Arriving in Australia’s ‘almost but not quite the official capital’ of Sydney is welcoming especially after a lengthy period in Asia, but not without a traditional run through the airport as our 1.5 hour connecting flight time turned into 5 minutes after a massive delay with our flights luggage. After rushing through security and eventually turning red in the face we reached our gate just before last boarding call. The thing in Australia is that their security requirements mean that you are required to pick up your luggage from the carousel before boarding another flight, regardless if you are in transit with the same airline. As we started to land in Cairns it was quite apparent our climate would be much kinder that the UK, especially when you find yourself 3000 metres in the air and yet still 8 degrees warmer than the current UK temperature. Arriving finally in Cairns we wondered whether we reached western civilisation when quite randomly a man started to lick his mobile phone, is that the same as licking a stamp or the end of a pen? I’m not sure if that’s normal or even makes it work in Australia. Just to re-emphasise our almost missed flight in Sydney, our bags appeared with mine sporting an official airport tag with bold letters that stated ‘LAST BAG’, great souvenir. What’s the first thing you do when arriving on the other side of the world? Go to the beach? surf? Take in some local highlights? No, it’s obviously go grab yourself a fish and chips…where there’s a Queen Lizzy on a bank note, there’s a chippy – washed down with an Italian beer, it wasn’t quite the most cultured experience. Choosing bars in such a westernised place becomes less of a ‘check trip advisor and hope you don’t get food poisoning’, which is nice. It’s more relaxed. Those 10 bars of which 1 might be safe enough to even took at a menu without your stomach cramping up in Asia become a multitude of restaurants where menus suddenly makes sense. The problem is you tend to get too much chose and more demanding, something we take for granted. Collecting our camper van was a momentous occasion – it wasn’t. It was cool to take away our little hotbox and realise temperatures of 24 degrees at night would melt us from the inside out. First thing on the agenda, an operation to acquire a fan! So off to the supermarket we went, ironically to Woolworths. For those who are emotionally attached to the late Woolworths in England, this is a short lived trip down memory lane where there’s no toys and a serious deficiency of a ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’ section. Upside is that Queensland law doesn’t allow alcohol to be sold in supermarkets, but it does allow the sale of Alcohol via a ‘drive through’ liquor shop seeming to contradict or rather encourage drink driving. Our next day summoned us to the Great Barrier Reef, so as we boarded our catamaran (sounds far more classy that it actually was), we reached ‘Marine World’ (see, I’ve lost all that potential class already). There we tread the ocean with our super flippers and snorkelling gear looking out for Wally, I’ve currently forgot the type, but for now let’s just say he was a MASSIVE fish. Our day was complete on understanding the coral and different marine life finally being able to remove our very fashionable ‘stinger suit’. Camping can be quite entertaining in Australia, and with a prior warning of the potential snake, mainly all of which are poisonous, running in your pants through grass in a campsite in the middle of the night to the toilet is not recommended…I was lucky. Other benefits of a camper is that you have solar floor heating and a cold tap that also offers you hot water dependant on the outside temperature – can you sense the sarcasm? Before leaving Cairns we took a trip to the Aboriginal cultural park of Tjapukai where we experienced a passionate backstory of their culture, beginning and art, before being guided to learn the ways of traditional medicine, food and weaponry. Life as they knew it all begin and revolved around the wet and dry seasons, an egg and a rainbow snake (I promise I was listening). Although this taught me a lot about them, it also taught me that I can’t throw boomerangs. As a musician it would of been great to try a didgeridoo, or Yigi Yigi to them (much better name). More discovers of many to come included the amazing miniature frogs, literally the size of a fly and the Tjapukai way of saying awesome, ‘Sasa’. Before leaving we were kindly presented a gift (from the shop attendant who in his own words said “mums the word”) reminding us of our time and what a kind man he was – although we had to work out his riddle first. Onwards to Airlie beach and what TripAdvisor puts in their top 20 of beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach.