My three days in Cairns were certainly action packed! Day one involved a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I’d already snorkelled on the Reef once before down at the Whitsundays, and on this trip there was almost no wind and as result the views in the water were incredible, it felt like you could see for miles. It was incredible just how close the fish would come up to you, it truly felt like being in an aquarium. Of course since it was Paddys Day a night out was in order!
The next day, very tired and slightly hungover I headed out to the Atherton Tablelands on a trip organised by Barefoot tours, the last inclusion in my Oz Experience package. The first stop on this trip was Devils Pools were a quick dip was in order to properly wake us up. The next stop was my favourite on the tour, Josephine Falls. Here were able to slide down a natural waterfall – which was a first for most of us on the tour. Following this we headed to Mila Mila Falls, were they film the Herbal Essensces adverts.
My final day in Cairns was spent up at Cape Tribualtaion and the Daintree were in true rainforest fashion it bucketed it down! Nevertheless we had a great day, travelling independently this time in a hire car through the rainforest and seeing our first Cassowary!
Following on from Magnetic Island I made a quick stopover in Misson Beach before heading up to Cairns the following day. The hostel I was staying at was located up amongst the trees in a beautiful location. Along with a couple of others staying at my hostel we headed out to Lacey Creek for a swim following a jungle walk. The river was beautifully refreshing following the hot walk. – and there were no crocs! Although my time in Mission Beach was short and sweet I can definitely recommend it as a place to stop and soak in the atmosphere!
Following a rainy few days in Airlie Beach, the sun was out as I sat foot on the British Defender, my boat for sailing the Whitsundays, and as the crew soon bragged, the only boat on the Whitsundays with air-con! I was lucky as both Holly and Lou from my Fraser Island trip were on my Whitsundays trip as well as most of the group was couples or groups of friends. Our first day was spent entirely on the boat as we put the sails up and headed out for our overnight stop. Apparently the British Defender is such a fast boat none of the others boats wanted to race us!
The second day started bright and early as we headed to Hill Inlet for our first glimpse of Whitehaven Beach, which truly is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. After this we headed down the beach and put our stinger suits aka ninja suits on and headed to explore the crystal clear waters surrounding the beach. That afternoon we headed out for our first snorkel session, although I’d done a little snorkelling in Thailand, this was just something else! Fishes and coral stretched as far as the eye could see and it was truly spectacular. That evening we stopped at a spit to watch the sunset, which in true Whitsundays was again spectacular.
The final day on he boat resulted in many tired eyes as we sailed back towards to Airlie Beach following one final snorkel. I spent the last day in Airlie Beach chilling out before heading out with the boat group for the famous Sunday session at a couple of the local bars.
I cannot recommend the British Defender enough as the boat to go and see the Whitsundays on. The crew Liam, Josh, Vince and Duncan were all the great and the food was top notch.
An early start and a slightly hungover Sophie boarded the Greyhound to Brisbane bright and early in the morning! On arriving into Brisbane I was greeted by Rhiannon, a Southeast Asia travel buddy for a catch up! After dumping my bags in the hostel we wandered down to the Southbank, where there are free pools for swimming amongst other things. At one point we were mistaken for students at the university of technology – probably not best to tell them we were English students! Later on in the afternoon, I meet up once again with Rebecca and we took the free ferry along the city, before hanging out once more in Southbank.
Day two in Brisbane, and I meet up with Elspeth, an old school friend from the STAGS days for brunch, as she is living in Brisbane currently. That afternoon, I headed up to the Mount Coot-tha for outstanding views of the city.
My final morning in Brisbane, was spent at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where I managed to get my photo taken with and cuddle a Koala as well as selfie with many wallabies and emus. The sanctuary provided a great opportunity to get up close with many native Australian animals.
That afternoon, I caught the train out of Brisbane to Mooloolabah to spend some relaxing time a family friend in their home.
Hello from the other side – and by that I mean Bangkok! After what felt like the longest plane ride of my life I landed in Bangkok on Wednesday evening and despite a speedy change in Dubai my bag made it too!
After a quiet first night, it was time to explore. Day 1 consisted of visits to the Grand Palace and Wat Pao with of the girls from my room in the hostel. Both sites were very interesting and unlike anything I have ever seen before. The Grand Palace seemed never ending, around each corner there was something new to see. Similarly, I had thought the Wat Pao was going to be just the reclining Buddha, but it was much more than that.
Following a rather late lunch, a long stroll and my first Tuk Tuk ride, I arrived back in the hostel and got ready for a night out on Khao San Road with a group of others from the hostel. Several cocktail buckets later we were dancing away in a club and before we knew it, it was 4am! After being told off by an Irish man for eating McDonalds in Thailand and lots of battering with the taxi drivers, we all finally made it back to the hostel in one piece.
This morning has been a quieter one – street food for breakfast followed by a wander around the local area. A trip to a local market awaits this afternoon. Stay tuned for more updates!