11th - 15th December (The last days in Oz)
Spent the best part of a day in an internet cafe, catching up on the blog, burning a cd and at long last managing to get some photos on the blog (hope you liked them). The weather in Cairns is really humid when it's not raining and the city itself is a strange mish-mash of buildings that just don't look right. At the hostels evening BBQ, had some kangeroo and tried croc for the first time (not bad). There was an entertaining digeridoo competition afterwards.
Awoke about 04.30 as a roomy was getting up for a flight, but dozed until 06.45 when I got up for my dive trip. Decided I was experienced enough to go without a guide (saving $20) and went in a group of 3. The visibility was ok but not perfect and we saw some beautiful fish and coral on two different dive sites. I took my underwater camera down and snapped away like crazy (since got them developed and really shouldn't have bothered!). I've done better dives but at least I can say I have dived on the barrier reef which for a while didn't look too likely (some dive boats didn't go out today as the water was still very choppy). I paid $205 for the experience. I sat on deck most of the way back and despite the cloud, caught the sun on my face a bit. Got back, read and fell asleep for a few minutes by the hostels pool in their lovely tree filled garden. Back to the woolshed with another voucher, $7 for a not too bad rump steak and a beer of course.
Next day was the $120 Cape Tribulation rainforest, Daintree river and Mossman Gorge trip. A very pleasant way to spend my final day (I knew it wasn't going to be too energetic when the first pick up after me were Beryl, Betty and Maude! - and no I didn't pull!). The weather was good and not too hot. There was some lovely scenery although it feels like I've seen enough forest, rivers and beaches now. Robin, our guide, about a 60 year old man, was very nice and full of information. I got on well with a nice WPC from Essex with her four year old daughter Sophie. I swam with fish, turtles and an eel in the river (the eel scared me a bit but Robin said it was harmless). The boat trip along the Daintree looking for crocs looked like it would come to nothing until a small one was spotted and the cameras came out - after some zooming in, some trimming and enlarging it looked like a monster! Also got some nice shots of the gorge and some lizards. That evening back to the woolshed where I chatted to some old bird from Perth.
My flight from Cairns to Brisbane went without a hitch. I went to the Qantas desk hoping to get my final flight date confirmed without paying the $25 that the Qantas offices required - no problems - I am due home on Thurs 14th June at 07.30 so start preparing the banners and the feast of vindaloo and roast beef. I start back to work on the 18th.
My one night in Brisbane was at the Banana Bender Backpackers and I spent the afternoon in the Queensland museum. It was extremely hot with little breeze but at least Brisbane didn't have the humidity of Cairns.
So that was the end of Oz and I had a good time here. I intentionally made my stay here brief as I wanted to spend more time exploring New Zealand and also to try and spend less money. Now I wish I'd had a bit more time as I could have explored the northern territories with Rhys. Oh well, on to NZ....