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Published: March 17th 2008
Hostel in Mission Beach
Raining? Might as well go for a swim
Helloooooo to one and all!
Sorry this is sooo late, we've been too busy having fun! We're currently in Nelson in the northern part of NZ's South Island but need to think back to Queensland to bring you up todate!
So we left Airlie Beach after having had a great few days and then spent a wet 2 days paying ping pong in Mission Beach before getting the bus to Cairns. Here we stayed with friends Ray and Madeleine and their 2 boys Zachary and baby Owen. We had a fun 3 days/nights with them all and it was great to see them again after 2 years. As Cairns is the main base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, and on Ray's recommendation, we booked ourselves on a boat to a diving platform in the outer reef. It was stinger season so we had to wear very attractive red all-in-ones but the water was lovely and clear and warm. Thanks for our YHA membership we got another free dive (our first was in the Whitsundays) which was so good we opted to pay for a second each while we were there!
We saw loads of fish including nemos in
Diving platform Great Barrier Reef
A great place to explore the outer reef
their anemones, rays, squid, massive tuna, held a sea cucumber and best of all got to cuddle Wally, the resident huge Maori Wrasse. (see link for a picture of him http://www.reefmagic.com.au/secure/sincludes/imageholder.asp?ID=20040705220057492824&imgType= ). We had an absolutely brilliant day, definitely one of our favourites so far.
The next day Madeleine took us and the boys for a lovely day out to Port Douglas and to Mossman Gorge where we had a swim. We had a great stay in Cairns, thanks all. And Zach, don't forget to keep your eye on the ball, but if you drop it "it doesn't matter!".
After Cairns we flew to Uluru, Ayers Rock, for 2 nights. We were able to get a great view of the rock at sunset from a nearby lookout and then we had an early start the next day to get there for sunrise. David resisted the urge to climb it and instead, despite a ridiculous amount of flies, we walked the 10km round the base. It was an interesting day and we're glad we went but we won't need to go back!
It was then another short flight, this time to Perth where we were met by Seb,
a friend of Ruth's from Alcester. Despite his wife Christina starting back at uni and their lodger moving in both on that day, they really kindly put us up for a couple of nights. Not only that, they also did a great BBQ dinner, which was our first taste of kangaroo, and lent us maps, gadgets and gizmos galore for the following 2 weeks as we'd hired a campervan.
We had loads of fun in the van and it was great to have our own transport for the first time since leaving home. We had planned to go north but actually ended up going south, which was much better as the distances between towns and sights are much shorter, and as it turned out it also meant we missed a big cyclone in the north! Our first stop was Bunbury then we drove on to Yallingup where we had a BBQ next to the beach as we watched the sunset.....! After Yallingup we went to Prevelly which we loved. Gorgeous blue sea but big waves. David spent the day (trying to) surf and we spent the night camping in a carpark with amazing views where we met Remy from
As we were near Margaret River we wanted to try some wine and we accidently timed it perfectly as the next night the 3 of us bought tickets for a food and wine do at the local football club. We got to try loads of wine and beer (and soon sussed out who gave bigger samples!) and aslo taste goodies such as Wagyu beef, buffalo and emu sausages, kangaroo, lamb...a meat lovers dream! We had a really good evening and even got our picture taken for the local rag!
It was then further south driving through Augusta and to where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet , and then on to Pemberton. This is in Tall Timber Country, a mass of huge karri trees, so we thought it only right to visit and climb Gloucester Tree - 61m high! We also went to Walpole and walked the Tree Top Walk.
It was then back to the coast road where we stopped at the absolutely gorgeous Green Pool, perfectly clear turquoise water which was absolutely freezing (that's the Southern Ocean for you!). We stopped on our way back up to Perth too, a stunning beach.
stayed in Denmark for a night, a nice town with a great pie shop where we BBQ'd next to the river, and then we moved to our furthest stop, Albany, for 3 nights. Here we attempted to replicate Seb and Chrissy's BBQ'd kangaroo but with not much success. How come it wasn't that chewy when they cooked it!
We had loads of fun in those 2 weeks and would have liked longer in a couple of places. It's not often you wake up to see a kangaroo hop past your pitch or get woken up by kookaburras laughing in the tree above you. The coastline was gorgeous, really pretty, but the rough cold seas put even David going in too often!
We had another 2 nibhts in Perth (don't stay at the Ozi Inn!) and then flew to our final destination in Oz, Melbourne. It was like going back in time a few years as we stayed with Michael (Haines) and also met up with Matt (wild) and Roger (Bagshaw), all old Future colleagues! We had planned to see the Great Ocean Road with Michael but after a heavy night none of us made it up before 1pm.
We got to esplore Melbourne and St Kilda though and had a good time relaxing and catching up with everyone.
And that was Oz. We had some amazing times and lots of fun but we were ready to move on and were looking forward to New Zealand......
Will start writing about that soon.
Take care all,
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