Tropical North Queensland!

Stop making excuses…. Book a ticket and GO! 

 

After living in Australia for three years, I know a lot of people probably assume that I have seen most of the country by now.  Unfortunately I haven’t even seen a quarter of it.  I don’t think most people (including myself) realise just how big Australia is.   Most of the country consists of vast desert land that is mostly uninhabited.  The main attractions, destinations, and cities in general are (mostly) along the coastline.   If you want to jump in your car for a quick weekend road trip to Sydney, guess again.  By the time you get there, you will have to turn back around.    Everything is very spread out and quite expensive to get to in general.   There are SO many places that have been on my bucket list since arriving here, and at this point I have only seen one of them- Tasmania.   I absolutely love it down there.   As for the rest on my list (Cairns, Fraser Island, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, The Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island, The Whitsundays… man this list keeps going…)   they were put on the back burner for a very long time due to lack of money, getting time off of work, etc.     As I’m typing this, I keep thinking “Excuses, excuses.  If you really want something, you will make it happen.”  So here I am, I am literally making it happen and I’ve never been more broke in my life.  So I am literally making a point to myself  (and anyone else)  that makes excuses for not seeing and doing the things they want because of every reason under the sky that’s supposedly stopping them.    In my case,  I wasn’t seeing and doing most of these things because as you know,  Patrick was my sidekick/other half and his job made it very difficult for us to see and do all of these things.   I’m not blaming him by any means.  His job was literally our saving grace to stay here.   But now that I’m on my own, I’m remembering how much easier it is to plan and do things when it’s just me.   The joys of single life!     It also helps that sometimes I  get to fly  somewhere work related and end up spending a couple of days there (or 24 hours if that), so airfare isn’t an added stress.   Lets just say I turn any work related “trip” into a mini holiday for myself.  I may end up completely exhausted by the end of it, but it’s well worth it.

In this case, my amazing friend Hannah- who just so happens to be a beautiful flight attendant that I have been privileged to work with-  We had a “work” trip up to Cairns.   We both had a couple days off prior to our shift, so we flew up early and made a holiday out of it.   Cairns is a beautiful little city in tropical North Queensland.  Technically the gateway to the famous Great Barrier Reef.   The few times I’ve flown into this airport, I could easily see it was an absolutely gorgeous location.  Lush green mountains and turquoise ocean water every which way.  I could only imagine how much better it would be OUT of the airport vicinity!

This beauty!

Hannah was very eager to experience a hostel for her first time.  I on the other hand have experienced more than I would like to admit.  Most of them being a pretty shitty experience, so I was NOT keen for a hostel.   Then I thought ,  hey why not?  I’ve never stayed in a hostel by myself…  Patrick and I were always the anti-social couple (more-so me) that would go straight to our room and not really socialise.  So why not experience single life in a hostel with my fellow single friend?     Little did I know we were staying at the #1 party hostel in Cairns- Gilligans!  This hostel definitely catered to getting women as drunk as possible.  Drinks were already cheap as chips, but there was always an extremely cheap drink deal dedicated to the ladies.  (aka, free champagne after 10).  We met a solo female traveller when we arrived at the airport that day.  Beautiful Seraina from Switzerland (Swiss Miss).  She was so inspiring to both of us, so we were stoked when she came with us that night to party our hearts out.    That first night is a bit of a blur, but I know we had a bloody incredible time!  I stumbled into my 8-bed dorm room at  5:00 a.m.    I was that person that I used to winge about.   Lightly tip toeing across the floor, crossing over luggage and bags sprawled every which way, all the while making an absolute raucous of myself in the end.  Oops!   My alarm rudely woke me up at 6:00 a.m.  for my waterfall tour which started at 7:00 a.m.  YIKES!!!  Hannah and I did separate tours on this day, and we were both in our own personal hell called “mid twenties hangover”.   It truly does get worse as you get older!

My lovely dorm!

The first half of the day was far from enjoyable.  I sat in a van with about 20 other people, speeding through windy roads for over 3 hours and trying not to vomit the whole way.  This will teach me!!    My tour was the Atherton Tablelands Tour which was an all day tour for $89!   I booked it through https://sightseeingtoursaustralia.com.au    Not half bad!   Our first stop was at a beautiful picturesque lake called Lake Eacham.  We enjoyed a mid morning swim which helped me feel alive again.   We spent a large portion of the day travelling to each destination, which allowed me to have a lot of bonding time with the other fellow travellers.   I love hearing everyones backgrounds and where they have been to in the world.  It’s absolutely fascinating and inspiring.     We also stopped at Cathedral Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa Falls,  Malanda Falls,  Josephine Falls (which we weren’t allowed to swim at because of flash flood warnings), and Babinda Boulders.    It was such an amazing day!

(I didn’t take a lot of photos with my nice camera because the rain was following us for 75% of the day)

Lake Eacham
Lake Eacham
The giant Fig Tree
Lush rainforest
Josephine Falls.  Those rocks are usually used as slides.  I was so sad we couldn’t swim here.
Yet the other tour groups were able to. Annoying!
Malanda Falls
Malanda Falls. Local swimming spot

Malanda Falls
Millaa Millaa Falls!
This waterfall is quite famous for the hair flip. It was like a pantene pro-v commercial every which way!

Climbing behind it

Babinda Boulders

This swimming hole was incredible at Babinda Boulders

This is how clear the water was!  I suck at holding my breathe…. Don’t mind my painful face.

After my incredible waterfall tour, I was absolutely fried.  Obviously from being stupidly hung over on one hour of sleep, but also from an action packed and exciting day.  I met up with Hannah for dinner to begin our “pub crawl”.  Yes, our first night in Cairns we thought it would be fun to purchase a “pub crawl” ticket for the following night.  Little did we know that we would be in absolute shit shape for more drinking….. but the tickets were already paid for, so what can you do?   The first pub included a buffet dinner with a free drink.  After I ate a couple of sausages, I was in the toilet vomiting my life away.  I literally could not even finish my first beer, and I never let beer go to waste!!  There was absolutely no way my body could handle another big night.  Hannah wasn’t nearly as sick as I was, but we both called it a night at 9:30!  Whoooo!  Oh hostel life….. how I have missed you.  Trying to sleep in a dorm room with 8 other girls who stay up late chatting with the lights on, doors slamming every which way,  the loud music from the night club booming all night, constantly fighting over the ONE toilet and shower that we share amongst each other, and also battling over the limited outlets to charge our phones.    I can safely say that I could NOT go back to living in a hostel for an extended period of time.  Three nights HIT my limit.    I was pleasantly surprised how different the hostel experience is when you’re on your own.

The following morning was another early rise.  6:00 a.m. for our Great Barrier Reef adventure.    We booked our tour through https://sightseeingtoursaustralia.com.au   (same as the waterfall tour).   The all day boat tour- including a bbq buffet, cheese and wine for the ride back, and coffee and tea all day- was $109!  Not too shabby!   I have been DYING to see the Great Barrier Reef ever since we moved here.  I was absolutely ecstatic to finally do it!  Although so did every other traveller in town.  Our boat was jam packed with over 100 other people.  Laying on the upper deck was quite humorous because bodies were criss-crossed every which way with no care in the world.   Oh did I mention that Cyclone Debbie had just swooped through this area?  It was well on its way to Townsville (South) which is why so many people were in Cairns trying to escape it.   With that said, the water was rougher than I would have expected.  I got sea sick just from snorkelling.. which I didn’t think was possible.

Seriana!

 

 

 

 

 

You know when you fantasize about seeing a place and you have all of these amazing mental images going on in your head?  You automatically have very high expectations because of this.   In this case, I had VERY high expectations of the Great Barrier Reef.   Not to mention it’s known to be one of the ‘Wonders of the World’.    I pictured myself submerging into the turquoise bliss ocean, swimming amongst vividly colourful coral, seeing a large array of tropical fish, and maybe swimming alongside a sea turtle and capturing an epic selfie with him (yeah don’t judge me).  Well….  that obviously didn’t happen.    I was told that the cyclone brought in a lot of debris, making it less visually stimulating  and the Northern Great Barrier Reef is slowly dying off anyway.  Apparently if you visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef, that’s where the deep contrast colours will be.   Well, DAMN!   Enough of my rant.  I was disappointed in a sense (stop having such high expectations!) but I also had an incredible time with Hannah and our new friend Seraina (Swiss Miss).   We spent the entire day on the ocean, cruising to two different spots for snorkelling.    At the end of the day, we were sun baked and exhausted.   We sat back and enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine accompanied with cheese and crackers.   Another action packed and exhausting day!

 

 

 

 

Smerf suit

A couple of the deck hands invited us out for dinner.  We had an amazing feed at a local Bavarian Pub!   Saturday night in Cairns…. our hostel was going OFF.  It literally turned into a night club that you see in the movies.  Hundreds and hundreds of people every which way, dancing in complete ecstasy.   I personally have never experienced a night club like this, so that was another tick on my bucket list.  Although I didn’t last very long (and I certainly couldn’t stomach any alcohol)   I was beyond exhausted and also had an early flight in the morning.   It was certainly fun while it lasted.     Who would have thought that little miss anti-social Kylie would end up at the biggest party hostel in Cairns??  If you had told me that 2 years ago, I would have laughed at you.  These sporadic and unpredictable moments are what keep me going.

Cairns felt like a little slice of Maui paradise.  All the lush tropical mountains, waterfalls, and turquoise water brought back so many fond memories of my home in Maui.  It was an emotional roller coaster at moments, but it was a nice flash back down memory lane.  I can not wait to come back here and explore more of its beauty.  As usual, less than 3 days is NOT enough time, but I’ll take it when I can get it.  🙂

The produce was insanely cheap!!! I loved this market!

A huge shoutout to this gorgeous girl…. my fellow Lezbo!   As I got to know her the past few months,   I quickly realised just how amazing she is.  She quickly became one of my favourite and most genuine people that I have met in Australia.  We experienced a rainbow infested day at ‘Gay Day’.  Decked out in colours and tutus and surrounded by a large LGBT community.    It was an incredible experience!     Hannah recently moved back to Western Australia where she is originally from.   It ripped my heart a bit, but that’s life.  We had a little going away shin-dig the night before she left.    I feel so lucky to call her a dear friend of mine and I certainly hope I get to visit her soon.   Love you Hannah!!


Thanks for reading!  Hopefully it won’t take me two months to upload the next post!  🙂

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