Day 15, 01/05/15 – Port Douglas
Our vacation was coming to an end and it was time for a road trip. After breakfast at a cafe nearby the hostel, we rented 2 cars and started the drive to Port Douglas, our last destination. About 45 minutes away from our rental, we were rerouted due to an accident. This meant we had to turn around and do a 2 hour loop to get to the house instead.
We were tired and hungry but – to put things in perspective -safe! So, the detour really wasn’t such a big deal. It was getting late though and we wanted to find a place to eat. We stopped at a small cafe off the road in the hopes of getting dinner. Unfortunately they were closing up. Fortunately they said we could still order tea and french fries. So there we were, eating an unconventional dinner WHEN WE SAW THIS HUGE MASSIVE SPIDER AND OMG.
Day 16, 01/06/15
This was one of our lazier days during the trip. We ended up arriving around 11pm the night before so everyone slept in. This was my favorite place we stayed during our trip. Similarly to the other places we stayed in, the house had 3 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a living room, and a huge patio, but, unlike anywhere else, this place had a pool!
After everyone was up, we made brunch and had a few coffees and Bailey’s. The rest of the day consisted of some shopping for souvenirs, swimming, lounging, and reading.
For dinner we found a place on the downtown strip and had really good pizza and beer. A perfect, relaxing day!
Day 17, 01/07/15 – Great Barrier Reef
It was time to snorkel at the famous Great Barrier Reef! Remember how I’ve mentioned I’m not the biggest fan of the ocean? Well…. on the boat ride out there, Mike and his parents decided they wanted to try scuba diving. (Wendy was pregnant and Andy wasn’t feeling well so they couldn’t go.)
“Hey, Ashley, do you want to go scuba diving too?” They asked.
“Uh, sure.” I agreed, slightly hesitant but not all too worried.
How bad could it actually be? I thought as we sat through our Scuba Diving Lesson.
Ummmmmm, turns out tears were involved and I ended up bailing before I passed even one of the three tests you have to do before going down.
Snorkeling was next though, and I was an old pro at that.
The coral was beautiful at the Great Barrier Reef (of course it was!) but the water was a little choppy and hard to swim in. Snorkeling here is a once in a lifetime opportunity though and I am so thankful I was able to do it (even if I thought the coral at the Whitsundays was better………. shhhh).
When we got back from snorkeling it was raining hard in Port Douglas. Perfect for nighttime swimming!
Day 18, 01/08/15
This was our last day in Australia before me, Mike, Barb, and Dan flew back to North America. We pretty much just swam, read, and packed this day before our final dinner. We specifically went to a place that served crocodile but disappointingly they were sold out. We still ate there and reminisced about our trip, drinking wine and beer before saying goodbye.
After dinner we got gelato and went back to the house to pack the rest of our things. Our flight wasn’t until 1am which gave us the full day and most of the night to soak up the last of Australia.
This trip was a once (maybe twice, since Wendy and Andy still live there!) in a lifetime adventure. I am so happy I was able to go and explore the land down under with my boyfriend and his family.
Day 19, 01/08/15 (again) – Hawaii
We technically left Australia on the 9th since our flight was at 1am and since we were flying back to the Northern hemisphere, we got to re-live the 8th. In Hawaii! Not too shabby…
Mike and I were able to book a 2 night, 1 day layover in Honolulu and it was a great end to a great vacation! We arrived around 7pm, went to the hotel to drop off our stuff, and then looked for a place to eat dinner.
When Mike and I first started dating, I went to visit some family on the big island. I had also just turned 21 and became obsessed with Mai Tais. I would order a Mai Tai everywhere Mike and I went in the beginning our our relationship and we now joke that I was an expensive date because they aren’t cheap drinks! I was excited to experience a Hawaiian Mai Tai with honey and, because of it, probably ordered a few too many rounds! The rest of the night was a blur of island music, live dancing, and a tipsy walk back to the hotel.
Day 20, 01/09/15
The next morning around 4am I woke up feeling terrible. I wish it was only a hang over that could have been cured with a greasy breakfast and a ton of water but… instead… it was… the… MAN FLU!
Andy had been sick the last couple days of our trip in Australia with the “man flu” and I’m positive I got it too. To make it worse, we were on the 20th floor or something in our hotel and I remember feeling the whole building swaying in the morning winds. So nauseating!
I eventually drifted back to sleep and then woke up again feeling slightly better. The hotel were we stayed in offered free breakfast and gave you a To Go lunchbox so you could eat breakfast on the beach. I loved this idea and we happily enjoyed our tea and pastries with a side of sea breeze that morning.
After breakfast we walked around a bit and then went for a swim in the ocean; staying in the shallow waters and loving each others company. Wading water with Mike in that tiny, walled off part of the Pacific Ocean is one of my favorite memories. We spent the afternoon talking and splashing and it was so lovely.
Having worked up our appetites we ordered giant salads and iced teas from a little beach front hut. I was feeling mostly better by this point (probably all of that vitamin D) so it was time for happy hour! Mai Tais round two. We ended up back at our hotel, sitting outdoors at the bar, enjoying the last few hours of daylight.
For dinner we really wanted to go somewhere authentic but that’s hard to find when you’re staying in the most touristy area in Honolulu. We walked the strip for a while and finally settled in at a rooftop Cal Mex restaurant. By this time my (wo)man flu was on it’s way back with a vengeance. I remember ordering a jalapeno margarita, thinking the spice (and tequila, maybe?) would help me feel better. What a mistake! After 2 sips, I realized I was $12 out and still feeling terrible.
Sadly, my sick-self cut our last night short. We went back to the room, Mike poured a drink, I made tea, and we watched TV.
Day 21, 01/10/15
Our official LAST day of vacation. I woke up still not feeling great but what can’t the beach cure, right? Mike swam in the closed off section from the day before while I sat on the beach, toes in the sand, tea nearby, talking on the phone with my mom and then my grandma and then my grandpa and probably my dad too. I had only emailed and texted my family while I was out of the country so it was nice to hear their voices and fill them in on all of the adventures!
After Mike got out of the water, we ate breakfast on the beach again and then went back to the hotel to pack. We took a shuttle to the airport, had lunch and a Kona Brewing Company beer, and were on our way home again. Three weeks later, with a ton of stories, a lot of pictures, and probably a few more wrinkles (from both the laughing and the sunburns).
You can check out a video of our trip here