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October 10th 2009
Published: October 10th 2009
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Arriving back from our Whitsunday tour we had 2 weeks left in Australia in which to travel up the remainder of the East Coast of Queensland to Cairns. We visited Magnetic Island, Mission Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation so this blog is just a little about what we saw and got up to in these places.

Our first stop was Magnetic Island, just off the coast opposite a place called Townsville. It's a funny old island with not much going on there just lots of beaches, rainforest, wildlife and a few places for the tourists to stay. We were on the island for 2 whole days and spent most of the time just relaxing. The heat here was getting close to unbearable - we heard it hit 36 degrees at the time we were there and it definitely felt like it! The main highlight on Maggie, as the island is known by locals, was an inner tube ride we took on the back of a speed boat. About 10 minutes of being dragged at high speed in the bumpy wake of a speed boat, which was pretty exhilarating and very funny.

Next stop was a place called Mission Beach about 130 km south of Cairns. It is famous for its two main high-octane activities, sky diving and white water rafting. As Joe had already thrown himself out of a plane and Sarah doesn't really do flying, heights or the feeling of falling, we opted for white water rafting as our adrenaline hit of choice. We booked on a full day trip to the Tully River, involving about 5 hours actually on the water. The Tully has rapids up to grade 4 (1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest in which if you get it wrong it is possible you might not live to tell the tale) so we were in for some pretty scary moments. Watching the video on the bus up to the river, we were both a bit nervous of coming out of the boat but we got safety geared up and climbed into our raft ready and raring to go. We absolutely loved the rafting, it was such good fun and when we did manage to flip our boat it wasn't as bad as it looked in the video and we all managed to survive the rude awakening of being flung into the foaming, rocky water. We were the only boat that involuntarily flipped all day, but hey it's more fun that way - who wants to come rafting and stay in the boat. We also chose to flip ourselves another couple of times, just for the fun of it, which none of the other boring boats did! Aside from the rafting we also got to do some rock jumping off a 7m high rock into the river. Doesn't sound all that high but believe us it felt like it once you were up there! We also partook of the odd swim or float down the river too. It was a really great day out and we'd definitely think about doing it again.

Having arrived in Cairns we stayed just one night before heading out on a trip further up the coast into the most northerly tip of Australia's East Coast. We booked onto a 2 day 1 night tour of the Cape Tribulation area, a World Heritage Site as it is the oldest continuous rainforest in the world. It is an area of very diverse rainforest home to many species of wildlife (including killer crocs and snakes, yikes) and it is touted as the place where the rainforest meets the reef as the forest comes right up to the beach. We Visted the Mossman Gorge, another river with lots of large boulders in it, a wildlife sanctuary home to some cassowaries (similar to emus) and crocodiles, did a rainforest walk, visited an ice cream company that makes ice creams out of tropical fruits, and went on a river cruise along the Daintree River in search of crocodiles - of which we found one. We also had some free time at Cape Tribulation itself, so named as Cook ran aground on the reef here in 1770 as the reef is so close to the shoreline at this point.

On the way back from Cape Tribulation we were dropped off in Port Douglas, where we stayed for a couple of nights. It's a pretty swanky seaside town frequented by the rich and famous... and us! Celebs that have been there recently include Bill Clinton, Keifer Sutherland, Nicole Kidman etc. It's a pretty beach town that hasn't suffered by getting clogged up with high rise buildings and it is home to many shops, cafes and restaurants so all in all a nice place to while away a lazy day or two.

We are now back in Cairns for our last couple of days in Australia before flying to Singapore for 4 days on the way back home - yes folks, this is pretty much the end of our trip. It's all a bit tropical now and we're finding the heat and humidity (and all the biting insects) a bit hard to handle, and it's only Spring here so we'd hate to imagine what it will be like in the height of Summer! We're looking forward to a few days in Singapore, and we are also looking forward to getting back home and not having to live out of a suitcase, although going back to work might be a struggle! We have really loved Australia, there is so much to see and do. But it hasn't come cheap due to a strenghtening Aussie Dollar against the Pound (about 2 to 1 when we first got here, now more like 1.8 to 1). Oh well, it was worth it.


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