Blowpipe survived!!! I bloody told her it would. *Wanker* that's what the Ozzies say to everything. We got to Cairns and found out that we had been upgraded from a 10 bed dorm to an 8 bed dorm (which was also populated by Swedish girls) Score!! Unfortunately they all moved out the next day and were replaced by guys. Anna was pleased. We decided on travelling around Oz via a Spaceship Campervan. Each one has a name so you can recognise it, ours was Ground Control so from now on I will refer to it as Bowie!! Bowie was bright orange as you can see and a bit smaller than we imagined but it turned out to be a very good way of getting around. Our first stop was to be a loooong drive into the outback to see the Lava Tubes in Undara. On our way there we stayed in a free campsite (there are quite a few around and saved us a lot of money) but they have little in the way of amenities. It was also raining when we arrived so we had to cook our nice $3 steaks holding an umbrella. A little later on a lady came over, there were only 2 other vans here and it was pitch black, to introduce herself. "Whats a Spaceship" were her first words in an Ozzie accent. I wish I had replied "greetings earthling". She then went on to call us Pommes and when Anna asked her how to start a fire she came out with "What do you mean how do you start a fire?? You light a bit of bloody paper!!" All respect for us was gone and she went off to talk to the other van. Very funny indeed. (Anna does a great impression of all of these lines). The lava tubes were very interesting and one of our highlights of Queensland. Set in the outback we got to not only see the caves but lots of wildlife (our first Roo's) and did a few treks around. They also had a free night surfari which was good and we got to see a snake. We left the next day only for me to hit a Roo with the van. Couldn't believe it, came out of nowhere. I wasn't going fast though so hopefully it was ok (the van was fine). When then made our way slowly down to Airlie Beach which is quite a way from Cairns. Anna and I had originally thought, on first starting our journey, that OZ wasn't as big as everyone was making out. This was a mistake that I learned from a few long days driving. When we got to Airlie beach the weather was awful, so our plan of sailing the Whitsundays looked a no go. So we stayed a night to see if the weather would clear up, which it didn't and had decided to leave and miss it all together!! Fortunately we had a change of heart whilst driving and headed back to book our trip. We booked ourselves onto "Summertime", which was a lovely old boat which we managed to get a lot cheaper than it was advertised for. The boat itself was wicked, it could hold upto 16 passengers, however only 12 turned up. This meant lots of left over food for me and Anna to gorge on. I swear i have never eaten so much in my life, they literally begged me to take 2nds and 3rds (i didn't need to be asked twice after Anna's tight budget). So back to the weather... as I said it was raining quite a lot, which was a reason for us nearly not doing it, and the day we left it rained quite a lot. After a 2 hour boat ride out to the Islands, we then went Kayaking (after a massive lunch I might add) and saw stingrays and Anna managed to spot a massive turtle swimming under our Kayak. (I was doing all the paddling as usual, she was on the look out for Animals!!!). It rained the whole time, although it didn't spoil it as it would have been too hot in the sun and def too much hard work for me lol. The next day the Captain (Cookie, no idea why) had planned to head to Whitehaven beach on account of the weather turning nicer. We were all hopefully and it turned out to be a gloriously sunny day and the beach looked amazing (although a little battered as a cyclone had hit it a few weeks prior). The morning over breakfast we all sat around the boat and watched sea turtles come to the surface for air. An amazing sight. That day I also did my first dive. It was a try dive so I didn't get any qualifications, but still got to see lots of fish, Nemo included. All in all it was an amazing trip and we had both eaten enough for us not to worry about food the whole trip. The boat was full of really nice people, oh and I was the only one to see a Dolphin (albeit from a distance).
After the Whitsundays we decided that we wanted to get down to south of Brisbane to Byron bay and Surfers paradise for some sun, then head back to Brisbane for a few days. Byron bay was really nice and we ended up staying a day extra. When we first got there we stumbled across a cool weekend market and we quickly found that this place was a hippie town. Really cool, laid back place. It also has some nice walks and we went to the most easterly point in the whole of Australia. After Byron bay we headed to Surfers Paradise. This place is Cheeeeeeesey. Lots of places for drunken westerners to hang out, shop, drink and eat. The beaches were nice but the waves here were amazing. Absolutely massive and I got "washboarded" by a few of them a couple of times. All good fun. Anna would only go out to knee deep and I don't blame her after Nha Trang!! Here we decided to stay at a proper campsite as well because it was our last few nights in the van and we needed a nice HOT shower (we had just been showering in cold ones by the sea, not fun!!) and a good BBQ. It turned out to be a little masterchef campsite, where everyone competed to cook the most extravagant meal. First off a girl cooked a measly soup out of a can, next we had 2 guys cooking steak and potatoes ("bah i cooked that on my first night") then Anna and i came in with Super Burgers with all the toppings and Sweetcorn, and whatever else we could find. The in came this couple who were waiting for everyone else to finish. God knows what they cooked but it looked good!! All very funny with only Anna and I knowing it was a competition!!!! (basically we were mocking everyone...it wasn't actually a competition!!). The next day we headed back up to Brisbane via a Koala sanctuary, which only had 2 Koala's, to hand back "Bowie". This was a very emotional day and we will miss him greatly, but for now it is back to dorms. Camper van......DONE!!