Allbernsbigtrip No 4 - Tropical Paradise ??
Trip Start Jan 17, 2013
14Trip End Jan 21, 2013
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Where I stayed
Arrived at Cairns at 1.30pm. Walked off the plane to be greeted by a solid wall of hot air, (35º) felt like getting back on the plane and saying if you don't turn the thermostat down I’m not getting off!
Picked car up and a quiet drive up to Port Douglas.
Staying in a hotel with a new concept, large room with sitting area, kitchen area, bathroom and balcony with view of the sea with table & chairs and a fully equipped BBQ at a very reasonable rate. Ah the extras…
Booked 2 one day trip which I’ll go into later.
So, had a fairly chill day doing the usual . PM Drove south west to Mareeba, great run about 90k, one of us was very temped to visit the Coffee works . Stopped at Abattoir Swamp (they have a thing about names here) where we had lunch. A quiet peaceful place with abundant birdlife. B worried about crocs though. In the shadow of Mt Molloy, on highway 81 we saw termite mounts all over the land, some as large a 3ft. Stopped by Lake Michelle and saw 2 black swans, it was a bit swampy so we couldn’t get closer. At the roadside were stalls selling limes & mangoes, just leave your cash in the honesty box. Following a sign to Davies Falls, we could see a tree that was laden with brown bats (Fruit bats we were told) literally 100 in one tree. The falls were 8K off the main road and we discovered a view point overlooking the valley and the waterfalls. Everything here is just stunning. Cool beer or 2 over tea, this is getting tough……..
Trip No 1. A day we will never forget. Great Barrier Reef, called great, because it is. In fact it is so much better than great, but I can find adequate words to describe it………… On board the 'Wavelength’ with only 20 other people. Neither of us have ever snorkelled before and are not really that good at swimming. 1hr 30mins out of Port Douglas we arrive at site No 1. They told us this site is only accessible in very smooth conditions. It was like a mill pond. Once in the water things clicked into place, flippers, buoyancy aid on snorkel gear and were off. When we arrived is Oz I told Bernadette that the 2 thing I would love to see was a koala bear in the wild (still waiting) and a turtle in the sea. 10 minutes into the first site and there it was. I nearly chocked. (no drowned!!! Bx) A beautiful turtle swimming about 6ft below me. Must have been at least a meter in diameter. (Truth not a fisherman’s tale) The next 50 minutes we saw a myriad of colourful fish of various sizes. One swam towards us, must have been 4 foot long, very slow moving. I don’t have words really. Saw reef sharks, giant clams (3ft across). 2nd site was an hour further out, but the same again, but concentrated more on the coral itself
Just one down to the whole day and I know this will conjure images you won’t want to dwell on for long. I had to wear a full length lycra suit. The suits are to protect the reefs from our additives (sun cream etc) and to protect us from the sun. The suits have mitts for your hands. We managed not to use these and both of us ended up with sunburn to the back of both hands………clever.
We had been told to check out a pub called the Iron Bar as they had a race night every evening at 8pm. Duly bought our tickets and waited. Shock…. It was Cane Toad Racing. Great fun, each of the 6 toads had a jockey, Bs was Ausie Ausie, Ausie, you had to pick your toad up, kiss it and place it in a bucket. (B faked the kiss, missed out on a prince then eh!!!). Once the bucket was raised you encouraged to get your toad to move. Neither of us won. (No toads were injured or killed during this event) Good fun!
Trip No 2. Another day that will be tough to forget. Daintree rain Forest & Cape Tribulation tour only six in the group. (Google both for images)
Off before 8am north to Mossman George, pleasant walk along the gorge to a stunning viewpoint. Onwards into Daintree National Park a massive area of rainforest that has World Heritage status. Slow cruise down the River Daintree, saw breath taking scenery, 2 actual wild crocodiles.
Further north to Alexandra Point, where the views stretch from the edges of the rainforest out to where the river meets the coral sea.
To Cape Tribulation, the only place in the world were 2 World Heritage Listed areas meet. (I’m told). As you walk you see plants that are 1000s of years old, plants found nowhere else, again words can’t do it justice……………Lunch in the Noah Valley and a dip in the lovely warm water of the rainforest stream. Then on to private land exploring the forest where we saw wonderful sight of insects in there habitat .Not forgetting the stop at an homemade exotic ice cream shop. Four different flavoured scoops. Yummy!!
Today we saw mangroves (were trees live in water), Mango orchards, lychee orchards, tea plantations and Cane sugar fields.
Our last day in this area. Gentle start, walking around the Sunday Markets of Port Douglas. Beautiful made Crafts displayed. Then drove south to Kuranda (a pretty touristy place) to visit the Butterfly House, one of Bs favourite things. A stunning array of butterflies so of which we had already seen in the wild whilst at Cape Tribulation. Great stay just sort we didn’t get to bike down the Four Mile Beach.
To finish the day we drove to Barron Falls, a series of waterfalls quite spectacular during the rains. Still pretty impressive all the same.
Finally, is this part of Queensland a tropical paradise, hell yes, the Great Barrier Reef and the Rainforests make it so.
Down side: only 1, it’s a bit too hot, up to 37º mid-day and still 30º at 9pm
Well this brings this part of Queensland to a close, tomorrow we drive south to Milanda in an area called ‘The Tablelands’.
See you then. Allan reporting, 9pm 3rd Feb, good night from her & goodnight from me