We are currently sat in a bar in Airlie Beach Australia, which is the launching point for the sailing trips around the Whitsunday Islands. Since our last blog we have done lots and so we’ll start off from where we left you in Bali……..
We had just moved to Sanur and we enjoyed our remaining time in Bali lazing around and making the most of the nice restaurants. We had planned to meet up with Kate’s sister whilst in Bali but unfortunately she had to cancel at the last minute which was a shame as we were looking forward to seeing her. As a result of this we brought our flights forward by a few days as it would allow us to get to Australia in time for my friends (Dave Von Koetz) birthday party, we were sad to be leaving as it brought the Southeast Asia section of our trip to a close. We flew overnight but neither of us got much sleep so we were pretty tired when we arrived. We caught a taxi to the hostel which was in an area of the city called Newtown but it was still early in the morning and the doors weren’t yet open so we headed off in search of a fry up. We had been looking forward to a proper western style cooked breakfast because no matter how hard they try in Asia they cant manage to get western food quite right! We both opted for The Full Monty and when it arrived the amount of food on the plate was actually embarrassing, overflowing with all the things we had wanted. We did our best (with me helping Kate out of course) but couldn’t manage to eat all the food which I was pretty annoyed at myself about! After breakfast we headed back to our hostel and checked in. The hostel we stayed in was really nice and had a good kitchen which allowed us to cook for ourselves for the first time really since we had been away which was nice. We spent the next few days seeing the sights of Sydney visiting the opera house, harbour bridge, botanic gardens, Manly and Bondi Beach. We were both really impressed with the city and it really is as good as people say it is. On the 13th we caught the train to Gosford and spent the evening at the aforementioned birthday party and stayed over at DVC’s parents which was really kind of them. After we arrived back in Sydney we caught our flight to Cairns which was around 3 hours long. We still didn’t know where we would be visiting or how we would be travelling but planned to wing it once we arrived in Cairns. On the bus from the airport to our hostel we got talking to the driver who recommended to us that we hire a campervan and drive back down the east coast ourselves stopping wherever we fancy. This seemed like a fun thing to do so we started our search for our camper which was not as easy as we thought because at this time of year the north east of oz starts to become very wet and humid so a lot of people start the trip south to Sydney for Christmas. After much trying we could only find 1 available and snapped it up ASAP. It turned out that the camper van company had taken receipt of the van only the evening before from its previous life as a delivery van and spent the night fitting it out as a campervan. It is very basic but has all the gear we need and drives well which is good.
We took advice on where to travel and decided to make our way up further north to Port Douglas and then further to Cape Tribulation. Cape tribulation is very small and remote and is completely engulfed in jungle. Whilst there we headed out on a boat trip to the great barrier reef which was really good and we went snorkelling and saw all sorts of colourful fish, corral and a huge turtle! Unfortunately you will have to take our word for this as we forgot our camera! When we got back to land we stayed in a campsite right in the jungle. Jungles are very noisy places with all the animals making their various noise. Then came the rain which sounded like gravel being tipped all over the van. We even heard the sound of a tree bough snapping off and falling fairly nearby! Jungles are also very hot and humid so we didn’t sleep well at all. When we arrived back in Port Douglas we went to the supermarket and bought a large fan which has proved a wise investment as it has made sleeping much more bearable.
When in Port Douglas we stayed in a place called Dougies which was really nice and we were tempted to buy their branded t-shirts and beer coolers which would have been good for when we get back.
After Port Douglas we travelled back to Cairns to pick up a fridge for the van which wasn’t ready when we first picked it up. The company had also forgot to pack us a table which we picked up as well. After this we visited Mission Beach then the next day drove to Townsville which is a small city and the port you travel to Magnetic Island (so called because when Cook sailed passed his compass went berserk). On magnetic island we hired a battered up little Mini Moke which Kate chauffeured me around in all day. Also on the way to magnetic island I thought I saw a girl I know from home but I wasn’t sure it was her and didn’t want to risk embarrassment so didn’t say anything but I have subsequently emailed her and she saw me but didn’t say anything to me for the same reason!
Yesterday we drove from Townsville to Airlie beach which brings you about up to date. We have booked onto a vintage timber sailboat boat called Alexander Stewart which sets sail on Monday. We will write again when we return to shore.