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Journals from James Cook University, Australia

2011-10-02 Cedar Bay National Park

Currently in Australia, it is nearing the end of our spring break. This past week many of my friends have gone to visit Bali, New Zealand, Perth, Sydney, and many other exciting places. Because of how expesive it is to travel, I decided to spend my spring break with activities in and around the area. Which didn't turn out to be such a bad decision. Sure, there were times when I was bored, but I also got to experience something that money can't buy, and a car can't get you there to experience it. I spent a few days of my spring break in Cedar Bay National Park.

This park consists of some of the oldest, densest virgin rain forest in the world. To get there, you must climb a mountain thick with rain forest, climb back down, and then hike along a valley until you reach the ocean. A few other people and I decided we were up for the adventure, so we packed up our backpacks, some more than 50 pounds, and started our adventure.

The journey was very difficult, but in the end it was absolutely worth it. I woke up to look out my tent and see a pristine beach with a fringing reef and coconut trees lining the beach. A friend of mine who is from Hawaii climbed the coconut trees to get fresh coconuts for breakfast. This was the first time I had had a fresh coconut, and I can't imaging a better place to have one. Exploring the rain forest, we saw a wide range of wildlife, including an iguana, lace monitor, cassowary, baby python (which my friend almost stepped on!), huntsman spider (which are the biggest in Australia, found inside of my tent!), giant centipede, baby shark, and even sea turtles! There were so many species of trees and plants it was unbelievable, which gives the place much of its charm.

Surprisingly, we met up with some others who had the same idea of camping on a secluded beach, and we met some other backpackers who were from Sydney. It was fun to meet others our age who have the same sense of adventure. There was also a foreigner  who sailed in on a tiny sail boat for a night. Cedar Bay was a place I will never forget, and it is something that one may never get to do again in a lifetime, so I would strongly recommend a trip there to anyone who has the opportunity to go with experienced backpackers.

Ashley Tobiska

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