Honestly, at this point, I was travel-fatigued and ready for home. Thanks to a mix-up with the Greyhound buses, wherein they had recently changed the schedule and didn’t inform me (I had pre-booked months beforehand), I missed my original bus from Townsville. So I had a few bonus hours in Townsville with Peta, spent the night on the bus, and arrived in to Cairns at 5 AM.
This turned out to be a blessing, since my hostel in Cairns was the worst hostel of my entire trip by far. Fortunately, I only had to spend a (miserable, awkward) two nights there and I was booked out for full day trips.
Looking out over the Atherton Tablelands
Day one I had a group tour of the Atherton Tablelands. We saw pretty places, our tour guide was friendly and super-interesting, but all in all a very typical tour experience– too much time on a bus, not enough time to play and wander, and too much forced socializing. We got to see tree kangaroos, though! And play in VERY cold rivers. And be served tea and cookies twice. (Tip: tea and cookies will always endear you to me. So long as it’s not that dirt we call Lipton.)
Josephine Falls (also, waterslide yeeeeeaaah)
Of course, as often happens when people ask you what you do and you say you’re a yoga teacher…. you end up posturing. So I turned it into a teaching moment and taught my tour guide Standing Bow. Because I can be very intense about the things I love, I find introducing people to yoga a little stressful (my inner dialogue sounds like this: “What if I sell it the wrong way and they NEVER try it? THEY WILL LOSE OUT ON SO MANY AMAZING THINGS. OH GOD MUST EXPLAIN PERFECTLY AND CONVINCE THEM!”). Luckily, I practice yoga (as always, my saving grace), so I can step back from my crazy, chill out, and play around a bit.
Standing Bow at Milla Milla Falls (don’t worry, he enjoyed it more than this photo lets on)
Day two I spent on a tour of the Great Barrier reef. As we learned in The Whitsundays, boats are not my favorite. This time, thankfully, I was on a giant catamaran, and so our time was therefore both short-lived and relatively smooth. We went out snorkelling to two different areas. The first was fun, apart from the minute where I saw two tiny jellyfish, freaked the eff out that they were Blue Bottles (whose stings are widely thought of as the most pain you will likely ever experience) and did a panicked turnabout as fast as my fins would take me. They were only baby jellyfish, but by the time I had figured that out mentally my limbic system had already taken me for a joyride. At the second location, we got to swim to a small sand island in the middle of the ocean used as a turtle breeding ground and watch the turtles in the surrounding waters.
A horde of snorkellers exploring the Great Barrier Reef
Overall, two beautiful days at the end of a beautiful month.
Next up: Farewell to Australia, hellooooooo to Maui!