Day 004-013: Queensland and Back

Didn't get sick of daily diet

To get to Queensland you have to visit the bustling tourist and backpacker wasteland that is Cairns. It may not a bad town, but it presents itself as a diving board to the rest of the beautiful north eastern region of Australia constantly pressuring you to eat, drink, and sign up for a dive. My hostel was welcoming, and I found my way to Woolworths aka Woolies the grocery store chain. Lamb is a big deal here, and much more affordable. I bought 4 baby chops for $6.50 a good deal and a big treat for a lowly traveller. Despite the hostel's pathetically low gas flame I managed to cook them to perfection. I only had an appetite for two. I shared the rest with others backpackers who were surprised and hesitant to indulge in the lamb.

Lamb chops and broccoli rabe a superior meal made a backpackers hotel

I loaded my grocery bag before heading further North to Cape Tribulation with breakfast and lunch foods. Avocados, mango, apples, oranges, dried fruits, nuts, hard boiled eggs, rolls, lettuce, and salami, and Timtams. A good healthy regimen that worked out well and saved me at least $25 a day.

Hills, vines, palms and beach on the way to Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is located next to the Daintree rain forest. It is the world's oldest rain forest, and the only place where the great barrier reef touches the beach. It's a little hard to get to, full of salt water crocodiles, and stingers (summer only) but magnificent. Everyone I encountered on my way up and on vacation there was dedicated in love with the area. But it is the jungle, and resources are few. The kitchen at my hostel did not offer any cups, plates, cutlery, knives, pots or pans. I did keep my stuff in the fridge. Until I nabbed some plastic ware, I actually used my hands to open mangoes and avocados for sandwiches. I was happy to have brought my food with me, the grocery store was limited.

Mackay Reef and sand cay at the Great Barrier Reef

After plenty of full days swimming in water holes, hiking around the self-guided trails in the jungle, snorkeling the reef, and swimming in the ocean I treated my self to prepared meals from my resort. All the food was delicious, and I stuck to pizzas though kangaroo rump an kangaroo lasagna made appearance on the local menus. On my last night in Cape Trib a young girl came by and requested my pizza box. Little girl was fire crazy, and using the boxes to pump up her camp fire. We watched as she enjoyed her pizza box fire momentarily jump.

Pizza fueled fire Cape Tribulation

Next stop Mission and Wongaling Beaches. This area has seen some hard times since being hit by a hurricane/cyclone in February. Damage is still around, but can't keep stop the beach from showing off its beauty. I continued my avocado, fruit, bread, nut diet here. The first night I arrived was Saturday, and indulged in sausages on white wonder-like bread at the backpacker hotel's free Saturday night BBQ.

Damage evidence Mission Beach

After Mission Beach it was already time to head back to Cairns. Europeans (Germans, English especially) gravitate to Australia where they can get working holiday visas. They stay for over a year only needing to work a few months and travel in similar paths. Cairns is backpacker capital of Australia. Hostels/backpacker hotels can hold up to 500 at time, and are all competitively modeled in "resort" style with pools and palms. The real benefit is that breakfast is often included. Toast with jam, butter, vegemite, and peanut butter, cold cereal, coffee, tea, and milk are laid out.

For kilos of toast

I was elated to leave backpacker land for the real world in Sydney. After 9 days I was ready for my own bathroom, kitchen and quiet bed in the apartment my friend is sharing with me. An even bigger benefit is a kitchen attached to your living space. I spent an entire joyful afternoon cooking a meal from scratch. Beet salad with garlic and parsley, sweet potatoes with cinnamon, chili, and cumin, and tofu soaked in soy plum sauce.

Return to cooking back in Sydney: beet salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and tofu.

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