Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paradise lies below the surface... smooth sailing and rough seas at the Great Barrier Reef

After getting soaked for three days in the rainforests north of Cairns I returned to the city to change gear, check mails and sleep. Next morning I had to wake up early, yet again, for my last Australian adventure on this trip! I had managed to switch off my alarm in the morning but luckily I didn’t miss my boat, phef! I was off to a 2 day sailing trip on the Great Barrier Reef - I was so excited!! In stead of taking one of the big boats with 30 or 50 other tourists I had booked a trip on a sailboat... Oh yeah, less people and more time. We were a group of 11 people (Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, German, French and Canadian) with a crew of 3 on the fantastic Coral Sea Dreaming.

It had been terrible weather all week and lots of wind so I had postponed this trip to the last days, praying the forecast promising better conditions would hold. But not yet: it was sadly a cloudy day when we set out from the Cairns harbour early in the morning. The waves weren't terribly high but the boat was rocking quite heavily and a couple girls were feeling quite ill, one even did the traditional puke over the rail. I felt sad for them, and happy I had taken the motion sickness pill that was offered to everyone before we set off: I felt better than ever!

The gray weather and the gray water. Not the best day to go out on the sea..

"It rains in the rain forest"

It was my last (and very busy) week in Australia and I was spending it around the Far North Queensland. The week was only halfway and after the trips around the waterfalls close to Cairns I headed up the coast! The plan was to make a loop around the rainforest covered area north of Cairns and the town of Port Douglas.

It was a warm winter morning when I hopped on the bus in Cairns. First I would head to a river to cruise down along the mangrove shores and spot some saltwater crocodiles. I was curious whether we would actually see any but sure enough, as if they were planted there, we spotted a couple big ones. Surprisingly even some small saltwater crocks were swimming around and some more safely hanging around close to their mothers. The smallest I saw was 4 weeks old, about 15 cm long little creature, just swimming along the shore. The boat captain said everybody loves the small ones ... especially the big fish: they love to eat them! Snif.. cuties.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cairns - from one cascade to the other!

It was the end of May and one of those mornings again: an unreasonably early wake-up and off to catch a morning flight from Darwin to Cairns. I felt I had barely fallen asleep the whole night, thanks to the Darwin party people keeping everybody awake (well it was Saturday night so what could I expect). I was counting the days 'til I would be home again, in my own bed, enjoying the peace & quiet…

From one small city to another, I was making my way through the northern parts of Australia. Cairns is the biggest city on the northeast coast, in the middle of tropical nature and the Great Barrier Reef. The city doesn't really have a beach (very strange) but a nice promenade by the sea. This is the centre of most of what's happening in Cairns with big lawn areas, spaces & equipment for the sports enthusiasts and BBQ spots as well as a 4800m2 saltwater swimming lagoon. And a lovely place to go see the sunset!

Lagoon at the Promenade

Monday, July 16, 2012

Darwin - the outback capital

When I was planning my RTW trip I had been very curious about the Northern Australia and the outback so I had decided to add Darwin to my Australian itenerary. I arrived there after very exciting 10 days of dancing in Brisbane and the Gold Coast ... feeling very tired. The hot & humid air of Darwin was a nice change after the chilly nights of Queensland - where I had actually managed to develop a cold. So the first couple days in Darwin I just kicked back, enjoyed the heat and did pretty much nothing. By the third day I was feeling better, happily doing some sightseeing and tanning by the pool. Not bad!

Darwin is quite a small city.. a town really. It's the smallest state capital in Australia though it is clearly the biggest in its territory (Northern Territory). There's basically two main streets that run parallel to the shoreline - and that's it. You'll find plenty of restaurants, bars and shops like in any city; actually there is some quite nice Aboriginal art in some galleries and markets but most shops sell the standard souvenirs. Darwin has in fact a large Aborigine population and you'll notice that pretty easily when you get there. 

Northern Territory coat of arms