Thursday, July 9, 2009

Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and Great Ocean Road

Well since the last post we've seen some of the iconic sights of Australia.
From Cairns we got on a 3 day liveaboard diving trip out on the Barrier Reef. We had an early start the first day (well every day actually), we were collected at 6am and by the time we got our diving gear and sailed out to the reef, we were ready for our first dive at 11am, and 2 more after that. We were supposed to have a night dive the first night but because of strong currents we weren't able to. That meant 5 dives on the second day and to be honest it was tough going, but we really enjoyed it. It was our first time diving without a dive guide and we only got lost twice! But we did managed to make our way back to the boat on our own without having to get the 'tow of shame' from the dinghy. Over the course of the 3 days we did 11 dives in total, spent 442 minutes underwater and managed to spot 8 sharks, 5 turtles and a huge variety of little fish and some amazing coral. We also did our first night dive, which was a little bit wierd at first but amazing once we got into it. We're now qualified as Advanced Open Water Divers.

After all that excitement we caught a flight to Darwin, to see Kakadu. Kakadu is a 22,000 square mile National Park. The whole park is a huge flood plain with one elevated plateau running through it. During the wet season a lot of Kakady is under water and most of it is unaccessible. The rain that falls on top of the plateau then flows over the edge creating some amazing waterfalls. Some of them had dreid up by the time we were there because the dry season had started, but the ones that we did get to see were fairly impressive. We got to swim in some beautiful plunge pools and waterfall gorges. We did a few treks up to the top of the plateau to look out over some of the amazing scenery. At some of the falls we were only able to swim at the top because there was a chance of crocodiles in the water below!

Speaking of crocodiles, the first part of the trip included a jumping crocodile cruise, where they lured the crocodiles to jump out of the water by dangling meat over the side of the boat.

We spent the two nights sleeping under the stars. The first night we slept in swags. They're basically big waterproof sleeping bags that you put your actual sleeping bags in. The creepy crawlies weren't too bad but you'd never realise how much noise little mosquitoes can make when they're buzzing in your ear.

The second night the mozzies were worse so we pitched a tent.

We took part in an Aboriginal Cultural Experience too, and we both tried our arms at spear throwing and playing the digeridoo.

From a very hot Darwin (35 degrees) we flew to Adelaide in the opposite end where we were greeted with 10 degree cold. Bit of a shock to the system! Adelaide was actually quite like home. It was all green fields as we flew in, and with the grey misty weather, windy roads and cold we did get a little bit homesick. We spent a whole day driving to get to the start of the Great Ocean Road. The following day we started along the road, stopping off at all the major sights.

All the main attractions/formations were at the start of the drive and after that you could have been driving around the Dingle Penisula. It was just like any other coastal road we have at home.

We hit Melbourne then and we've been here for the last 3 days. We're staying with James and Kate, the Australian couple we met in Asia and James has been showing us some of the sights here in between shopping! Having great fun.

Jan and Paul


  1. Your journey looks amazing...we all miss ye at home but that is a once in a life time trip and ye are certainly making the most of it.
    The time is flying by

    talk soon


  2. found you! It all looks amazing you will have scrapping photos for ever from it all!
    Talk soon


  3. hi paul and jan.
    you both have turned into right little water babies. photos are amazing.cant believe ye are nearly finished in australia. so much has happened since mum and dad were there. best thing is the arrival of our beautiful niece lizzie. she is so adorable. ul have to come on skype all the time now to see her.
    miss ye loads and loads and loads
    stay safe
    lots of love, caroline

  4. Hey Jan & Fossie.....I don't know why I bother looking at this, I am always so so jealous after!!!! Am sitting here on a Friday night, looking out at the rain, reading about ye on tropical beaches, fancy boats & seeing some of the most aazing sites in the world. Am glad ye are taking so many pictures, as sometimes I feel like I am there. Cant believe ye were diving with sharks. You know what I am like about them - have watched every documentary ever made about them. Since you are getting so used to sleeping rough & under the stars, can I have your bed...well your mattress...I love it.
    Matthew well. Started creche last wednesday. Still getting used to it & picking up everything going!!! He is walking mad these days.... will have to buy him shoes soon. Saw a photo of Lizzie. She is a cutie. Matthew could be knocking on her door in about 30yrs!!!!
    Miss ye both talk soon. Mags.
    (I will keep facebook updated with Matthew pics)