Cairns, Australia 14.-23.6.2013

Days 1-3

Very early in the morning, we caught a shuttle to the airport and flew up to the tropical Cairns. It was a three-hour flight and I miraculously managed to sleep through most of it. When we arrived, we were greeted by beautiful scenery in the style of Hawaii, it was warm and sunny and we got really into it :). We caught a taxi ($26,90) to our hostel, Tropic Days, which was a lovely place and definitely the best hostel of the trip! We had a big room and the hostel had a tiny little pool as well.

This leg of the trip was dedicated to relaxing and not doing much, which is why I'll write about the days in bigger chunks. On the first day, we pretty much just got to know our surroundings, went to Subway and a grocery shop at a mall, spent some time by the pool...the usual. By this point, I was missing J so much that I had no idea what to do with myself. It was a very challenging trip at times!

On our second day, we walked downtown and spent some time at the Lagoon. To be honest, we had no idea that Cairns doesn't have a proper beach, and were somewhat disappointed. Still, the Lagoon was a nice place and Tia got to sunbathe (I burn so sunbathing isn't my favourite thing to do) :). In the evening, we had a party in our room with wine and music, it was definitely needed and we had fun :)!

The third day was spent relaxing by the pool - I was mostly reading, I guess. We had lunch at Cairns Central, then wandered around dead tired in some souvenir shops, had some macadamia nut ice cream and went back to the hostel.

The Lagoon.

The hostel pool.

The hostel.

Days 4-5

I started my day by getting some morning sushi - I wanted to have four pieces of sushi but instead managed to order four full rolls :D :D :D. Tia went to a sports shop and I spent that time by the pool, and when she got back, we walked downtown and caught the bus to Palm Cove to spend the day on an actual beach. They had all sorts of warning signs there - crocodiles, jellyfish...:D It wasn't funny at all actually, though, as I kept imagining a crocodile attacking me from anywhere, and when I went for a swim, I did it in a panicky way and stayed in the water for maybe one minute, heh. It was really nice to be on the beach! We stayed for a couple of hours, then got ice cream and caught the bus back to Cairns. The bus that goes to Palm Cove is 110 and a return ticket is $11,40.

In the evening, our hostel organised an Australian BBQ where you got to sample all sorts of Australian things such as kangaroo, emu, crocodile and barracuda. I didn't try the kangaroo, but the rest of it was good. I was into the crocodile the most, I would say...

For the next day, my notes say "nothing special, semmi különös" :D. Tia went for a run in the morning, I listened to Justin Timberlake's Mirrors on repeat. Then we spent four hours by the pool - I was studying Hungarian the whole time :). Then I went to get a Subway sandwich, spent time online in the room, listened to music...Missing J like mad, homesick etc.

Me with lots of sunscreen and a Subway sandwich.
Our hostel.

Day 6

This was the best day of the whole trip, and also my 31st birthday :). I started the day with a Skype session with J, which was the best possible way to start a birthday! I was in such a good mood afterwards! Then Tia and I were off to the Great Barrier Reef! We went with Great Adventures and if I remember right, the price was $225. The day started at 10:30 am and we were back at 5:30 pm. The waves were INSANE!!! We were holding on for dear life as the vessel was rocking from side to side and being hit by all sorts of waves. People were flying against the walls and some puked in the toilets, heh. Apparently the sea was rough because of the winter - who knew, since it seemed like a perfect summer to me :D. Anyway, on the way to the reef, we stopped at Green Island to drop some people off and get some more people on board.

We were so afraid of the waves that the staff on the vessel also noticed it and we got offered ice cubes (what are they supposed to be good for?) :D. Eventually we did make it to the reef, though, and the vessel attached itself to a pontoon. We got dressed up in lycra suits, fins and snorkles (had to pay $7 extra for that) and went into the water. It was scary, too!!! The water is shallow considering it's an ocean, but still, it's freakish to go into deep water like that and see all those fishes and things! The staff kept throwing shrimps into the water and this gigantic fish called Wally appeared out of nowhere - we weren't impressed as the fish was scary :D! Anyway, I managed to tell myself that it was okay to go into the water and so I did. We spent maybe an hour in the water. I kept thinking a shark would come out of nowhere and eat me and other random things like that, but you're probably very safe there as they have circled the safe area with ropes and you can stay close to the pontoon all the time if you like. In pictures, the reef is always really colourful but in real life, the water's not that clear and you don't really see the colours.

After the snorkling, we had lunch, which  was included in the price, and then went to an underwater observatory and on a semi-sub ride. It was exciting and cool!

On the way back, I wrote our names in the vessel guestbook and mentioned that it was my birthday. Pretty soon after that, some staff members came to us and sang a birthday song to me (with the name Jamie, heh) and we got some sparkling wine :D. An old man, who was a staff member, came to calm us down as the vessel was galloping on the water once again and people were flying here and there and everywhere, and he also offered us more wine as that helped :D. My head was spinning for days after the trip :D!

Once we got back to Cairns, we went to have pizza and some beer, and then returned to the hostel. It was a really nice day :D!

Days 7-10

Day 7 was another day of relaxation, meaning we didn't really do anything. We did the remaning shopping, had breakfast at a place called Tiny's, had some drinks, went back to the hostel, had sushi, and the hostel had a pizza night.

On day 8, we went to Kuranda, a tiny village in the rainforest, along the Kuranda Scenic Railway. It was a bit expensive - $74/return and was a little bit boring...We saw Baron Falls on the way, though, and the views were pretty.

Once we arrived, we went to Kuranda Koala Gardens as I wanted to hold a koala and knew that this was the place where you could do it. You had to pay an extra fee of $18 for it, though, which was sort of a lot of money as the entrance to the zoo was already $46. With that kind of ticket, you got to go to Bird World and Butterfly Sanctuary as well, but all of these places were really small so I felt like it was a bit of a rip-off. Anyway, holding a koala was so nice! Its butt smelled like hell :D! I tried to wash my hand dozens of times but the smell remained, heh. With its claws, the koala held on to me and it felt so cute :)! Also, in the bird place, I held a huge parrot, which was fun!

We then had lunch at a restaurant called Rainforest View, went to see some of the hippy stalls of Kuranda and did the Jungle Walk, the Jum Rum Walk and the River Walk. We caught the train back to Cairns together with three lovely grandmas from Sydney, they were really nice!

On day 9, we went to the Lagoon once more and spent four hours there. Then we had some dinner at Rattle & Hum, had some wine back at the hostel and went to bed. Day 10 was pretty much the same except that the weather was bad and I was missing J like mad AGAIN so I was ready for a change of scenery.

On the 24th of June, we flew back to Sydney and spent two nights at an airport hotel there. We wanted to be in Sydney one day before our flight to Singapore in case something went wrong - I wouldn't have wanted to miss an expensive flight like that. We stayed at Rydges, Tia was sick and we basically just watched TV and were waiting for the 26th so we could leave Australia. So, up next is the last leg of this trip!


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