The final curtain

Trip Start Oct 01, 2006
Trip End Apr 25, 2007

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't updated my blog for over a month but I've been enjoying myself!!! ha ha.

The last update was our departure from New Zealand.

We flew into Cairns, where I was questioned about my plans while I was in Australia. I was clearly seen as a threat to stay and work illegally. I wasn't too surprised after all I did work here in 2003 and had returned twice in the one year, entering in two different states.

Anyhow all was fine and we decided to get a bus from the airport straight to Port Douglas, which was only an hour away. It was Wet Season in Queensland so of course when it rained it poured, it was also extremely humid, which can be unbearable and was at times.
Port Douglas is nice, but with non stop rain, there wasn't much we could do. The beaches were also deserted due to the box jellyfish that infest the waters every year. It is also more expensive, apparently a hot spot for the celebrities.

We left and returned to Cairns after two days and checked into the fanciest hostel we've seen so far. It was like a hotel, very modern. It even had a small gym. A friend of Brian's (Yvonne) from home is living in Cairns with her boyfriend so we met up with them. They were in the middle of moving house so we helped them and in return received free accommodation. They moved to an area called ''Yorkeys Knob'' can you believe it. It's only ten minutes away from Cairn's main centre. We had a great few days chillin out with Yvonne and Kieran even though the rain didn't cease. We left on an overnight bus to Airlie Beach on 25th of February.

We expected to get some sleep on the bus, but it was not to be. It stopped every two hours for breaks so a sound sleep was out of the question
Airlie Beach is a lovely town, with a man made Laguna in the centre of the town for all to enjoy. We booked our Whitsundays tour for the following day. We were up and out at 6.45am and boarded the catamaran '' Mataray Bay''. We visited Whitehaven Beach (beautiful) and after lunch we went snorkeling. I wasn't very comfortable in the water this time round. We were snorkeling just off the shore of one of the 74 Whitsunday islands and there was a low tide, which meant we were practically lying on the coral. I was so concerned about damaging the coral that I couldn't relax. There was also one particular fish that instead of swimming away in fear, swam right into your face as if trying to kiss you. Not nice for a very weak swimmer, so I didn't last long in the water, but Brian enjoyed it. Although, he did say it wasn't as good as Cairns. We also got to see a huge green turtle swimming right beside the boat which was really cool. The boat ran out of sick bags on the journey back. The sea was very rough but thankfully I was OK.

Rockhampton was our next destination (28th) where we visited an Aboriginal Centre. Very interesting tour which included a digeridoo and boomerang throwing lesson. You can also visit the Great Keppel island from Rockhampton but we ventured on to Bundaberg instead. Rockhampton lies on the line of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Bundaberg is a relatively small town. We booked a tour to see endangered loggerhead turtle hatchlings on Mon Repos Beach the evening we arrived. It was definitely another hi-light of our trip. The adult turtle lays her eggs between November and January and they start hatching between January and March. Unbelievable. It takes the hatchlings 5 days to crawl up out of the sand and then run to the safety of the ocean. They mostly run by night so as to avoid being eaten by birds during the day. They are tiny, roughly the length of my thumb. There are at least 80-120 hatchlings in each nest. We helped guide them to the ocean, being very careful not to step on any. They say for every 1,000 hatchlings, only 1 will survive to sexual maturity which is at the age of 30. Loggerhead turtles lay their nests in the same place they were born, even if they do not live there, they will swim for days until they reach their birth place to repeat history. The Footprints company started tagging the hatchlings just over 30 years ago and have recently encountered some of them as adults laying their eggs, which gives them hope. We weren't fortunate enough to see any adult turtles on that occasion, but it was an amazing experience none the less.

Next up Hervey Bay, our connecting point to Fraser Island. We decided to do a one day exclusive tour which was excellent. A very bumpy journey as Fraser island is covered in sand and is also home to the only rainforrest in the world that grows on sand. The first stop on the tour brought us to lake Allom. Here Brian swam with 50,000 turtles (small turtles) and only after the small group got in to swim did our guide tell them the reason why the water was a murky colour. All I can say is I'm glad I decided not to!! We visited a shipwreck along 7 mile beach and saw the biggest sand dunes you can imagine. I definitely recommend a visit to Fraser Island, you can also do self drive trips over 2-4 days and explore a lot more of the island.

We arrived in Noosa on the 5th March. The Longboard Surf Carnival was on so there were a lot of Americans over competing and all the hostels were full. We ended up sharing a 3 bed motel with a lovely girl from Switzerland. The following day we went to the famous Australia Zoo. A great day out, we petted a burmese python, a wombat named cater, Tucker the koala and fed the elephant Sabu. The Warrior 101 show which included snakes, beautiful birds and crocodiles was an educational, fun and interactive show for kids, but we enjoyed it aswell.. We also saw the resident cheetah been taken for a walk on her leash. Great day out!!

The following day we caught the bus to Brisbane. We had heard bad reports on Brisbane and so we only booked the hostel for one night. I bumped into a friend of mine who is now managing the hostel's bar. Cities are all very alike so there wasn't anything unique about Brisbane but it was nice. We hit the cinema that evening to see Letters from Iowa Jima.
Up and out early the next morning, most places have 10am checkouts so there's no chance of a ly in. Surfers Paradise up next.

Brian's cousin lives in Surfers with his family so we had free accommodation for the week we spent there. Very enjoyable leg of our journey, filled with visiting all the theme parks and checking out the local beaches. The roller coasters were fantastic. Just what the adrenalin junkie asks for. It was great catching up with Brian's relatives, he hadn't seen his cousin since he was twelve.

Port Macquarie was our final stop before arriving back in Sydney. We were greeted by a dolphin swimming in the local lake, apparently they can be seen quite regularly. Another nice town, which we explored by bicycle.

We arrived back in Sydney on 19th March and settled back into Brian's aunt and uncles house. We spent the month doing all the touristy things. We climbed the Harbour Bridge, did a tour of the Opera House, visited The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Tower, Bondi Beach, Manly, Taronga Zoo, Homebush Olympic Stadium & Park, ''Paddy's Market'', Chinatown, some Museums, the Royal Easter Show and the Blue Mountains. You name it we did it. Sydney really is a fantastic city, we loved every minute of it. We also went to see 300th in the IMAX Theatre, the biggest screen in the world. To be honest it was nearly too big, we all had stiff necks after it.

Sydney is somewhere we could both quite easily settle down and maybe someday we will, who knows.

I think I've said enough, you get the gist of it. Bottom line is, we did absolutely everything we had planned to see and do over the seven months. We cut Hong Kong out of the trip as we plan on doing China another day. Now we have to face reality all over again.

Well, that's all folks!!!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, see you all soon

Gillian x

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