We arrived in Cairns as refreshed travellers, more eager than ever to begin hostel life and stretching every cent by living off jam sarnies and noodles! (not sure how long it's going to last though!)
The 1st thing we did was get a massage at the night markets, not very traveller-like, we know, but for $15 how could we refuse?! We soon wish we had though, as what we thought was going to be a relaxing chinese massage turned into 40 minutes of torture! Oh well for 7 pounds it was worth the pain! There wasn't much to do in Cairns really, it's a bit of an Irish-haven with not much going on in the day, no beach to risk getting sunburned at and cheap beer flowing every night, so we quickly got out of there in our hire car and onto the beaten track up to Cape Tribulation.
The Ozzy rainforest is the oldest in the world, and it really shows through the wildlife and pure density. We had to drive up to the Cape in the dark, which was pretty scary on the cliff roads, then once we got to our hostel all the power had been turned off, so we couldn't see a thing! We dubiously settled into our tent-style dorms checking under the sheets for any 8-legged friends, and just prayed nothing could chew their way through the nets!! A snake fell onto the roof in the night and scared the hell out of us, but we guess that's what comes with sleeping in the forest! When we woke up though, we found our surroundings to be breathtaking, and waking up with jungle noises is really special. We headed up through the forest stopping at the vast beaches, spectacular lookouts and secret water holes, where there was invariably a rope swing to launch you into the crystal clear waters! We also stopped and did some exotic fruit tasting, which was actually more fun than it sounds!! We tried 10 different fruits that we'd never even heard of! After spending a couple of nights in the rainforest, we headed in land to the tablelands, a huge area where 90% of the rainforest has been very sadly chopped down in the last few hundred years for the wood. The open roads were awesome to drive down, we were playing all the old classic driving tunes! We stopped to try Mango wine at a cute little winery, which is literally made from mangos and was delicious, but unfortunately not available in the UK yet. We stopped for a couple of nights in a cute little town called Yungaburra, which has a population of 1500! There we went to see a pretty cool Fig tree (see pics!) some lakes made from volcanic craters, some famous waterfalls (one of which is where the Herbal Essences advert was filmed!) and some more look outs, as we were pretty high above sea level by now. In terms of wildlife, we got to see a tree kangaroo, platypus, wild pigs and a venemous red-bellied snake, which seem so much more special when they're in the wild. We ended our 5 day road trip back in Cairns, where we got the bus straight to Mission beach. It's a pretty sparse town, as the main reason people go is for the white water rafting. We did a whole day of it and absolutely loved it, (even if family back at home were scared for our lives!!) We got to swim down some cool rapids, jump of rocks and as we were on the extreme trip the guide flipped us over a few times when we werent expecting it! Our next stop is Airlie Beach, where we'll be heading to the Whitsundays on a sailing ship for 2 nights, so praying for good weather as it hasn't been too good the last few days!!