Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Brisbane to Cairns...

Road Trip 2: Sydney to Brisbane:

We left on Easter weekend, destination Brisbane via the beautiful East Coast on another road trip. It was not to be as epic as our first mammoth journey across Australia, but, it was to be yet another little cracker. Our travel companions; Ayse and Dan, a couple from Southampton that we actually met way back in October in Halong Bay, Vietnam are great fun and full of life. It really is a small world full of surprises. The east coast is all about the beaches, they have some beautiful tranquil spots with a host of water sports always on offer. We first went to a place called Caves beach, the waves were really crashing in and we were welcomed in by the local life guards who were celebrating Easter in their little social club by the beach. Great stuff, I was called a POMIE all night but it was worth it as they fed us up well with plenty of fresh prawns and beer all night...they loved us really. I remember going back to our tent that night and looking up at the sky, it was flickering with lights in the distance; a storm was heading our way and building it's rage as it swept across the sea. We watched with nervous anticipation, as the storm edged closer and the sound, the rumble of thunder got louder and louder. And then quiet...the storm was right over us. We all held our breath and looked at each other, and then without warning a gust of gale force wind picked up our tent and almost blew us over. The power was unrelentless; lightning strikes, torrential rain, gale force wind...I loved it.

We traveled further up north to a place called Seal Rocks, and the beach was a little bit special. I tried surfing for the first time here and spent most of the day trying to just stay on the board never mind catching a wave. I got talking to a guy whilst we were waiting for a wave and asked him if any sharks came here, and he told me a couple of Tiger sharks patrol this area and are regularly seen. He even said I might see one today. I wished I'd have never even asked him that question as I realised how far I had drifted; I was right out with all the big boy's and the realisation quickly dawned on me that I would be the last one out of the water if a shark was sighted. We made our way up north and passed through Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Arakon before arriving at the beautiful coastal city of Coffs Harbour. We where almost half way to Brisbane now and had camped in some very remote stretches of beach. We arrived at one of my favourite places, Byron Bay on the 11th April. It has a cool hippie vibe, and everyone is concerned with having a good time. We went on a lovely coastal walk up to Cape Byron, battling through the elements to be greeted with a stunning panorama view of the Bay and of a Pod of dolphins swimming in the current below us. In my opinion it is so much better than Surfers Paradise; a place that is commercial and over hyped. We had a great week traveling up to Brisbane, it was yet another week on the road waking up to new landscapes and experiences every day...It is definitely the core to a man's living spirit.

Caves Beach

Beautiful beach of Seal Rocks...

First ever attempt at surfing

Another beautiful beach on the east coast...

Nobody but us was on this secluded stretch of beach at Bundjalung NP

View from Cape Byron

Windy on Cape Byron

You can just make out the Pod of Dolphins playing in the surf

Brisbane to Carins and the Great Barrier Reef...

The only good thing about Brisbane was beating Everton in the FA Cup Semi-Final and watching it with a load of scousers that I had met in South East Asia. The weather was grim everyday and me and Laura were feeling the pace of being on the raod. So we decided on heading up to Carins and the Great Barrier Reef, the cheapest and quickest way and that was to fly directly to Cairns and catch a return flight back to Brisbane in order to get our international flight out to NZ on May 2nd.

The humidity was the first thing that hit us when we got off the plane, the heat was intense but lovely. We spent the next few days taking it easy, enjoying the heat and after a couple of days the sunshine. I knew right then we made the right decision in coming up to Cairns, it is a place to relax and take it easy. We booked our Barrier Reef trip and I ended up securing a good deal which included two dives on the outer reef. The day was beautiful, sunny and so calm. We arrived at Moore Reef and I got set up for my dives. The dives where great but I expected more. To be honest the snorkeling is better, since all the life and colour is in the first 4-6 meters. We dived at around 16 meters, although it was a great experience, the the visibility was poor. So after both dives I indulged in some top notch Snorkeling observing a host of beautiful and colourful coral, graciously flowing in the current and glistening in the sunlight. I love to swim with the fish and watch them carry on  with their daily lives, chasing one another, prodding and eating the coral and cruising happily past me completely at ease with human's a surreal experience.

Australia was a pleasure, so diverse and so massive that it has it all; landscape, wildlife, culture, sport and much more. We spent 3 months traveling around and never even came close to seeing it all. It is definitely a place I will go to again. Next destination is New Zealand, a place of so many scenic wonders and a drop in at least 30 degrees, which means I will be swaping my 'boardies' for 'longy's' for the first time in 10 months.

Let's have it !!!

On route to the outer Great Barrier Reef

Getting ready for my first dive on the reef

Waterfall in Cairns