A Travellerspoint blog

Byron Bay

sunny 30 °C

After 11 hours bus journey from Rainbow Beach I finally got to Bryon Bay feeling absolutely rotten. Great start! Bloody hostel didn't even pick me up and were also closed. After calling them several times and making it quite clear that I wasn't feeling too well and are not the happiest person, they finally met me. I stayed in the Dive Inn, which is shit. The guy working there was absolutely lovely and was really looking after me but everything else wasn't great.
I was feeling so bad that I was getting worried that my time in Sydney would be ruinded as well, remembering how long the last tonsilitis took me, even with antibiotics....
Looking back, the only good thing was that everyone in my hostel has been staying their for weeks and months and was working, and didn't really go out or do anything else. So, even if I would have been well, I wouldn't have met many people to go out with and experience the famous Byron Bay. Never mind, shit happens when you are on a tight schedule like that, so I tried to make the most out of Byron of what was left. I needed rest before Sydney and Melbourne anyway. Worst was probably that I missed the dive at Julian's Rocks, but hey ho....
After a surprinsing good night sleep (I think it's the first time since I am in OZ that I slept through), I felt a little bit better in the morning and had my hopes up.
Byron looked really nice, a small beach town with a nice beach. Quite busy but very nice. And for once you could swim in the sea, which was my first time here in OZ. Sea is so much colder here, but really refreshing and if you are not constantly thrown over by the waves it's great fun :-) Even more fun the watch all the surfers ! :-)
In the afternoon I did the walk to the lighthouse which was brilliant but very exhausting for me. It should only take an hour I was told and it took me 3 hours! So, quite clearly I am not in top form. Some great views over the bays and beaches and the surfers :-) and you got to the most Eastern Point of Australia.
After that I treated myself to a nice dinner as I hadn't eaten anything in 2 days and had an early night again. The next morning I was feeling even better and decided I didn't need a docotor anymore. I was so happy. Only then I realised how down I have been for the past 3-4 days. Not great being sick while travelling.
But on that Monday morning I was being positive again and full of beans! :-)
Spent hours again on the Internet trying to catch up and went for a quick break to the beach and also got my underwater pics developed.
Decided to change my bus to Sydney to an earlier one, had an uneventful day in Byron but was really looking forward to Sydney, especially seeing Alex.
It is a real shame that my time in Byron was like that, as so many people said they had a wicked time their and that it was their favourite place but it just wasn't meant to be for me....

Posted by Julia1976 16:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fraser Island

28.02. - 02.03.07 - Rainbow Beach

sunny 33 °C

I got to Rainbow Beach with the overnight bus around lunch time, checked into Dingo's which is quite a nice hostel and had around in Rainbow Beach. There is not much to it, very tiny place but they have an amazing huge beach. It's the first beach were it is okay to swim in the sea without a sexy stinger suit. Went for a long walk and had the briefing meeting for Fraser Island at 4pm. Got into Team B with Callum and Simon who I am sharing already the room with and they seem nice, so a good start. After sorting out our alcohol (basically beer in cans and wine in a 4 Liter goon are the only things you can bring! Very classy, not that it would bother me...:-)
I had a good group. We are 11 in one team, 4 tents and one jeep with 3 people sitting in the front and 8 on two benches accross each other in the back. All the gear and food (most important are the eskies) are on the top. Aussies call their cool boxes eskies (God knows why... I personally think it comes from Eskimo :-) ) we decided to keep one of the 2 eskies for food and the other one for the booze, as you might get away with rotton meat but certainly not with a warm beer :-)
Apart from one exception, the group was brilliant! There always has to be the one, and have a good guess where she was from... Bloody Germans!!!
The group: Callum and Neil from England, Katja and Anna from Germany, Jenny and Rachel from Scotland, Gil and Avana from Israel, Simon from Ireland and AJ from the US.
We started off having a few drinks in the bar and got then convinced to take part in the cross- dressing party. Good start! We had a brilliant night. Very funny.
Sore heads and a very early start the next morning. Second briefing meeting was already at 7.45 to learn how to drive the car and how to pack everything. One intersting bit is the toilet situation, as you are camping in the middle of nowhere. There are some toilets on the island but mostly just have to go in the bush and always take someone with you so you won't get get bitten in the bum by a dingo while having a wee. Great!
Thank God Michelle gave me that little torch, which was a life saver for all the girls on the trip! Thanks Michelle :-)
Once we were ready to go, we got a ferry to the islands and started our adventure.
Really coold to drive on the beach, it's so strange... As soon as we got off the ferry we had our first stop, as I spotted 3 massive mantarays. Next stop was shortly afterwards for our first dingo. Hard to imagine that they would do any harm, as they are so cute.
We then went to the ship wreck Maheno, which was great. Quite impressive. The island, which allegedly has more sand than the sahara (I very much doubt that!!!) is really beautiful. White sand everywhere and turquois water and rainforest in the middle. It is the biggest sand island in the world though. Again, you can't swim in the sea, as either sharks, jelly fish or the current would get you. I wish I would have remembered that....
After the wreck we stopped for a lunch break and after debating forever of whether to leave the jeep on the beach we moved on the champagne pools. You are only allowed at certain times on the beach depending on the tight. Apparently 100 cars a year a wahsed away by the tight... Our driving times were really good though, pretty much from 9am to 3/4pm every day.
The champagne pools were absolutely amazing. They are the only pools on the island with salt water, all others are fresh wather pools. They are naturally formed pools, that fill up with sea water they sprays over from the waves. The sea is just right behind them and only some rocks separate them from the ocean. They are not very deep and therefore really warm, like a bath tub. It was brilliant just to lie in them and float around in the really flat warm water but listen to the big waves and look over the ocean. I did not want to leave that beautiful place but the tight was on it's way and we were already pushing it.... We had some spectacular views on our way to the pools, but no luck to see any sharks, dolphins or turtles. On our way we stopped at the Pinnecles some really nice cliffs/ rocks and then looked for a nice spot for our first camp site. We stopped just by the beach with a great view over the sea. We set up our tents and started cooking and drinking. Had a really great night. Neil was playing the guitar and it was really cool. 2 other jeeps joined us as well, and after a few drinks, Hanan and myself decided it would be a great idea to go for a midnight swim. Seemed like a great idea at the time. We didn't go in deep, but it was enough to throw us around. Very silly but great fun! Had water in my ears for 2 days after that.... serves me right!
The next morning was great fun! At 7am it was so hot in the tents that you had to get up, completely stiff, as you were basically sleeping on the floor and sand everywhere. Half the group had the fantastic idea to get ice to re-fill the eskies but got blocked by the tight and didn't come back until 9.30 leaving us right in the sun. Have a guess who was a little grumpy?? After finally having breakfast we went to Eli Creek. A creek flowing through the rainforest going all the way down to the beach. You would start in the rainforest in the really clear cold refreshing water and then just float down all the way to the beach. Amazing! So nice! Leave your ears under water, so you couldn't here anything, just look up into the rainforest and float along. How much more relaxing can it get? The only thing that made me jump was the sea snake passing me.... Arghh... was a small one though....
We then went to Lake Wabby. After what felt like hours of tracking right in the middle of the day where the heat is worst. First we were walking through rainforest which was okay, but then we hit the sand dunes. It looked as if we were in the desert. There wer parts where the sand was so white, that it looked like snow and it actually hurt in your eyes. It was so boiling hot, that I wasn't sure we would make it. Even with flip flops the sand was burning on your feet. It wasn't very encouraging that all the signs kept saying that it is another 1 km, but but although we kept walking and walking the signs still said 1km. We finally got our reward: Lake Wabby. It just looked amazing. The green water surrounded by the beige sand dunes. The water was really clear and it was so refreshing to swim in it. There were huge catfish in there but despite AJ's desparate attempts to catch them for dinner we ended empty-handed.
It was then time to find our next camp site which was a bit further inland this time. Anna, Hanan and myself went to the beach for the sunset, which was amazing. The sky was divided by a clear line into pink and blue. Really strange, but very beautiful. Team B had another good night, but by 11pm everyone was just knackered and in "bed". I woke up feeling absolutely shit, with a really sore throat and ears and I just felt the next tonsilitis coming up again. How you can get sick in that heat, I don't know, but of course I managed. So, my last day wasn't the best as I was feeling really rough, was absolutely knackered and have to say I was quite glad it was the last day. 2 days camping with no shower and toilet, the boiling heat, sand everywhere is great fun but enough! :-)
Our final stop was the wonderful Lake McKenzie. It started off being overcast but then cleared up and it was just wonderful. It's basically the nicest or definitely one of the nicest white sand beach you can imagine around that crystal clear fresh water lake. Incredible. Again, I didn't want to leave.
Back in the hostel, I just enjoyed my shower and had a rest hoping to avoid getting a proper tonsilitis, but not luck.
The night and next were just dreadful. My throat was so swallen that I could feel it from the outside and that I could hardly move my neck. Swalling was impossible, whenever I did it, I woke up at night from the pain or from Hanan's snoring so I wasn't a happy bunny. Being sick when you travel and sleep in a dorm and all that really isn't great. So, I just couldn't wait ot get on my next 11 hour bus journey! NOT!! Once the drugs were kicking in a bit, I had a good gossip with AJ, but that was the only highlight of the day, the rest just passed by in a blurr. I couldn't even change my dorm in Byron Bay to a single room, so another dorm to look forward to....

Posted by Julia1976 05:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Whitsunday Islands

Airlie Beach

sunny 30 °C

I took the overnight bus from Cairns (which was surprisingly good, thanks to my Symantec travel neck pillow :-) ) and arrived in Airlie Beach in the morning. Had a look around as I had to wait until I could check in. I am staying at the Koala Beach Resort which is by far the worst hostel I have stayed in. Not nice and it doesn't help that my very young Swedish room mates are very messy, but David had already warned me. It's surprising how many Sweds you meet. Sometimes I wonder whether there are actually any left in Sweden. Maybe that is the reason why their population is only 9 Million, the other 20 Million are out of the country travelling. I can see now why Chris quite often wants to avoid Swedish groups, as they are quite often quite ignorant (particularly the young ones) and just keep speaking Swedish. My day in Airlie was quite un-eventful. I just had a look around in town, bought myself a new bikini, chilled out by theh lagoon, checked my budget and wished I hadn't done it :-( but was sensible to leave the other clothes I wanted to buy until I checked my budget. I had to admit that I didn't really need them. Who needs shorts boat shorts on a boat? :-(
The next day was pretty much the same. Went to the lagoon etc. and then got picked up at 6.30pm to board the boat. We are 26 on the boat - Anaconda III - one of the biggest sailing boats here in Airlie and one of the very few ones that can make it out to the Great Barrier Reef no matter how bad the weather is.
The boat was okay, not as glamorous as on the brochure (bloody marketing people :-) ). I share my room with 3 very nice Irish girls (Deirdre, Claire and Sharon). The cabin and toilet is tiny but fine. Also met a very nice English girl (Alex) who travels by herself before moving to Indonesia. We ended up chatting quite late having a few drinks and had very nice evening. On our first day we all got up early and went to Whitsunday Island, which is the main island out of the 74 islands. It's not inhabited and looked just amazing, unfortunately it was overcast but the they dropped us off at the beach which was completely white and soft. It has a very high percentage of silica which makes it so white and so soft. It makes very funny squeaking noice and you can even polish your jewellery with it, it's so soft that it won't scratch it. Unfortunately you again have to wear those very sexy stinger suits to go in the water. The water was completely turquoise. Looked as if someone put some artificial colouring stuff in it, like Evete does with the water feature :-) And the rainforest with very strange and eerie noises in the background. Shame it was cloudy but you have to be grateful in Australia when it doesn't rain, so no complaints. We all just chilled out and went for a walk and then got picked up by the little boat to get back on board. We then sailed to the next island where we went for a snorkel. I wanted to check out the situation first before I paid the next dive and be disappointed. I went with Pete my new buddy who as an amazing enthusiasm about the underwater world and shows and tells me a lot. The snorkelling was brilliant. They dropped us off on another uninhabited island at wonderful little beach with a waterfull coming down running directly into the sea. It was surrounded by rainforest, cliffs and caves. Really cool. Sometimes it was difficult to decide whether to keep your head under water or have a look at the scenary on land. The corals were amazing here and I was so happy and pleased that not everything is dead. Pretty much the opposite. The coral landscapes were just amazing and it does look so much better when the sun shines. Althought the corals were beeter and far more unspoiled than in Cairns. We have seen loads of nice fish as well. Huge Angel Fish, clamps which were really cool. They straight away close when you get near them but are very beautiful. All in all a wonderful first day. We anchored there for the night which was a great setting with a nice sunset and a cold beer... what more could you ask for? Had a great evening again, met the Irish boys and had a good laugh. Everyone was knackered though, so it was an early night. Something is wrong with our cabin, as it really smelled, we must have been close to some unpleasant storage as it wasn't anything inside the cabin and even our toilet smelt better. Although it was quite disgusting we had such a giggle that the whole thing was just funny.
Got up early again and had a wonderful day with loads of sunshine. Wonderful. We sailed all the way out to the Great Barrier Reef, which was great. Turquouis water again, sunshine, wonderful islands that looked like a setting from Jurassic Park and great company. We got to the reef and the view was just breathtaking. Whereever you looked you saw reef with little shallow turquois pools in the middle of them. Hard to describe. So, I was definitely going for a dive here to finally see what the GBR looked like when the sun shines. Something was wrong with my BCD, so I had problems going down but once that was sorted everything was great and I could even stay longest down with the dive master I had most air. 11 divers for one dive master was a bit much, especially with a lot of people being beginners like me and having problems with their equipment. The dive was really good. We again saw loads of really beautiful coral landscapes, swam through really cool tunnels. When we were waiting for the little boat to pick us up and were just floating on the surface I saw so much, it was just great. I finally saw my first clown fish, which is basically Nemo. Sine the film was launched it is the most photographed fish at the reef. I finally found Nemo :-) ! It was the first time that I had to dive from a little rubber dinghy. My backwards role went really well, unfortunately my neighbour somehow landed with her tank on my head which wasn't very pleasant, so I tried to dive away but the BCD drags you up to the surface and I almost ended up with my head in the propeller. Great, mental note to myself sit in the front of the boat next time and not at the back. Fortunately our skipper saw it and pulled it away in the last second.
After lunch we went snorkelling. First we just jumped off the back of the boat as there were loads of Giant Travelli, which are huge ugly fish with big teeth. We were told that they were about 36kg each! And they were loads and all of them were just swimming around us like crazy, almost bumping into our masks, hitting us etc. It was really cool but after a while and the longer I looked at their teeth it got a bit scary and I was glad to get out of the water. Especially after Pete got bitten by one of them, when he tried to get a piece of chicken thrown in the water before the GT. Bad mistake Arni! So I had enough of the big ugly fish and wanted to see the pretty ones so I went to find Nemo! :-) We got dropped off at another reef and had an amazing snorkel. Wonderful corals and so many fish, clamps, Angel fish etc. Really good! Although I love the diving I have to say most of the times I see more when I go snorkelling and I am certainly one of the divers that dives to acutally see stuff and not for the sensation to be able to breathe under water like a lot of other divers... Again, another fantastic day and we have been lucky with the weather again. Everything looks just so much nicer when the sun shines. We stayed the night out in the reef. I just love being out at sea. Nothing around us, no land no nothing, just the ocean. Absolutely love it. Had a great evening again ending with ghost stories....
On our last last and final day we started sailing already at 6am and had really rough weather. And again half the people where just sick, sick and sick again, so I decided to stay in my cabin for a little while until the worst was over. At aound 9am it calmed down and we stopped to have breakfast. The weather was brilliant again. Unfortunately we had run out of water (you were only allowed to shower once a day for 2 minutes) so we had to get a back a little earlier. I thinnk they just cut off the water, as we so many people didn't even have a shower every day that I find it very difficult to believe we have used it all but never mind...
We went snorkelling again in the Blue Pearl on Hayman Island. Apparently Posh and Becks have spent their honeymoon here. The snorkelling and the scenary was again amazing. Loads of coral, a baby Nemo, sea star and a huge Maori Wrasse, which had changed sex from female to male after the leading male died, so Precilla became Elvis!!! Strange things happen in Australia, fish that change sex, that cross dress, trees that drop their bark instead of their leaves, animals with 2 penises.... bizarre, bizarre....
I was drifting through big flocks of fish, so they were everywhere. Right, left, straight ahead just in front of my mask underneath me, just incredible.
We then sailed all the way back to Airlie Beach, or Scary Bitch as we decided to call it....
That trip was certainly one of my highlights in Australia and I am so glad I did it. Unfortunately I am missing the night out as I have to take the overnight bus to Rainbow Beach. Tried to change it, but it doesn't work. Absolutely gutted!
Spent the afternoon at the lagoon with Alex and the Irish girls and then got back to Alex's to shower and get ready. We all went out for a couple of drinks and I then had to leave them... boo hoo..... But at least I will see Alex, Anka and Kivi back in Sydney, and Gary possibly in NZ, so something to look forward to.

Posted by Julia1976 01:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back in Cairns - Diving Course and Great Barrier Reef

overcast 33 °C

Back in Cairns I checked into Calypso this time, which is very nice hostel. Nice bar and pool and quite relaxed. We all went out in the evening in Cairns and had a good time, although Dani, Natalia and myself didn't stay too long.
All the others left and now I am back by myself again.... Quite strange. Saying good bye is certainly something I still need to get used to. As quick as you meet nice people as quick they disappear again. So I cheered myself up with spending a fortune. Always a great idea. First I went shopping and when I then checked my schedule and all the things I still want to do, I started panicking, as I am already running out of time, so I walked into a travel agency and was an easy victim. Only wanting to book my sailing trip for the Whitsundays and Fraser Island, I ended up booking everything until the end of my stay and even had to change two flights to fit it all in. Not sure whether that was a great idea but you live and learn...:-) On the one hand I can at least pretty much do everything I wantded to do, but on the other hand I have lost quite a bit of flexibility. At least it's all organised and now and apart from a few small things I won't have much hassle with it.

That was a summary of my first week and so far I am loving it. There are of course a few down moments but I think it's amazing what I have already done and seen and how many peopole I have met.

On the 16th of Feb I started my open water PADI diving course with Pro-Dive (Great tip from Beth by the way). I was quite nervous beforehand but it then went all really well. The first two days were in the pool and the classroom and the last 3 days we were staying out in the Great Barrier Reef on the boat, which I thought was great as I have never heard of a diving course where you actually stay 3 days out on the sea. It's been a tough week with very early mornings and long days. The first two days were okay and I have a great group and a fantastic buddy - Evelyn from Austria but lives in Melbourne. Passed my exam on the second day and in the pool it all worked fine and we learned all different sorts of skills, i.e. taking off your mask under water and all that stuff and on the third day they picked us up at 6am to get on the boat. The boat was really nice and I shared my cabin with Christina from New York. The food was delicious thanks to the German chef Nina and plenty. They fed us 6 times a day. We even got freshly baked cake every day, still warm. Delicious.... So were basically under water, as we had 9 dives in 3 days or eating. Great! Unfortunately the weather was shit and we didn't have sun shine once! Glad I came for the diving and not for the snorkelling as some others did. The surface was most of the time so rough that you either had to have your snorkel or your regulator which was okay for the divers but not great for the snorkellers. A lot of people were seasick as well. As they are just using paperbags, they had to throw them into the sea. Great fun, bags everywhere, the fish were loving it but I wasn't too happy when we had our first dive and I could still see some bags floating on the surface....
Anyway, I was really nervous before my first dive but it all went well and I was pleasantly surprised how calm I was. I had two dives on my first day and was very happy that all went so well and I didn't have any major problems. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't see more, but I suppose I have really been spoiled by Egypt and expected the GBR to be even better. The weather of course didn't help either as it affected the visibility quite badly. I went for a snorkel as well but again there wasn't as much to see. The coral looks quite colourless and dead. But there has been a lot of coral bleeching going on.
Nevertheless it's still quite amazing to be diving at the GBR, the biggest reef in the world.
Our second day started with our first dive at 7am and the next one before lunch, which would be our last dive to get us certified. At the morning dive I saw my first shark - a leopard shark! I loved it. I don't mind them, as they are not as scary. It was really long though, at least 1.5 meter if not 2 and was lying at the bottom. After lunch we got our certificates and I am now a certified diver! Hurray!!!

Strangely enough as soon as we got certified they sent all of us down by ourselves. I am not quite sure what would have happened if anyone would have had problems, as we are obviously still complete beginners. Fortunately all went well.
My first fun dive with my buddy Evelyn was the best dive so far. Finally we can just dive and have a look around and not constantly fill up your mask with water, pull it off, do an emergency ascent etc. We saw quite a few turtels and I got completely carried away and just followed them ignoring my depths air and compass. Using turtels as compass doesn't really work too well as I had to find out, although I still do it. I can't resist, they are just too amazing to swim with. We saw the giant female turtle called Brian (Aussies!!!) who is just incredible. If I hadn't heard of him/her beforehand I would have probably got a shock. But the instructors told us about him and said his size is the one of a massive table we were eating on, which is probably 1.5 meters. Absolutely incredible. It certainly gets dark when he swims above you. Really cool and he didn't seem to mind us at all, so I followed him :-)
As I said the navigation under water isn't working too well, but what can you expect if I can't even manage on land?!? We also saw Georgie the stingray with the s-shape tail a boxfish and trigger fish.
The last diving day clouded by the weather again. The visibility was poor, the surface really rough and we had 3 dives before 11am, starting with our first one at 6am. That one was quite good though. Evelyn carried on doing the adventure course, but I didn't, as I am not in a rush and rather wanted to enjoy a few dives before doing the next skills. So I went divning with David and Yvonne. That was a really good dive. The early morning dives seem to be worth it, as the morning shift is just coming out and the evening shift is coming back so there is lot ot activity. It was still a bit dark so we had to get torches. We saw 3 white tip reef sharks, which were about 2 meters. The first was I say was lying at the bottom and I even went down further to get closer. Was well impressed how I was handling my fear :-) the second one was swimming underneath me which I didn't like, I definitely prefer them sleeping at the bottom ;-) and then another one at the bottom. We saw turtels again and the same happened again. Followed them, almost got to the surface as the turtel went up to breathe.... and got lost. But to my defence it was all 3 of us that were struggeling with the compass. By the time we got up we were so far away from the boat that they had to pick us up, which was actually great fun. Most people including myself skipped the second dive, as hadn't even finished breakfast and then just went for the final dive. The last dive wasn't great, I went with Louise and Lisa and we got lost and were really struggeling with the very strong current. Even the fish were thrown from one site to the next, so how are we meant to stand a chance? Lisa got sick again and was therefore running out of air so we had to get up and again far to far away and got picked up again. Good record. Two dives, two boat rides! :-)
All in all it was a great experience and I am really glad I did. Shame about the weather but that's the rainy season for you. At least the people were all really great, especially Evelyn is great and it is such a shame she is leaving, but at least I will be meeting up with her in Melbourne which is great.
The night we got back we all went out to celebrate and had such a laugh. It was such a great night, I am gutted I couldn't bring my camera and really hope David is sending me some. Wicked night! :-)
The following day was quiet, just sorting things out, changing flights, internet cafe, laundry etc. and then the overnight bus to Airlie Beach.
It's been almost 2 weeks here now and it has been fantastic but it is also time to move on to the next adventures!

Good Bye Cairns!

Love,
Julia

Posted by Julia1976 15:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation

sunny 33 °C

I got picked up by the Dougie's bus in the morning and loved every minute since pick up. Steve, the guy who picked us up and I think is also the owner, was so nice and friendly and explained everything. It was like a guided tour and not just a pick up. The weather was faboulous and he showed us some amazing lookouts. They were so good that even he took a picture :-)
He also showed us around in Port Douglas, which is a very nice little village. So much more what I was looking for than Cairns. They also have the 4 mile beach, which is surrounded by palm trees and coconuts all over the floor. No wonder it is rated as one of the top 10 Australian beaches (out of 7000!!!). Unfortunately it is the same here, no swimming. However, they have a net around a certain area where the stingers are not getting in. It is such a shame though to walk along that fanatastic beach, with hardly any people there and then you can't get into the water. The water temperature is 29 C everywhere here. There are 2 different types of jelly fish - the box jelly fish, which is the most venomous animal in the world and are quite big and then the really small ones (size of a thumb nail) which are almost impossible to see. They are so small that I wonder why they wouldn't get through the net.... The lifeguard checks 3 times a day whether anything has slipped through, but apparently no one has been stung in the last 10 years. The last attack was in 1992 in Cairns and a guy just ignored the signs and went in the water. He swam and dived laughing at his friends who he called cowards and then began to scream with an inhuman sound. It is said that there is no pain to compare it with. The guy staggered from the water, covered in livid whip-like stripes wherever the box jelly fish's tentacles have touched him and collapsed at the beach. The emergency crew that arrived shortly afterwards inflated him with morphine and took him away for treatment. Although he was unconscious and sedated with morphine he was still screaming....
So, here you go, no messing with box jelly fish!

Dougies Hostel was such a refreshing change that I was even happier. Such a nice chilled out hostel, which hammocks, a bar, nice garden, pool etc. Everyone was really relaxed and the staff was so nice and friendly and helpful. It was straight away so much more personal and they made you feel so welcome and it was also much smaller and nicer....So, I got what I was after :-) They also have the cheapest drinks in town... Happy Days!!! :-)
I also met a Scottish girl (Danielle) on the bus which is very nice and we shared a room.
My first day was spent wandering around in town and chilling at the beach cooking my first dinner in the hostel kitchen, having a few drinks in the bar and then going to bed.
On my second day I booked my trip to Cape Tribulation in the morning . We then went to the market in town which was very nice and then back to the wonderful 4 mile beach. Still gutted that you can't swim in the sea. Such a waste.... It is a strange place. There is no other place in the world that has more dangeraous, venomous and lethal animals than Australia.... Crocs, sharks, the 10 most dangerous snakes live of course here as well, spiders etc.... they even have a butterfly that eats meat... bizarre. However, strangely enough, the animal that kills most people in Australia is the bee (of course only people that react allergic to them, they don't have lethal bees...:-)

Anyway, my time in Port Douglas was really good. Very relaxed, exactely what I needed.

We had an early start to go to Cape Tribulation. Our tour guide was very nice but unfortunately would not stop talking... ever! His favourite was "... and stuff like this" which he would add to every single sentence and his favourite topics were trees and kassowary poo, which he would point out at every occasion. Looking back we had actually a good laugh about him, so never mind.
Our first stop was the animal sanctuary where we saw Cassowary Birds. They are pretty amazing. They are absolutely massive, have a big horn thing on their head to be able to make their way through the rainforest, completely black feathers and a blue and red head. They eat whole fruit like massive mangoes, melons etc. in a whole. And that is the reason why their poo is so important for the rainforest. They are the only animal that can spreat the seeds and without that bird the rainforest would look completely different. Still no reason to point out every bit of poo though if you ask me. They are also quite dangerous, as they easily feel threatened and would kick you with their massive claws and and would slit open your chest. Like so many other things here, they work in the opposite way.... The female lies the eggs and then moves on the next fellow while the male is watching and bringing up the chicks for the next 2 years and the female is never seen again. Interesting....:-)
We also saw some massive crocs behind a tiny little fense. As it is so hot here, they are staying under water to keep their body temparature down. The bigger they are the more difficult it is for them. So, in this heat, it is very unlikely to see any of the really big ones. They grow up to 6 meters here, which are the biggest crocs in the world. They had a 5m one in the sanctuary and the guide knew where it usually lies under water, so he dropped a few little pebbles in the water and a massive beast came leaping out of the water trying to bite whatever just disturbed him. Bloody hell, they are scary and damn fast! He did that a few times and also showed me the bit where the fence was completely wrecked, which was also the croc.... They can lie under water for up to 4 hours and then just come up to the surface for half second to take a quick breathe and go down again. Let's see how lucky we will be on our croc watching tour. Probably not very, but maybe some little ones, as they are far more agile in the heat.
Next stop was Mossman Gorge, a beautiful gorge right in the middle of the rainforest, where we went for a swim which was amazing. The water was so clear and cool that no one wanted to leave after all that heat. It really was brilliant. We also went to a few lookouts with just stunning views, boardwalks and a proper tour through the rainforest. I absolutely loved it. The rainforest is so fascinating and every single place you look is completely unique and completely different. Truly amazing. Not one tree would be by itself, there are several others living on it, on top of it, around it, roots hanging around from other trees, just very difficult to describe. I could have stayed there for ever just watching all the different trees. We also saw a dragon lizard which was quite cool and some big spiders, but nothing bigger than I would have had in my bath tub at home, so a little diappointing :-)
Our accomodation, The Beach House, was right in the middle of the rainforest and we were staying in wooden cabins. It was also right on the beach of Cape Tribulation. That is one of the very few or maybe only place where the rainforest meets the beach and also where it meets the Great Barrier Reef. It is the only place on earth where to World Heritages meet. The reef and the rainforest. The reef was that close to the shore that you could see the coral sticking out of the water and it would have proabably taken you 2 mins to swim there and yet again, you were not allowed in the water! Dough! The beach was amazing though. White sand, rainforest in the background, crystal clear water..... Must be amazing to come back here in their winter. The place is very relaxed and chilled out. We had rain in the afternoon, but we are in the rainy season, so there will be loads more of it and I am still in the rainforest after all :-) So, we were just talking and I also learned the card game shithead that apparently every backpacker plays. I met some really nice people that afternoon and we had a wicked evening. My first "proper night out" in Australia and it was so much fun. After the bar shut we went to the beach, which had the most amazing sky any of us had ever seen. First of all, as you expect, there are far more stars than in a city, but more importantly they were hanging so low that you were completely surrounded by them. Much more like being in a planetarium. It was absolutely breath-taking. We could actually look straight out to the horizon and could see stars there. Fantastic. We ended up in Larry's and Linda's drinking Vodka on ice. Great fun!
Next morning I got up really early (as I said I am really getting into the travelling) and had some breakfast and met some more people and had very relaxed morning. Could you imagine that I am happily chatting away around 7.30am?? Dani and myself got then picked up to go Jungle surfing, which was great fun. They take you high up into the trees in the middle of the forest, strap you to a rope and then send you down on metal wires. That was really good fun and you got some great views. The last ride was up side down.... happy days!! At lunch time we walked (best time to do walking....) we walked through the rainforest to freshwater whole called Emmagen Creek. The walk was exhausting and we nearly gave up but we made it and it was worth it. It was just Dani and myself in the waterwhole right in the middle of the rainforest. Still not sure whether we got the right one, as some have crocs the heat got us in and it was so rewarding. Really really good and an amazing setting to go for a swim. Crystal clear water but unfortunately no turtles.
As it was pissing down on the way back we fortunately got a lift from a passing truck.
In the afternoon I walked along the beach to an amzing lookout with fantastic views over the bay and the beach. We then had quite a heavy night AGAIN and I found out that my alarm only works when I have reception (which I didn't), so I woke up at 9am and was meant to be picked up for my sea kayaking at 8.30! Dough!!! Ah well, they didn't see much anyway.
On our way back to Cairns we did a crocodile spotting tour on the Daintree river, which was great. The guide, apparently the most dangerous beast in/on the river was definitely worth his money. Even if we wouldn't have seen crocs it would have been great entertainment. But we did.... first a small baby croc only 10 month old. They are really cute when they are that small. And then two bigger ones. One just under 2 meters and one just above 2 meters. Hard to imagine that the biggest ones grow up to 3 times the size of that. And they can jump out of the water by their whole body length. Imagine shipping along a river and suddenly a meter croc is leaping out of the water. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that it was too warm for them to move. Another interesting fact is that crocs have two penis! Apparantly so they can mate from each site....
We then had our final stop at a tropical fruit shop for some fruit testing. Can't remember all the names but I have eaten stuff I have never seen before. The best was that the owner of the shop is also a carer for baby kangaroos where the Mum has been killed in a car accident. So they were at least 2 or 3 small ones hopping in out of their bags. So cute and the fur is so soft. One was so small that it didn't even have fur and was just lying in it's bag which should simulate the Mum. It had to be fed every 30 mins. Tough job....

All in all, I had an amazing time in Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas. Absolutely loved the rainforest and are sad to leave :-(

Love,
Julia

Posted by Julia1976 23:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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