Once we arrived in Cairns, it was time to face reality – with no money left and little hope of finding a decent job, there wasn’t really any option other than to book my flight home. Rich was planning on heading to New Zealand for a month, so not only did I have to deal with saying goodbye to Oz, I had to say goodbye to him also.
We headed to one of the backpacker travel agencies in the town and as I sat at the computer ready to hit ‘confirm’ on my flight ticket home, the tears began to roll down my face. Leaving Australia and 14 months of happy memories behind felt like a huge mistake, but the truth was I was tired of moving from place to place and making just enough money to get by. I booked the ticket and then put it firmly out of my mind – I had one week left with Rich and I was determined to make it a good one.
We booked ourselves into a lovely little hostel just outside of town –Tropic Days. For the first few days we woke up late, caught the bus into Cairns and headed straight for the lagoon to sunbathe and relax. Apart from the Great Barrier Reef, there isn’t all that much to see in Cairns, so after a day or two we decided to hire a car and head up to Cape Tribulation for our last little adventure.
FNQ – (Far North Queensland)
Once we’d cooled off in the gorge, the next stop was Four Mile Beach. The view was spectacular – after living amidst the mayhem of Bondi for almost a year, it felt surreal to find somewhere so secluded.
After a quick swim, it was time to navigate the winding roads up to Cape Tribulation. Having left our battered up car back in Bondi, it was great to be on the open road again. Driving along the coastal road was a pleasure in itself – we had the rainforest to our left and the stunning beaches and ocean view to our right.
Once we arrived at our destination, we headed into the rainforest to take in the pure beauty of it all. It felt like we were a million miles away from Cairns and there was barely a backpacker in sight! We left our footprints in the sand and a little message…
Then it was time to head back to Port Douglas for an early night.
The next day we woke early and began our journey back to Cairns. Rather than head straight back, we decided to take a little detour and headed along Waterfall Way. There were several waterfalls to see along the route (Newell Falls, Ebor, Wollomombi to name a few), but the most spectacular was the Milaa Milaa waterfall.
(Look familiar? You might recognise it from a certain Peter Andre video!)
Once back in Cairns, we had another day or two of relaxation but the prospect of my impending flight was hanging over us. I tried not to let it get to me too much but I couldn’t seem to get rid of the gloomy cloud following me around.
The hardest goodbye of all
My final day arrived and we headed to the airport to say our goodbyes. As we waited for my flight to board, we promised to speak every day whilst Rich was still away but in the back of mind I was terrified that he would forget about me. When they called my flight, the tears began to fall down my cheeks. We kissed and waved goodbye but as Rich turned his back to leave, I broke down into full on sobs. He ran back to me and I clung to him until the very last moment before I really did have to get on the plane.
The tears didn’t stop pouring for the whole journey from Cairns to Sydney. When I touched down in Sydney airport, I called Rich immediately. At that point, getting on the next flight felt impossible but with no money and Rich still in Cairns, I didn’t really have much choice. I cried until I eventually fell asleep from exhaustion and then I was finally back on British soil.
The Australian adventure was over…but there were still plenty more to come. Read about Life in London in the next post…