Time In Cairns, Botanical Gardens, A New Hostel And Jelly Wrestling
In my last blog I arrived in Cairns only to head off straight away on my first diving trip. I encountered some wonderful people along with sea creatures like rays, jellyfish and sharks! With my diving trip over and a drunken farewell it was time to see what Cairns had to offer.
On my first hungover morning ready to explore this new place I found myself in I decided it was time to move hostel. I'd only spent a few nights here but had discovered it was a party hostel. When I was awake enough to have a few drinks that suited me fine but while tucked up inside my bunk bed the 2am noise was starting to annoy. It was time to switch to somewhere new where I could head out to town if I needed to party.
I can't remember the name of the place but it was like finding an oasis of calm surrounded by otherwise trashy hostels. It was small and homely, everything felt shared and I liked it that way. Walking into my room and putting my bags down on an empty bed I started chatting to the two others in my room. I had stumbled upon two perfect roommates, Veera and Rachel. Over my weeks in Cairns we spent a lot of time together which I valued greatly. I ended up meeting Veera further down the coast when our paths crossed once more and Rachel back in England upon my return.
There's not enough words to tell all my Cairns experiences so I'll just mention a few here. Diving was of course one of the highlights of the trip. To start off I had received a few injuries during my dive trip. First of all was some ear swelling which kept me in bed for a few days praying for it to stop and this was accompanied by a lost tooth that I was trying to get fixed during my time here. Once that stress passed on however I was ready to head with my new friends to the local clubs. Never had I been to places like these. Always an advocate for smaller bars we entered a huge venue called Gilligans.
This was backpacker central, the place full of Europeans. It was too busy for me and the music a bit mainstream but the boos were cheap to I began to get them down me. Opting for some rum I poured shots into a pint glass full of ginger beer and sipped away. The club didn't look so bad after that. On my may nights at this place and a few of the other spots around Cairns I did a lot of dancing (in my hiking boots), bumped into people I knew from school such as Charly I hadn't seen for 5 years as well as looking on in horror at wet t-shirt competitions and jelly wrestling.
These nights were fun but I was brought up more on the group that was forming. A small group of people from our hostel began forming a close bond wandering back to our room together after nights out. Sinan and Val had been added to the team from other parts of the hostel. Together we explored the city soaking in sun, having BBQ's together and at night would go out drinking or walk through the night markets close to our accommodation. We had all sorts of fun trips together and I adapted more to ozzie life. Getting used to words like arvo, buying food with it's American name such as zucchini and slowly hearing ey? creeping in at the end of all my sentences.
The wildlife was starting to seem normal now too without loosing any of its beauty. Spiders weaved webs around parts of the town as if trying to trap the local cat population and fruit bats in their thousands filled the trees around the Cairns library. Of all my time here one trip sticks in my mind. After a few heavy nights of drinking it was time to experience some nature while we sobered up. Veera and I headed to the botanical gardens together to explore.
The Cairns Botanic Gardens is a tropical paradise, renowned for having one of the best exhibitions of tropical plants in Australia. - Cairns Regional Council
Entering this biome full of plants, trees and wildlife we marvelled at everything like adults returning to their first sweet shop. Each plant had a story, a name and something unique to it. A lot of the prettiest ones were poisonous! We spent many hours here visiting the different gardens, following walkways across little streams and peering into the art exhibits. While here was found a peculiar looking spider which we became convinced was a new species. Spending over half an hour googling on our phones we couldn't find anything about this little spider so decided to name it (we later found it was a known species.)
This tiny spider looked like it was carrying a shield on it's back or a coat of arms. Much like a knight would out into battle. With this in mind we named the spider 'Veraosharidder' (Vera - My friends name + osh - part of my name + ridder - Dutch for knight.) Having a wonderful time in Cairns it was time to move on down the coast and see what else Australia had in store for me!
In my next blog I head to Maryborough the home of Mary Poppins! Then have some van troubles trying to head further down the coast...