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Published: October 18th 2009
We spent a bit of time in the city of Cairns before and after our dive trip. Walking along the esplanade, we looked out into the mudflats and all the interesting wildlife it had to offer. We spotted a flock of pelicans, more species of crab than we could keep track of, and to our surprise, mudskippers! It was fascinating to watch these little guys - part fish, part reptile, they're like evolution in progress. At night, large fruit bats swooped around us. After our dive trip, we rented a car for a couple of days and headed out to the Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation. It was absolutely beautiful up there - the worlds oldest rainforest (The Amazon is often mistakenly given this title, but the rainforest in the far north of Queensland is older) stretches right out to sandy white beaches. We had breakfast on a clifftop overlooking scenic Port Douglas and Four Mile Beach, and lunch near the croc-infested Daintree River. After lunch, we crossed the river via cable ferry and made our way up to Cape Tribulation. We camped out the night in the rainforest, less than 100 metres from the beach; and in the morning
we climbed to a lookout on the top of the cape before we made our way back to Cairns. Northern Queensland is a beautiful area of Australia, very different from the rest of the country. We only had a short time to explore it, but we're glad we made the trip up there.
From Cairns we flew to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Our flight arrived in the morning so we had a few hours to explore the city before catching our bus to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. We walked around for a while taking in the cityscape before finding ourselves in the Museum of Queensland. After checking out some interesting exhibits and learning about the history of the region, we spent the rest of the morning walking around the Roma Street Parklands. The large urban park was filled with beautiful gardens and waterways and many friendly water dragons (lizards). Once we arrived in Noosa, later that evening, we were taken to our hostel in a shuttle bus full of surfboards and we crashed for the night.
The next morning was our trip to the Australia Zoo. We were both quite excited for this, as we had
been big Steve Irwin fans. The zoo was amazing, though it was more like a huge conservation and education area than a traditional zoo. As soon as we got there, we went to see the crocs, most of which we remembered from The Crocodile Hunter
shows. They had all been taken from the wild because they were considered "problem crocs" and in many cases, the locals had been trying to kill them. We watched a very entertaining and educational show at the "Crocoseum" where we watched birds, elephants, and reptiles. There was a clear lagoon in the middle of the stadium, so it was interesting to see the snakes and crocodiles manoever in the water. There was a lot of native wildlife at the zoo, and we even got to touch kangaroos and koalas! The whole place is very much a dedication to Steve Irwin, and though it was quite sad at some points, it was great to see that his legacy and ideologies are still living strong.
Our second day in Noosa we went on a 4WD bus tour to Fraser Island. We were picked up at our accommodation and taken to Rainbow Beach via an offroad trail
through a forested national park. We chose seats in the back to maximize the bumpy factor of the tour. The barge crossing was short, and within a few minutes we were on the worlds largest sand island! We headed inland for a while, and then tore up the beach. Not long after being on the island, we spotted a wild dingo! Unfortunately, the weather wasn really cooperating that day so it was a bit cold and rainy, but our guide found a sheltered area off the beach for us to stop for morning tea. From here, we crossed over the island to Lake Mackenzie, a large fresh water lake with crystal clear water. It was beautiful, with two bright and distinct colours of blue contrasting against the stark white sands. We had about an hour to enjoy the beach before having a steak barbeque. Back on the bus, we did some more off-roading around the island. Some of the tracks are only wide enough for one vehicle, despite two-way access, but apparently they have a "might is right" rule, as in we're bigger, so get the hell outta our way! We stopped to go on a walk through the rainforest.
There was a stream here and the water was so clear, and the sand beneath it so white, that we actually thought there was some kind of white algae floating on the surface! Apparently the water in the stream had been filtering through the sands of the island for the last 100 years or so. As we travelled across the different dune systems on the island we learned that each had its own biologically diverse ecosystem, and that each was developed in a different era of time. It was a very interesting place, and the 4WD tracks were a lot of fun! At the end of the day, we crossed on the barge again and headed back to Noosa, stopping to look at wild horses and kangaroos along the way!
We woke up the next morning to our last day in Australia! Its gone so fast, its hard to believe weve been here since November and that its time to leave already. We saw so much, met so many great people, and had so much fun! Though we did miss a few things in the end, we finally realized its impossible to see everything, but we sure saw a
hell of a lot! Its hard to believe that we could run out of time on such a long journey, but we could have spent twice the amount of time here and still missed things. Australia is a big, beautiful country and we are so happy to have had such a wonderful experience travelling and living it. We decided to spend our last day in true Aussie style - surfing! We took a two hour lesson and we were both able to stand up and catch a few waves! It was a great end to our Australian adventure! With the surfing finished, we caught the bus back to Brisbane, where we flew to Sydney to catch our flight to Auckland, New Zealand. So at least for now, its goodbye Australia, hello New Zealand!
Cass & Andrew
P.S. Many people have been asking when we're coming home. It seems our trip is quickly coming to an end - well be back early December and can't wait to see everyone! We're spending a month travelling New Zealand, 10 days "vacation" in the Cook Islands, and then a bit of time in US and then thats it! We're looking
forward to a white Christmas with family and friends 😊
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