Thank you everyone for your messages, we are both very excited and look forward to celebrating with you all.
After the excitement of the outback we found ourselves on a flight to Cairns in the North East of Oz. We were on the same flight as Lauren and Sam, who we met on the Rock Tour, so we agreed to share a 4 bed dorm together. They had been there before a few years previous so they knew where to stay etc. Coincidently we also shared the flight with another two couples from the Rock Tour - a couple from Germany and a couple from Belgium (I think there's a joke about that!). Lauren and Sam suggested we stay at 'Gilligans', which is more of a resort than a hostel. It has it's own night-club/bar, a swimming pool (big waterfall included), gyms on every floor, great kitchens... I could go on. When it comes to backpacking it felt like cheating! It was more of an 18-30s holiday. To top it off our 4 bed dorm came with en suite and a balcony - not luxuries to which Steph and I are accustomed.
On our first night we took a walk down to the man made lagoon, had a drink at 'Rattle and Hum' and returned to our balcony to listen to the thumping base from the bar downstairs. Our room would rattle until the early hours of the morning. How dare other people have fun later than us!!!
We took full advantage of the balcony, we played 'Who am I?', 'chase the ace' and drank beer. Lauren (a beautician by trade) gave Steph a pedicure and even metrosexualised me by taming my wild eyebrows - much to Steph's amusement (the less said about that the better!).
On one of the days we hired a car so we could head a little up the coast. We entered the Daintree rainforest via ferry across croc infested waters and meandered through winding roads for the rest of the journey. Steph and I were chauffered around by a very generous Lauren and Sam in a Hyundai Getz - we named it 'Sweaty Betty'. We stopped at Walu Wugirriga' which is a viewing point overlooking the bay in which Steve Irwin met his demise at the hands of a stingray. From there we headed to Cape Tribulation, a beautiful beach which is where the 'rainforest meets the reef' according to local tourist bumpf. We can't comfirm or deny the 'reef' part because there are signs all over warning that we should not even paddle on the shore due to the severe threat of crocodiles and stingers. The authorities have helpfully left vinegar on the beach to neutralise any stings, but I'm not sure how helpful that would be if a croc had a go! Bearing in mind that we had driven up the coast for a couple of hours we found it a big coincidence to bump into our German friends outside the rainforest toilets. Australia is a big place, but you wouldn't think so after all of the times that this has happened.
After Cape Trib, we headed back south to a section of river that claimed to be croc-free! It was very sunny at this point so it was a great relief to have a dip in cold water and use the rope swing. Next Stop was the Daintree Ice Cream company where we all had... ice cream. Specifically banana, raspberry, jackfruit and wattleseed. They make the ice cream from their own fruit so we were obliged to try them all. This was the last time that I remember pleasent weather on the mainland, until we left Cairns. From then on it was either raining or raining hard.
The next day Steph and I were collecting our free meals from our hostel when we bumped into the German couple, AGAIN! I think we may have stalkers because they weren't even staying at out hostel.
We saved the best til last in Cairns. On the Friday the four of us embarked on a full day of diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, Steph and I did our first ever scuba dive, and it did not dissapoint. The reef itself was other-worldly. The colours were vivid and varying, and the life that inhabit the reef burst in and out of every crevece. There are certainly worse places to take your first scuba dive. We saw giant clams, Loggerhead turtles, and clown fish (Nemos). Steph took a liking to the Parrot fish, which have a small beak that they use to gnaw away at the reef. It makes a clicking noise which can be heard quite clearly underwater. We were pretty lucky with the weather, (we had a few showers but only on the way back) the crew were a good laugh and the equipment was top notch. It was a great day.
That night we met up with ther German couple and the Belgium couple for a meal to say our farewells. We had an extra person (a Simon Cowell lookalike with an ability to name which day of the week you were born by knowing the date - I won't go into Steph's professional opinion here...). So we had a good crowd , unfortunately it was raining harder than ever and the walk back to Gilligans nearly became a swim at one point.
The next day was time to say goodbye to Lauren and Sam. We had spent around ten days with them so it was a shame to see them leave for cold, wet England while we were still living it up in hot ...wet Queensland. But Steph and I are off on a 14 day road trip down south to Brisbane in a spaceship. All will be revealed.