Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adventuring- Airlie Beach

DATES: May 6- May 12
HOSTEL: Nomads Airlie Beach
TOURS: True Blue Sailing

It was a really funny feeling arriving in Airlie Beach because I had made so many new friends along my travels and I knew so many people who were all in Airlie at the same time as me. We joked that I had a wolf pack and how I knew so many boys….seriously I'm not sure how I made so many guy friends but I was happy to have them. Airlie Beach was beautiful with a great lagoon to swim in.

I stayed at Nomad's Airlie Beach, my first room was a bit weird as it was a handicapped washroom but the shower water got EVERYWHERE. Everything was clean and easy to use but you had to leave a deposit for dishes which was a pain.

I was able to spend several days with the awesome crew upon the True Blue Sailing's New Horizon sailing the Whitsundays. It was the most amazing days spent on a boat, the crew was great, food was awesome and the boat rocked you to sleep at night. I was able to go scuba diving and snorkelling on the reef again.

Adventuring: Magnetic Island

DATES: May 4- May 6
HOSTEL: Base Magnetic Island
TOURS: YHA Koala Sanctuary

Coming to Maggie Island as the locals say, was very surprising there is an entire community right on the island. The island is gorgeous but you can't swim in the ocean because of stingers (jellyfish). There are wild koalas, and little roos. There is also a small reef to snorkel or dive.

I met a girl in line for my room at the hostel Base Magnetic Island and we ended up rooming together. She became one of my travel partners (my wolf pack!). Our rooms were very neat as they were tent top cabins. I met up with another travel friend from Mission Beach and met some more travellers that I would meet up with again throughout my trip. The most asked questions were; are you going up or down, what have you done so far, where did you stay, and where are you from. This hostel was incredibly dirty in the kitchen and bathroom, it was almost as if the other people there just did not know how to clean up after themselves properly. I was very disappointed that way.

There are lots of walks to do on the Island and I did the one up to the old forts. I'm amazing at how much work was put into making the forts, hauling from the mainland and up a huge hill. I saw a wild koala for the first time which was really cool and lots of spiders.

I also went to the YHA Koala Sanctuary, they do a tour of different animals, snakes, spiders, turtles, wombats (my fave), koalas, and cockatoos. I was able to hold and pet everything, it was incredible. I think everyone on our tour was laughing at how excited I was especially to meet a wombat in person.

Adventuring: Townsville

DATES: May 2- May 4
HOSTEL: Foreign Exchange Accommodation Beachside

I was told not to head to Townsville simply because it's a working town not really a tourist destination. There was lots to do here lagoon, ferry to Magnetic Island, rock climb, and a good decent night out. Everything was close by, and easily walkable. I stayed at the Foreign Exchange Accommodation Beachside and loved it. Everything was clean and usable, staff and other travellers were awesome. Many travellers used this hostel as a base while they lived and worked in Townsville. I spent lots of time by the lagoon and had a great saturday night out with the hostel. The internet was free and fast so I was able to call home to chat about how my trip was going so far.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adventuring: Mission Beach

DATES: April 28- May 2
HOSTEL: Mission Beach Retreat YHA

When you think about Australia I"m sure that you think about great beaches and Mission Beach is certainly beautiful. My plan was to spend a week here sunning myself while everyone at home was still getting April snow. It worked, I was so relaxed! I loved the staff at the hostel and made even more friends. The beach was filled with all these little sand balls which I eventually figured out were sand crabs. It was so hard to try to get a picture of these littles guys as they hid so quickly. I joined in on activities like beach soccer (or football as all those English called it), a beach bonfire, killer pool (side note I'm awful at pool) and tanning. I didn't see any crocs but I did hear stories and there were lots of posted signs about stingers but they at least provided a netted area to swim in.  It was so nice to just do nothing!

Adventuring: Cairns

DATES: April 23rd- April 27th
HOSTEL: Corona Backpackers
TOURS: Cape Tribulation, Great Barrier Reef

I think I mentioned previously that I don't like change……travelling is one of the best ways to hopefully combat that feeling! Of course leaving Sydney and flying to Cairns was unsettling, I was on my own once again but excited to see what the East Coast had to offer me.

My flight was uneventful, everything went smoothly and I was able to find a transport service directly to my hostel! I stayed at Corona Backpackers (recommend), it was quite small but pretty clean and had everything you needed. The only issue I had was there was no common room. I quickly made friends with some girls in my room and began to overcome my fears about being alone the whole trip!

Cape Tribulation was my first ever visit to a real rainforest! I travelled with The Adventure Company, they picked me up and led me all throughout the day. It seems so far that everyone is pretty friendly and I had a few people to chat with throughout the day. I saw a croc for the first time in the wild, and the rainforest was absolutely amazing to see!

One of my bucket list dreams was to snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef, I was able to do this with Tusa Dive. I've snorkelled before and loved doing it but the ocean is a much different experience. The reef was quite calm but there was still a current and the surprise of someone asking if you saw the shark while swimming!! While getting ready to dive I was a bit nervous but mostly excited. I panicked slightly when fully under but quickly got used to everything. I felt just like a mermaid! I found Nemo, amongst other fish, stalked a sea turtle and touched a sea cucumber. I might have also touched some coral OOPPS!

While you couldn't swim in Cairns the crocs and stingers (jellyfish) were too close for comfort, there was an awesome lagoon. It rained lots while I was in Cairns so I didn't get too much of a chance to use it. I did check out the nightlife which is pretty crazy in Cairns. I really enjoyed my stay even though there was lots of construction going on. Hopefully they succeed in making Cairns even better than it was!