Exploring – Australia (part 2)

At the reef

Scuba diving, hiking and our own island

After the cyclone finally passed, we’d been stuck indoors for a total of 7 days. We needed to get outside and do something fun. So, we decided to get the boat over to Keppel Island. It was a hot and sunny day and after the short 30 minutes boat ride we arrived at an island almost untouched by tourism. We walked through the interior to the beach on opposite side of the island, expecting to find it full of people. It wasn’t. It was completely empty. Maybe the cyclone had kept everyone away, but we didn’t care. We had our own private beach for the day. good times.

Empty beach

The next day it as finally time to leave Yeppoon. We were due to go to Airlie Beach but as it had been hit hard by the cyclone we decided to give it a miss and head straight to Townsville. Here we chilled, went to watch a movie and were finally able to enjoy some much-needed sun.

Mangroves

Next was the relatively short drive to Mission Beach for two nights. On arrival, we were greeted by the resident cassowaries that live at the park. The next day we visited a chocolate factory as this is the only area in Australia where it’s possible to grow cocoa beans. Their chocolate wasn’t the beast I’ve ever tasted, but the tour was interesting.

The next day we drove a further hour up the road to Cairns. It was raining again and the roads were very slippy. The next day, while heading to check out the tablelands mountains, we came across a horrible three car accident. We decided to head back as the roads were just too dangerous. Instead, we headed to the Cairns waterfront and treated ourselves to a three-course lunch. Cairns is famous for being the gateway to see the Great Barrier Reef. Perhaps because of this, we found the town just a bit too touristy.

On the way to Port Douglas we stopped for lunch at a place called Palm Cove. It’s one of the poshest little towns I’ve ever been. We had a quick look the pier, got some lunch and carried on up to Port Douglas. Once we arrived, we had a walk round the town, then got an early night ready to be up early for our diving and snorkelling trip to the Great Barrier Reef the next morning. Seeing the Great Barrier Reef has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And when I got my PADI Open Water in Thailand last year, Scuba Diving there has been at the top of my bucket list every since. We booked onto a boat called Silver Sonic.

Silver Sonic

The Port of Port Douglas

The day was perfectly sunny and hot. I did one dive and was lucky enough to see a massive turtle. Diving the reef was amazing and reminded me why I love scuba diving so much. Along with diving we also had two locations to snorkel. We swam around and saw so many fish, coral and also another turtle, that surfaced right in front of us. We didn’t want the day to end.

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling

Turtle

At the reef

Our last day in Port Douglas was spent hiking in the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest on Earth. Then, later on in the afternoon we went on a crocodile tour

During our drive back down to Portland, we stopped at again at Townsville, Emerald, Lightning Ridge, West Wyalong and Echuca. All these towns (apart from Townsville) are located in Australia’s outback. All are small farming or mining towns that are more than a little strange. In West Wyalong we went for a drive and found the only thing that was open, a bowling club. We stayed for a game and had a blast.

Our road trip up the east coast of Australia is easily the most enjoyable part of my year of travel.

Check out part 1 here: Exploring Australia (part 1)

Some Useful Info:

Country Australia
Language English
Currency – Australian Dollar
£1 GBP – 1.7 Dollars
Accommodation – Woodlands Holiday Park, Beachcomber Coconut park, Coconut Holiday Park, Glengarry Holiday Park, Lake Maraboon, Lightning Ridge Caravan Park, Ace Caravan Park, Morning Glory
Main Activities – Scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, hiking, chilling on an island
Time Spent Exploring –
19 days
Average Daily Cost –
£42

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