Great Barrier Reef: Smurfs on holiday

As we all know, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. What they don’t tell you at school, or in the travel programmes is that you can get pretty darn sea sick there.

You can’t say we weren’t prepared… we planned thoroughly. We researched which boat to go for – modern (more stable), a catamaran (more stable), and a boat that moored onto a pontoon (to allow us to get off the boat). We researched “stinger suits” – which are basically lycra suits that cover every inch of skin on the body except the face, in order to protect against jellyfish stings. The Irukandji jellyfish is found off this part of Australia, and it is extremely poisonous – a sting can hospitalise someone and even kill them. A guy we spoke to in Cairns said it is rare for someone to be stung by one, but someone was stung around 6 weeks ago and he said he didn’t know a person could scream that loud. So being a wimp, and not wanting to die, I opted for full stinger suit protection. We were prepared in every way – sun cream, stinger suits, and boat research done. So did it pay off? Continue reading

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Cairns: Can a lizard walk on a ceiling?

A wildlife fan I am not. I have healthy respect for wildlife and would never harm it – Live and let live. But also, live and let it stay away from me. So our stay in Cairns got off to a tricky start – first our bags became infested with tiny spiders, having left them in our hostel room. We checked out of said hostel pronto, and into a much nicer hotel. We did not regret that, although interestingly the hotel had the odd lizard crawling on the ceiling. I was too afraid to walk underneath it, and my boyfriend told me not to be silly and reassured me that the lizard clearly is able to walk on the ceiling. At which point, the lizard promptly fell off the ceiling and landed with a splat on the floor. The lizard had great comic timing. It was unhurt, but it did not inspire me with confidence and I avoided walking underneath lizards for the rest of the holiday. Which is probably a good life-rule too.

Over the next few days we chilled out – it was too hot and humid to do much else! We went in the swimming lagoon on the esplanade, which is free. Continue reading

Sydney : thongs and grey pyjamas

After being in New Zealand for so long I was craving a big city, and Sydney did not disappoint. I drank in the noise, the size and the wonderful busy-ness of the city! There were cheap-eateries, internet cafes, towering offices, greasy pizzas, and, the piece de resistance… a massive Woolworths! In the UK, Woolworths – well, it’s gone into administration now – but when it was still in existence it sold toys, CDs, pic-n-mix and odds and ends. In Australia it appeared to be an actual supermarket, which was fab! We did our Christmas shopping there. Which basically meant we each bought chocolate for each other 🙂

On Christmas Day we ate a three course meal at a hotel. We had to shop around to find one that wasn’t hideously expensive. After lunch we went for a stroll to Circular Quay and saw the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House which was magnificent!

In the next few days we explored the city. Continue reading