Saturday, July 30, 2005

Day 12 - Magnetic Island
I'm in heaven here, I spent the whole day on 3 different beaches today. I hired a snorkelling set from the hostel and caught the bus to Arthur Bay. The reef is supposed to be good there, but it was a bit overcast and windy, so I didn't bother. After an hour or so I decided to set off to the next beach, Florence Bay, the sun had come out again, so I went in the sea, it was pretty cold. I managed to swim out a bit, but it was quite windy and the visability was poor so I didn't see much, I must admit I was a bit worried about sharks and jellyfish too, so I got out after about 10 mins! I got chatting to a couple of English lads, they were laughing at me cos I was screaming when I swam through the seaweed!! they said they were going back to Horseshoe Bay and did I want a lift, so I went back with them. Just spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the beach, it was a bit more sheltered there, so we didn't get so much wind, my tan is coming on now!!! We're meeting up in a bit and going to the pub on the beachfront. I would totally recommend Magnetic Island, it's really unspoilt and not full of tourists, the beaches are like a tropical paradise, absolutely stunning. I wish I could put my photos up.
Unfortunately it's my last day here today, I'm leaving tomorrow, next stop Airlie Beach and then sailing around the Whitsundays, what a life huh!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Billabong Sanctuary - Confronting my fears!
Well, what a day yesterday was! I had a really good time at the Billabong Sanctuary, and I really suprised myself to say the least (read on!)
The place was really nice, as soon as you walk in you see it's all based around a big billabong, there are ducks all over the place and kangaroos just walking, sorry bouncing around. I fed the kangaroos, they are so cute, they all come up to you sniffing for food.
First stop was the wombat show, they brought Willemena out, she was really cute running around sniffing everybody. They gave us a talk about the wombats their closest relative is the koala believe it or not. Then it was time to get our pics taken with her, I put her on my knees and gave her a big cuddle, she was really heavy I tell you, I think her weight was about half of mine, she was huge...cute tho!!
Next we walked around to the koala show, again they gave us a talk about the koalas, I learnt lots of interesting facts, then we were allowed to have our photos taken with Henry. To be honest I was really looking forward to this most of all, it was ok, but he kept digging his really sharp claws into my neck....and he smelt a bit too, but apart from that it was pretty cool.
Next stop was the birds, I didn't hold one of those though...not after what happened in Cairns! Then out came a small crocodile, I was a bit dubious about touching him (Humphrey) but I thought I'd give it a go, next thing I knew I was holding him!! It was a very strange feeling, he was very cold and I could feel it's heart beating, it was quite interesting. Then they brought out a blue tongue lizard, the skin on him looked like a snakes, so I wasn't keen on touching it, as I have a real phobia about snakes, anyway, again I plucked up the courage and after about 10 minutes I had a quick touch, then I found I was holding him aargh, that was a bit freaky! Then they brought out the snakes, and I thought there's no way I'm going anywhere near one of those and sat as far away as possible. I learnt a lot of stuff about them as well, including what to do if you get bitten by one, it really was very interesting. They started bringing the snakes around so I was a bit freaked out, when it got closer I thought, Vikki you have to do this, if you're not going to do bungy jumping, you have to do this, it'll be your challenge, so I touched it (very briefly)!!!. After he had done the talk about the snakes, they went off and people were having their pictures taken with them around their necks, I decided to go and watch the eels and the turtles being fed. After a while, I'd decided that touching the snake wasn't enough and I wanted to try and confront my fear, so I bravely walked over and asked the guy if I could just hold it (Amanda the carpet python), so I started off with her tail in my left hand, then he put her head in my right hand....and then again before I knew it, the thing was around my neck!!!!! ohmigod, I can't believe I did it, how strange it felt. After I gave it back I was on such a high, I kept showing everyone the photo as I was so proud! I'm still pretty shocked by it all, but I'm really amazed at myself. I have got loads of photos, but unfortunatly I can't put them online here, so you'll have to wait (I guess you'll need proof that I did actually do all this!!)
After that, I got dropped off at the beach and had a walk, the beachfront was actually longer than I thought, so I took a pretty long walk, the sea looked absolutely gorgeous.
Today I checked out and came over to Magnetic Island. It is so beautiful here, on the ferry ride over I was in awe, and when I actually got here I was even more so. The hostel here at Horseshoe bay is lovely, I'm staying in a little hut, it's all just been renovated, so it's really clean. I went to the beach and spent the afternoon there just lying in the sun, the beach is one of the best I've ever seen, and it's so quiet and peaceful, I love it. It was really hot too, who'd have thought it is still winter here, I dread to think what the summer is like! After a lazy afternoon, I came back and had a shower then went back to the beach to see the sunset which was beautiful. Tonight I met up with a couple from England who I'd met up at Cape Tribulation, we've had a really nice night, the bar is packed and they have brought in a guy who had got everyone up playing drums, shakers, tambourines etc etc, it's so much fun. I had to break away and update this quickly, cos I don't want to get behind! Having a fab time here, I really love it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Townsville - Day 10
I had another fantastic day today, I was picked up at 8.15 for my outback farm adventure. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. There was only 3 of us going today, so we were quite pleased about that. The other 2 were Dutch girls, Judith and Marenska . When we first arrived at the farm in Woodstock we had Damper which is like a scone and some Billy tea, very enjoyable. The farm was perfect, it was so peaceful out there. After that we had to get the horses ready for our cattle mustering. I was a little nervous, but not as bad as the time in Hunter Valley. My horse was called Simply Grand, he is an ex-racehorse (so I found out later!) he was as good as gold. We started off walking through the paddocks, they have 90 acres there so there was a lot to walk through to look for cattle, it was a blissful day, the sun was out, it was so relaxing and I felt pretty confident more or less straight away. Marenska was a very experienced rider, she has been riding for years, Judith was a bit nervous like me. We finally found some cattle, so we rounded them up, then we carried on to look for the rest, they've got over 100 cows. I did my first trot on a horse which was really cool although a little painful and it took my breath away! Eventually we found a big herd of cattle, so we had to round those up (approx 80 altogether) and move them back to the paddock, I tell you it was so cool, I couldn't believe I was actually doing this, what an experience. Going up and down the small valleys and potholes in the ground was a bit scary, but I really enjoyed it. When we finally got them back, it was time for lunch, lovely baked potatoes and meat cooked on the fire, followed by fresh fruit, we were all starving, the ride had really built up our appetites. After we had eaten, by which time we were all pretty tired, it was time to learn how to crack a whip, it looked really easy, but was not at all, we all were determined to do it....I managed to make it crack a few times. Next it was cattle branding time....we were supposed to be doing sheep shearing, but unfortunately his machine had broken. I was a bit dubious about doing the branding, but it's not just done for the tourists, it's actually law. We had to walk into the field of cattle and muster them through into the next paddock, and keep doing that until we had them all in there apart from the calves. That was quite scary cos some of them were getting a bit excited...also I didn't fancy being in there with the bull!! Anyway, we got them through in the end, which just left the calves. Peter had talked us through what they actually do to them, they have to brand them, then cut chunks out of their ears and put in tags, and cut their horns off, and if they are male, then they have to castrate them (which involves using a scalpel) so I was quite relieved that the calves we caught were female! The bit that followed disturbed me a bit, I know they have to do this, but it wasn't very nice to watch. Peter caught one of them in a vice like machine, then gets down to business....the girls did a brand each, I couldn't do it though....the noise the calf made was horrendous and it really smelt. Then Peter cut it's ears, then cut the horns off, I'd stopped watching by now, but I did see the blood literally spurting out of its head....urrghh, poor thing, I nearly cried! Anyway, after that was done, she was let go (with blood all over her) and we had to get the cattle back into the big paddock again. We had a beer and a chat by the fire, then it was time to leave. It was such a great experience today, I'm so glad I did it, it was so much fun and Peter and his wife Fran were marvellous, I'd definitely recommend it, although I'm really sore and can hardly sit down!!
Off to the Billabong Sanctuary tomorrow
Me and Simply Grand
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Mustering the cattle
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Cracking the whip
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Branding the calf
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Townsville - Day 9
I arrived safely in Townsville this afternoon, I couldn't keep my eyes open on the bus again, I don't know what's the matter with me! The guest house where I'm staying is really nice, it's very clean and the facilities are very good. I had a lovely afternoon, I walked up Castle Hill which is a fair way up, I think it's 2km long, I was out of breath before I'd even reached the start! It took me about 30-45 mins, at first when I saw the signs I was a bit worried as they had pictures of a man with a hiking stick, but I thought I'd try it out was well worth the hike, the views were fantastic, I actually felt really overwhelmed by it, I get these moments every now and then where I can't believe that I'm actually here. To make it even better the day has been gorgeous. I stayed up the top for a while, there were lots of different lookouts to go to. The descent was a bit precarious, my legs were wobbling like anything, it wasn't a very easy walk down I tell you, I even had to run a bit at the bottom cos my legs were shaking so much, I must have looked a bit weird!
After that I took a walk down to the esplanade by the beach, they'd refurbished it (if that's the right word) recently, they spent something like $8 million. It was only a short beach, so that didn't take long, I then walked past all the restaurants by the river and to the shops, I had to buy myself some decent food to eat, I haven't eaten a vegetable in ages, I've been living on crumpets. So I bought myself some fruit and and a salad. I had the best meal I've cooked for ages, baked potato and salad...yummy!!
I've got a busy week coming up, I've booked to go on a cattle muster on an Outback farm for the day tomorrow...yee haa! then the next day it's a trip to the Billabong Sanctuary where I can cuddle a koala, then on Friday I'm going to Magnetic Island for a couple of nights. I've decided I really like Townsville!!
Me at the top of Castle Hill
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More views
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View from below
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And before I forget, I saw this statue of a cassowary this morning, obviously they are not quite this big in real life
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Monday, July 25, 2005

Yesterday it was still raining, I just went into town in the day to make sure I knew where the bus stop was. I also did a bit of shopping....I bought some sunscreen and another bikini...yes, I'm being positive about the weather! I bumped into James on my way back to the hostel, he'd just arrived from Cape Tribulation. Last night I went out with Rachel and her friend Barbara from her diving trip. They had lots of vouchers for free food and drinks, so we had a bit of a pub crawl. Halfway through the night, I had a phone call from my brother, which was a lovely suprise. We had a really good night, we met lots of people and had a boogie. I met a German guy so I was practising my German, I tell you, it's so much better when I've had a few drinks (well it's probably not better, but I'm more confident!) I actually had quite a good time speaking it!! Our free backpacker meal from earlier hadn't really filled us up, so we ended up getting a kebab at 3 in the morning! I felt sorry for Rachel, she had to be out the door at 5am to get to the airport for her flight to Thailand...I felt bad enough after having only 3 hours sleep!
The sun has been shining today, yaay! I arrived at Mission Beach at 11am, was only a 2 hour bus ride, I couldn't keep my eyes open for most of it! The bus was actually ok, I'd heard a lot of bad stories about them, like they smelt of sick and alcohol, but it turned out to be quite pleasant, I bet going at night might be a different matter though. I am staying at the Mission Beach Resort tonight, it's very nice, it's a big 4 star complex with budget rooms, ours has a TV and a stereo....what luxury! Tonight they are having a Christmas celebration, they do this in lots of places in Australia on the 25th July when it's not as hot. It's an all you can eat buffet, I'm not sure whether I will go, it's a little pricey and I should be saving, so I'll see.
There is not so much to do here, I've been sat on the beach this afternoon, it was lovely. I saw lots of people with parachutes landing on the beach. I didn't really fancy venturing out too much today, I'm scared that I'm going to bump into a Cassowary. They are huge flightless birds (I think as big as an emu) they live in this area. Apparently they are really dangerous and can cause lots of damage by kicking you with their powerful legs. I heard a story that 2 guys hired a car and had just parked in a supermarket car park, the cassowary came along and saw it's reflection in the car window, thought it was a predator and kicked in the car door....scary stuff! I was a bit wary sat on the beach earlier, I'm so paranoid about seeing these dangerous animals, every noise in the trees makes me jump, I kept expecting a croc to come out of the sea and gobble me up, why are there so many scary animals here??!! I'm a nervous wreck! Oh well, I'm leaving stop Townsville. This is so cool being able to hop on and off the bus when I like, and I'm not even nervous about it anymore!
See below for some pics.......
I've finally managed to get some photos online......

The Esplanade in Cairns
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The Scenic Railway to Kuranda
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View of the rainforest from the Skyrail on the way back
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After my dip in Millaa Millaa Falls
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Dancing and singing on the bus back from the Atherton Tablelands
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Croc on the Daintree River Cruise
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The beach at Cape Tribulation
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Some of the fruits we tried at the Tropical fruit tasting
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Port Douglas
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Last night out in Cairns
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Mission Beach
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Sunday, July 24, 2005

The bus finally arrived on Friday afternoon to pick us up from Cape Tribulation....I must admit I was quite relieved, we'd just been sat in the bar playing cards for ages! On the way back we stopped off at the Alexandra Range lookout and at Mossman Gorge, the scenery was stunning. I arrived in Port Douglas about 5ish, I was really pleased with the hostel I chose, it was like being back in civilisation again. So far the YHA hostels have been very good....but I have found out that not all hostel rooms are same sex which has taken a bit of getting used to! I got chatting with James, from Sheffield, we were talking about where we've been on our travels, turns out he's doing roughly the same route as me. Once I'd settled into my room I had a quick look at the beach and the marina before it got dark and then went back to the hostel. I bumped into a couple of German girls who I'd met in the hostel in Cairns...everyone was saying that you always meet up with the same people along the way. I met James and a couple of others in the Bistro (yes, a youth hostel with a bistro!) The food looked fantastic and were very large portions, I went for the Barramundi (fish) and chips. It only cost me $8 as I had 30% off tasted absolutely gorgeous, but I couldn't manage all of it, there must have been at least 10 potatoes worth of chips there! I had got in touch with Al earlier and she said they would be going out later on so I could meet them out, but I was so tired and the hostel was a fair walk away from town, I had to say I'd meet up with them the next day. It turned out to be a really relaxing, chilled evening, I met a couple of Americans too, so we were all sharing our travelling stories. The bar shut pretty early, so we went to the TV room for a bit, I couldn't keep my eyes open much longer, so had to go to week has been so tiring!
I checked out yesterday morning and took a walk into town to meet Al and Hayley, it's been funny seeing them in Sydney, Cairns and Port Douglas. I really loved Port Douglas, it's a very exclusive place to live, the houses are gorgeous and the town is really pretty. We took a walk to the beach....yes, the sun finally came out ;o) We even sunbathed for a while, well until the clouds came back and it started to get a bit chilly. We walked back into town again and had some lunch. I felt quite sorry for them, they'd come here for a holiday in the sun and it hasn't really stopped raining (I feel sorry for me too!!). After lunch we said goodbye...again...they were to fly down to Brisbane to see Al's brother and I had to get the bus back to Cairns. I may meet them in Brisbane, it just depends how my itinerary is working many places to see!! I've been trying to decide how much longer to stay in Cairns as I really want to see the reef up here, it's supposed to be the best place to go from, but I spoke to the tourist places yesterday and they say the weather won't really have fully calmed down until Weds or Thurs and I haven't enough time to stay here until then, so I decided to book my bus to go down to Mission Beach tomorrow....I really hope it's sunny there, but I don't think it will be, apparently this is not normal weather for this time of year :-( Anyway, I'm still going to go snorkelling at the Barrier reef, but it will just be further down the coast, I'm sure it'll still be amazing.
I arrived back in Cairns and got settled into my new hostel, I'm sharing with a guy that looks like the lead singer from the Prodigy....a bit scary!! actually, he's not really, he's only a young (smelly) lad, yes the room stinks.. yuk! But I've only got one more night here, it's not so bad....actually there is an adjoining room where Rachel, who I met in Cape Tribulation is staying. I was supposed to be going out last night with the girls from Cape Trib, but I was still really tired so just stuck around here, I made myself the worst meal ever, my jacket potato didn't cook properly so I ended up having half cooked crumpets....I gave up after that and got myself a carafe of wine (I got given lots of vouchers when I checked in) and sat in the bar for a bit, and lo and behold it started throwing it down with rain again!!! and it's still raining this really Australia?...I don't think I'm in the right country, I want my money back!! just kidding!

Friday, July 22, 2005

I had the most fantastic day on Wednesday, I haven't laughed so much in ages! It was another early start, the bus picked me up at 7.30, unfortunately it was tipping it down with rain, typical! As soon as everyone got on the bus, Nathan (our guide) introduced everyone and then we were on our way. Basically this trip was like going back to your childhood, it was sooo funny. The tour is called Uncle Brian's Forest, falls and fun, all the people that work there are members of the family, even Gus the minibus is treated like a human, Nathan was telling us stories about how Gus fancies Vanessa the ambulance, but he already had a girlfriend, the I said it was really silly!
We went through a town called Babinda which is really sleepy, we had to wave at everyone on the streets and the builders on the side of the road, not that there was hardly anyone, and Nathan would beep the horn..... they do it every day, so the people that live there must be used to it. On the drive there we drove past loads of sugar cane fields, banana and mango trees. Babinda has a sugar mill which provides 80% of the sugar to Tate and Lyle in England. We stopped off and had a walk through the the rain of course, we were all absolutely drenched, we were supposed to be going bum rafting down the rock slides, but the water was too deep and the current really strong, so we couldn't do that. We went back to the bus and had morning tea, it was good to get out of the rain. Our next stop was Josephine Falls, it was really beautiful there, we were supposed to swim there too, but again the water was too high. We did have a bit of fun trying to get the leeches off our feet, they were everywhere....I was suprisingly calm when I had one on me!
On the drive to 'Mr and Mrs Lunch' Nathan decided he wanted us to get to know each other better, so we all had to put a matchstick in our mouths and pass a ring to the matchstick of the person sitting next to you. When it came to my turn I couldn't stop laughing, the concentration on the guys face was hilarious.....I was literally crying with laughter, I did get there in the end tho!
We had a great lunch there and got to know each other a bit more, most of the group were really good fun, apart from one lady who just wouldn't join in, I don't know what possessed her to come on a tour like that!
After lunch we drove to Millaa Millaa Falls, Nathan was telling us that this is one of the most beautiful places he'd ever been to. Apparently if you go there in the morning and the sun is shining, the water looks like lots of diamonds falling out of the sky, he told us that he took his girlfriend there and proposed, which made all of us girls got all gooey! Then we had to get out of the bus, and without looking at the waterfall, he lined us up to face it, then when everyone was ready he told us to stare at the same spot for 30 seconds, then he said we were to look at the top of the fall....this was so cool cos the greenery around it all moved up and down like we were all should have heard us all gasp when we saw it.
There is another story to this waterfall....about 10 or more years ago there was an advert for Timotei shampoo where a girl with gorgeous blonde hair washes her hair in the water and then flicks her wet hair turns out that this is the waterfall where they filmed it. Nathan showed us photos of girls on previous trips that had had their picture taken whilst flicking their hair back, so of course all us girls were dying to get our photos done, even if it did mean going swimming in the rain....there was only one condition, Nathan would only take our photo if we all jumped in and swam right over to the waterfall and behind it, and then swim back under it. I don't think I've ever been so cold in my life, I literally couldn't breathe when I was swimming, but I got there in the end....we all had to rest behind the fall on the rocks to recover. It was an amazing experience going behind the water and swimming under it, you couldn't see hardly anything, it was such a buzz. When we got back to the shallows, then Nathan took our pics, I was absolutely freezing and had to do 2 takes, but we got it in the end....really cool, not quite like the Timotei girl tho!!
After that we drove to Eacham lake and had another dip and some afternoon tea....I tell you, they really fed us well. We were supposed to go and spot a platypus, but Nathan reckoned the weather would make it too hard to spot them, so we decided to look at the turtles and then go and do a bit of wine tasting, which was fun.
On the drive back, we had a sing song and we had to do hand movements one point there was a school bus behind us, they must have thought we were lunatics!
We got back to the city and arranged to meet up for a drink later, so I got all my stuff packed and went out to join them later at PJs, then onto the Woolshed, it was just like going to a bar in Spain, it was full of Brits, and there was all these tacky promotional shows, like Wet T-shirt comps and pole dancing....I've still got a massive stamp on my hand "WOOLSHED WET-T-SHIRT" I can't get the thing of, very embarrassing, it looks like I've been doing competitions!! I managed to get back to the hostel at a reasonableish hour, as I knew I had to get up early again.
So yesterday, I was picked up for my trip to Cape Tribulation, which is 2 hours north of Cairns. We stopped at the Daintree river and did a boat trip along there, I saw my first wild crocodile, the guide said it was 4 metres long, we didn't think it looked very real, it didn't do much! We saw a couple of tree snakes and an amethyst python. After that was another rainforest tour (my last I hope, I think I've seen enough now!) then they dropped us off at the hostel. The weather is so bad, it hasn't stopped raining and I haven't seen the sun, I'm starting to get a bit fed up by it now. There is so much to do here if the weather is good, but all the boat trips have been cancelled. This is such a beautiful place, it's a real shame, the rainforest actually meets the beach, it's amazing. It's called Cape Tribulation, because it's where Captain Cook's trials and tribulations started, his boat got stuck on the reef for weeks. It's really cool listening to all the stories of how and why he named these places. In the end yesterday afternoon I went to a tropical fruit tasting, it was really interesting, we had 10 different fruits to try, Rollinia, Breadfruit (which was served warm, and funnily enough tasted of bread!), Soursop was another one....I only actually liked 2 of them, but it was worth going.
Last night there was a DJ here, I met a few Irish and Scottish girls, so we had a laugh and a few drinks. I slept pretty well, but the rain woke me a few times, it was so bad. I'm really tired though, I haven't had a lie in for ages, all this touring is knackering me out! I'm waiting to go to Port Douglas now, there is nothing to do while we wait for our bus cos of the rain. I'm hoping Al and Hayley will still be there...I haven't been able to contact them as I have no mobile reception. It's really funny here, there is no electric, I think the hostel is run on a generator, there are no doctors, hostitals, phones for the people that live here, and the water is pumped out of the ground!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm in Cape Tribulation now....I'm working on my blog, but I've got a lot to write, so will have to post it when I can. Having a brilliant time ;o)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I slept pretty well last night..considering, there was quite a lot of noise about and I was on the top bunk so was a bit worried that I'd fall out, luckily this morning one of the girls left, so I took her bed! Was up at 7am as I had to be at the train station to meet Al and Hayley. We had a really lovely day, we caught the scenic railway to Kuranda (I've put another link on the right), it was a really leisurely ride through the rain forest with some spectacular scenery, it took about 1.5 hours to get there, it was well worth the ride. When we got to Kuranda we had a look around the village, there are lots of lovely shops there selling all sorts of things. We learnt quite a lot in our time there, we learnt that playing the didgeridoo can help asthma as it expands your lung capacity, and also it's really good for stress...and for your stomach muscles! I even had a go playing one.... it sounded more like a foghorn when I played it!! We learnt about emu's, apparently when they kill them for meat, they take all the oil off their feathers on their backs, it's omega oil like you get from fish, but it's supposed to be a lot better for you.
After we'd had a look round the shops and eaten some lunch, we had a stop at the 'German Tucker' cafe for old times sake and a Radler (that's Shandy to the English!) and then a walk along the river. Then it was time to get the Skyrail (gondola) back again. That was a pretty amazing experience, all together it's a 45 minute ride above the rainforest canopy with 2 stops on the way where you can get out and have a walk and take some pictures. I must admit I was a bit scared on some of the way as it was so high up and it stopped a few times, but on the whole it was definitely worth it. We were pretty disapointed with the weather today, it was really overcast and rained a few times, it's not supposed to be like that here!! After that it was a short bus ride back into Cairns where Alison and Hayley went to pick up their hire car, I didn't realise they weren't staying in Cairns tonight, but they were going to Port Douglas. It was great having the day with them and I must admit I was a bit sad to see them go as I'm back on my own again, but I'll be in Port Douglas on Friday night, so we're hopefully going to be able to meet up then.
That's about it for today, have another early start tomorrow to go to the Atherton Tablelands.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Well, I'm finally here!! After a hectic day yesterday, I managed to get my rucksack packed, which wasn't very easy with a fuzzy head. I was in bed by 10pm as I was so tired. Grant kindly offered to take me to the airport this morning, which meant I could get up at 5am instead of 4. The flight was pretty uneventful, I must admit I was a bit scared this time, I think my last flight shook me up a bit and also I guess it was because I was tired, so I didn't enjoy it very much. Luckily it was only 2.5 hours, so it wasn't too bad.
I arrived in Cairns at 11 this morning and got the shuttle bus straight to my hostel. I really noticed the difference in climate from Sydney, even out of the sun you can feel how humid it might get in the summer months. The hostel is actually ok, it's right on the waterfront, I'm sharing with 5 other girls who I met briefly earlier. It's very clean....a bit noisy, but you can't have everything! I took a walk to have a look around, I've been everywhere today. It's so different here to Sydney, it seems a lot more laid back, a totally different atmosphere. The people are really friendly too, I guess they're used to having lots of tourists.....I must say there are loads of English here, and quite a few Germans too!
So I had a nice walk down the Esplanade by the water front, there isn't really a beach, they've just built a swimming pool on the front which was pretty busy. Anyway, I was walking along minding my own business when out of nowhere I got attacked by a bird! It frightened the life out of me, I thought somebody had punched me, it's beak stabbed me just above my eye, I was so lucky it wasn't any lower, I was so shocked I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! I was a bit paranoid after that, cos there was some blood and I wasn't sure how bad it looked and I thought everyone was staring, anyway, I found a mirror and it didn't look too bad. It was really weird because we were talking about birds the other day with Al, and I said to her I hate them cos I always think they're gonna fly right into me and stab me in the eye....spooky!
So after that bit of drama I took a walk to the train station just to check where I have to meet Al and Hayley tomorrow, there was a really nice shopping mall, I bought myself a pair of sunglasses, which I really did need! I've just got back from booking some tours, I'm a bit disappointed because they are advising against going on the Barrier Reef tours for the next 4 days as the sea is forecast to be really rough, so I'm going to have to hang fire there, but I did book a trip to the Atherton Tablelands (the highlands of Cairns, I've put a link on the right if you want to see) on Wednesday, and a trip to Cape Tribulation on Thursday, stopping there for 1 night, then going to Port Douglas for a night, then back to Cairns on Saturday, I'll see whether I can do the reef tour on Sunday or something, I'm planning on staying here till next Tuesday at least as there is so much to see.
I've just got back to the hostel now, I'm really doing the budget thing and making my own dinner to save money, which is a shame as there are some really nice restaurants here, but I'm sure I"ll go out with Alison and Hayley tomorrow night. I think I'm just going to have an early night tonight, although I may pop down to one of the pubs for a quick drink.....I am on holiday after all!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Finished work now.....yaay! My last day was quite good, I had lots of compliments, everyone was saying that I'd done a great job and they didn't want me to leave, so I was quite chuffed! They are all really nice there.
On Friday night, I met up with Al, Hayley and Sue, we went to a couple of bars in Darling Harbour, it was a pretty quiet night, but it was good cos we had a chance to talk.
Yesterday was busy, I had to move all my stuff downstairs and sort everything out. Went into the city last night, I had such a good night, there were loads of us out. I'd invited Aaron and Tanya, who arrived here a couple of weeks ago. Aaron used to work with my Mum, I'd never met him before, but we've been in contact by email as we've both been doing the travelling thing. They are really nice, we all got on really well, it was their first night out here, I think they had a good time. I bet Aaron thinks I'm so different from my Mum! The other Aaron (the one I met on the bus) came out too with his friend, and Jason, Todd, Sue and lots of their friends. Later on we went to meet Al and Hayley who were with some other friends of theirs, then we all went clubbing in Kings Cross.
All the girls together (Hayley, Al, Tanya, me and Sue)
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I didn't get home until 5am, I'm absolutely knackered and I had to do my packing as well.....I really didn't need to be doing that, but it's almost done now!
Flights at 7.45 tomorrow morning...why on earth did I book it so early......I'm getting really excited now ;o) I'm meeting Al and Hayley the following day so I won't be all on my own!
This week is sooo busy, I'm trying to get ready for my travels on Monday. I've booked one of my tours now, it involves 3 days sailing around the Whitsundays, snorkelling and touring the islands, a 3 day 4WD tour of Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world) I still have a couple more tours to book including Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas and Magnetic Island, I can't wait, it's going to be so cool! Also Grant, Sue and Sue's Mum Kath will be coming back from their holidays at the weekend, so I have to put all my stuff I'm not taking to Cairns up in the attic, and move out of Kath's to downstairs. I'm really going to miss my bed here, it's got an electric sheet on the mattress and it's so lovely to get into it at night when it's all nice and warm! There is no heating in the house, so it gets pretty cold at night.
I'm still enjoying my job...the time is going really quickly as I'm very busy....only 2 days left to go though! Mostly the job involves answering the phone and getting the mail ready. I've also had to use an electric typewriter to type up labels for the mail, which is a nightmare, I keep banging down the keys with force thinking I'm using my Mum's old typewriter, I'm suprised I haven't broken it....and the amount of mistakes I've made!! I've come across some really weird names of places here in Australia, yesterday there was a Punchbowl and a Tumbi Umbi!!
My friend Al finally arrived here yesterday, so I met up with her and her friend Hayley last night. It was lovely seeing Al again, but a bit weird seeing her here. We had a good catch up with lots of gossip and a couple of drinks. They thought it was funny that I turned up wearing my scarf...I was freezing, must have acclimatised too least I'm not wearing a big puffa coat like some of the people here! Al said her brother Michael may be coming down from Brisbane for the weekend to see her, so I think there'll be a fair few of us out on Saturday night as some of my friends will be out too.
Al and Hayley are flying to Cairns on the Monday too, so I'm going to Kakuda with them the following day for a day out, Al has been there before, so it comes recommended.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I've had quite a busy week after all, what with preparing my intinerary for my trip and starting my new job. I'm really enjoying my job, it's so much busier than my last one (which isn't hard!) and there are lots of people my age there too, and they're all really friendly. The first day I was panicking a bit, it was hard remembering everyone's names and getting all the calls put through...needless to say I hung up on a few people! but over the last 2 days, I got the hang of it, and they think I'm doing a really good job....apparently the temp before only lasted a day, then they got rid of her, so I count myself lucky!!
My homelife has been pretty quiet, Misty is behaving herself....although she was sick on my second day here.....I knew she was saving it up for me!! Luckily it was outside so I just had to hose it down....yuk! She's just sat here next to me now, I think she's feeling a bit lonely as noone is living downstairs, I am trying to pay her attention...but I'm still scared she's gonna bite and scratch me!
I went to the city last night to meet Dave and the lads, on the way there I saw a new bar just opened 'The Bavarian Bier Cafe' so I really want to go there and have a look, it might help with my missing Munich! They've actually brought in a new law here this week, you now cannot smoke in the bars or clubs (or only in a nominated separate room) so I saw loads of people outside shivering smoking their's great for me though, I love not stinking of smoke when I leave a pub! Anyway, the plan last night was to go to Bondi for a colleague of Simons' leaving party, but by the time everyone had sorted themselves out and dropped cars off etc, it was 10pm and I had to get the last bus home at midnight, so Dave and I just stayed in the city. We had a really funny night as usual, I was trying to teach him a bit of German, it was very amusing!!
I've just got back from town now, I went to get my haircut in the new Toni and Guy salon...yes I know I'm supposed to be saving, but there are some things a girl doesn't want to scrimp on! anyway, I'm really impressed with it, which is a lot coming from me...have I finally found the perfect hairdresser??!?!
Not sure what is on tonight, Sue was going to come round for a girls night in, but she's caught some sort of bug, so we've had to take a rain check...I quite feel like going out now to show off my new haircut! I probably won't though, too much hassle getting back here.
My friend Al, from Munich phoned me in the week, was great to speak to her again....she's coming out here on Monday, so we were chatting about what her plans are...I can't wait to see her, it's going to be great! She said that I've got a bit of a twang when I know how Ozzie's always higher their voice at the end of their sentences as if asking a question, well apparently I was doing that...I'll have to put a stop to that one ;o)
Rugby update: New South Wales and Queensland played the final of the State of Origin on Wednesday, NSW won 32 - 10.

Monday, July 04, 2005

After I'd settled into my new home on Friday night, Sue and Grant took me out for dinner to the local Thai restaurant. It was really nice catching up with them again. After that we went back to the house. I wanted to book my flight to Ayers Rock, I'd found a reasonable flight already, but they knew of a really good website, so we had a look to check and sure enough the flight was $100 cheaper than the one I'd found, so I booked that straight away, very chuffed with that. So with the money I'd saved I ended up buying an Oasis ticket for their concert here in November! Chris phoned me up too, it's so nice to have access to a phone now. I was quite relieved too that they have been feeding Misty outside, so it means if she is sick, then it'll be outside and I'll only have to hose it down!
Saturday I went into the city and bought my coach ticket for the bus trip back down to Sydney from Cairns, so I think I've more or less sorted out all my tickets for my future trips. In the evening I just stayed in and watched a film, I started to watch Live 8, but it didn't start till 11pm, so I only managed an hour or so...long enough to see my name come up on the TV cos I'd texted to be put on the petition. Sunday we took a drive to Balmain, one of the suburbs near the city, it was actually very nice there and it was a beautiful day to just sit in the sunshine and chill out and eat a big slice of homemade cheesecake!
I've managed to get a job today, actually 2 came up at the same time, the first one was in the same building I've just finished at, but the second one is closer, so I start there tomorrow. It's at an insurance brokers and I'll be working on reception. It's worked out really well as I'll be able to save that last bit of money for my trip.

Friday, July 01, 2005

First of all, I would like to thank you all for your birthday wishes, it's really made my day, I've just got through 28 emails, thanks so much ;o)
Well, last night was an absolute scream, I haven't laughed so much in ages! There was only 4 of us in the end, a far cry from my birthday parties in Munich....but the guys that did come out and brave the weather really made up for it! We had dinner first at a lovely Italian restaurant, Sue, Dave and Simon have never met before, but they all got on like a house on fire. After we'd eaten I got out the balloons that Chris had sent, everyone in the restaurant must have thought we were very strange, the balloons came with a little pump, it wasn't actually physically possible to blow them up..but the pump took forever to get any air into them. That was Simons job to pump them up, and Sue, well Sue was a natural at making things with them, (a lot of them rude I must say!) we were in hysterics, I've got about 50 hilarious photos, I won't bore you with all of them, but here are a few! lol ;o)
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After that we went to a bar in Kings Cross, had a boogie and a dance, and a couple more drinks, then as it was a school night, everyone had to go home to bed. What a funny night tho!
Today I have packed and moved to North Ryde, don't know how I managed to get it all done! Jason helped me as he's got a car, I wouldn't have managed otherwise. I can't believe how much stuff I've got, considering I arrived here with just a rucksack, I've now filled a whole large suitcase just with clothes, how on earth I'm going to get these home I don't know! I haven't unpacked yet, I keep putting it off. I have just phoned a couple of recruitment agencies, I'm now hoping that some work will come up for the next 2 weeks.