Australia first up.

My first big trip was in Australia as i decided to drive from Melbourne to Cairns and back during my three weeks holidays in 1991. A week to get there via outback New South Wales before a week in Cairns and a week back along the coast. As i left Melbourne towards Mildura one Sunday morning i thought i must be crazy doing this on my own. Arriving in Mildura a few hours later and i spot a TAB. I can’t  help myself. Only after i dragged myself out to drive to Broken hill did i find something new. A desolate drive saw Emu’s running alone side my van. This was toally new to me and it was fabulous apart from all the dead kangaroos on the road that had been hit by trucks during the night. This was another Australia. As was Broken Hill. I stayed two nights in a YHA and went to Silverton where the scenery was stunning. I also did a mine tour which enlightened me further also. Broken Hill is a wonderful place to visit.

Next was Coonabarabran for a nights stop in a caravan park. A meal in the pub could have been in any country town in Oz but i still enjoyed it. Next it was on to Miles in Queensland which i don’t have much memory of at all as it was only a sleep stop. By now i was loving every minute of it as i past through some amazing NSW country towns (amazing because they had no attraction whatsoever) and at some stage i  went through Goondawindi and saw the statue of the great grey, Gunsynd. It had been my first cox plate and this was the first time the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The atmoshere at the Valleywas electrifying as one of the all time greats won the cox after putting on a show on the way to the barriers also. Next stop was McKay and i also found a TAB there. This was my first backpackers guest house and all i can remember was the best steak i have ever had at the nearby pub. McKay looked like a place i could live but i kept on to Cains and another YHA. I can’t rember that much about it. It was ok as i remember it. But it was here that i had my first great day of my life as a traveller. These days in life are few and far between but they are fantastic. You just feel on fire and life is perfect. I booked a days tour on a catamaran with a dive on the Great Barrier Reef included. The crew and the rest of the customers were all fabulous and it was a totally carefree day. Loyd bridges eat your heart out  i thought as i entered the water. Yes the reef certainly is incredible with a giant clam the standout as this was only a hand held tourist dive and i didn’t want the S word to come near me on my first dive. What a great day as i started to discover the world.     Next stop was Port Douglas where along the way i stopped to watch a bungy jump.  Just watching was entertainment enough so i decided to give it a go also. Up to the patform i went thinking this will be easy. Once standing on the edge tied up was different altogether again. I just couldn’t jump. It was totally unatural to jump of a tall building. The guy kept talking to me as the crowd hept counting down,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, BUNGY! But i couldn’t do it for at least ten minutes as i stood glued to the spot. BUT, eventually i did it . Another girl before was in tears as she walked back down unable to jump. So i was very proud to have done it. I think it was the only time in my life i screamed in genuine fear and may have even passed out as i don’t remember anything other than my hand hitting the water and the adrenalin rush as the rubber slowly stopped bouncing up and down and i was lowered into the boat. I then continued on to Port Douglas and a riverboat trip on the Daintree where i saw my first real crocodile in the river. I was now totally addicted to travel. I drove like crazy back down the coast where after Carns i stopped at the Sunshine Coast which i still remember as my favorite beachside place in Australia at Mooloolabaa. The Aquarium was fabulous also. Next was Coolangatta for a short stay only before a huge days drive to a highway motel somewhere south of Sydney. Then another massive drive all the way to Yarrawonga in a day. Finally back to work but with more travel plans to come that was for sure.

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