Oops, it's been a fair while since this was updated! I better get cracking. We landed in Hong Kong yesterday evening but I'll save that for a later date...
After our Whitsunday Island trip we headed to Magnetic Island. Very very beautiful with empty beaches tucked around every corner. Our hostel was right in the middle of a wildlife park, so we got to say hello to some friendly cockatoos, held a 1 year old croc, had a very lively snake around my neck and held various other strange looking lizards! The highlight was getting to hold a koala, so cute but a bit pongy. While on the island we also did the 'Fort Walk' which took us around the remains of the WW2 forts. Unknown to us the island was having an open day and so loads of free tours were going on. As we arrived at the start of the walk, they were just beginning a guided tour so we joined that and learnt all sorts of information, not only on the military history but also on the island. Apparently it's called Magnetic Island because when James Cook was sailing past in 1770 his compass went all funny, and he though it was due to a strange magnetic field around the island!
Our last stop in Australia was Cairns. The highlight here was our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We had signed up to do an introductory scuba dive, which meant that there was a group of 3 of us, as well as the instructor who stuck together so the instructor could make sure we didn't get into trouble underwater. We did 2 dives. The first one we had to demonstrate we could do 3 skills, equalise our ears, empty our mask of water underwater, and take our breathing bit in and out underwater. After that down we went to the reef! It was weird trying to focus on breathing underwater and focus on looking at the reef at the same time, but we soon got used to it. Almost straight away a massive Maori Wrasse fish, who is called Wally by the divers came up to us and started swimming along. He was almost the size of us and so friendly! On the dive we also saw some clown fish hanging out by their anemone. Very cool. After lunch we had a second dive, this time it was just the 2 of us and the instructor. We knew what we were doing this time so could look around and enjoy it more, and we were lucky enough to see a turtle! We went right down to it and it swam right over my head and tried to eat my hair! Absolutely incredible. Definitely one of the highlights of Australia!!