Took the greyhound from Airlie beach to the city of Townsville. A nice marina city where you can easily access Magnetic Island via ferry. Ticked off another OZ task; try Barrimundi fish. Nice, tastes much like any white fish; cod or haddock.
Between Townsville and Cairns I stayed one night at Mission beach. Beautiful, quiet place. Not much to do here but laze on the coconut tree beach, or, work on the fruit farms but I hear this isnt half as fun as the former option. Remances of the cyclone are still evident at Mission beach.
On arrival in Cairns I was presented with a hostel room to myslef for almost a week. What luxury! The hostel itself sat right on the esplanade looking out over the inviting croc infested marsh. Someone should of fired the bright spark who suggested building a city in such a location. From this marsh you can hop onboard one of several dive boats operating out of the marina that will take you out to the great barrier reef. This is exactly what I did. Two dives on the Flynn reef, in which time I saw a turtle, squid and an abundance of awesome coral. Some of the other things I got upto in Cairns included the night market, Rustys market, and the botanical gardens. During my time in Cairns I spent a few days doing some housekeeping duties in exchange for free hostel accommodation. Saving of $100!! Thank you very much!
Flew down from the outrageously humid Cairns down to coller Brisbane in time for Xmas. Spent a day at the famous Australia zoo (Steve Irwin Zoo as its better known). By far the best zoo I have been to. Educational and fun for all ages. Fed Kangaroo's, watched live croc feeding shows and......dum,dum,dummmmmmmmm held a snake. Left the zoo with a much greater respect for many animals, like the croc, that I had previously given little thought.
Christmas in OZ was a little different to the typical British Christmas. No I lie, its completly different. Its hard to find any evidence that Xmas is approaching until Dec 24th hits. Then a mad shopping rush begins. Lots of festive generosity in the city though. No Xmas organised events in my hostel unfortunatley so I threw myself on the mercy of the church. Attended morning service Xmas day and then the free Christmas lunch provided in the city square. This may not have been everybody's cup of tea but I loved it. I ate my lunch in the company of people from all walks of life, live music playing, a free gift and food. Lovely jubbly!! I have to admit the Xmas food followed the non-traditional route; sure there was ham and chicken but there was potato salad instead or roasties, and salad with dressing instead of vegetables. Appeatising all the same. Spent the remainder of the day enjoying some Bundaberg rum at the hostel and watching Xmas movies on the big screen in the city square.
Just a 13 hour train journey down to Sydney for New Years to prepare for. Bring it on!