. Average. Then ate...not bad! Then dodged the MASSES and went to the semi-submersible boat tour. There was only 8 of us on it which was a result. Scott was our tour guide... 'On the left you'll see soft reef which has been formed over........OH MY GOD THERE'S DOLPHINS!!' In only his third time in 10 years have dolphins came up to the boat and swam right infront/beside it so we were very lucky! Result!! We even managed to see a baby one feeding from her mother!! Amazing stuff!!
Then onto snorkelling. After we donned our extremely 'fetching' stinger suits (stopping any nasty jellyfish getting their tentacles into us) we waded in and yeah, there were some lovely fish....some of them massive! And the reef was gorgeous too (not that we knew anything about it because Scott just watched the dolphins!!!). No nemo's unfortunately, but got 'flippered' several times by the over-enthusiastic Chinese! We thought about diving but it was just too expensive.....somewhere else maybe! All the photos are from the semi-submersible boat so aren't great. What is it they say about 'workmen' and their 'tools'..??!! Good day though!! Enjoyed ourselves!!
From there we wanted to see Ayers Rock so we took the 3 hour flight into desert-territory! Very hot! Simple as that!! The Rock is accompanied by another rock formation approximately 50km or so away called 'The Olgas'. Other than those two, the land is flat for miles and kind of looks like it doesn't belong on Earth!
! Both of these had great viewing spots for the best sunrise/sunset and we did a couple of hikes in and around the two. The millions of flies are RELENTLESS though!! We spent the 2 and 1/2 hours walking around the Rock literally slapping our faces to get rid of them! Painful!! Both Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Uluru (Ayers Rock) are very sacred to the aboriginal people. A trip to the visitors centre informed us about various aboriginal beliefs on how the Rock and its features were formed. Oh and the natives do eat 'bush tucker' such as witchetty grubs and honey ants which they hold on to and suck out a sweet liquid!!! Yummy! The Rock is simply a lump on the desert but in the right light, the thing is STUNNING!! I took about 300 of the same photo. Very impressive! Then I kindly took a photo for another couple and he gave me the camera back saying basically that it was rubbish...do it again!! Cheeeeeky @&£&@!!!!
Back to civilisation soon after, with our final days in Australia being spent in Sydney! I should thank Dave Mac for putting us up for 4 nights despite him being in Glasgow! Right on Bondi Beach....great spot! Cheers mate! We first went to see Trigger and Amanda round at another mates house...Mr Deemer!! Top night and great to see everyone! Amanda's engagement ring is a ROCK!! The next day saw the four of us go to see the 'Blue Mountains' which is a region that starts approximately 30 miles inland from Sydney. Prior to us going I managed to patch up that blister of his so we were ready for action!
! He had his terrible 1980s bag on (that he FOUND!!), clipped around his chest and everything and we were off!! The mountains do appear blue for some strange reason....the haze from the eucalyptus plants being largely responsible for this! The massively impressive panoramic view from 'Echo Point' of the 3 sisters and the surrounding mountains was the starting point of our 3 hour trek which was superb! It took us down the 900 steps into the rainforest and back up via the cable car! The 'emergency ponchos' got a game again as it walloped it down on our way back but the rain cleared and we even managed to squeeze in another couple of scenic views and even some 'SPECTACULAR' waterfalls!! Great day! It wasn't without a Trigger-ism though....at night we were in a restaurant and he ordered a pizza. 'Medium or large?' asked the waiter......'how big is each?' replied Trigs......so the waiter pointed to 2 circular discs on the wall......'What....quarter to six?!!!!'.......Confusion all around.......he only thought that the pizza size indicators on the wall were clocks!!! Sensational!!!!
Saturday saw us wander round Sydney's famous coastal walk from Bondi Beach, through to Clovelly Beach, via Tamarama and Bronte. Beauuuutiful walk! A couple of Deemer's friends, Mikey and Rob, put on ONE HELL OF A DO that night in their place in the city before we had a view ourselves of the city (well, the bridge and the opera house!!) the following day. A mini-film event called 'Tropfest' was pencilled in that evening which disappointed slightly. Our final day saw us meet Chloe - Kala's friend from work, and her friend, Brogan and then onto the 'Opera Bar' (waaaaaay out of my league!!) for drinks with Mandy and Emma! Great to see them!! So we were bloody busy in Sydney seeing friends but it was great! A great way to bring Australia to an end! New Zealand next.....the place where we're probably most excited about.....
Seeing my good mate Trigger and his new fiancée Amanda (CONGRATULATIONS on your ENGAGEMENT!!!) was certainly a high point of the trip so far. Popping and cleaning a blister on his pig-ugly feet was one of the low points in MY LIFE, never mind the trip!!! Ha ha!!! We'll come onto that later......first, we'd reached Cairns and it was time for a trip to the Great Barrier Reef! Spanning over 133,000 square miles, the area has over 2,900 individual reefs over 900 islands and is the largest reef system in the world (Wikipedia et al, 2013!). It promised to be a good day, but when one of the staff wished us 'Happy Chinese New Year' with a wry smile, we almost instantly became swamped with Chinese tourists.....this was gonna get competitive!!! 'Why don't we hire a digital underwater camera for the day?'.....68 BUCKS!! LETS NOT BLOODY BOTHER!!! After about 25 free custard creams (what....this thing wasn't cheap and we were getting our fill!!!) we had a look at the underwater viewing platform