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Monday, August 30, 2010

Tropical Paradise of Mission Beach

We spent one night in Bingil Bay, which is next to Mission Beach, a popular tourist destination. Mission Beach is close to the Great Barrier Reef. It has got some beautiful islands just offshore that we had to skip, this time, due to lack of time. 

We slept literally only a few meters from the beach, and fell asleep listening to the waves. Here we also got a first taste of the heavy rains of tropical North Queensland. In the evening we went to get dinner in Mission Beach, expecting it to be full of backpackers and tourists. But it was very quiet, even though it was weekend, perhaps because of the rain. The backpacker town has a nice laid-back atmosphere.

In the morning, when the sun came out, we went to check out one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen. Palm-fringed long white beach stretching 14 kilometers, surrounded by World Heritage rainforest. The best thing? It was empty. Only few tourists having a morning walk on the beach, like us. 

We didn't have much time to explore Mission Beach. There are heaps of things to do in and around this tropical paradise and it is definitely on my list of places where I want to go back to.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tropical Queensland

After we got to Queensland, the more north we drove, the more tropical the scenery got with banana trees and other fruit, rainforests and palm trees everywhere, and a really humid climate.

We made lots of stops in interesting places along the coast and sometimes drove a bit inland, too.

All the small towns in Australia have a big something, whether it is a big banana, a big pineapple, a big cow, a big shark, a big spider, a big crocodile or a big mango, like in the picture. Usually they choose it according to what they produce in the area, but sometimes it seems they have just made something up to attract the tourists.

In Eungella National Park we saw beautiful landscapes, lots of turtles, as well as wild platypuses! I never imagined I would get the chance to see them in the wild.

We saw some nice waterfalls on the way. Wallaman Falls, Australia's highest, 305 m, were pretty impressive. A steep climb down and back up was good exercise!

We also stopped at Josephine Falls, where we went for a little dip, too.

Next Destination: Mission Beach and finally CAIRNS!!!

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The Return of The Prodigal Daughter

It has been a month now since I got back to Finland. Mixed feelings, mixed feelings...

I have been speaking a lot of Finglish, almost got run over a car because I look in the wrong direction when I cross the road, and I keep forgetting to weigh the veggies at the supermarket. 

Seeing my family and friends, enjoying the Finnish summer, the silence, fresh air and nature, doing all the familiar stuff, eating Finnish food and going to sauna, has been good. 

Then again, I am starting to remember clearly why I so eagerly wanted to leave here two years ago. Nothing here has changed. I don't like the people here. This town is too small for me. Every day is a Sunday.

Even though it was great to see my friends, it seems like we don't see each other anymore now that we are in the same country than when I was on the other side of the globe. 

How do you define home anyway? Is it the place where you grew up in? It does make a place feel familiar, but in this case painfully familiar. Is home where you feel like home? Because here I don't feel like home at all, I don't feel like I belong here. And if home is where the heart is, my home is in Norway right now.

I feel like this town and its people are choking me. I'm stuck here now, at least for a while, but just so you know, the travel junkie is already planning the next trip.... 

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