Ah, Cairns. Between the Woolshed, Gilligan's, and all the other party bars, the "Adventure Capital" of Australia is a virtual backpacker's paradise.

Days were spent white water rafting, diving the Great Barrier Reef, and hiking through the rainforest, while our nights were filled with "Battle of the Sexes," Woolshed table dancing night, and, of course, dollar bets to dance in the go-go booths.

Rafting on the Tully River in the Misty Mountains was quite an adventure. We had great weather, which meant lots of great rapids, and also lots of great spills. I, of course, took a refreshing dip in the river, by which I mean I choked half of it down while flailing around helplessly. Thankfully, our fearless guide, Kiwi Chris, yanked me back into the raft just in time to catch the current back to shore.

A night of recovery (by which I mean good food, good drinks, and good friends), and then it was off to the Great Barrier Reef. Even learning to dive off Pennecamp Park in the Florida Keys, I had never seen anything like this. White-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and clownfish, oh my! It was just as breathtaking as all the documentaries and tourist posters say.

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