While the internet I've got now is in no means good, it's strong enough that I think I may be able to upload this! Photos however are completely out of the question. It would take about a day of leaving my laptop on to load a photo here… so for now writing it is. When I'm in Sydney next week I'll be able to finally upload photos to Facebook and here so I can actually show you all what I've been doing, woohoo! So take this is a very brief summary, highlights of each place if you will.
Hot. Hot hot hot. Did I mention humid? And hot. But absolutely wonderful. So laid back and chilled out, no one rushes anywhere and life isn't taken seriously at all. Completely acceptable to spend a day by the lagoon doing absolutely nothing, which I most definitely did. The rainforest is also stunning, did a day tour through there which involved playing in waterfalls and exploring the Tablelands, great fun! Had a fabulously inappropriate, politically incorrect and hilarious tour guide names Gilly from Barefoot Tours who made it the best tour I've ever done - I really can't recommend that tour enough. Also went out to the Great Barrier Reef for a day of snorkelling and boating which was a great experience. The reef is stunning! And while I didn't find Nemo (which I'm still heartbroken about), I did manage to find a reef shark that swam by me about 2 meters away… yes I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating for a minute. There's also a wonderful art gallery in the town with an impressive little collection of local works, sandwiched in between the hundred of requisite tourist shops of course.
More fondly known as "Brownsville", Townsville is simply the gateway to Magnetic Island via the ferry that I, like many travellers, simply pass through. Magnetic Island however is a great little place, well actually big island, but only half of it covered by roads and walking paths. Did tons of walking (everything is far away) but it was all beautiful. Hugged a koala. Yes hugged a koala. One of the high points of my life I have to say. Rented scooters and scooted around the island for an afternoon which was great fun as well. Definitely a new way of looking at the island! Explored the many beaches and coves, and had sunset beers from the deck at Base X hostel overlooking the ocean. Base X being another place I highly recommend, absolutely beautiful location and really cool cabin-style individual dorms right on the beach.
Also known as the gateway to the Whitsunday islands. However unlike Townsville, Airlie is actually worth the stay. Great little beach side town with tons of cafes and bars that make for a good vibe and nightlife. Beautiful lagoon by the ocean to spend a lazy day at, and tons of little artists shops and such to keep you and your wallet busy. Definitely an easy place to spend a couple of day puttering about which is exactly what I did! Going out and sailing the Whitsunday's was the highlight by far though - absolutely amazing. Visited the famous Whitehaven beach, slept on the deck under the stars, snorkelled some incredible reefs, and had tons of fun with our little family living on the boat for 2 days. All that awesome stuff made up for the pouring rain the first day (yep, it's rainy season up here, and we had terrible luck with it) and the seriously cramped bunk area in the boat itself by a long shot!
International heritage sight, one of the largest sand islands in the world and the longest beach highway in the world. Need I say more? 3 awesome days of exploring the island was fun to say the least! Explored the many lakes and trails in the inner part of the island, zoomed down the beach in our bus, hiked out to the most beautiful lake on a massive sand dune, swam in the naturally made champagne pools, and the highlight definitely being taking a scenic flight over the island. Best part of all of it was doing it with a group of awesome people, which made it laughs the entire way and good fun in the evening after the days adventures were done. It's amazing how much people influence and improve a tour! I still can't believe how many wonderful people I've met from around the world on this trip, definitely one of the best parts by far.
Another beach town, little bit more posh than the others but with a great Natinal Park and beach. Watched the sun set over said beach, saw a wild koala in the Park (debatably a clump of leaves, but we're sticking with koala) explored a local market during a rainy day, and probably to coolest/most strange was watching the lighting of the town for Christmas! Complete with carollers, tons of lights, a Santa in shorts and Mrs. Claus in a bikini on the beach. Definitely no white Christmas to be found here, but it's a really cool experience!
Such a great city. I still love Melbourne the most of course, but Brisbane does come quite close. Beautiful lagoon (they really like those over here), botanical gardens and tons of galleries and museums for me to explore. All built around a winding river - taking the boat tour down it is definitely worth it. The city was alive with Christmas too which was nice, decorations everywhere and a massive tree in front of the city hall. Lots of places to explore in and around the city, I feel like I hardly made a dent in the 3 days I was there! Oh well, another excuse to come back right? Just incase I didn't have enough already…
Byron Bay (AKA current location)
Beach town. Hippie town. Surf town. Party Town. Chilled-out-to-the-max town. All of the above. Been here for a day now and I already don't want to leave! This place has just got the best vibe, and everyone is so happy. I can easily see why most backpackers end up stuck here for a few months, some never even leaving! Surf lessons tomorrow, beach day today and a bike hire booked for the weekend to do some exploring down the coast. Watched the sun rise over the beach this morning with a local coffee in hand, life is definitely good. Very good.
All in all it's been an incredible adventure so far! I can't believe this is actually my life sometimes, it seems too good to be true. So doing my best to just live in the moment and make the most of every second, because I know time will just keep flying by. Can't wait to see what else is in store before I hit Sydney, this trip just keeps surprising me with possibilities :)