So after a hectic Christmas and New Year, we headed up to the tropics in the North - starting with Cairns. We were picked up from the airport by a woman from the hostel we had booked who was from Sam's home town of Basildon and headed out to our retro/arty hostel, complete with tropical swimming pool, palm trees and hammocks.
After having a little stroll around Cairns that evening, I was shocked that at how small Cairns was - i was expecting a small city...and Sam was chuffed that we were finally up to the 40C mark, although the Thai humidity was back again! Our first full day in Cairns we did was every backpacker does in Cairns and booked our trip to the Great Barrier Reef for the following day!
The day started early! Much too early for our likings! And after leaving slightly late and having to run to the Marina for 7 30 in the blistering heat, we were finally on board and heading out to the Reef. After 2 hours of travelling, we arrived at the Reef....and as it was stinger season we had to put on our stinger suits, which make you look
as much like a condom as is humanly possible, and were thrown off the back of the boat in our snorkel gear into the underwater world....it was every bit as great as it looks on TV - fish everywhere and coral every colour under the sun! We visited a few more spots before heading home for some extra snorkelling but before we knew it we were back on dry land.
We spent a few more days in Cairns relaxing by the lagoon before heading down to Mission Beach....
Mission Beach was rubbish...nothing there and stinking hot...but made some good friends there...
We carried on our way down the coast and stopped off in Townsville. Townsville was really nice...nice rock pool by the sea and a lovely beach however we could not take advantage of this 1. because the sand was too damn hot to walk on and 2. you can't swim in the sea because of the jelly fish! We made the most of the sun before heading down the coast again to Airlie Beach.
Here we met up with our friends from Mission Beach. The first night we had a traditional big aussie BBQ -
meat and nothing else - and swam in the Lagoon long into the night. The next day we discovered that were now in the Queensland wet season so it pee'd down for the next week solid! Although it did give me a chance to meet a parrott who I named Geoffry - see pictures...and allowed Sam and girls to discover that McDonalds sells 50 cent ice creams!
After a week of sheltering from the rain, and sam trying to dye her hair blonde but it turning her roots ginger and leaving the rest brown, it was time for our 4 day boat trip out to the Whitsundays. The first day we headed out to a private island owned by a luxury hotel (cheapest room $1800 - so Sam and I stayed 2 nights...not) where I gave into tempation and did my first scuba dive and Sam was given the title of Snorkel Master by the snorkel gang! I loved the dive and enjoyed being escorted around by the blue fish with yellow tails (don't think that's the technical term for them!)
The next morning, Sam and I had a rude awaking by the dive team at 6 30
for our quick breakfast before we went over to Whitehaven Beach - this is the most incredible beach that either of us has been on...please see the pictures but they do not do it justice...there were sharks and sting rays swimming in the shallows around our feet which caused Sam to make some extraordinary high pitched squeels. We then went up to a view point through the jungle, where Sam was eaten alive by mozzy's much to her delight!
We headed back to the boat where I was offered the chance to dive again...I have the bug now! so after leaving sam as Snorkel Master again, I headed down again...however there was not much on show in terms of fish etc just coral. I went down again at sunset when the big predators come out as well!
After spending a night out under the stars and another early start, me and Sam finally went snorkelling together...here we saw loads of turtles...tried racing them but no good - and a shark which swam right under Sam who was unaware until she heard me shout shark! That afternoon we had a bit of time under the sun...for Sam, a bit
too much time it would seem and after everyone laughing and commenting "been out in the sun today" she finally admitted she was burnt <---when i say burnt i mean like you could cook an egg on her forehead...you could feel the heat coming off her face as you spoke to her!
Heading down to Hervey Bay/Frasier Island next....we will update a-sap!
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