I first arrived in Darwin, Australia at 4.30am in the morning following my flight from Singapore to wait for my connection to Cairns. I was extremely tired and stupidly lost my boarding pass and passport. Who let me go round the world on my own? hahaha! Luckily, it was found pretty rapidly and I wasn't even late for my plane.
I arrived in Cairns after no sleep and was in the worlds longest passport control queue to have ever existed before being questioned intensively by Customs about my time in Thailand. My bags and shoes were scanned to ensure no mud had come through from Thailand.
My hostel picked me up from the airport with a couple of German girls and by the time I arrived at my hostel I was very tired and very homesick. The next couple of days were the hardest of my whole trip and I wondered how I was going to physically get through the next 6 weeks. However, my St Christopher necklace must have sensed my anxiety and at the pizza party in the hostel on the first night I met Kim. We instantly became great friends and she helped me through a couple of hard days :). I pulled myself together and decided to go on a couple of trips in and around Cairns.
The first was a trip to the Great Barrier Reef with the Reef Experience. I snorkeled the reef first and saw some of incredibly beautiful fish and even a reef shark. However, when it came to my turn to dive I had a panic attack underwater and couldn't do it. I was incredibly disappointed with myself and cried back on the boat. The staff and a fellow passenger was so lovely. After a good chat I felt much better and at the next reef I decided to join the guided snorkel tour with the on board Marine Biologist. This was amazing, he took us to the best sections of the outer reef and dived under the water to bring up creatures from the floor and point out fish. I saw some Nemo's or Clown fish and their symbiotic relationship with an anemone :) Overall, I had a fantastic day and although I was disappointed with my dive I was so pleased that I plodded on and saw some beautiful creatures and coral. That evening I had a great DVD night with Kim and some of the others and felt properly settled into Australia.
The next morning I woke up early to set off for my trip to Yungaburra. Sid the driver picked me up and a group of us set off to visit the tablelands and surrounding features. We first saw the Cathedral Fig tree - google it :) which was pretty impressive. Then we saw a couple of serene rivers and was guided through the local fauna and foliage.
That afternoon, a smaller group including three Chinese, two south American, one Canadian, one German and myself went canoeing in a beautiful lake. I sat in the middle where I didn't have to row, I felt I was better off enjoying the view :) Along the way, I saw a Python, Kangaroos and many many birds that I have never seen before. We then pulled up at a smaller creek where we all drew on ourselves using Aboriginal techniques. Our guide pulled ordinary rocks out of the water and rubbed them on a wet boulder to create paint! There were many different shades of reds, greens and browns from ordinary looking stones. I drew all sorts of things on myself which looked nothing like anything!
I canoed back with the help of the guide.. I barely canoed - it turns out I have no upper body strength and was not much use at all. We then went Platypus spotting and I saw a mother and it's baby! What weird creatures they are! Search for them on wikipedia.. they are cute but just so so strange.
That evening I lost three games of Jenga :( then tucked myself in my dorm with two duvets, two blankets and a sheet as it was only 2degrees!! I then slept for 10 whole hours :)
to be continued.