G'day mate!

Trip Start Aug 07, 2011
Trip End Jul 14, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiya, Fran here today!

On Sunday 6th November, after what seemed like a long day traveling from Fiji, we took our 9th flight to Brisbane and then our 10th flight connecting to Cairns. (Trying to keep a tally so somehow we can make up for it and be carbon neutral when we get back home!)

We stayed at Caravella's and one of the reasons we picked this hostel was because of the free pick up from the airport, so it was a nice easy way to get settled into Oz. We took the first couple of days to get our 'house' in order... doing washing, updating the blog, Facebook, emails and sorting out our travels around Oz, including the Greyhound bus ticket. The hostel was fantastic for that - when we booked our bus ticket with them we got a free nights stay! Also, for every night that we stayed we got free dinner vouchers at a pub in town so we didn't mind staying for a bit as it was such good value! We knew Oz was going to get more and more expensive as we went along so we tried to make the most of it whilst we could. We're really trying hard not to blow the budget, like we did in NZ!

Cairns was a lovely City with a great relaxed vibe. Lots of travelers are either starting off or finishing here so it was a bit of a party place but we didn't go for any pub crawls or anything... We just enjoyed being chilled out and soaking up the sun! We walked around the night market one night (I was super good and didnt spend any money!) We walked down the Esplanade to the 'lagoon' (Oz marketing jargon for what was pretty much a big outdoor swimming pool!) and looked around the port. We thought of Jon, with his dream of owning a boat but didn't spot any good ones to report back to him! We were bedazzled by all of the activities that you could do, but they all cost SO much money! Everyone comes to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef but we have talked to so many people who have said that it wasn't worth the expense that we decided to do spend our money exploring and sailing the Whitsundays instead, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef anyway.

On Wednesday  9th, one of the free things we did instead was to go for a walk around the Flecker Botanical Gardens. It was a hot walk down there and when we got there we tried, unsuccessfully, to do the self guided walk. And before you say anything it's not because we couldn't read a map! Most of the numbers  that the map referred to didn't have the corresponding numbers in the gardens. Oh well... The better experience was walking through the Rainforest Boardwalk to Salt Water Creek and Centenary Lakes. This felt much more like experiencing the rainforest as we were a bit disappointed with the gardens and the lakes had giant water lilies which were pretty. We managed to get a lift back to town with a local Aussie as well which was great for our tired feet! Long walks + flip flops = unhappy feet!

We had read that one of the most popular day trips from Cairns was Cape Tribulation and the Tablelands. It cost $310 for us to do these two day trips so we decided to hire a car for $108 instead and follow the same itinerary. I may be unemployed but I'm still an accountant at heart! :0)

So, on Thursday 10th we picked up our car, stocked up at the shop and then headed to Cape Trib. Our first stop off was Ellis Beach. Lonely Planet said it was 'unbelievably perfect'... but to be honest, it was just ok. To be fair though we've just come from Fiji! You can't swim in the sea because of stingers and crocs unless your in the safe netting, which we have come to find on most Oz beaches (Stingers are jelly fish - Aussies abbreviate absolutely everything possible!) We've come to realise that this is why most places have a swimming pool.

Anyway, we swiftly got back on the road (and out of the heat and into the air-conned car!) and drove up to Rex Lookout, which was pretty. Next stop was Port Douglas which had lots of gorgeous red blossom trees - my fav colour! There was a beautiful little white church here called St. Mary's by the Sea and another lookout point on Flagstaff Hill. 

We then headed to Mossman Gorge. This was my favorite part of the day by far! The Gorge was set in beautiful rainforest and we took a couple of hours waking all around the tracks there. The rainforest had a genuinely magical feel about it. The light coming through the incredibly tall trees was beautiful and you could hear nothing but the sounds of the rainforest. This is what I thought the Botanical Gardens in Cairns would be like, but there you could still hear lots of traffic so it just didn't compare. Andy climbed down a couple of dirt tracks and on the massive rocks on the river, where we found our own little spot for some photos of the gorge.

Back on the road, we headed for CapeTribulation and took the funny little ferry over Daintree River. The ferry uses an old school pulley system, which I've never seen before! We were going to head straight to the Daintree Ice Cream Company but it was too late so we went to another homemade ice cream factory instead - we've forgotten the name, but the ice cream was yummy! The final stop of the day was the Alexandra lookout point which was below average, so we headed for our hostel, the Cape Trib Beach House. It was set in the rainforest and the log cabin style dorms made us feel like we were sleeping in the rainforest itself! The evening was beautiful with a full moon over the beach, where the sand was the softest we've felt so far on our travels... Like powder! The beachfront cafe/bar was very nice and the free breakfast was amazing! 

The next day, on Friday we headed to the Cape Trib beach and lookout. The sand here was perfect too. We tried to see if we could find some crocs but didn't see any! :0(

We got on the road to the Tablelands, which was long, dry and quite dull. It was at this point that we realised how spoilt we were in NZ. The South Island of NZ is breathtakingly beautiful at every turn in the road it seems, so I think our standards have been set very, very high! To be fair, I'm sure Oz is just as beautiful, but the sheer size of this humongous country means its spread out a lot further!

We stopped off at Atherton information to make sure we had all the info we needed for the afternoon. First stop was the Curtain Fig Tree which was impressive. The Creeper trees are like weeds for trees but they make a good spectacle! Second stop was Lake Eacham, but we didn't have time to do the full walk and didn't fancy a swim, even though it looked quite inviting. It was too much like hard work to dry off and get back into the car wet! 

We then headed to the famous Millaa Millaa waterfalls, which were huge and very impressive. Biggest we've seen so far! Again, some people we're swimming here too but we didn't fancy joining them. They were a big family so it wold have felt like we were intruding a little bit.

We headed back to Cairns along the Palmerston Highway which was very picturesque, for our last night in Cairns before we start our Greyhound bus journey tomorrow! We walked down the Esplanade for the final time and were treated to an incredible beautiful full moon over the water. We took a photo of it and I think it's one of my fav so far on our travels... At first it seems black and white but it's a perfect midnight blue. 

Cairns and Cape Trib were good to us, but looking forward to seeing more of Oz!

See you there later peeps!

Mrs. M xx
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Annie Freestone on

Fab pics and blogs as always! Haven't been to that part of Oz must do it next visit. Know what you mean about the south Island of NZ but as you say it is minute in comparison with the vastness of Oz. I found it amazing how different the two are given their relative proximity to one another. Just loved the smell of the gums in Oz - unique! Just sooooo jealous!

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