It's been a long time since i wrote anything so I thought it was about time I got round to telling the story of the last 2 months...I've been busy to say the least
So I spent just under 3 months in Darwin altogther. Got a job in a cafe (which meant some stupidly early mornings!) and met some pretty awesome people who i spent a few too many evenings drinking with! Then at the beginning of October I flew over to Cairns on the East Coast. From there I went up a bit to a place called Cape Tribulation which is in the rainforest, but the Barrier reef also comes quite close to land there. While I was there I went jungle surfing which is basically going from tree to tree on zip lines about 20m up! It wasn't too scary cos you're in a harness and all that, except for when they make you hang upside down for one of the bits! The day after that, I went out on a boat to part of the Great Barrier Reef, and went snorkeling for the first time. I wasn't too sure about it cos of not really being a big fan of swimming, but once I put my head under the water I forgot all about that cos it was so cool seeing all the fish and coral underneath me. A few people in my group saw turtles and stingrays but I didn't see any. I didn't see any Nemo fish either :(
After heading back to Cairns for a couple more days I then started my trip down the east coast. The first stop was Mission Beach, which is quite a small place and there's not much to do there, although the beach is quite nice. The reason I was there though was to jump out of a perfectly good plane, 11,000 feet above the ground. I know, I wouldn't have believed it either but I did a skydive, and apparently Mission Beach is one of the best places to do it on the East Coast because you get to land on the beach.. It was a tandem so I was attached to the front of a bloke who knew what he was doing, although all the way up in the plane he was joking around about how it was his first time too. The free fall part scared the hell out of me because no-one told me I was supposed to breathe through my nose, so I was trying to do it through my mouth which is not easy when so much air is rushing past you. All that was worth it once the parachute was opened though because you're just floating in the air over the sea for ages and it was an awesome view, even though it was a bit cloudy. The landing wasn't scary at all because you just have to put your legs up in the air while they do all the work and the bloke I was attached to landed really smoothly and just ran onto the beach.
After all that madness, I had a few days on Magnetic Island, which is just off the coast of Townsville. The hostel I stayed in was right on the beach and had a bar so I only left once in 3 days to go koala spotting on a walk at a different part of the island. Didn't see any koalas though, they are the only Aussie animal that I hadn't seen at this point so I wasn't happy. Especially cos people I knew saw one the day before in the same place we were looking.
My next stop down the coast was Airlie beach from which I went on a sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. It was 2 days and 2 nights on an ex-racing yacht called Broomstick, and we slept on the boat too. It was really good fun because most of the people on the boat were backpackers (apart from an Italian family who didn't really talk to the rest of us) and we all got on really well, so we had a good laugh. When the boat was sailing it tipped over because of the force of the wind so that one side was almost underwater! So it was pretty exciting. We got to see Whitehaven beach which is apparently famous for its incredibly fine white sand which is like 98% silicon or something like that. It was beautiful and although we didn't get to go on it, we sunbathed on a beach across from it and went to a lookout so that we could see it. While we were having lunch on the boat one day a sea turtle popped its head up right near the back of the boat, but it disappeared too quick to get a picture of it. We did some snorkeling while we were out in the Whitsundays and the place we did it was crazy. I forgot to take my contact lenses so I was worried I wouldn't be able to see anything but actually all you had to do was stick your head in the water and millions of fish were right in front of your nose! And I finally found nemo so I was happy this time, despite the fact that we all gave up early because the water was so shallow that we were all being attacked by the coral.
After my boat trip I spent a couple of days on one of the Whitsunday islands at a backpacker resort, which I'd won the trip to in a quiz by accident. It wasn't all that great because the place was practically deserted, but luckily I met 3 others going over at the same time as me, so I spent the 2 days with them. It was a gorgeous resort and a pretty island, just a bit boring if you go on your own.
From there I was back at Airlie beach, and on the bus pass I have, the next stop was Kroombit cattle station (which is like a big cattle ranch). We just spent one night there on the way through but while we were there got the chance to do loads of activities. The night we arrived we got taught how to crack a whip properly to make the loud noise and then had a go on a mechanical bull. I was rubbish and fell of as soon as it started. If you fall straight off they make you go again and I fell straight off that time too. I have a picture that actually makes it look like I'm riding it, but it's actually a picture of me falling off! The next morning we went to a shooting range and got to have 5 shots at shooting clay pigeons with a double barreled shotgun. I watched loads of others do it and they all got at least one and I was thinking I was gonna be rubbish, but actually I got 3 out of 5, so I was pretty proud of myself!
Then, we were told we had to take part in a goat rodeo which involved 3 of us at a time going into a circular pen with one goat. We had to chase it down, grab it by the horns and bring it into the middle of the circle and then pretend to brand it. The goat my group got was a baby one and it didn't even have proper horns, so we came last cos it took so long to catch the bloody thing. One of the girls had to dive on it to have any chance of catching it! After that, my next big 'first' was that I rode a horse! I've never been on a horse before so they gave me a really placid horse who they told me was really lazy so I'd have to kick her really hard to get her to move. And they weren't kidding. We were mustering goats from field to field and all the way round the bloody thing kept stopping, and apparently I wasn't kicking it hard enough. It was good fun, but I don't think I'll be riding a horse again any time soon.
The next stop down the coast was a small town called Agnes Water which is twinned with another small town right next to it called the Town of 1770 (it's called that cos it's where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland in 1770). There isn't much to do there without spending too much money so I just chilled out for a couple of days (luckily I bumped into a few people I was on the Whitsundays boat with). The one thing I did do while I was there was go on a Scooteroo tour. This is basically where you get 2 hours or so driving around the two towns on a scooter that is done up to look a bit like a much cooler motorbike. I've never ridden a scooter before and it was much more fun than riding a horse!
My next stop was Hervey Bay which is where my tour of Fraser Island was from. For most people this is the highlight of their trip because they do it in a self drive 4 wheel drive with a group of 9 other people. BUT I made the choice not to do this and to do a guided tour instead because I didn't feel safe doing a 4wd tour with inexperienced people driving. My tour wasn't the best cos it wasn't a backpacker tour - it was mostly 50+ year olds and most of them were either French or German and didn't talk to me! The worst part though was that we didn't get to go to Lake Mackenzie which is suppose to be the best part of the island, but because I booked through a different company I didn't know this until it was too late! So I'd rather not talk too much about Fraser!
Next I had to do an overnight stop in a place called Rainbow Beach and left at 8am the next day. I did try to see a bit of the area by going for a walk first thing in the morning. It's called Rainbow beach because there are cliffs with all different coloured sands, which I went to see in the morning, but it was a bit cloudy so it was hard to pick out too many different colours. From there I headed to Noosa, which I'd say was my favourite place on the coast. I was there for 4 days and it was just a nice pretty place to be - there was lots of water around as there was a river as well as the beach. From here onwards I was travelling with two girls from my boat trip and we spent most of our time in Noosa walking around places. It was the Noosa Triathlon weekend while were there so we tried to see some of the events that were part of the weekend but missed the actual triathlon because it started at 6am on Sunday after Halloween so we didn't make it out of bed in time cos we we'd been out the night before!
Next stop was Brisbane, which I also liked. A lot of people I've met along the way have told me that there isn't much to do in Brisbane but I managed to find enough to see and do to fill a few days. I liked the city and ended up staying a bit longer than I was meant to because there were a few people around that I knew from further up the coast. So far this has all been in Queensland, but the next stop was in a different state - New South Wales. Byron Bay is another smallish place on the coast with a nice beach, but we didn't get to enjoy it for the first couple of days because it was chucking it down! When it finally brightened up, me and a friend did a walk up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which was hard work in the heat cos it's mostly uphill but it was worth it (especially cos we had ice cream at the top!) Cape Byron is the most Easterly point of Australia.
My final stop of the East coast before getting to Sydney was one night at a surf camp, which was also part of the package I was doing. We got there at lunch time and had a surf lesson that afternoon. I wasn't sure what to expect after my first surf lesson in Sydney back in Jan which was a complete disaster, but I wanted to give it another shot. This one was so much better, I actually managed to stand up 2 or 3 times! I couldn't actually catch my own waves but when the instructors gave me a bit of a push I stood up. And it was so much fun even though I couldn't quite do it by myself, cos it was funny trying to get on and falling off all the time. So I was really glad I gave surfing a second chance.
So that's my traveling down the East coast. On the day I got into Sydney I went straight out to the Blue Mountains (just outside) to stay with my friend's Tim and Alicia who I met when I was picking strawberries. After spending the weekend with them I was back in Sydney for a couple of days where I met up with a couple more friends I met in Darwin and did the touristy photo thing again! And from there I flew to Adelaide, which is where I am now. I'm staying with my friend Laura who i met in my very first week and travelled Tassie with. She now lives here in Adelaide with an Aussie boyfriend!
While I've been in Adelaide I've spent a couple of days just chilling on the beach in Glenelg (the nearest beach to the city) and wandered around the city a lot. It's quite a small city and i think it's quite pretty. I could happily stay here longer. The first weekend I was here, I went to cocktails at the zoo which was organised by Laura's work. Then we spent two weekends on the Murray River on Richard's parents' houseboat (Richard is Laura's boyf). We also spent an afternoon in Myponga and had a tour of a dairy farm organised by one of Laura's friends from work whose partner lives on a farm there. From here I'm going on a couple of tours to Kanagaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road and then heading to Victoria for Christmas.