We were staying at Gilligans- which was basically a party resort complete with a huge pool, a few different bar areas and events each night (usually wet T-shirt contests, jelly wrestling or pole dancing comps... Definitely helping all the strides women have made towards equality!).
The first night was a talent show but unfortunately Rachel couldn't find a hula hoop and I didn't trust myself to juggle bar glasses so we refrained from entering. Then we danced our hearts out to mambo number 5 and cotton eyed joe before dancing our way up to our beds. To the Rachels surprise I sang in my sleep (loud enough to wake people up) and we decided that should've been my talent during the talent show.
The next day we did some sightseeing around Cairns, checked out the lagoon and did a bit of shopping. It rained most of the day but that didn't stop us from frolicking in the pool like 5 year olds while everyone else drank at the bar.
The next day we went to Green Island, where we spent the afternoon sitting on the beach and snorkelling part of the Great Barrier Reef. It was a pretty choppy boat ride and the majority of people on the boat were getting sick... Mainly the people directly behind us and it was both disgusting and comical. We jumped up the second we could make our way off the boat and then posted up on the beach to settle our stomachs a bit. There were signs everywhere saying not to feed the birds (which the Rachels pointed out to me since I spent the majority of our time in Bondi feeding seagulls), but that didn't stop the birds. While we sat there eating our gourmet PB&J sandwiches the little birds prowled in and actually jumped on me to get some lunch. They probably could tell out of the three of us that I was the biggest sucker for animals and most likely to feed them.
Against our tour guides suggestion, we decided to attempt snorkelling at 12:30. This was exactly when he said not to because the tide would be super low- so we became beached whales in the sand during our attempts to snorkel. Eventually we gave up for a bit but when we went out later it was much better- actually seeing coral and lots of different fishies. We were looking forward to saying g'day to a turtle (as the promo video on the boat told us to) but we didn't see any until we were boarding the boat to leave. We also entertained ourselves way too much by roaring like Cassius (the worlds biggest croc in captivity). I don't even remember how it started but it continued for the rest of the trip.
After that we took the boat back to Cairns and then we had a super fun night of partying at Gilligans. At one point we began roaring like a crocodile but the Rachels were super loud just as a group of guys were going by! Needless to say they stared at us with terror and ran off before we could explain we were just getting ready for jelly wrestling. (We didn't actually jelly wrestle although I think we might've had a good shot at winning).
The next day we rented a car and hit the road. The guy we rented from told us to "drive it like it's stolen mate!" so we did just that... and spent too much time laughing about it and making up ridiculous scenarios that could be written off by insurance. Damn bogans!
Like any great road trip though it started with a pit stop at macca's for an Aussie breakfast to cure the hangover. It felt so comfortable road tripping, just like we were all back in Canada and driving up to the lake for a weekend. We blasted the music and had some sing alongs while driving through some mountains and the rainforest. We made it to the Daintree rainforest to walk around, and then continued up to Cape Tribulation. The beach there was super nice but we all had a pretty eerie feeling because of the recent croc attack nearby. (Turns out that actually happened at the beach where I decided to take a topless photo... Now I seem super insensitive!). The beach was really pretty even though we were on croc watch, and then we decided to get back on the road. I gave driving a go which was confusing but fun having everything being backwards. I think I might've scared the girls a bit... But I swear I was good!
The next day Rachel M was heading to Bali so we took it easy and hung around Cairns til her evening flight. There was a really neat market with cheap food, tons of fresh fruit, and then some jewellery and touristy things for sale so we wandered that for a bit. We finished off the day with an amazing dinner from a local Korean place and said our sad goodbyes.
The next couple days Rachel G and I took it pretty easy... We did some shopping, went and saw The Jungle Book (which had me in tears way too many times), and continued our food tour. One night we sat down at a Greek restaurant that we thought would be cheap, but it ended up being $30 per meal... We didn't want to get up and leave before ordering so we decided to go for it, and just my luck - when the bill came they had only charged me $15 for mine so I was preeeetty stoked.
I also spent one day doing a dive trip in the outer Great Barrier Reef. I got to go on two dives there as well as having plenty of time to snorkel. The first dive was good but it wasn't anything unbelievable... There were five of us with a guide and we saw lots of fish, but most of the snorkellers actually saw a reef shark so we were kinda choked to have missed it. The coral here was really large/tall though so that was cool.
The second dive site we were able to go without a guide. I was partnered with another fairly new diver and we were given directions... "Swim to the right, through some different coral pillars til you reach only sand, then swim across to two more pillars, do a loop and come back the same way." It seemed easy enough and we could see the two pillars from the boat but once we were underwater it was a different story. We worked our way through the pillars and got to a sandy patch but I guess it wasn't the right one... So we swam out for a little bit but never reached the two pillars. I think both of us were a bit nervous that we were out in the middle of the open ocean so we decided to turn around and head back. At this point we saw a turtle and followed him for a little bit so that was exciting at least! As my buddy began to get low on oxygen we decided to make our way up. I still had a decent amount left but since I could snorkel after it wasn't too big of a deal. And when I went snorkeling I ended up seeing another turtle as well as a huge moray eel that had to have been at least 5 feet long. I followed them both for a little bit and then continued looking at all the other beautiful fish. This second dive spot really was amazing and lived up to what I would've thought by hearing "Great Barrier Reef". I was super happy that I went diving while I was up there (thanks mom for the extra push!).
On Monday I was flying to the Gold Coast to spend some time on the beach (surprise surprise!) and Rachel G was heading to Sydney and then back to Canada. We said our farewells and continued on our separate ways. It was so nice to meet up with them both here and get a taste of home after being away for so long. One thing that always surprises me is how easy it is to pick up where you left off when you see old friends... It doesn't matter how long it's been since you last saw them or where you are in the world, you always have a good time when you're reunited. (Amy that applies to you too 😘)
Love you girls, thanks for adding some great memories to my time in Australia! ❤️