After a couple of weeks in the freezing cold of China and Hong Kong we made the short hop across the equator to Cairns in northern Queensland. The contrast in temperature was extreme (about 40C difference). Unfortunately the bad weather followed us from China to bring extensive flooding to the area. Despite this we still managed to visit the rain forest (where we saw a wild tree kangaroo) and had a great day snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

From Cairns we travelled south to Magnetic Island (just off the coast near Townsville) where we spent several days exploring the island by foot and by stretched Jeep! While on Magnetic Island (so named by Captain Cook because of a dodgy compass) we stayed in a koala sanctuary where we shared a rustic cabin with several lizards and geckos, who we hoped kept the spiders at bay!

After leaving Magnetic Island we journeyed south again to Airlie Beach where we made a brief visit to the Whitsunday Islands and spent a few days hanging out by the Lagoon and taking it easy. After Magnetic Island the Whitsunday islands felt really over developed, and were slightly ruined by a recent storm which had washed lots of seaweed up onto the beach.

Delayed by the bad weather we had to fly from Airlie Beach down to Brisbane to try and catch up a bit. From there we visited Steve Irwin's "Australia Zoo" and rented a car which would take us the rest of the way to Sydney. Our circuitous journey to Sydney took us through Surfer's Paradise, Nambuca Heads, Bryron Bay, the picturesque Granite Wine Belt (special mention goes to Pyramids Road Winery and Bungawarra), Waterfall Way and the Hunter valley. What a trip!

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