Saturday, September 29, 2012

Is this heaven? No, it's Whithaven!

Day 3 (Monday)

Today was the big day! We dove the Great Barrier Reef!!! We were up by 7 am, picked up from the camp site by 7:30, and were cruising through the waters in the boat by 8:00 am. We arrived at the famous Whithaven beach by 10:00. This allowed us two hours to frolic along the perfectly white beaches and sandbars. The sand was so fine that it would turn any pair of sunglasses or camera lens to a fog. The sand was formed from granite and had such a high silica content that every step squeaked; some like to say it’s “squeaky clean sand”. We were literally in a preset computer screen savor or a post card. It was unbelievable! The ocean was blue/green and as clear as can be. The sandbars stretch for hundreds of feet and almost connected the islands. Everyday the sandbars and beaches are different. They change during the night and it’s a surprise in the morning.

We saw countless stingrays and three lemon sharks. We started walking from one island to the next and when we were about half way there, the water was only up to our waste. We were disappointed when our two hours were up, but excited to see one of the world’s greatest wonders. Back on the boat we had lunch and then sailed to the dive spot.

I’m not going to embarrass Cole by saying he didn’t dive and only snorkeled, but shit, I guess I just did. Our dive stop was actually a good location for both. In this location the reef wasn’t too too deep. The deepest I dove was 15.3 meters. (Yes, I’m going to make you do the conversion because I’m now thinking in meters and not feet.) This was my first dive since certification! I was a little nervous and had forgotten multiple things. Though, I got a refresher and everything when smoothly. I did two dives that day and the second one was the best. I wish I could tell you all the fish I saw, but I can’t even remember people’s names so who think I’m going to remember fish names?! It’s a whole other world down there! There were crazy colours and coral and most of the things you thought were rocks or nonliving where actually alive! I can’t wait for my next dive! This time around we only did the inner reef and next time I want to do the outer reef. It’s a three day trip (one to get there, one to dive, and one to get back). THAT would be amazing; you have to save something for next time ; ).

That night we parked behind a hotel and were off to destroy the town. We met two Tazzies which unlike the rumors, did not have two heads. People from Tasmania get ‘paid out’ by everyone! One was a school teacher and age didn’t stop them from keeping up with Cole and me. They were both super nice girls and shared their wine with us and paid for the taxi. We had a blast downtown and I even won a dance off with a local! We stumbled back to the van, ate some drunchie food, and crashed.

The Falls of the Gods

Day 2 (Sunday)

We were on the road by 8 am because we had to make it down to Airlie Beach by the night. We had a quick stop at mission beach where I bought a shirt and Cole got some souvenirs for friends. 

There was still no surf this far north, so there was no reason to stop at any other beaches along the way. Around noon, we saw a sign for Murray Falls which included picnic area, camping, and swimming. Whyyy not take an extended lunch and check it out. To our surprise we were embarking on a 22 km drive off the main road that shortly became a dirt road which tested our skills at swerving around the pot holes. Once we got there, we were amazing at the beauty before us. It was a gorgeous waterfall that was unknown to most! It fell over a huge rock wall with multiple different paths and ended in numerous pools surrounded by house size, smooth boulders. The camping was free and it even had facilities including non-drinking spigots, just no electricity. Just below the camping and down stream of the waterfall was the swimming hole. The water was once again very clear and had huge boulders throughout the bed and on its surrounding.  There were at least three rope swings (but at this time of the year, the water was too shallow).  

We drove into Airlie Beach around 7:30-8 ish and took a quick look around the town and surrounding beaches. By 8:30 we were in our campsite cooking dinner and passed out by 10 pm for tomorrow we had a big day ahead of us!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Is this Jurassic Park??

Day 1 (Saturday)

The plan was to fly into Cairns, pick up the camper van, grab our surf boards and start the adventure south. We flew in half an hour early which put us at 4:15 am. Thankfully we decided to sleep on the first seats we saw because there were noooo seats as soon as you left the secured area. Just before 8:00 we hopped in a cab to grab our camper. Everything went really smoothly and we had our “hippie camper” named Sheldon, groceries, and surfboards in less than an hour. Our plans changed a little and we headed north to hit Mossman Gorge followed by Cape Tribulation. This extended our whole travel by a couple hundred km.

First we sung by Port Douglas to put our feet in the water. We were in a large cove called 4 mile beach. On a short hike we were able to see sea turtles down below. After a quick nap on the beach, we continued north.

Mossman Gorge was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It was a national park and only cost $4 to take a bus to the entrance of the main hike. There was an hour hike and then we swam in the river. It felt like we were in Hawaii. The scenery was very tropical. It was a blue bird day and the humidity wasn’t too bad. The river was clear as can be and there were huge boulders lining the side. If fairies existed, they would TOTALLY live here.

We entered the movie Jurassic Park when we headed to Cape Tribulation. It got more humid, there were no houses anywhere, the plant growth was very thick, and you could feel an animal was always watching you. To get to Cape Tribulation, you have to take a ferry across the river. The ferry runs from 6am-12pm so if you need to leave between those times, you are… oh how do you say it… completely screwed! While driving up to the beach, we pasted a cassowary eating a smashed creature in the other lane. I couldn’t help by think… WE ARE IN JURASSIC PARK! The beach was beautiful, but there was no swimming due to crocks and jellyfish. Yicks! There was even a bottle of vinegar tied to the beach sign incase you were dumb enough to test your luck. 

Since our adventures were straying from our original plan, we decided not to stay in Cape Tribulation but head south. As vague and non-specific as our plan were, we could spend that night anywhere but wanted to at least get below Cairns. At about 10:30 we pulled into Bramston Beach. The camp ground host was asleep by the time we parked so we woke up at about 6 am and left before the host was awake. We reparked at the beach and continued to sleep for free. This way we didn’t get fined for parking at the beach all night, and we didn’t have to pay for the campsite… We’re thinking like true travelers! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thanks Suzie, my wonderfully amazing sister, for emailing me this!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The land of Oz bucket list!

  1. steal a kangaroo
  2. challenge the previously mentioned kangaroo to a boxing match
  3. See a real tasmanian devil (in Tasmania?)... DONE!
  4. hug a koala
  5. go streaking/skinny dipping in the ocean!
  6. get good at surfing
  7. go to Cookie
  8. Eureka tower
  9. Eat dumplings in China Town.. DONE!

 10.  Lorne, Torquay... DONE!

11. Queen Victoria Market... DONE!

12.Ghost tour                                                                                       
13.Great Ocean Road to Adelaide and see the 12 Apostles
14.Espy in St. Kilda
15.The Black Pearl in Fitzroy
16.Bar Open in Fitzroy
17.Street Art Tours
18. Hosier Lane... DONE!

19.Afl games... DONE!

20.Go to Sydney
21.Dive the Great Barrier
23.Go to Harvest Music Festival
24.See the Paper Kites in concert
25.think of more things to put on here...

Animal wise, so far I have:
pet 2 wallaby (licked by one), pet a possum (which are a lot cuter here than in the states), held 2 snakes, held a wombat (heavy little guy!), touched an alligator, flipped a long neck turtle on its back, seen wild cockatoos, and had a mouse run over my foot!