After the Whitsundays I ended up in Airlie Beach and instead of taking a greyhound bus up the coast I drove with Andy and Dean to Cairns. It was a pretty long drive but Andy drove most of the way and I was lazily sleeping as I am used to driving on the other side it was thought to be safest that way.
Cairns was a blast, touristy, lively and warm, filled with backpacker hoping to get a job in the sun. Tried out Giligans famous hostel which was decent but somewhat filthy and ended up staying at Nomads Serpent with several people I met earlier on during my trip. Mel came up from Sydney for a weekend and we went scuba diving and snorkling in the Great Barrier Reef. Managed to see both sharks and turtles and we got to plan our dives ourself.
I also managed to fit in some shopping and extreme white water rafting in the Tully river. Must say it was an adventure, me and 6 guys, the guide was a massive body builder bloke that talked to us like we were in the army. First time I fell in when the boat flipped I realized rafting in winter is maybe not so popular because of the water temperature. If I put it like this, I would have frozen my balls off if I had any. Getting into the raft again was also easier said than done and after a lot of screaming from my guide and I really tried all I could he pulled me up with one arm, laughing as he appologized for tossing me across the boat, I was lighter than he though so he almost threw me into the river on the other side of the raft.
We also cliff jumped, paddled under waterfalls which made me feel like a popsicle. Finally they let us be sucked down with the currents in the river, this was the most exhilarating thing we did durig the whole day. We paddled to shore and they told us to run and try and land in the middle of the river, the current would then suck you down. The only problem was that you might not have time to come up for air as you get sucked down about 4-5 times, our guide nicely put it like this; “so if you’re lucky you can get up inbetween every current and get a mouthfull of air, otherwise you’ll breathe when you finally pop up, oh and then swim all you can to the left shore as there is a waterfall coming quite soon after and you will probably die if you get suckd down there”.
It was more fun than I thought and the second time they dropped us down a small waterfall and you get sucked into a small underwater cave and pop up inbetween 5 to 15 seconds later a bit down the river. When the day was over I was bruised and exhausted, after paddling down the river for like 6 hours. At one part they told us we could not fall in as there were saltwater crockodiles that had been swimming around there even though it was a freshwater river.
Last night in Cairns I spent with Andy, Dean and Mel, we went on a pubcrawl and finished it off quite late. I barely woke up to catch my flight back to Sydney. The night before it had also been theState of Origin Rugby game with Queenslands vs NSW and I met the whole Queensland team at the airport. Massive guys, like american fooball players all of them, or small trucks one can say.
I ran back to my old apartment as soon as I arrived in Sydney and hung out with Rory and Owen, did some shopping and then took the bus out to Paramatta. I stayed with the guys in the dorms for 5 nights before leaving for LA. Leaving at 5 in the morning, in a rush not having time to say goodbye to everyone and not really wanting to leave, it was the worst thing I’d had to do in a long time.
After a 13 hours layover in Auckland I was finally on the plane to LA and customs took so long that I missed my bus to Shanes house and arrived there 6 hours later than planned thanks to LA rush hours traffick.
Australia was a amazing, I am going back as soon as I can, there is too much to see and do and there is nothing to compare it with.