A 10am departure saw us anchored at a large pontoon at Moore Reef on Monday morning. This is one of the reefs further from the main land so is still in excellent condition. From the pontoon we did snorkelling, diving, a glass-bottomed boat tour and a semi-submersible tour. It was all great aside from the semi-sub tour from which you could see very little and actually hit the reef at one point. No marks for that. Still, a good day was had by all and we shook off our hangovers the next day for some quad bike racing that our friend Nick insisted we go on. This was great craic and I showed off my skills by crashing into a tree in the first 3 minutes - the beers we drank beforehand weren’t such a good idea in retrospect. I wasn’t the only one though so it was alright.
On Wednesday we bade goodbye to Mr. Clayton and to Cairns and made our way down the coast. We reached Airlie Beach on Thursday and booked a boat tour of the Whitsunday islands for Friday. Airlie beach is a picturesque tour totally committed to tourism and full of young Americans and Brits. The Whitsundays were beautiful and Whitehaven beach probably is the best beach we’ve seen on this trip. Don’t tell any Aussies that though, its more fun telling them Indonesian beaches are far superior.
Saturday was a full day of driving south heading past Mackay towards Brisbane. Sunday saw us in the location that couldn’t be missed (or so we thought) - Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. We couldn’t miss an opportunity to give our respects to the greatest Australian after Big Rolf so we enthused our way in. Up until the entrance that is where the exhorbitant 49 dollar entrance fee caught us off guard and we grumbled our way around. As much respect we have for the big man, the zoo just isn’t that great and is aimed primarily at kids. American kids. With lots of terribly enthusiastic “come on folks, cheer for Barney the crocodile” type shows.
Afterwards, we made haste down to Brisbane where we met up with my old friend Luke. An actual bed to sleep in for the first time since leaving Perth. Luxury.