The first day of our Oz bus experience began with a driver named Forest, he was alright as far as they go, they always try and be so funny and wacky, sometimes it works and they are actually funny and sometimes it doesn't. On our way to our first stop of Mission Beach we stopped off at a crocodile farm for an hour or so, and as you can tell from the photos it was well worth it. it only cost $14 to get in and they basically take you on a tour of the farm and introduce you to the various crocodiles they have there. There most famous resident is a huge beast called Gregory. Basically the guides get inside the cage (which is literally just a bit of wire which looks like its about to collapse any second) taunt the crocs with big pieces of meat, shouted at them and put sunglasses on them and stuff. its quite funny and is quite scray and is better than it sounds. You hear the loud snap of the jaws as they try and go for the meat and you could tell the little double act who were showing us around didn't really know what they were doing and got a little nervous themselves at some points. Anyway that was a good experience. We also got to feed more kangaroos, even one with a little baby in its pouch. The keepers told us that very recently a couple of idiots had broken in and shot loads of there roos so there weren't as many as there should have been. Apparently there is quite a large bounty on the murderers heads. I hope they do catch them, so cruel. We also saw a family of dingos, they were very cute and I held a baby crocodile and had a couple of parrots on my shoulder and posed for photos. After visiting the Croc farm we continued driving for a while until we reached Scotties beach house. It was a nice chilled out hostel, we had our own room and it was quite cheap so that was a bonus, It was very close to the lovely long beach as well, however the only downside was that there is nothing really in the area at all and its even a 25 min walk to the nearest shop and the day we arrived...Monday nothing is open so yeah that was a bit annoying but still a nice place to stay for a couple of days.
The main reason we decided to stop off in Mission Beach was to go White Water rafting down the famous Tully river. Apparently it is one of the most technically difficult commercial rivers to raft in the world...well in the top 5 I think our guide said. To be honest though it was a little easier than I expected, as you can see from the photos all the difficult bits were navigated by our guide in the raft and we all sat there grinning, holding on for our dear lives as we went through the rapids. It was a top day though, we thoroughly enjoyed it, it was very expensive but I managed to get a discount and we had a nice bbq lunch next to the river half way down and we did actually spend over 5 hours on the rapids. Paul also jumped off a very high rock (5 meters he informs me) into the river, but I wasn't really up for that as it was so freezing. I had already got in once to bob along down the river. We also went down a bit of a waterfall, where our guide chucked us all out of the raft ensuring that every single one of us fell in, lots of fun.
That night Paul had kangaroo for dinner in a lovely sweet plumb sauce at the hostel and it was sooooooooooooooo delicious, one of the nicest things I have ever tasted, gutted we don't have them at home, I would definitely feast on roos regularly if I could.
The next day we checked out early and went for breakfast at a a very nice contemporary cafe..(about 10 miles away...as there is nothing close by) I had an amazing vegie breakfast with all sorts of gorgeous things like guacamole and aubergine and tomato salsa and poached eggs it was a kind of strange breakfast but really nice, we then just waited until we got picked up by the oz bus to take us to Magnetic Island port, where we boarded the ferry to take us across to the island. We stayed at a YHA which also doubled up as a Koala sanctuary...(I was very tempted to hug another Koala but seeing as I had already done it in Carins I decided against it for money reasons). It was a nice place, lots of wildlife and nature. Because we were feeling particularly poor we decided to go to the local shop and stock up on some food to cook our own meals for the 3 days we were there and do a bit of self catering.
The next day it was such a lovely sunny day we decided to spend it at the beach just chilling out and not spending any money, it was a nice quiet beach, very clean, the water was quite warm and clear, except I was a bit worried about going in because of all the jelly fish you apparently get in Australia. It was Paul's dads birthday so Paul went to phone him and spent a good hr on the phone which was nice.
The following day...another nice sunny day so we went to the beach for the morning and early afternoon and then went on the Forts Walk we waited until later afternoon as this is apparently the best time to spot wild koalas. Lovely scenery and we saw FIVE Koalas in the wild which just made my year!! I was excited about seeing them as they are quite rare in Australia apparently except in the places where they do hang out as its not like they are going anywhere in a hurry so you can spot them sleeping in the trees. The first one we saw was with its little baby, they were both collapsed in the tree not moving, I stayed and stared at them until Paul forced me to move on. We then started the main part of the Forts walk, which led us up quite high overlooking the whole island, it was very pretty. I walked on and lost Paul for about half an hour as he was looking at all the fort stuff. I sat down for a while bored waiting for Paul thinking I would love to see another little Koala in the trees...and as I looked up...to my surprise I did he was quite a fat one sitting there awake...contemplating eating, but decided that would take up too much energy so went back to sleep, watching him kept me occupied though as I sat waiting for Paul. On the way back down from the Forts Walk we saw two more koalas..one of which was very active grabbing different leaves and shoveling them into his mouth so Paul got a bit camera crazy and zoomed right in and took about 30 photos of this little koala eating, we even got a video.
The next Morning we got the ferry back to Townsville and waited for our Oz bus to our next destination of Airlie Beach.