3rd May – 10th May
I cannot believe I left the UK over a week ago and have been on my solo adventure since I waved goodbye to my Wilkins gang at security.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that I’M IN AUSTRALIA!! I keep having moments where I’m like ‘oh god, I’m in Australia’ it’s definitely taken a while to sink in that I’m here.
The 24 hour Journey
So my first flight took me from London to Manila which was good, I got chatting to a Chinese girl and a guy who was moving to NZ. The 14 hour flight was good, slept for ages but the food was ermmmmm interesting… battered cod in a tomato sauce? Manila airport was crazy hot, I didn’t realise that it would be so warm, but I made a friend from London and we passed the 5 hour wait by chatting away! Next stop was Manila to Cairns. Only 6 hours but I struggled to sleep! Made friends with another guy going to New Zealand and we chatted almost the whole way, fortunately the food was SO much better on this flight. I eventually arrived in Cairns at 7am on the Friday after leaving the UK on the Wednesday. I was shattered. But was SO pleased to see that my backpack had made it safe and sound. Getting to Cairns airport I was abit nervous, I had visions of being really interrogated as I had a one year visa and you see all of the TV shows but it was absolutely fine and the easiest border entry ever. After a little mix up with the shuttle bus (I waited in the wrong place!) we arrived at my first hostel: Gilligans in the centre of Cairns.
Me and my new pal Emily checked our bags in to the hostel as we had got there so early and popped out for some breakfast and a little wander around Cairns to see the lagoon and the esplanade, exhausted from our journey we slept as soon as we checked in (not a good idea I know!) and woke up at 8:30pm so what better thing to do than go to the bar have some £2 pasta and have a night out!
The hostel was also one of the biggest clubs and we were lured into staying for some more drinks by some topless men serving free champagne for ladies (it was a tough call!).
I spent the day after getting over my jet lag by the lagoon listening to live music with a Au pair from Germany! The next couple of days in Cairns it RAINED which lead me to feeling so crazy homesick and wanting to come home as I had nothing to do… (thanks for the cheer up dominoes Pawel!) but I did go to the cinema and McDonald’s!
Needless to say, that feeling passed when I went to the incredible Great Barrier Reef on Monday, I’d been waiting so long to go to the GBR and the time was finally here, I went out on the Down Under Dive and Cruise which was incredible (I’ll be writing more about this experience soon)
I felt so comfortable being in the water and exploring all of the beautiful coral and both Saxon & Hastings Reef, there was so much to see and I even saw 3 Reef sharks! I thought I’d be terrified and swim back to the boat but I actually just snorkelled and watched them for ages which was such a good experience, I saw clownfish and lots of other beautiful fishies! The whole day was such a good experience and I had the best time!
I booked on to a tour to go and see the oldest rainforest in the world! It’s in David Attenboroughs list of favourite places and who better to trust right? I had an awesome day visiting Mossman Gorge, doing a smoke ceremony where the aboriginal people performed it to get rid of any negative energy (bye bye homesickness), I saw a Huntsman spider just chilling which was interesting!
We had an awesome wander around the Daintree Rainforest and learnt so much about all the different plants and trees and the history of the mangroves! We went on a wildlife cruise down the Daintree River and saw 4 crocs!!! I was soooo happy I saw some in the wild, they were bloody massive but so cool, we saw a 1 year old that couldn’t have been more than 30cm long it was so tiny.
Our tour guide jack gave us some great advice that you will only get eaten by a croc if you are stupid – aka jumping into a river at night, ignoring signs and swimming not in the nets! We had lunch on cape Tribulation beach which was amazing, I gave kangaroo burger a go and I have to say it was good! It was like a dry beef burger but I’m glad I tried it, and on the beach sounded like the best idea. Cape Tribulation was gorrrrrrrgeous and I wish I stayed a night in the little huts there (with all the spiders!). I met some lovely other travellers on this trip which gave me faith I’d meet some other people that were like me!
1 hour above Cairns is the beautiful seaside Port Douglas, historically a place for honeymooners and luxury holidayers but they realised they were missing a trick and added a load of hostels! There’s no public transport there so I used the cape tribulation trip to drop me off at Port Douglas Backpackers! I arrived and found I had a whole 6 bed to myself, I wanted to make friends! But I explored around the area and couldn’t believe all of the lorikeets that were flying between the palm trees, I checked out the sunset and took some lush pictures. The hostel did cheap drinks and a free BBQ so I was sold!! I had that and then chilled in the movie area and watched some Owen Wilson film with a group of girls.
The next day I had such a nice chill day, I got my bikini on (and my suncream don’t panic!!) and grabbed myself a picnic from coles and went to the beautiful 4 mile beach where I chilled allll day, it was a beautiful day and I read my book, explored and chilled!
In Port Douglas there are nets in the sea to keep you safe from the SALTWATER CROCODILES – wth, there were so many horrific stories of people paddling at night and getting eaten by crocs so safe to say I avoided the sea. The local yacht club in Port Douglas do free sunset sailing cruises so I thought why not! There was a Canadian/oz couple that had arrived in my room so we all went together to the yacht club, you basically had to buy a drink and then the crew would ‘select’ people to come on the yacht, bit strange but we were chosen so we were happy! As the young uns on board we had to sit at the front…… it was a gorgeous boat but bloody hell it was so choppy and all of the waves came right over us and we were holding on for dear life so that we wouldn’t fall in and get eaten by a croc/shark. Where my leg was pressed against the side I got soooooo bruised! We had such a hilarious time though and the fact it was all free it was such an awesome experience!
Afterwards we all had dinner together (about 15 of us) including the crew and passengers, it was a mixture of holidayers, locals, us and Ken the skipper and his family. So it was really cool to speak to a wide range of people and get tips and hear about their life and travel experiences. One thing that made me laugh was:
Local: You know what the most dangerous thing in northern tropical Queensland is right?
Us: Crocs, sharks, stingers?
Local: Coconuts! The amount of people that sit under a palm tree and get knocked out or killed by a coconut is crazy!
So that is week one done!!! It’s been a rollercoaster BUT it has been amazing, and I can’t believe I swam with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, went to the oldest rainforest in the world and most importantly, I survived a week by myself on the other side of the world!
Things I’ve learnt this week:
- Crocodiles only eat stupid people
- Food is expensive to eat out
- Choose the bottom bunk!
- Party hostels are fab when you have friends
- I didn’t need my cream playsuit
- Everyone in Australia is nice (so far)
- There are so many travellers
- I’m not as cold as I thought and missed my friends and family sooooooo much
- I’m capable of surviving by myself!
All in all…. I’m SO glad I came to Australia and I’m so excited of what’s to come! I’ll be posting blogs about each week aswell as posts on beautiful places and tours! Wifi here is temperamental so we might be a little out of sync!