Rottnest Island

My last weekend in Australia I spent on Rottnest Island together with three German girls. It’s a beautiful island with the cute quokkas jumpping around everywhere. The early Dutch explorers mistook the quokkas for giant rats and that’s why we today now the island by the name Rottnest Island (Rotte Nest meaning rat nest). Long before the Europeans came to Australia the Island was inhabited by Aboriginal people, until the rising sea levels seperated the island from the mainland of Western Australia, about 7,000 years ago. The aboriginals know the island by the name Wadjemup, meaning “Place across the water”.

It’s easy to get into holiday mood when you come to the island and it’s a great place for biking, since there are barley no motor vehicles on the island. Let me show you some pictures, first up the quokkas, the stars of the island 😀IMG_6866IMG_6932But the quokkas are not allowed in the supermarket 😛 This makes me wonder if the Australians really think the quokkas are able to understand signs, or if it’s just their kind of humour.IMG_6862This tree shows some real survival skills.IMG_6877There are several salt lakes on the island.IMG_6878Eager to get down to the beach for a refreshing swim.IMG_6887IMG_6896Wondering where to put our tents.where to put the tentEvening walk along the shore.IMG_6942This beautiful grasshopper had been sleeping under our tent and when we were packing our stuff together he got exposed and a raven saw his chance for an early breakfast, it’s a hard world out there.IMG_6947Biking time 🙂IMG_6978IMG_6994Along the way we made stops for some swimming in the clear waters, this is in little Salmon Bay.IMG_6966The “Shark” shipwreck in Porpoise Bay.IMG_6949Sometimes life is pretty good 😛swimmingIMG_6975Pinky Beach.IMG_7021

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Darwin

In Darwin I only stayed a couple of days, because it was way too hot and humid for my liking. One thing I really enjoyed though, was the beautiful sunsets and the Mindl Beach night market, which have yummy food from all corners of the world. IMG_5293In Darwin you are always close to the sea, but you should be careful where you swim since crocodiles might hang around. IMG_5290IMG_5342IMG_5331Beautiful flowering tree.IMG_5333The flowers can also work as a lovely natural ring.IMG_5345I also went to the outdoor cinema. Watching a movie under the stars was a different but very enjoyable experience.IMG_5299People waiting for the sunset at Mindl Beach. Some people brought tables, chairs and food, others just brought a bottle of beer or wine, but I’m pretty sure everybody brought their cameras. IMG_5313After the sunset people started clapping, that was how good it was!IMG_5262Another sunset.IMG_5279Also nice views when walking back to the hostel.

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On the Daintree River I spotted my first wild croc

IMG_5066The Daintree Rain Forest is the oldest continuous rain forest in the world. It’s situated north of Cairns and it’s a nice area to go for walks or just relax.IMG_5136 IMG_5144IMG_5107IMG_5157IMG_5145 IMG_5152IMG_5153IMG_5140Poor koala.IMG_5103Stayed the night at PK’s Jungle Village.IMG_5165Found a stall for bananas, just put your coins in the little box and take your pick.IMG_5075A wheelbarrow full of coconuts 😀IMG_5120Cape Tribulation.IMG_5160IMG_5099IMG_5112IMG_5116IMG_5126 Mossman Gorge.IMG_5182IMG_5187IMG_5169IMG_5198

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Butterflies in Kuranda

When I was in Cairns I took a bus to Kuranda for the day. Kuranda is a village situated in the middle of the rain forest, about one hour bus ride from Cairns. Kuranda hosts a well known market, but the main reason I went there, was because I wanted to visit the Butterfly Sanctuary, which is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia. IMG_5254The market.IMG_5257And now some butterflies!Orange LacewingIMG_5227Ulysses ButterflyUlysses Butterfly. IMG_5201 Orange Lacewing.IMG_5202IMG_5208Cruiser.IMG_5213The Red Lacewing liked my shoe.IMG_5214Orchard Swallowtail.IMG_5218IMG_5223IMG_5241IMG_5243At lunch break I had these friends to keep me company. Two local kids also came over to tell me the names of each lizard 🙂IMG_5245IMG_5246Also had a nice, relaxing walk in the surrounding areas.IMG_5248IMG_5252

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Mission Beach

IMG_4924The rain is coming. Dunk Island can be seen in the picture below, to the right.IMG_4925IMG_4928IMG_4960I went looking for the Cassowary, but unfortunately I didn’t find it.IMG_3758The only place where I was lucky enough to find one, was in the Australia Zoo 😛 It sure is an interesting animal. Take a look at the colourful head and the horn on the head. Not to speak of the giant feet and legs. They have large and sharp claws to defend themselves with if they feel threatened, so you don’t want to mess with them. But you don’t have to be afraid of them either, they are very shy and peaceful animals, that tend to keep away from humans. IMG_4964But I did find some nice rain forest.IMG_4955IMG_4954IMG_4950IMG_4962IMG_4931And some pretty big spiders. In the pictures it’s hard to see how big they are, but the bigger one’s were more or less the size of my hand. That’s with the legs of the spider, their bodies were actually quite small.IMG_4972 IMG_4978 IMG_4973IMG_4989Mission Beach is also where I did my skydive. I tried to upload a video, but didn’t succeed. So you just have to take my word for it, when I say it was an amazing experience!

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Magnetic Island

I spent a little bit over a week on beautiful Magnetic Island or “Maggie” as she is lovingly referred to by the locals. As so many before me, I came under Maggies’s spell, and found it hard to leave. Here are a few pictures from my stay.IMG_4526View over Magnetic Island from the top of Castle Hill in Townsville.IMG_4557Horseshoe Bay.IMG_4561IMG_4588IMG_4570Birdie forgot to read the sign and tried to squeeze in underneath the door, didn’t succeed.IMG_4602Hanging out with Charlie.IMG_5766Shadow.IMG_4605Having a special moment with Shadow.IMG_4622Echidna.IMG_5761Mango for breakfast, yum!IMG_5762IMG_4635IMG_4644Blue-tongued lizard.IMG_4653Oh my gosh, there is something on my head!IMG_4664Koala cuddle, best cuddle I’ve had in a long time! IMG_4676 Mother with baby.IMG_4681This koala is a wild one that likes to hang out around the hostel. No one knows why he’s sleeping in a palm tree, normally they sleep in eucalyptus trees, so they can take a bite if they get hungry.IMG_4667Working on my discomfort around snakes.

Funny fact: In Australia you are not allowed to have people hold snakes if the snake has ever bitten someone, but you are allowed to have people hold koalas even if they have bitten people before… Hey, where is the equality(?!).IMG_5765IMG_4680IMG_5782IMG_4684Arthur’s Bay.IMG_4711Did the fortress walk and got some lovely views.IMG_4725Also got to see a wild koala with a baby. Magnetic Island is often referred to as the koala capital because it has a big and thriving koala population.IMG_4751When out walking on the island you encounter a lot of small lizards.IMG_4772IMG_4777IMG_4833IMG_4852IMG_4861IMG_4734Magnetic Island was the place where I got into diving. I did my open water course on the island. This picture is just before my second dive as a certified diver out on the Great Barrier Reef, the guy to the right is my guide. And what do we learn from this picture, never ever try to smile with your mask on 😛 just spare your friends from that sight.

I also went on a day trip to do two dives at the SS Yongala shipwreck. This dive site is rated among the top dive sites in the world, so I got spoiled already from the beginning. It was absolutely amazing, close to unreal, I wish I would have had a camera with me, now I just have to keep it in my memory. If anyone is interested, you can have a look at this youtube video to get an idea about the dive site, and what you might be able to see there.IMG_4864Got to see a wild Echidna, happy!IMG_4866These birds, Bush Stone-Curlew, often kept me up during the night because of their haunting and mournful cries, unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. IMG_4887 Feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets.IMG_4901IMG_5805Two Common Ringtail Possums hanging out on the kitchen roof, waiting to see if there is any leftovers or unattended food. I almost lost my dinner when I went back into the kitchen to get some salt and pepper 😛IMG_5784I went horseback riding on the island, this is Bronson and me. First we rode through the bush down to the beach, saw some wallabies and eagles along the way. Then we rode along the beach for a while. After that, came the best part. We changed into swimmers, took the saddles of the horses and rode into the sea, absolutely wonderful!IMG_5755Beautiful tiny seashells.

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Sailing in the Whitsundays

I went on a two-day sailing trip in the Whitsundays. IMG_4258IMG_4276Our boat was called Broomstick.IMG_4343IMG_4283Whitehaven Beach was absolutely stunning, the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen!IMG_4304IMG_4300IMG_4313IMG_4331IMG_4340The swimming was excellent, just had to look out for the stingrays hanging around in the shallow waters.IMG_4370Birdie stealing a free ride 😛IMG_4348Eagle.IMG_4379Saw so many whales so I lost count of them. I never get tired of watching these magnificent creatures.IMG_4361IMG_4358Mother with a calve.IMG_4497IMG_4391This one waved goodbye when we left, how polite! 😀IMG_4443Beautiful evening on the boat.IMG_4455One of the places where we made a stop for some snorkeling.IMG_4493Thankful for these two days filled with beautiful memories!

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