I suprisingly quite liked Brisbane as far as cities go. We went just for the day to meet up with a German couple we'd made good mates with in New Zealand. We found a geat bar with live music and settled in for the night. I somehow managed to spontaneously throw my drink over Tom (much to the amusement of everyone else - apart from Tom!) At the end of the night in our casuals - shorts and flip-flops, the boys tried for a laugh to get into one of the numerous casino's. Moments later we were all inside mingling with the wealthy and generally getting int he way of the Japanese gamblers. It was interesting as i've never been into a casino before. They're much more common here.
The next stop was Bundaberg, where we visited the factory where they make the incredibly popular Bundaberg Rum. We learned how it gets transported undercover and following no set routeen to avoid hijacking. Did a bit of tasting too before heading onwards to the beef capital of Austrailia - Rockhampton. And interestingly, the most obese town in the world. Although I tend to take these statements with a pinch of salt - The ammount of 'Worlds biggest lakes,' i've seen already is ridiculous. Anyway didn't see that many porkers.
we're back out of the commercial hub now and back in the countryside. Whereas the only danger in the seas further south was the odd shark, Now the seas totally out of bounds due to jellyfish (stingers). You can only swim in netted areas - not a chance. Not only that, the lakes and rivers now may have crocs in. Gees. To learn a bit more about how to spot there tracks, we visited a crocodile farm. It turned out to be one of the best interactive tours we've done. We even got to hold a little one. Some of them were huge.
We headed inland after this to give Gaz and Ben a taste of the bush. We saw nithing but sugar-cane plantations for miles. Then as we got into the rainforest we were driving on dirt tracks and over many ford and causways. It was a real adventure. The bush camp was incredible. just one gut, deep in the forest with open showers, a few shelters/sheds, camoflaged toilets, no electricity, just oil lamps, and right next to the river. We swam in a freezing watering hole, did some unsucessful platypuss spotting and laughed a lot at Bens irrational fear of all things nature, which saw him locked, quivering in the van all night with the exhaust blocked up 'so snakes couldn't get in.' The rest of us spent the evening around an open log fire listening to the incredible jungle noise.
From there we passed cairns and drove into the rainforest again this time at Cape Tribulation. The rain started to pour, darkness fell and the roads narrowed and wound tight. It was really eerie and enclosed in the thick of the jungle abd we could barely see a few metres ahead. It seemed to take forever and the jungle was throwing out some creepy sounds. When we finally reached the cape the tent sites were flooded and we spent a cosy night with four of us in the van!
Before we knew it three weeks had passed and we were approaching Cairns, stoppping on the way for Gaz, Gemma and I to swing from 45m high into the rainforets on a three person canopy swing. Like most of the cities so far, Cairns wasn't really a city at all. The only real bit of excitement was when Tom and I did a runner from the horrible lady in the internet cafe, who tried to charge us a ridiculous amount for three discs that we tried to burn but they didn't work. After arguing for about ten minutes and getting nowhere she called the manager and expected us to wait fifteen minutes for him. So when her back was turned we calmly crept out then legged it through some bushed and over a flower bed and hid in a pub until we were brave enough to come out. Spent the rest of the time in Cairns looking over our shoulders. Ben and Gaz flew back to England from here, leaving us with a spacious Jim for the next leg into the outback.