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Travels in Down Under

Hello dears at home and abroad, the last few weeks have been associated with a lot of work, stress, illness, but also a refreshing pinch of travel. But that shouldn't be an excuse here, at most a serious excuse for my neglect of the beautiful life of an author here.

Of course I am always thinking of you and now I am ready to give you regular reports from the land of pleasure. It's best if I give you the outline of the last few weeks to keep you up to date.

My private lot
'My private lot' at Hotel Dreamtime, for rest between tours

Planned by us for the long term and really longed for, Wednesday, September 2nd, was the day we left for Cairns, Australia's most beautiful leisure metropolis. Over six days from Cairns, we had resolved undeterred to really experience everything that is to see and so we, the seven courageous men and women, took three days off work for this trip. This happened to be my first and last vacation until the Christmas holidays in the summer. With that in mind, I was able to enjoy it even the more.

On the schooner "Ocean Free"
On the schooner 'Ocean Free' before the scuba dive

The arrival with the domestic airline "Virgin Blue", the blue queen among the low-cost airlines, was relaxed, since the security guidelines are unexpectedly relaxed here as well, not much more strenuous than during a train journey within Germany. The security checks really never fail, even if you step through the security checkpoint with a belt and money. Agnes, Mario and me flew in threes: the first group of the seven-strong Cairns trek. After the usual "Hungry Jack's" visit at the airport (there was nothing else but fast food at cheap prices) and a box of chocolates (after the Swiss woman Agnes revealed her weakness for the dessert "Mooren im Hemd") after a short, cloud-free flight we were quick at the small-town airport of Cairns, where you run around on the airfield instead of over ramps and airport halls. After Matthias introduced us to the, like everything in Australia, spacious but beautiful port city of Cairns, we fell into what is probably the most beautiful hostel bed in all of Australia right next to the pool and hammocks between palm trees and lianas: the Hostel Dreamtime.

The sharks of the Outer Reef
The sharks of the Outer Reef

The first day was marked by the bluest sea sights of the world's oceans. In the glorious sunshine, not a single cloud accompanied our trip to the Outer Reef, the lagoons and reefs with the richest animal species. Believe it or not, a third of all animal species in the world's oceans can be found here in the smallest of spaces. We were spoiled with rich breakfast on the boat together with other 10 sailors: chocolate muffins, tea and coffee. You quickly got to know the passengers in a very small space, as actually all people in Australia are open and approachable. Probably because everyone follows their own dreams here.

Our delicious dinner
Our delicious dinner with homemade iceberg lettuce

Unfortunately, since the day before, I've had a flu, which didn't leave me during the trip. That's why I decided to take a step back and let Agnes and Mario do the scuba diving down to a depth of 20m. The diving instructors did everything to facilitate pressure adjustment and underwater navigation, unfortunately during our walk (our robinsonade) on the deserted Green Island we missed the next dive where we would have taken our underwater pictures with an underwater camera borrowed from the Swiss. The underwater world could also be experienced just as well through the snorkeling sessions in front of the green island: not only reefs and giant fish and crabs swam around us constantly, but a colony of sharks turned their circles around our tense heads. But the sharks were by no means out for trouble, they fled into the water when we jumped in. We enjoyed the return at the scorching sun and with the sails wide open, having fruit, cheese and wine served by the crew. All in all one of the best experiences out here, because the sea, I tell you, is many times bluer than the well-known Baltic Sea. We sweetened the evening with a dinner prepared by master chef Mario.

Riiiverrafting - brave as hell into the gorges of the Tully River

What we encountered on the second day was of particularly breathtaking and terrifying danger. A river rafting tour with Matthias, who joined us from that day on. Our combat force consisted of an Australian couple who were having the experience of a lifetime for their honeymoon. We chose the particularly hard stage of the Tully River, 4 hours drive away, whose flow is one of the fastest at stage three to four. A few more or less unwanted washouts into the water and some water fights with the neighboring boats later we arrived, the clothes still soaked at the lower end. With our German mind, we managed the route the most unspectacular but most reliable of all boats. This is where the greatest films were made, it will be worth a video evening when I return, talk to me about it! ^^ Apart from the wild animals on the Tully River, the main danger was not to crash into the rocks. Bell, our Australian local patriot, who always knows how to inspire us, spoke of four deaths last year.

Kuranda with the old scenic railway
Kuranda with the old scenic railway

What can I say - the next few days we took it easy. On Saturday we took the Scenic Railway through the mining gorges marked by Australia's first settlements and worker camps. Here we drove through Barron Falls, one of the USA's Niagara Falls of beauty, if not the same size. The Scenic Railway, one of Australia's oldest trains, stopped at prominent points and took us up to Kurandatown, which neighbors the Tablelands. Here we strolled through marketplaces of handcrafted and Aboriginal carved wares (the art exceeded the dollars of our wallets) in the brightest sunshine, and took the Jungle and Riverwalk via the more idyllic sleepy Kuranda.

Seaside town of Port Douglas
Seaside town of Port Douglas

In the evening there was an open-air barbecue, as you know it from Australia at least three times a week, because in Cairns there were also a bunch of open-air barbecues on the pretty Esplanade, surrounded by crocodiles and played by live bands at night. Why can't such an idea be implemented in Germany more often while having a free zest and good mood?

Wild creatures exist in the subtropics of Australia
Wild creatures exist in the subtropics of Australia

After the more or less restful night in Hotel Dreamtime (I almost slept through the night on the hammock :) - some people caught up my illness - we rented a car on Sunday and drove into the blue - off to Cape Tribulation. The heat here in the subtropics of Australia rose immeasurably. We didn't let it get us down and drove along the Pacific Highway to best music - surfer music of course, Vic Ruggiero and freshly bought Australian patriotic folk songs (like Waltzing Mathilda) - always at the sea side and at the scorching heat having the most beautiful sun and the bluest ocean. You could close your eyes and enjoy, because I let the other buddies drive that day and, if necessary, preferred to donate Australian cookies to compensate. Port Douglas was a dreamy tourist town, comparable to Sylt and Gran Canaria. With beautiful idyllic pictures, after a coffee and a walk in the harbour, we then fled again from the scorching sun. After a drive towards sunset we found ourselves in the middle of the jungle at Cape Tribulation, I can only convey my honest impressions of the scenic beauty and idyll.

With the weekly report, I'll say goodbye again and I hope that you've got a taste for the Sunshinestate - as it says on every Queenslander car sign here. More pictures are available here. I'll soon be reporting back over the next few days about our canoe trip on the Noosa River the week after and my move here in Brisbane, so no worries.