…where treasures lie around, a diving licence is a necessity and koalas stink
My first working week in Australia ended with a holiday, which meant that all shops were closed and therefore my whole team was free at the same time. We used this day to visit one of Australia’s highlights together. We set out on a speed boat to the Great Barrier Reef with many other backpackers. Fortunately, I was well prepared because my first-aid kit also contained pills to help against seasickness. However, I was pretty much the only one and just minutes later, half of the passengers and the crew sat at the edge of the boat with puke bags.
When the boat stopped, we got ready to dive. While you have to get a diving license elsewhere and learn how to breathe properly for days, a short instruction was enough in Australia. Squeezed into a diving suit, with an oxygen bottle on my back, I found myself at the end of the boat, listening to the last instructions of the guide. The most important thing was not to get hectic under water, he said. But when I suddenly began to sink, couldn’t get any air under water and saw no chasm under me, I naturally panicked. After three failed attempts, I decided for the lighter option: snorkelling. The creators of “Finding Nemo” did really not exaggerate. With my face under water I let myself be taken away by the natural flow of the sea and a whole new world appeared right underneath me. Colourful fish and corals as far as I could see. Time flew by. Back on the boat, the crew had prepared a real Aussie BBQ for us before we went ashore again. I started to like Australia more with every day.
From now on I used my days off to explore the surroundings of Cairns because there was really a lot to see. Starting with the breathtaking beaches of Port Douglas or Palm Cove, the beautiful Millaa Millaa waterfalls, which every backpacker has on his list for an obligatory photo, and the Hot Springs which will warm you up afterwards. In the Kuranda Rainforest Station I met the first Australian kangaroos and koalas. And even if koalas look so sweet, their smell really is not. The Aborigines of Australia also introduced us to their traditional tribal dances that day and afterwards invited us to a dance battle which I won by beating Japan and China. What a triumph! Back to Cairns, we took an old train past the Barron Falls from where we had an enchanting view of landscape.
In the rainforest of Mossman Gorge I had a rather different experience with animals. The famous waterhole for bathing was too crowded for me and my backpacker friends and so we decided to swim in a smaller, more remote spot. It quickly became clear to us why we were alone here. With a big splash a giant snake got in the water and swam towards us . We ran through the rainforest in our bikinis, screaming our heads off and almost stepped on the next snake, which had made itself comfortable on the sidewalk. What a sight and certainly enough excitement for one day.