Departing Hobart, Tasmania. I had a very brief stop via Brisbane before flying onto Cairns. Here there was another change in travel plans. I was due to fly to Perth after my time in Cairns, however, this had to be changed due to heavy rains and a tornado hitting the West coast. This was rearranged and I would now be flying to Uluru (a.k.a Ayres Rock), return to Cairns and then fly via Gove to Darwin, Northern Territory.
The change in climate was instantaneous. I literally went from icy cold to the tropics. Cairns was incredibly warm even though this was winter. I proceeded to locate my YHA hostel and this time I was sharing a dorm with 4 Irish girls. They were great fun and we made plans to head to the local watering hole aptly named the Woolshed.
The downside of drinking when travelling is, if you are sensible, which you should be when abroad. Getting drunk should be a big no no, especially if you are travelling alone. We got in pitchers of Fosters and thankfully the alcohol content wasn’t strong. I met various travellers and shared stories or in my case my limited experience at this point of travels.
Now remember, at the start of this blog I made reference to spiders and my need to research?? Well the next morning, I was to get my first venomous spider experience…
It was a rather humid morning and I made my way to the communal showers whilst other travellers were jumping into the complex’s pool to cool off. Rule of thumb whilst travelling in Australia, is always cautiously check under everything. Spiders don’t just throw themselves at you in some brazen attempt to attack, as referenced in the movie arachnophobia. They generally bite because they’re defending themselves and there is no bigger threat to them than a humans posterior heading ominously towards them, to unwittingly squish them.
So here I was checking under everything and when confident, I proceeded to get into the shower. I was only showering a few minutes, when I clocked a small spider on the ceiling. I had a pretty bad phobia of spiders at this point in time and prepared myself to take a closer look. Upon inspection, I realise it was a White-tail. Yes the spider no one mentioned but was referenced in my trusty Lonely Planet guide (Some very sound advice there as you can see). What happened next was this…
Realising what was crawling towards me on the ceiling, my shower was completed in record time. However, there wasn’t time to dress! I literally grabbed my stuff and as best as I could covered my assets and I literally streaked through the hostel complex in what can only be described as a blind panic, whilst shouting White-Tail to anyone wondering what I was panicked about. It was by far, not a pretty sight but at least I’d avoided being bitten.
Reaching my dorm, two of my dorm mates were amused and gobsmacked by my birthday suit entrance. Once I’d explained what was going on, they were pleased to avoid that area of the complex for the time being. A long walk was most definitely in order.
Mildly refreshed and calm now moderately restored, I decided to take a trek to the Botanical Gardens. This would ultimately come with a few unforeseen minor injuries.
Cairns Botanic Gardens, as you can see from my photography above is everything you’d expect from tropical climates. It is simply sublime. It was peaceful, the tropical rainforest broad walk with its impressive Palm trees has you in complete awe. You can’t help but really look around at your surrounding in true wonder and shut off from the outside world. There is a large variety of tropical trees, shrubs, saltwater creeks and lakes. There is also a history, however I didn’t at this point learn much about it as I was more fascinated with the gardens.
Having successful lost myself in these gardens for hours, I proceeded to try to find my way out. Only I’d forgotten the route. Eventually I retraced my way out and found I was now incredibly hot, sweaty and too tired to walk any further. My trainers had started to rub rather bloody blisters into my heels and it was pretty painful, barefoot walking was now an option but equally painful. Fortunately a very kind local lady hitched me a lift back into the town centre. Word of warning, it is not advisable to hitch-hike as this is a perilous risk to yourself.
Back at the centre of Cairns I proceeded to book the rest of my trip around the city including a Scuba Dive on the Great Barrier Reef. However, I was due to fly to Uluru the following day and therefore knew I’d return to Cairns in the next 3 days to complete my adventures… Continuation of Cairns will follow after my outback adventures of Uluru…