hot and humid and reminded us very much of SE Asia. The morning we left Cape Tribulation to travel south we did take a nice long walk along a nearby beach. The skies were still stormy and of more rain to come, the beach wet from the rain the night before and lined with thick tropical coconut trees. With not another person, building, or boat in sight we would have be forgiven for thinking that we were stranded on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We were kept entertained by a friendly stray dog though who had it in for a couple of fallen coconuts, he kept following us too wanting to play.


Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


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What you see when you look down
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Coral & fish
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Thunderbirds are GO!!!!
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Scuba Steve... ready to go.
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Close enough to touch
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Doing our scuba dive
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A giant clam that closed as we passed over it.
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Daintree National Park

A hungover croc... i know the feeling!!
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Great signpost for a speed bump!!!


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