A Travellerspoint blog

First Two Weeks in Australia

So much done in so little time.

sunny 28 °C
View Australia for a Year on STimewell's travel map.

After a very long journey (Vancouver to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Sydney to Cairns) Trevor and I finally arrived at our destination of Cairns on Thursday, September 2. We started off at a backpacker's called Castaways which when booking, we didn't realize is on the ourskirts of Cairns. Even being on the outer edge, Castaways is only a 15-20 minute walk to the central business district.

We fluffed around Cairns for a few days and finally got down to planning our day trips and tours. Here's what happened:

Saturday, September 4:

Aussie Drifterz Tubing Tour - drifted down the Behana Creek in an inner tube. Saw a snake in the water. Learned how the Aboriginies use local stones to paint the skin.

Sunday, September 5:

Mangrove Boardwalk - saw crabs, cone shaped shell creatures, mud skippers.
Cairns Botanical Garden - saw huge carnivorous plants, lilies, rainforest, Aboriginal plant use garden, fresh and saltwater lakes.

Monday, September 6:

Rainforest Horse Riding - horseback riding through trails in the rainforest. Went through a creek so deep the water came up to the horses' shoulders. Did barramundi fishing. Trevor caught and released three. I caught and Trevor released two. Not sure I would fish again...hooked them both through the eye. Then the farm dog Banjo was nipping at one and it started bleeding from the gills. It lived but I feel terrible.

Tuesday, September 7:

Uncle Brian's Fun, Falls and Forest - rainforest walks, wildlife spotting - including a platypus, lunch in the Tablelands, swimming in Josephine Falls (there is a big sheer rock that is used as a waterslide here) and Millaa Millaa Falls (where you can swim behind the falls and look up at it).

Wednesday, September 8:

Reef Daytripper - snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. Saw a turtle, sting ray, many fish and lots of coral. Got a sunburn on the backs of my legs. :(

Thursday, September 9:

Rented Jucy Campervan
Opened bank account - Commonwealth
Ate at Montezuma's Mexican restaurant
Walked around Cairns CBD

Friday, September 10:

Picked up Jucy Campervan
Kuranda Birdworld - Parrots kept flying over and sitting on Trevor's shoulder. They chewed the lens protector on his video camera, tried to rob him of his Tilley hat and successfully robbed him of a button on his shirt. We saw our first Cassowary in captivity.
Granite Gorge & rock wallabies - bushwalked around the gorge and fed the wallabies. They were so eager to eat that they pulled my arm down with their sharp claws. I have cuts. Thought I might get rabies, but I'm fine.

Saturday, September 11:

Cooktown - where Capt. James Cook moored his broken ship, the Endeavour, and saw Aboriginal people, plants, and animals. Killed a lot of turtle. We did almost all the sights in one day. Saw a monitor lizard at the botanic garden. Camped on the outskirts of town.

Sunday, September 12:

Cooktown - finished the rest of the sights.

Monday, September 13:

I turned 29
Cape Tribulation - not as exciting as we thought. Just a collection of shops and tours and a few beautiful beaches. Walked the beach all the way and stood in a mangrove stream to watch the fish and mudskippers. Saw a monitor lizard.
Various Rainforest walks - saw a Cassowary and chicks in the wild!!!
Camped at Newell Beach

Tuesday, September 14:

Daintree Village
Electric Boat Crocodile Cruise - saw three crocodiles, an azure kingfisher and some other birds.
Mossman Gorge - saw a Boyd's Forest Dragon
Port Douglas - what Whistler is to Vancouver, Port Douglas is to Cairns. Walked around town and went in the shops. Saw 4 Mile beach. Trevor swam in the ocean.
Cooked dinner on the side of the road next to the ocean. Watched the moon rise and the huge fruit bats fly by. Arrived Lake Placid Campground after nightfall.

Wednesday, September 15:

Barron Gorge - huge gorge. Used for hydro electricity.
Lake Placid - not so placid. Island in the lake has special significance to local Aborigines.
Crystal Cascades - huge water cascades. Trevor swam in a calm spot. I didn't have my swimsuit.
Cairns - shopped at Cairns Central.
Sent in application for Tax File No.
Drank and ate at Rattle & Hum and La Pizza with fellow Canadians (Manitoba).

Thursday, September 16:

Relaxing day shopping in Cairns. Had our best dinner yet. Perri Perri chicken and Shanghai noodles and carrot.

More to come!!!

Posted by STimewell 15:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Preparations continue

Maybe I should have started preparing earlier...

sunny 24 °C

I had my last day of work on Wednesday, August 11. It felt great minus the fact that I stayed an hour and a half late and still need to go in to collect personal items.

As I continue preparations for departure, I realize there are many things I should have thought about ahead of time:

  • Doctor visits for vaccinations.

  • Optometrist visit.

  • Dentist visit.

  • Medical Services Plan (BC MSP). Turns out I've exceeded my allowable vacation time away from the province within the last 5 years meaning while I'm in Australia, BC MSP will remove my Resident status. Upon return (if I choose to live in BC again), I will not be a resident and will have to wait the 3 months it takes to re-register and will have to pay premiums for the remaining 9 months until I have spent a full year in the province. How absurd. I was born and raised here. What a rip-off.

  • Travel Insurance.

  • Money.

  • Travel plug/converter.

  • Money belt.

  • Diving. Oh, Scuba diving. It would have been best to find out with more than a month before leaving that I have issues surfacing. How frustrating it is to have taken all of the PADI classroom and pool Modules to find that I need to see a specialist before I do my Open Water certification. Looks like I may just be snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

  • A place to stay upon arrival.

Not much I can do at this point. Trevor and I leave to visit his family in Regina in 8 days. After that, we only get one last day in Vancouver before we're off to Australia!

Flying by the seat of your pants

- exciting, but perhaps not the wisest way to prepare to move to another country.

Posted by STimewell 11:26 Archived in Canada Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Preparations are under way for a year away from home

2 months before departure

overcast 18 °C

So far, I have set my cell phone plan to stop at the end of July; filled out a passport renewal application; started packing/selling things/donating stuff; and given notice at work.

Packing is proving to be a challenge. We want to try not to pay for a locker and my mother has kindly agreed to let us store our things in her storage areas, but there isn't much room so we will really have to donate/sell a LOT. This is a difficult task for a packrat...better get back to it then.


Posted by STimewell 15:08 Archived in Canada Tagged packing Comments (0)

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