02.07.2013 - 12.07.2013 20 °C
The flight from Cairns to Brisbane turned out more eventful than we would have liked when an elderly man in front of us had a seizure 10 minutes after takeoff, which meant we had to turn back to Brisbane leading to over an hours delay. The only good thing to come of our delay was some free food and drink!
We hired a campervan for a week in Cairns and picked it up the next morning - within 30kms a warning light came on the dashboard. The manual recommended going to a garage straightaway, but when we phoned the rental company they told us to not worry about it as the vehicle was old. Therefore we continued on, with the fear we would be stranded in the middle of nowhere if it did break down. We started by going to a small, touristy, market village called Kuranda just outside Cairns. The views of the surrounding countryside on the way up into the hills was impressive but the town was a bit tacky. In the afternoon we continued to Port Douglas, a posh seaside resort full of Australian families on their winter holidays and then to Mossman gorge which was a bit of a disappointment.
On our second day we headed to Cape Tribulation, but the weather was horrible with low grey cloud and rain showers all day. We had planned to climb Mt Sorrow, the biggest mountain in the cape for great views of the area but as we couldn't see the peak of it we stayed on the beach. With the weather still bad we decided to leave earlier than planned and head north to Cooktown in the afternoon.
We spent a couple of days in Cooktown; on the first we walked up Mount Cook to give fabulous views of the coast, followed by the stereotypical Aussie bbq and beers at our campsite in the lovely sunshine. On the second I had a horrific pain in my abdomen which stopped me from doing much, including walking. Alice went to the James Cook museum while I had a lie down and eventually took her advice and took 2 ibruprofen which solved the problem!
For our last 2 days in the van we went to the Atherton Tablelands region to visit the small towns and see the countryside. We were lucky enough to see platypus on 2 different days which really pleased Alice. I also had to pay a visit to a doctor as I had a horrible infection on my foot resulting in all the skin peeling off - yuck! Thankfully some antibiotics sorted it out.
Back in Cairns we spent a day on the Great Barrier Reef diving - the weather was atrocious and the company was encouraging people to come back another day if they could. As we were flying out a couple of days after we had no choice but to go on that day. The crew strongly recommended everyone took motion sickness tablets as the seas were very choppy. I was glad we both did as we were one of the few couples / groups who weren't sick on the way out! The diving was hard work as there were strong currents but we saw some incredible fish including a maori-wrasse, which was very friendly, and a turtle.
Our last day in Australia was a bit of a drag, Cairns city centre was not very exciting and it was grey and wet again, but soon enough we were back at the airport moving on to New Zealand.