The start of my journey down the east coast

Trip Start Apr 24, 2006
Trip End Apr 20, 2007

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

So onto another part of Australia and quite a contrast to what I'd seen already

I flew from Alice Springs to Cairns which is where the rainforest and the reef meet. Cairns is a really popular spot with backpackers and holiday makers and one of the best places to see the Great Barrier Reef. I did a brilliant day trip to see the reef and even put my water phobia aside to do some snorkeling. There was so many fish, coral and reef to see - it was amazing!!

After a few nights in Cairns and sampling some of the mightlife (the town is crazy at the weekend - its a backpacker bonanza!)I ventured northwards to check out the rainforest and the Daintree River in Cape Tribulation.

I did a boat trip on the Daintree river where I got to see a crocodile - it was massive and quite scary... and took a walk along the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk. It poured rain most of the time but everything still looked amazing.

One of the highlights was the exotic fruit tasting - I especially liked the Breadfruit, which tastes a bit like potato, I needed my fix! Black Sapote which has a chocolatey taste(!) and my favourite - Soursop which was a bit slimey but lovely and sweet - delicious!

The following morning I did a 3 hour trek into the Noah Valley rainforest to a waterfall which was fantastic. Our guides Trev and Mike were local so were very knowledgeable about the area and showed us some amazing wildlife. They also knew how alot of the flora and fauna was used by the local Aboriginal people (Murray people) for cooking and as medicinal remedies. Fascinating stuff. I got completely soaked wading through the streams and very muddy climbing over rocks and trees (and falling on my arse several times) but it was worth it. I quite enjoyed getting back to my roots and the waterfall at the end of the trek was beautiful.

I then headed back towards Cairns checking out the Mossman Gorge and the Alexandria Range lookout before reaching Port Douglaswhere I spent a night. Thankfully the weather had improved I could relax on the lovely Four Mile Beach. PD is a nice town - theres lots of lovely shops, cafes and restaurants and quite a mix of backpackers, families and the more wealthy holiday makers. It was apparently a bit of a hippie hang-out back in the day but i didn't even get a whiff of petulia oil...

My next stop for a few days was Mission Beach. This is one of the places in North Queensland that was badly affected by Cyclone Harry which wiped out the banana crop. Its also the place where alot of people do their skydives. I haven't taken the plunge yet but will give it some thought before i hit New Zealand (don't freak out Mammy). I stayed in a great hostel called Beachshack, it was like a big house and made the second day (when it rained all day!) quite enjoyable as we could chill out in the sitting room and watch dvds.

From there it was onto Townsville a few nights. Its a nice enough town and home to Australia's largest Army base. It also has really good aquarium but thats about as exciting as it got. The highlight for me was taking the ferry over to Magnetic Island for a day trip and meeting up with two of my group from Uluru - Liberty and Katie. We hired a 'moke' (christened 'Larry') and spent the day bombing it around the island. It was great craic! Theres some lovely beaches and scenery on the island and some nice beachfront bars where we chilled out to recover from the excitment of our moke adventure...
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