This country is MASSIVE. Truly huge. We left Cairns on Monday morning after hooking up with Stu and getting blasted - great to see the fella - and took a smidgeon of a detour to raft the rapids of the Tully River which travels down from a power plant through the rainforest. Spent the whole day laughing nervously like drains and getting drenched and leaping down 5 foot drops in the water and crashing into rocks and generally trying to keep our soaked lil' behinds out of the turmoil underneath. One of the rapids is called Birth Canal, and John the guide steered us down it in reverse and between these 2 big rocks - soiled ourselves that we were going to tip our boat over but Abi eventually managed to get left and right sorted out weight-wise so we survived it in the end. Saw a white-bellied sea eagle swoop as we were paddling - nature is a winner.
Didn't really agree with this sentiment the night before (Monday) as we stayed in a place called Sanctuary, an wicked eco-lodge treehouse type thing set hiigh up in the rainforest (read: jungle) and staffed by hairy-armpitted yoga enthusiasts. The only things separating your cabin roomy thing from the critters outside are 4 walls made of thin mesh, so the noises are unbelievable. As soon as the sun sets, billions of bugs and frogs and spiders and Christ knows what else elect en masse to inform you of their whereabouts, either by appearing or by croaking / squeaking / whistling / scratching / chirrupping. A lot of the trees were monkeyed by Hurricane Larry in March, but there's still enough to house all manner of disconcertingly vocal arthropods. Never have I enjoyed a night in Lily so much as I did on Tuesday eve!
So...started driving from a place between Cairns and Townsville called Cardwell on Wednesday morning...and we've only today just got to Alice Springs, 3 days later! The desert is seemingly endless, there's been sections where we've not seen another car or house or anything for nearly an hour. But did pick up a hitchhiker, a small bright green tree-frog whose poisoning abilities were unknown who took a liking to the back of Lily, check out the photos.
The roads are dead straight, the earth is parched red from not having had any rain for a century or so, and looking each side of the road you can see termite mounds everywhere. It looks a bit like the room in Alien where the big mama lays her facehugger eggs. Yesterday was the hottest, about 35 we reckon, you need to drink the contents of the Atlantic to keep from falling asleep. Took some pics of these wierd rocks formations called the Devils Marbles, and saw loads of birds of prey and a couple of wild roos and lizards.
Night before last we stayed in a place called Camooweal, which is just shy of the timezone difference between Queensland and the Northern Territory (we've gone back in time half an hour, always knew it was possible) - and I was fascinated to see Aborigine families going about their business. One kid looked amazing, fierce eyes staring boldly out from an almost jet coloured face, incredible looking people and culture.
Last night we moored up in a place about 200kms shy of Alice called Ti Tree, and got squiffy (well I did cos I'm a lightweight girl) in Australia's most central pub. Point of interest - we've realised that most small outback towns try to distinguish themselves from the next by self-awarding some kind of dubious accolade. Australia's Most Central Pub, Australia's Shiniest Fence, Roomiest Shed, Oldest Spoon, you get the idea. And got beaten 2-1 in pool which takes the championship to 10-4 to me.
Ayres Rock - Uluru - next, be in touch kids. Love n snogs, C x