Australia Week 1

Trip Start Oct 10, 2006
Trip End Mar 24, 2007

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Friday, December 29, 2006

We arrived in Cairns on December 22nd after a long day of flying and waiting in airports for connections.  While sitting in the Sydney airport departure lounge we made the mistake of reading the 'dangers' section of our guide book.  Consequently we arrived in Cairns quivering with fear as we tried to forget everything we had just read about giant, jumping, poisonous spiders, snakes and crocodiles.  Even some of the plants are poisonous!  Cairns was nice and warm and we had a good day there, visiting cape tribulation, walking in the rainforest, spotting a crocodile on the banks of a river and swimming in a creek while our bbq lunch was cooked.

We spent Christmas Eve on the train to Airlie Beach, a backpacker town which is the jumping off point for the Whitsunday Islands.  The 10 hour journey went quickly (they had films on just like an aeroplane!) and we got to our Christmas accommodation just before dark.  We had a lovely self catering cabin in a holiday park and it was a great place to spend a few days.

We spent Christmas day soaking up the sun by the freshwater lagoon in Airlie Beach (you can't swim in the sea because of the jellyfish), though the only place open for Christmas lunch was domino's pizza.  This fitted quite well as it really didn't feel like Christmas anyway, with all the sunshine and no presents to open.  We spent boxing day doing much the same thing - it was a great way to relax over the festive period!

On the 27th we set off on our much-anticipated Whitsundays cruise - 3 days on the ocean, crusing on a yacht, snorkelling and sunbathing on quiet white sand beaches.  Unfortunately the weather turned on us and we got 3 days of rain and wind! Our boat was not quite the luxurious vessel we had imagined - it was built of wood in the 1950s and 'many original features' actually translated to 'hasn't been touched since it was built'.  As a consequence it had holes which leaked water in, there wasn't enough water for showers, and we seemed to be the only boat without a canopy to protect us from the rain, instead having to fashion our own tent on the deck from some old tarpaulin!  Luckily there were a couple of English girls on the cruise who were a good laugh and we managed to get through it in good spirits, though we did have to crack open the wine at about 4pm as we rocked side to side in the wind and sheltered in our home made tent wearing bright yellow fisherman's macs.  Also, the food was excellent as it was cooked by a trained Italian chef, though eating it under those conditions was a bit like being on the generation game. We did do some snorkelling (in the rain) and saw lots of turtles in the sea, which more than made up for having to sleep in a room little bigger than a coffin accompanied by cockroaches...  Overall we did have an excellent time and laughed our way through it like true brits!
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