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Our Trip We've left our jobs as banker and teacher in order to see the Southern Hemisphere. Why not?

Australia: Brisbane to Cairns

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 29 May 2009 | Views [628] | Comments [1]

We have been driving around in our campervan for about 2 1/2 weeks now and have become used to the schedule.  Wake up, eat breakfast (muesli, cereal, toast, fruit, coffee), shower (if we're in a caravan park), get on the road.  It's nice having a little home on wheels because on rainy nights we can watch a DVD and on longer road trips we can stop for lunch on our own folding table. 

We've stuck to the coast and over the past 10 days or so we've been trying to out-drive the rain that seems to be moving north.  Luckily we had left Brisbane before they experienced their worst floods in 30 years.  We also managed to avoid 4 inches of hail in the little town of Agnes Water.  However, our days have not been full of the sunshine we thought we'd find in Australia.  Our tans are suffering.

Some of the activities we've actually been willing to pay for include Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, Forest Flying, and a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  Interestingly all of these activities revolve around wildlife.  At the zoo we were able to hand feed "free range" kangaroos and pet sweet little koalas.  We saw a croc show and watched birds of prey swoop around the outdoor coliseum.  Forest flying involved a zip line and thousands of fruit bats.  As we zipped by the bats we could get face-to-face, but the real entertainment was when Pete's momentum was stopped by a nasty spiderweb.  From below I could see him kicking and screaming, but I assumed it was the bats freaking him out.  So when he got off the harness we ran to the ground and saw the biggest, scariest spider either of us had ever seen.  If that thing had been stuck to my leg while I dangled 75 feet in the air, I'd have kicked and screamed, too.

And I nearly did kick and scream during one of our hikes in the Wet Tropics area of Mission Beach.  It was meant to be a calm little day hike until I saw - ahead in the trail - a bird as tall as me with a blue head and horn.  The cassowary is an endangered bird that lives in this part of Australia, and we did not plan on seeing one during our walk.  Thank God it decided to leave the trail and not attack (which, of course, is what I was expecting it to do... it does have a horn, after all).  We saw other walkers and told them about our sighting, which managed to get back to the information center employees before we did.  It was our 15 minutes of cassowary fame.  But it didn't end there for us!  We also saw a hard-to-spot lizard that is the biggest one found in this part of Australia.  Head to tail the thing was about 5 ft.  The biggest scare was that on first sight I thought it was a snake coiled into a ball, but then it started walking into the brush and we could make out just how huge (and non-threatening) it was.  See... who needs to spend hundreds on eco-tours?!

We've seen kangaroos in the wild, too, which was our goal before coming here.  The birds are like nothing else - many mornings are started early thanks to the "laughing" kookaberra, which actually sounds like screaming monkeys.  Not a nice song.  The crazy ibis and brush turkey can be spotted everywhere and beg the way seagulls do.  I once went to use a toilet and while flusing a huge frog leapt out of the bowl.  The animals are extreme.



I was getting ready to write and just thought I`d catch up a little first. That is very cool that you got to see some of the animals and birds really in there natural habitat. I hope you two are having a good time going through the outback. Looking forward to hear all about it. It`s a warm cloudy day here so I went out and mowed the field(the horses are not doing their job). Now I`m heading out to kayack. Love you and looking forward to having you back home.

  Dad Jun 5, 2009 5:21 AM

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