Right....... we were gonna try to update this more often - obviously that didnt happen! here we go: the first two weeks of Oz!
we arrived on wednesday 16th may in cairns, very tired from the trip through asia and had a very relaxing day, had a wonder through town (which you can see all of in about an hour or less!) and that was about all we managed.
on thursday we again didnt do much but we did have a couple of hours swimming in the 'lagoon' down by the marina, and booked our next days tour:
friday we went out on the Ocean Spirit boat on the Great Barrier reef. After spending a month with the gang through SE Asia, we didnt even think about the possibility we would end up seeing much of them in Oz, but when we arrived for the boat bright and early at 7am there was Kelly waiting for us! about 10.30am we got our first dive out on Oyster Reef. We both enjoyed it but Tom had problems with his ears from the presure and Yvette had trouble sinking and got cramp in her foot also! So there was the possibilty of a second dive out from upulo cay in the afternoon, we got signed straight up for that, and it turned out to be well worth it as it was a much better dive. the first dive we had to hold the instructor all the way around, and seemed very short (although we did see a clown fish - finding nemo anyone?) - so the second dive seemed great value as we able to swim around freely - always following the instructor but was a lot easier to explore stuff on our own, even had a vist from a turtle - dude..... totally..... and the instructor seemed a lot more confident and competant!
that evening we went out for a drink with one of the crew from the boat - was a good laugh and he told us then about the fact they have seen hammerhead sharks around upulo cay in the past - we were glad he waited til after the dive to tell us that!!!!
on saturday we checked out of our hostel (a place called rosies - not the nicest place to stay!) and picked up the hire car. We have a 1.6l 3dr sky blue Hyundai Getz, which is quite smooth and nice to drive. After navigating and hanging about 99 U-ees round Cairns we made it out to Port Douglas! We checked into Dougies Backpacker resort, which was really nice, clean and friendly. That evening, about 4.30pm we went to Mossman gorge which is north of Port Douglas. There is a beautiful river that runs through the rainforest and you can do a 3km walk through the rainforest.......that was our mistake to think we could do this 3km walk before the sun went down. It got a little dark and neither of us remembered to bring a torch!......not to worry after being scared by a noise of something we still don't know what it was, we managed to navigate to the car.
On Sunday we had a boat trip along the Daintree river spotting crocodiles, tree snakes and birds. Then we attempted Mossman gorge in the day, with plenty of daylight to spare. We checked out of our hostel and headed back to Cairns, we stayed in a better hostel in Cairns.
On Monday we went to Kuranda village, took a skyrail ride there over the rainforest and took the scenic railway back. We bought a few authentic boomerangs that are guaranteed to return!
On Tuesday we left Cairns for the long journey south to Airlie beach, we stopped in Townsville for the night. We arrived in Airlie beach on Wednesday early evening.
Thursday afternoon we left for the Whitsundays on the Condor which is a Maxi racing yacht, the mast is 100ft high! it was the biggest mast for a maxi in the world when it was first built 20 years ago. That was a lot of fun, there were 29 people altogether plus 4 crew-the people we met were down to earth, the skipper and crew were so friendly and professional, they got us involved with the actual sailing such as cranking up the sails - very hard work!, sailing the boat and controlling the ropes. We stopped in a few places to snorkel, we could see the edges of the great barrier reef which was still spectacular.
Friday we woke up around 5.30am to hope to see the sunrise, but the sun was behind a mountain on the island, so we didn't actually see it until 7am! We snorkelled again, then we went to Whitsunday island to white haven beach-the sand is the purest form of silica, it's so white and fine like talcum powder and the water is so clear, you can see sharks, sting rays and dolphins from the look out. We had to wear our stinger suits to swim incase we encountered a sting ray or jelly fish.
Saturday we returned to Airlie beach, then headed further south towards Hervey Bay. We stopped in a little town called Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia. We had the best beef steak ever! it was cooked on a stone grill, so it's practically raw when they bring it out to you, you cut slices off and cook it to your taste. Tom couldn't believe how good it tasted and Yvette couldn't believe it had no seasoning and it tasted that good. It really was the best steak ever, anyone that goes to Rockhampton has to try the stone grilled steak! We then went to the cinema to watch pirates of the carribean 3 (after being on a boat for 3 days we felt like pirates)!
Sunday we left for Hervey Bay to meet our group for 4 wheel driving on Fraser Island. Starting early on monday we met the group going to Fraser at 7am - about 40 people altogether - going in 4 4x4's. after a bit of shopping to get us through the next 3 days, we set off for the ferry. then it was 4 wheel driving all the way, the first day we crossed the island and drove the length of the 75mile beach to indian head, but due to rising tides didnt have long there and had to head south to set up camp for the night - thats when we realised the tents weren't 100% waterproof (although nobody got too wet) and as the rain started we had to make a makeshift shelter with our three tarpaulines (again, these weren't 100% waterproof either, had a good system set up with every cup and bowl we owned to catch the drips though!) had a great bbq that night then partied with some of the other vans.
tuesday we headed north up the beach again to champagne pools - the only saltwater you can swim in on fraser without being eaten or stung or swept away. then we went south eli creek wherre you can float down with the current to the sea, then to the maheno shipwreck and to lake wabby - an inland island down the slope of a large sanddune - had lots of fun rolling down the dune into the lake. set up camp again a bit further south, luckily no rain so no need for shelter this night - just had to be careful of the dingoes.
wednesday we were off early again for some cross island 4x4-ing to lake mackenzie - a beautiful lake with white sand and clear water. then when the rain started we had lunch and some of the group headed over to lake birrabeen - a bit dirtier but still nice! then it was back to the ferry to be back in hervey bay for 5pm.
thursday we set off for noosa, stopping to see rainbow beach on the way
friday we went to australia zoo - saw all the crocs that steve irwin caught, had a good time an good weather
today we are setting off for brisbane