From thunderstorms to glaring sun; that was the difference leaving the Aussie coast and heading into the centre made. We spent three very hot days seeing some very large and impressive rock formations with a cool tour group – we were up before dawn each day (and dawn is an early riser in the desert) to avoid having to walk in the midday sun. It was 31C before sunrise and only got hotter but this did mean we could sleep under the stars both nights, which is always great.
From Alice Springs we flew to Perth then on to Singapore for a night. We ate at a rather mediocre Chinese reestaurant and saw Pink Dolphins, but didn't have time for much else. We're now in Bangkok and are off to see Thailand.
(Our flight home is now confirmed for the 8th April – so it's not long 'til we'll be back in Blighty.)
Well after our change of route to go via Thailand rather than Mumbai, we have some other news about our travel plans. We've decided to return to glorious England a little earlier than we previously planned and so will be heading back in the beginning of April, effectively saving India for another time.
We're just back from an over night trip on the Barrier reef where we did some awesome snorkelling and found Nemo's cousin (the real one they used for filming is in the Sydney aquarium, apparently). I got to see a turtle during my night dive, but they were elusive during the day. Early tomorrow morning we fly to the red hot centre of Oz to see a huge rock. In a few days time we're flying to Singapore (a new & surprising addition to our itinerary) and then on to Bangkok, for a week's lugging our backpacks around Thailand. Then we're off to Nepal and anything could happen!
It's still raining, but I expect that'll change tomorrow. We may not post many regular updates from now on, but keep the emails coming and letting us know how everythings going at home.
We're still driving up the coast between Brisbane and Cairns – we've made it to Townsville now & are taking a day or two off from driving (last two days have been solid driving) and heading out to Magnetic Island for a break. We're hoping to go horse riding on the beach, sea kayaking and koala spotting. We're looking forward to a nice air conditioned bed as well – it's awful sleeping in a van when the the temperatures don't drop below mid twentys at night and vary between heavy rain and 80% humidity…
When not driving we've been busy booking the rest of our trip. Some terrorist group said that British nationals wouldn't be safe walking the streets of Mumbai, so we're not going there any more. We're flying to Nepal via Bangkok and spending a little bit of time in Thailand (if anyone has any tips on what to do, let us know). We've been speaking to Ultimate Descents in Nepal and have sorted out an itinerary for there.
Sharon just rescued a little bird. It flew into the ferry terminal (where we're waiting for the Barge to take us to Magnetic Island) and tried flying through a glass door – it discovered it couldn't. It was a little dazed and Sharon heroicly showed it the (open) door. Had it have been a Cane Toad she wouldn't have bothered.
It's been raining here for ages… but we've done loads of cool stuff. Since we last blogged we've been to the Blue Mountains, the whitewater course in Penrith, then we headed up the coast to visit some of my rellies, Jean and Stan in Port Macquarie (their hospitality was great & we had proper home cooked food and a real bed!). We've continued up the coast, stopping in at a few places with cool beaches & beautiful views. We've been seeing more animals, Sharon got to cuddle a Koala & we've both held a baby crocodile – they're cuter than you'd imagine.
The last couple of days have been spent on the Gold Coast (near Brisbane) in theme/water parks – it's been great! The highlight for me was the flowrider – a static wave created by jets of water that you surf; the beaches around here have such big surf that they hold international professional competitions and scare me.
We're going to continue up the coast from Brisbane (we're in the city centre now) trying to avoid the monsoons.