Since getting to Australia I've resisted the temptation to start any emails or diary posts so far with 'G'day' because I think it's far too obvious so instead I'll say the following:
Hello everyone. (Much more original, see?)
After staying in Cairns for a few days we ('we' now being me, Lewis, Andy and Michelle, who is Andy's girlfriend who came out to meet us) decided to hire a car and drive up to Cape Tribulation for a couple of days.
Cape Tribulation is pretty much the north eastern peninsular of Australia, and one of the only places in the world, if not the only place, with two different World Heritage sites adjacent to each other, namely the rainforest (earths's oldest one apparently) and the Great Barrier reef (earth's largest living organism). This makes it a fairly impressive place to stay.
We were booked to stay the first night in a place called PK's, which turned out to be quite 18-30's considering we were in the middle of a jungle, so much so that myself and Lewis were kept awake by a couple who'd just met getting more than a little friendly in the bunk bed opposite. This was pretty annoying at the time (For instance, when they came in, he turned the light on and said in a loud German accent 'Zee? Everybody is azleep' thus making sure that anyone who actually had been asleep wasn't any more), although it's now amusing in retrospect.
I ought to keep the tale as clean as possible, what with parents reading and everything. All I'll say is that (a) I'm glad I wasn't on the bunk below them, and (b) she was so drunk that after they'd finished 'enjoying themselves' she left the dorm naked from the waist down to go to the toilet, and forgot the number of the hut of the guy she'd been 'visiting' and wandered round in the pouring rain for a half hour or so, until someone took pity on her and came in looking for her jeans.
Anyway, after a rough nights sleep me and Lewis checked into a place over the road the next morning which was far better. For the same price we got a twin room, which was basically a hut with a wooden frame and canvas roof and walls. It was thankfully a lot more quiet than the previous night, and instead of laying there trying to get to sleep amid the sounds of creaking springs and DJ Otzi's 'Hey Baby' we had the sounds of chirping Cicadas and rustling leaves from the trees in the forest around us. Much more pleasant.
During the two days we were there we visited a bat sanctuary where we met a couple of fruitbats who'd been rescued and nurtured back to health, and also went on a couple of walks through the forest and along the beach, which were really good, although I was again disappointed that we hadn't seen any snakes, sharks, spiders or any other dangerous creatures yet. Lewis is quite glad of the lack of spiders so far I think, due to a nasty case of arachnophobia, so I don't know what he's going to be like when we encounter a huntsman. Although they're totally harmless we're told by people who've met them face to face that they're about the size of a mans hand and have a disturbing ability to leap off the ground.
Brown trouser time perhaps Lewis?
So, on the way back to Cairns we stopped off on the South bank of the Daintree river and went on the 'Nice 'n' Easy Cruise' down the river, which cost us the Aussie equivalent of about twelve quid. On this cruise we saw two Ulysses butterflies, which are about the size of the palm of your hand, shine metallic blue in the sun and look like this
We also saw a couple of kingfishers, who looked like this (although the ones we saw weren't mid-dump like this chap seems to be)
And lastly, but by no means least, a few crocs, including this bad boy here:
He's the dominant male in that patch of water, and goes by the name of Gummy, thanks to the fact that he's lost all 48 sets of teeth (approx 3,000 in total) in his illustrious career of biting and eating anything he considers food, which, let's face it, is pretty much everything with or without a pulse. The reason he hasn't died from not having any teeth left is he has enough strength in his jaws to snap bone, and can swallow most of his prey whole. 'Croikey!' I thought in my Steve Irwin accent again (Yes, I know. I've been thinking in the accent of Stevo a lot recently, but I'm something of a fan, OK?) 'Toime to beck off little fella! You're alroight mate, you're alroight!'
Money well spent if you ask me.
We're now in Airlie Beach. Next up we're going to do a cruise round the Whitsunday Islands, and I've also seen a sign for bubble helicopter rides for as little as 39 bucks, which is about 16 quid. I might go for the 20 minute ride, which is about 30 quid, but either way, it seems dead cheap for a ride in a helicopter, looking down on the Pacific Ocean, Whitsunday Islands and East Coast of Australia.
We've also ditched the Oz Experience buses, as word on the street is there's a huge queue for buses and you end up getting stuck places much longer than you want to be there while you wait for a free spot on a bus.
Instead we are getting Greyhound buses down to Sydney, as it only costs the equivalent of 100 quid, and you're travelling about five times the length of Britain. Beats National Express I reckon.