Sunday, 20 November 2016

July 2016 - Australia - Cairns (Part 2)

Long time no see! Finally going to complete my recap of my trip to Aussie this past July. I've been super duper busy with since I started 3rd year of med school. The time I spend in the hospital is longer than working hours, and I still need to study after I come home. I still spend time keeping up with kpop, but that's all.

Day 4 - 23Jul2016

Arrival at Cairns! Their airport is tiny haha. We booked a shuttle to a hostel through backpackers so we got it cheap (5AUD per person each way), then had to walk a short distance from the hostel to our lodgings, Sunshine Towers. It's like an apartment so nobody mans the counter after office hours and we had to intercom to someone for the code to the safe with our keys and instructions.
The room is pretty and serviceable but it lacks a hair dryer which is such a bother!

We went to explore and grab dinner after that. We later found out the esplanade area is the only place with life in the whole city. Everywhere else was deserted! We ate at Salt House, which was a really huge and pretty atas place. My friend and I shared tiger prawns and salmon which were super satisfying.

Day 5 - 24Jul2016

We woke up super early to see the sunrise at the coast, which was supposed to be at 645. But the mountains were blocking the sunrise so we didn't manage to see it properly, but it was still so pretty!!

We stopped for breakfast at the only place available, then continued to Marlin wharf. We were supposed to be at berth 18 but there was no boat there and we freaked out. We had to ask around and got directed us to reef experience. So apparently the boat for Compass Cruises broke so we got transferred. Uhh they should have told us via an email or something.
Anyway, we became the last 2 passengers on the register, safety numbers 89 and 90. Got our masks and wetsuits and flippers before settling down. The boat was pretty small and squeezy and we had to share the table with 2 other people since each table is made for 4 people. But the people with us were pretty cool!

Went out to the deck to relax cos its calming and breezy.

Reached the first location and wore our wetsuits and queued up to snorkel. I can swim so I thought snorkelling would be a breeze, but the moment I went in, there was water in my mask so I started drinking seawater and really panicked. Someone came to save me and I was told to have an assisted snorkel tour with someone so my friend & I + another girl hung onto a float and one of the crew pulled us. Which was a really good experience cos she went quite far so we saw some pretty cool things! And it was so relaxing cos we didn't have to do any work haha.
But the crew member can't pull us all the time so we ventured out on our own, with the help of the trusty noodle haha.

We were in the last group for scuba diving and got geared up and everything. The weights are super heavy and the bag with the tank is also super heavy. And I nearly died here because the ear pressure was way too much for me, no matter how much I tried to pop my ears. And then I started getting water in my breathing equipment and I stupidly removed the mouthpiece instead of blowing out like we were supposed to. So I panicked and swum to the top. Then I went back down and the exact same thing happened so I gave up. 
My friend did stay underwater and got some nice pics, though she nearly died too haha.

After that, there was a second reef location to snorkel but my friend and I were too traumatised and tired so we just changed and went to the deck to suntan, relax & sleep! Oh and I was too nauseous from the experience so I couldn't stomach any lunch even though food was provided.
My definition of paradise.

Back on shore, we went back to the hotel to clean up then went to get dinner and check out the night markets! We ended up having dinner at some food court-esque place at the night markets. Probably the cheapest meal we had there.

The markets were very asian-y. Also, there are loads of Japanese tourists here and this place really caters to Japanese, with translations of certain stuff in Japanese and some places even accepting yen. I wonder why...

After dinner, we went to explore the streets behind the main street near the Esplanade, and it was still really Asian-y haha. Ended the day with some ice cream :)

Day 6 - 25Jul2016
Beach hopping day!

Had breakfast at Pete and Paulz breakfast bar. I had pancakes which were super fluffy and quite nice.

Then walked over to Cairns central to board bus 111 to the first beach, Trinity beach! SUPER PRETTY.

Boarded 111 to continue to the next beach, Kawarra beach, which looked...similar haha.

And it was SUPER ULU. Private residential areas around it, and we had to wait for the bus in some random street among the residential areas, in the hot sun!!

And that was just the bus to get out of that place, and we had to wait at the highway busstop for bus 110 to Palm Cove. The bus took forever. We spent about 2h waiting for buses that day haha.

We finally reached Palm Cove but the sun was already setting.

It was definitely the place with most 'life' and shops. We ended up at Neptune's and I got a roast pork belly with cider & apple sauce with fries which was super super delicious.

Day 7 - 26Jul2016
We woke up at 3am to get ready for hot air ballooning!! The bus was on time and the driver was this chirpy Japanese man whose English I couldn't understand lol. It was about an hour drive to the take off site and it was really cool seeing the balloons being set up.

We were in the second flight so we had to do the balloon chase where the bus will chase the balloon cos no one knows where it'll land.

From the bus we took a trailer into the fields to board! The ride was 30min in total and it was super relaxing up there with nice views. I think this is a perfect activity for old people haha.

Oh the fire in the balloon is super hot it felt like my head was getting burnt.
We helped to pack the balloon, then another 1h ride back to the city.

It was late morning by then so we headed to Grafton Street which has a lot of cafes and we picked a random one we saw on buzzfeed to have brunch. I ordered a make your own brekky which was 2 poached eggs and 2 sourdough and I added salmon and chats. The poached egg was meh cos it was sour but the rest were good.

Our next stop was Cairns Central to shop! But it wasn't very fantastic for shopping so we walked to the esplanade area to get ice cream, and then the boardwalk area to talk and bird-watch. The pelicans are very fascinating! They look really ugly while sitting but so majestic and beautiful when they spread their wings.

Dinner was at an atas place called Vivaldi and I got 2 entrees - tandoori prawns and mushrooms stuffed with chicken & bacon with hollandaise sauce. Super nice!!! Then I was ambitious and ordered a choc tart with ice cream for dessert and failed to finish it :(

That's the end since the whole of the next day was spent flying. I don't think there are any direct flights from Perth to Singapore so we had to stopover at Sydney. Which was a good thing cos we could grab lunch at the airport since we took Scoot which doesn't serve meals.

Post-trip comments
This was one of the craziest holidays I've ever gone on. From skydiving to scuba diving to hot air ballooning. Very expensive, but all were worth it imo. I'm up for more crazy adrenaline pumping activities next!

I headed to Hong Kong a couple of days after this trip so I'll be blogging about that next. No time to watch dramas recently :( I was half done with The Good Wife before school hit me so I'm looking to complete that soon....and a couple of other dramas recently piqued my interest like Me Wife Will Have An Affair This Week (mainly for BoA) and Romantic Dr Teacher Kim (I hate medical dramas cos they're so grossly inaccurate but I love the leads...)
My next holiday will be 2 weeks in December so hope I can catch up then. It'd have been 19 weeks without a holiday then :O