Best week yet! That is for sure! I was so lucky to get to spend 7 days traveling around Australia with a great group of people! We did so much and saw so many things! It was a wonderful experience and I will never forget a minute of it! Our group had fifteen people in it. Twelve of them all came from the same house. The three of us that didn’t were quickly adopted into the family! It was so much fun!!
We’re missing two people in this picture from our group!
The week began with a two hour train and bus ride to the Gold Coast Airport! From there we flew to Cairns and landed around 8 pm. We got a ride to the hostel, put our stuff in our rooms and headed to the nightmarket to get something to eat for dinner! We were all pretty exhausted so we came back to the hostel early and went to bed. The next day was unplanned for us so we spent the day walking around Cairns, shopping, eating, and relaxing by the lagoon. Cairns doesn’t have an actual beach and even if they did the jellyfish would be too bad to swim with so they have a man made pool that could really pass for a beach! It was so nice to just swim and lay around to combat the heat of the day!
That evening a couple of us made it to church and then we met up with everyone else for dinner and had another early night. On Sunday we were up and at it at 6:30 am to get to the marina to do a day tour of the great barrier reef! It was truly awe inspiring. I will never forget the reef! Everyone should definitely try to make it there someday! We snorkeled for about 5 hours at different locations throughout the reef. Some people went scuba diving and saw turtles, I just stuck with the snorkeling though. 😛 There were so many colorful fish! They were so cool!
After the great barrier reef we went back to the hostel, had dinner, and went straight to bed. We had to be up again on Monday at 6:30 for a tour of the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. We rode in a huge van for about two hours and finally arrived at a Wildlife sanctuary. We got to see a lot of cool birds and lizards and kangaroos! They were really friendly!
After the wildlife habitat we drove to the river and took a ride in some boats to find some crocodiles! We saw three, 1 year old crocodiles and the head of a 3 meter adult one! It was so much fun! The tour guide spoke so many languages and was very fun to talk to and ask questions. He really knew a lot!
After the river we stopped at a picnic area and had lunch and some of the most interesting ice cream ever! I had Sweet Potato and Ginger ice cream! It was so good! Once we had finished lunch we hopped back in the van and went on a guided tour of the Daintree Rainforest. Our tour guide for the forest also really knew what he was talking about. He started the tour by showing us these ants that had green bellies. He pulled one off the tree and licked it. Naturally the rest of had to try it! I almost didn’t but I ended up doing it in the end! It tasted like lime but stung a little bit, like licking a battery! It was insane!! Our tour guide was impressed that everyone of us licked the ant. He said normally only one or two do and he has to spend forever trying to convince them to do that! You could really tell that our tour guide loved his job and had a lot of fun!
The tour ended and we loaded up into the van again and drove to Cape Tribulation! It was a nice break to just relax on the beach after everything we had done!
After the break we had to drop off some of the people who were in our group at a hostel in the forest. While we were there we took a bathroom break. Right outside the door we saw this monster! And three or four others like it! They were HUGE!!
We quickly left the spiders alone and started our three and a half hour drive back to Cairns, we got back around 8 and found some dinner. It was on that night that we took a Greyhound bus to Airlie Beach. The bus left at midnight and we arrived at Airlie around noon on Tuesday. At 1:30 on Tuesday we boarded our boat, the Condor,for a three day, two night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands.
That was such a fun experience. Our boat had thirty two people on it, including the three crew members. We ended up knowing three of the people who were on our boat and quickly bonded with the other people.!
The cabin where we slept was quite cramped and we ended up sleeping on the deck the second night! The sunrise was so beautiful!
The first day we we sailed around and went to bed early, (most of us were exhausted from the bus ride). The second day began with a trip to Whitehaven Beach. That beach is the most beautiful beach I have ever been to! It is considered the third best beach on the planet and NASA uses the sand to make the lens of the Hubble Telescope! It was so wonderful!
After Whitehaven we went snorkeling and to another beach to watch the sunset. It was so nice. The sun was really bright but it wasn’t too hot. Well, I thought it wasn’t too hot 🙂
The last day on the boat was pretty short, one of the other passengers ended up cutting his leg so badly that the skipper said he needed stitches so we ended up going back to Airlie Beach early. It was still a nice day though. We spent the rest of it just exploring the town, eating, shopping, and relaxing by the lagoon! It was a lot of fun!
It was a really cute little town with only one main road. The jellyfish are bad there too so they also have a lagoon! There were so many sailboats in the water the day we got back! It was aweosme! you can’t really see the boats in this picture unfortunately
That night there was a discounted dinner for all the people who were on our boat at one of the local restaurants. It was a great end to the trip!
The next day our group of fifteen started splitting up. Some rented vans and began to drive home. Others hopped on a bus that stopped at random places on the way back. While a group of seven other people and I hung out around Airlie until 6 pm when we caught a bus that drove us straight home to Brisbane. The bus ride took 18 hours! Thankfully we got to stop periodically to stretch and use the restroom! And at one point, we found this giant Kangaroo that apparently was the mascot of some sort of official games or something important. It now watches over a service station, and winks periodically.
It was such a good feeling to finally be back in Brisbane! I was so happy to have Sunday to go to church and recover from the craziness of the week!
Monday was Labor Day for Australia so no one had work and everything was closed. My housemate Al, who is Australian invited my other housemate Michael, his brother, my friend Jamie and me to go with him to Currumbim, a beach on the Gold Coast.
We got there around noon and had fun just hanging out on the beach.
At around two forty the wind picked up ridiculously and we were getting stung by the sand!
After trying to hide and wait it out,
we ended up packing up our stuff and heading to the local surf club to grab some lunch and hope that the wind would stop.
I shared a really delicious lunch of Calamari, Barramundi (a really good Australian fish), and prawn with Michael!
After lunch we went up to a lookout and tried to figure out what to do next since the wind wasn’t stopping. We found out that there was a national park in Burleigh Heads about a half hour away! We drove over and had fun walking along the path. We found vines that you could sit on and swing, the mystery machine, a rainbow house, and a beautiful lookout point. It was a perfect anecdote to the wind! And the Perfect way to end the most amazing break I have ever had yet!