Hi everyone! Hope you are all good :)
This is our first blog post in Australia and we are currently in Byron Bay and heading to Sydney (our final destination) tonight before we fly off to New Zealand.
We arrived in Cairns after a long journey from Singapore and were relieved to finally be in an english speaking country! Our first accomodation was really nice, and we loved Cairns. It was really chilled out and lovely weather - here we booked up our main tours for Australia - Whitsunday Sailing Boat and Fraser Island. We also went out on a snorkelling/diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef - this was awesome! However, it was extremely choppy and I was sea sick! Along with many others! We visited two different sites, the first being soooo choppy that snorkelling was almost impossible but the second spot was beautiful, we saw a couple of turtles along with lots of fish and beautiful coral.
After a few relaxing days in Cairns we got our first greyhound bus down to Airlie Beach which is were the sailing boats to the Whitsunday Islands start. That night we went to a bar and watched some live music which was good and then headed back to the hostel as we had an early rise to board our sailing boat (The Apollo) the following morning.
We boarded The Apollo around 9.30am and began sailing out towards the Whitsunday Islands. The Apollo is an ex racing sailing boat and it was awesome when we got the chance to help the skipper and two crew to organise the boat ready to sail. There was around 30 people on board, 27 of which were girls and only 3 guys - an American, a Canadian and Dan! As you can imagine Dan was over the moon!!! There was loads of different nationalities on board - Germans, Austrians, Swedish, Finnish, American, Canadian, Danish and of course us Brits! Strangely there was also a group of English girls - 2 of which went to Sussex Uni !
Our first stop was the famous Whitehaven Beach - were the sand is supposedly the best sand in the world and we couldn't argue with that! It was beautiful white sand and we were lucky enough to be the last people left on the beach as the sun went down and it was amazing! Also saw our first huge spider!! That evening we had a lovely meal cooked by our on board chef and the drinking games began once more!
The following day we were awoken nice and early by our skipper and headed towards a view point overlooking Whitehaven Beach. This was once again an amazing view! After this we headed to our first snorkelling/diving destination - this was fantastic and arguably better than the Great Barrier Reef! Once the sun went down we headed back to the Boat and once again had some great food (Steak) and more drinks. That night Dan and Cody (Canadian guy who we ended up travelling with for couple of weeks) slept on the deck under the stars which were undescribable - they felt so close - like you could touch them!
The final day we headed to another snorkelling/diving spot, where Dan did another dive! Unfortunately - I can't dive due to my ears :( After more chilling on the boat and lunch we sailed back to Airlie Beach. After a quick freshen up (which was much needed!!!) we headed out into town with everyone and had dinner and drinks. Fun fun night!
We then headed to Agnes Water which was around 10 hours on the Greyhound down the coast. The place was absolutely tiny - not a pub in sight! We hired bikes and had a couple of BBQs and it was lovely to chill out for a few days before we headed down to Rainbow Beach - where you go across to Fraser Island.
Rainbow Beach was again a small coastal town and the hostel was an absolute hole! There was lizards in the room, smelt of damp and poo droppings on the top bunk beds. The next day we went to Fraser Island - after organising our food, sleeping bags, drink (importantly) we got into our groups of 8 whom we would be spending the next 3 days in a 4x4 with. There was 3 groups all together and it is tag-along ride with the tour guide (Jimmy) in the front car. Our group consisted of two Germans, two Israelis, Swedish girl, American girl and Me and Dan. It was a fantastic group apart from the Germans...!! The other groups were mainly Brits.
Once we arrived on Fraser, which is the biggest sand island in the world, we headed straight to our camp site and set up our tents. We were steps from the beach with no toilet or shower nearby! We then began the trechourous drive to Lake McKenzie, which was a stunning lake were the sand was exfoliating and we swam etc.. We took it in turns to drive the 4x4, however when the Swedish girl drove we had a crash! The front of the car went into a fence! Luckily Jimmy was able to tow it off! That eve we cooked up our food, it was the boys turn and they did a fantastic job :) and we played drinking games AGAIN!
The next day we began to explore more of the Island, visiting an shipwreck, Indian Head and Champagne Pools. All of which were interesting and Jimmy was very knowledgable and told us soo many stories about each place. Champagne Pools are rocks were the tide comes in and makes a pool - it wasn't very warm so only the lads went in and boys being boys didnt realise how strong the current was and were swept back! Luckily no-one was hurt! That evening we sat under the stars, drinking and eating amazing Steak (cooked by the girls of course!!) and a English guy called Adam had a guitar and we sang songs until bed.
Throughout the night it was raining pretty heavily and we awoke to a pool of water at the bottom of our tent ! Everyone was feeling pretty tired but Jimmy insisted we go and see Lake Wabby! After which we packed up camp and headed back to the mainland and the sun began to shine ! That evening we alll met up with Jimmy and had pizza at a local pizzeria which was BYO. We drank lots and went to a bar after - and the rest is a blur! (never try and keep up with an Irishman!!)
Overall, we loved both the Whitsundays and Fraser - Whitsundays was my favourite and Dan's was Fraser! Fraser was very different but Jimmy made it. he was a pot head, 50 and was so knowledgable you could sit there for hours listening to him (Dan could!)
From here we headed down to Brisbane, which was a lovely city. Easy to walk around and we were happy to be back in a city. We met back up with Cody and spent a couple of days chilling out and went to Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin Zoo) - Dan was in his element! Great great day - fed the kangaroos, saw loads of Crocs etc...
From there we headed to Surfers Paradise - we treated ourselves to a nice double room with a tv and dvd player!! Dan pulled himself out of bed at 4.45am to watch the champions league final. It was a nice place, but extremely commerical that you could have really been anywhere!
We are now in Byron Bay, which is a really nice hippy town. We went on a awesome walk up to the Lighthouse which was really good and saw Dolphins, snakes and turtles! Really hot day - suprisingly considering it is supposed to be winter!
Heading down to Sydney tonight, spending 4 nights in Sydney and meeting up with a few people we have met on the way before heading off to New Zealand on Sunday!
Hope everyone is well and enjoying their Tuesday morning at work! We will probably update you again in New Zealand when we have time!
Lots of love,
Dan and Rachel