Australia - Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays
Cairns brightened up after a while, but apart from the notorious bars, there's nothing to do there. It's just a backpacker-tour selling town.
So, I took a day-trip to Cape Tribulation. Despite the thrilling name, it wasn't too exciting. The rainforest meets the beach. That's the excitement. After the bus trip, we got about an hour there. Saw a goanna (lizard).
On the way, we got to see a wildlife santuary and Mossman Gorge. Mossman will no great thrill for anyone who's seen a river/stream before. The park was better - I got to meet kangaroos, birds (various) and koalas! I felt like a true Australian. Tourist. :)
Anyway, with Cairns done, I got a train to Airlie Beach. Bit misleading in the name, because like Cairns, there's no beach. Weird eh?
Anyway, the thing to do here is take a boat trip. So I did.
I took the Pegasus for 4 days and 3 nights with 23 fellow travellers. Sounds like a lot, but it didn't seem that way on the boat (except at mealtimes :). Speaking of mealtimes, (which I wasn't, except in brackets - does that count?), the food was awesome. BBQ'd steaks one day, roast beef the next! Great stuff.
We went to coral beaches for snorkelling, and I got a free introductory scuba dive, which was very cool, although my mask kept leaking.
We went to the famous Whitehaven beach, which has pure white sand for miles. Apparently it's 90% silica, and is the finest sand I've ever seen. Crunches like snow underfoot. Very weird, but pretty and good for a game of footy on the beach and a quick tan-top-up. :)
We did a bit of sailing on the way back - one of the highlights I reckon, despite the occasional rain at the time. Nice to get the engine turned off. :)
I'm back on dry land now, which is swaying quite uncomfortably underfoot. It's like being drunk while still sober. Kindof a vodka-redbull effect. Very peculiar...
Next stop: Brisbane!
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