Cairns and Tropical Queensland

Cairns is a very easy city to navigate. The esplanade curling round the water’s edge, the main Street leads perpendicularly down. Similar to Darwin it has a lagoon at the water’s edge. High 20s with a wind, it is beautifully warm without feeling hot.

Cairns' lagoon

We’ve done well exploring the area. I got to play with my love for digital macro in the Botanical Gardens…

We felt very healthy after doing the steep red arrow walk round Mt Whitfield…

We visited the nearby hippie market stall town of Kuranda via the Kuranda Scenic Rail train returning on the skyrail. Beautiful scenery, a random, out of place Scottish shop playing a cd full of bagpipes left me in disbelief!

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We spent a lovely day at Green Island where we snorkelled the reef, and after seeing them from above I finally got to swim alongside a turtle! Amazing!

We saw a nice little beach up the Coast called Palm Cove (a big police presence, some delegates from the G20 must have been staying there)…

We took a day trip to the beautiful Port Douglas

I had an indulgent day trip to Cape York, the northernmost point of mainland Australia!

We’ve also wandered Cairns’ markets and found the big Barramundi in Daintree! Not bad going eh? 😉

Learning that the torch for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games commenced being carried from Cairns, the importance sugar cane has held for Cairns’ economy, the stories of quite a few plane crashes, that the eyes of a fish turn white when they are cooked and that you really shouldn’t venture into mud like ground… Your thongs will most definitely get stuck, and if you try and pull your leg out, your thongs will break… Ah well… At least I provided Ariel and Ben some entertainment…! Then got very hot feet walking to Target to buy new ones ;-). Which ultimately I think are the least comfortable pair I have ever owned!

Getting used to travelling with someone, and how to fairly split spendings, it is an entirely different experience than before. Spending five days in a hostel (much cheaper prices here than other big cities), meeting up with Ariel, a friend from the poultry farm I collected eggs on in Western Australia, she had room in her flat share for the two of us for only $105 a week each. Sold. Jobhunting between all of our sightseeing, I’ve found a job in a roadhouse southwest from Cairns. That funny old thing called instinct saying this is the right direction and it making sense geographically, always favouring the road less travelled, we’ll head off and see what happens…! 🙂

Inspiration at Sunset in Mindil

Bag fixed. Check.

Clothes left and rucksack packed better. Check. Still as heavy. Check.

Leaving Darwin with significantly more mozzie bites than I arrived with. Check.

Achieving nearly everything I wanted to achieve in the five day window I gave myself (save for putting photos on fb… Sorry Tassie companions, I wish I’d brought a small laptop rather than a tablet!) I spent my last day wandering. Little lion man now a Darwin song, Mumford & Sons was my chosen playlist whilst my feet guided me around the city. Following them to the WWII oil storage attraction I learnt how these had been built but never actually used to store oil…

Botanics on the brain, I jumped on a bus along the way. Not finding a lot (might just have been my chosen path) the sun nearing setting time, I wandered to Mindil Beach. Today marking six months since entering Australia, I realised that leaving the UK was more of a milestone. Sat on the beach I found my inspiration.

Back in the hostel, maxed out on the German and Estonian my roommates were speaking, I used time to touch base and update others of my journey. Fathers Day not til September here, some electronic help was necessary to tick that off the list! With a very noisy roommate who was apparently unaware that there were three people trying to sleep, I was left speechless when she started doing sit up’s at 11pm, huffing and puffing away… I appreciate backpackers need to keep in shape but at 11pm? Really?! The mind boggles. Waking early, sending more mementos on their own journey around the world, repacked and ready, with an aim to finally finish my book, it is off to Katherine I go…!

Travel Theme: Contrast

With a new travel theme of contrast, this is my take on it. Traversing Australia, with somewhat of a botanical nature with shots from Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne's Botanical Gardens, there are also two from Kangaroo Island. Mainly contrasting colours, I also loved the contrasting tree types in Adelaide.

Deep Fried Mars Bars, Banoffee Pie and Irn Bru

Into week 4 of jobhunting, still surprisingly feeling confident and positive, I interspersed my job seeking with some sightseeing and chill time so I would not go entirely crazy… Surrounded by Europeans of mainly the French and German variety, a Bryan Greenberg lookalike and a porridge sharing Irish girl, being the only Scot in residence in my hostel, I fielded some interesting questions! An interested Dutch roommate prompted a teaching of Rabbie Burns' 'To a mouse' and I explained about deep fried mars bars, banoffee pie (which albeit not of Scottish origin, had not been heard of!) and irn bru!

Venturing out on sunday, leaving the hostel with clouds and rain overhead, by the time I reached federation square, the sun was out and shining! A walk along St Kilda Road took me and Christy to the botanical gardens where we wiled away a couple of hours. Finding some interesting plants and a separation tree, we encountered some interesting swans! Finishing the evening watching seven psychopaths with my corkman buddies, I really enjoyed it! The moment shared with a friend in the UK, learning a new word – 'segue', the seventh seal is now also on my watch list.

Continuing the movie theme, catching war witch at one of Melbourne's independent cinemas and then sampling lygon street's delights, the day after, on Tuesday, after photographing some of Fitzroy's street art, I headed to Melbourne's rooftop cinema to see Dr Strangelove. After a warm day and my second bikram class, sitting back in my deck chair, with the skyscrapers creeping in, not needing to put my cardi on til 10pm, I relaxed into the film. Some cracking lines, I fair enjoyed escaping back a couple of decades.

Browsing the cheaper things on offer in Melbourne, the Victoria Parliament offering free tours, that seemed a good choice for wednesday afternoon. Interesting to see Parliament House's legislative assembly and council chambers; the assembly chamber green, with a carpet to reflect the first meeting of parliament at Westminster, and the council chamber red with extremely comfy seats, we also saw the statue of Queen Victoria that she sent away from the UK as it bore no resemblance to her. Taller, thinner and younger than she was at the time, it was no wonder she did! The short tour made interesting by our entertaining guide Martin, my knowledge of Australian politics was increased. Finishing Wednesday with a happy hour pint, a phonecall to an English friend and some melted timtams, we shall see what the weekend holds…