We set off from Uluru prepared for the 5 day drive of 3000 kilometres to Cairns. We were not looking forward to it, but knew that once we reached the East coast there was not much driving to be done. The drive was pretty uneventful, staying at free rest areas all the way, which meant that Matthew could get his teeth into cooking on open fires! The scenery was really bare and a bitboaring really until we reached Queensland. As we were heading to the North of Queensland where it is vert tropical everything was so green. We passed a little place called Ravenshoe that is the highest point in Queensland and it looked just like home. It was a great feeling to see something familiar again and it was good to be reminded of the nice things our country does have. The scenery was exactly the same as the Yorkshire dales apart from the dry stone walling, oh and it was sunny here!
On our 5th night of travelling, rather than going straight into Cairns we stopped of at a place called lake Tinaroo on the recommendation of an Auzzie man we met at some public tiolets (everyone talks to us and recommends different places all the time). When we arrived it was getting late so we checked into a camp site that i was happy to do as we both needed showers! The next morning we had a walk around the lake, the weather wasn't as warm as we had been used to, but the sun was still shining and the lake was lovely. We then headed into Cairns.
We found a really nice camp site just outside of Cairns, set ourselves up and then realxed for the afternoon. The next day we had a look around the city, that wasn't very big at all so we then looked to book a snorkelling trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We got that sorted and then went to hire an underwater camera for the day.
The next morning was an early and a cold start. We had hoped the weather would hold out for us, but unfortunately not, and it was extremely windy. Our trip took us to a reef called Michaelmas Cay, it was about a 2 hour boat ride from Cairns. The ride was quite rough with a few people being sea sick, we were both ok though. Once we were at our destination we hired wet suits (very sexy!!) and got fitted for our snorkels and fins. The first chance we got Matthw and i were in the water as we really wanted to make the most of the day even though the weather wasn't that great. It was actually warmer in the water than on the boat anyway.
What we saw was fantastic. The reef was like nothing we had seen before. It was so diverse bith in colour and texture and although the visibility wasn't that great due to the water being so choppy is was still an amazing experience. We saw lot of different kinds of fish, my favourite is the Parrot fish as i just love the colours. We have tried our best to take some photo's so you can get an idea of what we saw, but the photo's are not quite as good as we saw. We were in the water about 2.5 hours before lunch and then had the chance to go back in afterwards. Most people stayed on theboat, but we were straight back in, and we were glad we did go back in as we saw a tyrtle and a small reef shark. It was amazing, unfortunately no decent photo's of these, but we have our memories.
After about another 2 hours in the water we got called back to the boat as we needed to head back. On the way back we were supposed to sail, however due to the bad weather this didn't happen and about 70% of the people on theboat were being sick. Again we were both ok but it was certainly a rough ride.
Although the weather wasn't fantastic our experience on the reef and what we saw has been possibly the biggest highlight of our trip so far, and we have got a few.