Saturday, October 17, 2009

In The Middle of Our Overnight to Sydney

We are in the middle of our overnight bus trip to Sydney from Byron. We are in a town called grafton in the middle of the coast. We left Byron at 6:30pm and we are expected to arrive at the same time in the morning. It is 9:00pm right now and I am already ready for it to be over.

Leaving the beach today was the hardest thing we have had to do. We biked up to the lighthouse this morning and saw two pods of dolphins on our walk. It was beautiful! Yesterday we spent all day boggie boarding on the beach and working on our tans.

The Australian beach life has suited us well over the last two months and we will miss it so much! But for now it is back to the bus and our movie (a league of their own) before we attempt to get some sleep.

More from our final destination later!


Last Day in the North

We woke up this morning in Port Douglas and after a quick breakfast we hopped in the car to head back to cairns. The drive back was beautiful and the weather could not have been any better. We drove into the city and went straight to an outlet mall to shop for a while. After buying a few things we drove down to the shop to where David bought his digeridoo to pack up and ship the didge home. The box was big enough to fit a bunch of clothing in and the minimum weight we could pay for was 6kg so with stuffed the box with as much as we could. It was a good thing we got rid of as much as we could because there is no way we would be able to get everything home!

We went down to the lagoon for an afternoon swim and a nap on the grass and after a few hours we finally checked into the hostel. We unloaded the entire car into our room and spent the next hour trying to fit everything into the bags. We managed to fit everything into our day packs, our big packs, a postage box and a small duffle bag that a had to buy. Hopefully the airline let's us take it all on!

For now it's off to bed after watching flashforward (our favourite new show!) and then we are up for 4am... Yikes! Off to the airport for our flight to Brisbane and then our bus ride to Byron bay.

More later!


Longest travel day yet. Cairns to Byron bay


Today started with a 4 am wake up call. We returned the car, got into a cab and were off to the airport. One of our biggest concerns was luggage weight. We were allowed 46kg total and had 47kg. The 6am flight was fairly full and took 2 hours.


25C at 845 when we got into downtown Brisbane. We had 3 hours to kill until our bus left for Byron bay. We had found out that the Brisbane YHA hostel was close and we could leave our bags there for a couple of hours. We were told it was 500m away. We soon found out that 500m meant 1km mostly uphill with 47kg of bags. Long story short we wasted about an hour and got absoutely nothing done.

We just boarded the noon bus to Byron bay and the trip will take just over 4 hours. If we would have drove ourselves from the airport we could have been in Byron bay at about the time our bus left for brisbane.

Should be there soon but for now it's time for a nap.


Beautiful Byron Bay

Byron Bay is going into our top three places to visit in Australia and we knew it would. From the beginning of our trip and even before we left everyone has said that we would love it here. Byron is a super laid back town that was super quiet until surfers discovered that it had some amazing surf beaches. From that point on it has been a really popular spot.

The whole town has a very hippie vibe and it feels as though the entire place has been frozen in time in the sixties or seventies. Shops are filled with hemp clothing and organic foods and there are a ton if meal options for vegetarians (yay!).

David rented a surf board for two days and we have pretty much spent every waking moment on the beach. The beach is massive and gorgeous and the water is so clear. There is a beautiful lighthouse on the top of the hill overlooking the beach and we were told that it has a range if 42km.

Days are lazy here and it easy to get drawn into staying longer. We even cancelled one of our nights in the blue mountains so we can stay an extra night. I think if we had more time we would never leave. There are jobs for travellers everwhere and we are constantly bumping into people who came for a visit and just never left.

It is going to be hard to leave Byron and even harder to leave australia. We only have five more nights in this incredible country and we plan on making the most of them.

Home soon!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Port Douglas Brings out the City Kids in Us

We love port Douglas but we are finding that we are feeling a little too isolated. It is very far north in austalia and is known for being a small resort town with a upper end clientele. There is one main street here and it is packed with high end shops and resaurants. There are
Several large resorts but they are a little bit further out of town. We spent yesterday relaxing. After a short walk around town we decided to head down to the beach. We spent the afternoon sleeping in the sand and last night was spent playing monopoly and watching movies.

This morning we woke up a little bit tired from a restless sleep. We are the only two people in our four person dorm so we attempted to sleep in the bottom bunk together. Let's just say that it is way too small for two people. We hopped into the car and took off to cape tribulation. This was to be the most northern stop on our whole trip so we were excited. We knew not to expect many people up there because it was so remote. We had to drive up the "highway" to the daintree river where we drove onto an old school cable river ferry to take us accross the water. This is the only way to get further north. When we crossed the ferry the road became questionable but interesting. We made stops at cape tribulation beach, cow bay and a couple of lookouts before driving back down to the ferry to take it accross and drive back down to a town called mossman. We walked down to mossman gorge where we were rewarded by spectacular views and giant boulders the size of houses.

When we got back to port Douglas we had quick showers and went out for a date. We had dinner at a really nice Thai restaurant where we ate spicy curries and sweet pad Thais. After dinner we went to a bar called ironbar because we had heard that they had nightly cane toad racing. Not knowing what to expect and with me not whole heartedly supporting the idea, we paid our five dollar entry fee and prepared ourselves. It was basically a comedy show based around cane toad racing. This guy had racing toads and people were chosen out of the audience to "jockey" the toads. This meant that when he lifted the bucket off of the toads in the middle of the table they had to be the first to use a party blower ( you know, the ones you use at new years) to coax the toad off of the table and into their hand for the win. He did a couple of races and then we were able to hold the toads. It ended up being really funny and completely random.

We just picked up some ice cream cones and we are settling in for the night.

Back to cairns tomorrow!


Mission to Cairns on a Hot Day

The average temperature here has been about 34 degrees here lately and with the humidity it feels even worse. We have discovered that the best way to beat the heat is a lot of water, a body of water to swim in nearby and fifty cent mcdonalds ice creams.

We had our massive breakfast and hopped into the car for a short drive to cairns. Because we knew it would be a short drive we decided to take a couple of detours along the way.

The first was to paronella park which is a homestead and massive grounds built by a Spanish settler in the 1930's. It is a beautiful area and he chose to build there because of an amazing waterfall on the grounds. We took an hour long guided tour and then explored the park by ourselves for an hour, taking the time to feed the hundreds of fish and turtles on the grounds.

Our second stop was one of our favourite places in Australia. We stopped at a place called Josephine falls and did the kilometer walk to the bottom pool. We were well rewarded by one of the most beautiful fresh water swimming holes I have ever seen. The fall ran down in three steps and the bottom pool is calm with only one section of the rock containing a waterfall. We swan across the pool to the smooth rocks and after some effort to get up onto the rocks (they were very smooth and covered in algae) we were able to run around and explore. We walked up to the second pool and after watching somebody use the bottom section of waterfall as a slide, we were next in line! It was awesome! We were in the middle of the Australian rainforest watersliding on a waterfall! After a great hour of enjoying the water we got into the car to go the last little bit to cairns.

We drove through Edmonton! It was strange to drive through a city with the same name as our home town on the other side of the world. We drove into cairns and we were immediatly thrown off by how large it was. We haven't been in a large city in so long that it was strange to see so many people and tall buildings! We checked into our hostel and now we are planning to go for a walk.

Talk soon!


Lazy Days in Cairns

Cairns has been really relaxing and tons of fun. Our first full day we spent the morning laying by the lagoon enjoying the heat. You cannot swim in the water here because of stinger fears but that was not the only reason that we were not swimming in the ocean... That morning there had been a massive earthquake off of the vanuatu islands and they issued a tsunami warning. Luckily nothing came of it but we did watch the water very carefully.

By the time lunch rolled around it was way too hot to be outside. We packed up and had lunch at the hostel before walking down the esplanade.

That night Davis bought a digeridoo at a specialty shop and he took lessons! It was hilarious to see him playing this truely Australian instrument. Maybe if you ask him nicely when we get home he will put on a bit of a show!

Our second day in cairns we took the skyrail to a small mountain village called kuranda. The skyrail is a 7.5km gondola that takes you over the rainforest canopy and into the town. It was beautiful! We spent a lot oftime walking around the shops and markets in kuranda which is an old hippy town. We took the kuranda scenic railway back which is a train and rail line built in the 1800's. The trip back to the city took almost two hours and was absolutely beautiful.

That night we went out to a pub called the woolshed where we met a couple of guys from Edmonton! We always end up drawn to other canadians. We had a great late night but we knew we had to wake up early to drive to port Douglas so we packed up and went to bed.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Magnetic Island

We woke up really early and drove down to the ferry to make the eight kilometer trip over to magnetic island. The ferry was a really nice catamaran that was big enough to carry a lot of commuters back and forth between the mainland and the island.

We stayed in a hostel called bungalow bay in a settlement on the island called horseshoe bay. The hostel is attached to a koala sanctuary so the first thing we did was sign up for a tour. In the park we were guided through and taught about the animals. We were able to hold and take pictures with a giant parrot type bird, crocks, lizards, a snake and our favourite.... Barney the koala! He was so cute and sleepy and you hold him under his bum like a baby. At the end we were also introduced to a giant spider that made me freak out. I asked him where the spider came from and he said that it was found in a backyard on the island... Gross!

We slept in some pretty cool accommodations on the island. We had our own private a-frame cabin with a fridge and airconditioning. It was really nice and you felt like you were sleeping in the jungle. We actually had a gecko that became our flatmate and we named him phillip.

Our time on the island was spent bring lazy. We laid on the beach and fed possums at night. It is hard to get motivated to do anything on the island because everyone is so laid back.

We left the island after two nights relaxed and ready for the rest of our trip. We are off to the small town of mission beach for more relaxation time. Hopefully we won't have too much to blog about.


Mission Beach is Paradise

Plain and simple, this is one of our top three places in Australia. It is actually a series of small towns that join up to make up the area of mission beach.

Driving in we saw signs everywhere that kept telling us to beware of cassowaries. Unfortunately when you are a tourist you have no idea what the hell to look for. So David and I were looking out for some unknown danger and there it was... A massive prehastoric bird that can grow to over six feet tall and will slice you down the middle with the giant claw on it's front toe. So thaaats what a cassowary is. You all have to google it right after you finish reading this.

We arrived at our beautiful bed and breakfast and settled into our own private bungalow.

The couple, Steve and Sharon, run the B&B and they were awesome. They have a great property with three seperate guest bungalows an outdoor pool and a covered seating area where breakfast is served. One of our first questions was where we could do laundry in town. Sharon responded by saying, right here I will do it for you for $ 5.00 a load. Hard to pass that up so we practically emptied our bags into the basket and the next day we had all clean clothes.

Sharon and Steve take alot of pride it their guest houses. They were very clean and spacious. They had compiled a list of their top places to eat in town with their favorites at the front. They also had over 200 DVDs, over 10 board games and a nintendo for guest use. We were blown away with this place and then Sharon came to the door with afternoon tea and cake.

We were both looking forward to fresh hot breakfast and we were not disappointed. Cereal, pancakes, yogurt, juice, eggs with optional tomato and mushrooms, toast, and bacon. Quite a bit better than the yogurt and museli we have become used to every morning


Not much to say about townsville aside from the fact that it is a beautiful city on the beach. We stayed in a quiet bed and breakfast just outside of downtown and for the first time since Sydney we had our own television. Usually this would not have been a big deal but with the recent sunami in Samoa and the two big earthquakes in Sumatra we we happy to have access to the news.

For those of you who are curious, none of those events has effected us at all. The only thing that surprised us was that there was no sunami warning for mainland Australia.

We spent a lot of our time in Townsville shopping and walking around. There is no beach sqimming because of the marine stingers and on the beach there are vinegar aid stations every hundred meters. David and I found a store called barkins and we were immediatlu sucked in. The prices were very reasonable and the clothes were really nice and I think we came away with half the store.

We also went to the museum of tropical Queensland while we were in Townsville. They have featured exhibits on the Australian railway and the pandora shipwreck as well as natural creatures of Australia.

We really enjoyed our time but now we are off the magnetic island! The island is only eight kilometers off shore and is supposed to be one of the most incredible places in Australia.

Talk soon!