Land Ho!

Trip Start Oct 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, January 21, 2012

Annabel: We are now back in Cairns after our two day trip up to Cape Tribulation, and tomorrow we fly to Ayres Rock.  Despite a hell of a lot of rain, we had a really great time driving up north a bit and seeing some nature.  It was really nice to get off the backpacker trail for a bit to really see something of Australia.

We started our trip by going to Hertz to pick up our hire car.  I can't really be bother to go into a massive explanation as to why we now hate Hertz, let’s just say when you are quoted $84 and then end up paying $364, it’s a little bit annoying.  So, after our initial anger settled down, with me driving first, we set off north up Captain Cook Highway!  Our first stop was Port Douglas, a small beach town which was basically full of shops and cafes, it was a really nice place.  We couldn’t believe how humid it was here.  We had only travelled about an hour and a half north of Cairns, and when you are in an air con car you sort of forget that if is not going to be that cool outside!  We had a walk around the main street, did some shopping, had some lunch, and then drove up to the lookout point over the sea before going for a quick drink so that I could watch some of the tennis!  We swapped drivers and Conor drove us up to our next stop, Mossman Gorge.  This was a really nice area of rainforest, creeks and a lake which we had a walk around.  We also saw a wild Python in a tree which was really cool, and another wild Australian animal to add to our growing list!  It was then on to the main attraction, Cape Tribulation.

Conor:  Cape Trib is part of the Daintree National Park and is a large rainforest area with lots of 4x4 tracks and remote beaches. It’s also well known for being Cassowary country! To get to south of the park you have to go over a chain ferry, which was pretty cool. It’s not an island but the majority of it is cut off by thick rainforest. We up from the ferry for about an hour to get to Cape Tribulation, which is as far as you can go in an ordinary car. The whole national park area was very cool. It’s very basic and cut off from the rest of Oz, there’s only one shop to service the whole area and it shuts and 6 pm. Apart from that there are a number of hotels but they were largely closed as it was out of season – and with the rain beating down you could see why! By the time we arrived it was 7pm, so we had missed the opportunity to buy a cheap dinner from the shop. I ended up having a pizza at the hostels bar/restaurant but Annabel wanted a healthier option. As a result we walked down a dark, unlit road, in the middle the surrounding rainforest to another hotel that claimed to have a fruit and veg market. Turns out all they had was some lettuce, tomatoes and mushrooms as they were closed for the week. When Annabel got back to our hostel to cook this we had missed the chance to hire cutlery, so she had to eat it out of the cooking pot with a serving spoon. In her own words: 'worst meal ever’.

Due to the inflated hostel prices (there are only two in this whole area of the park) we opted to hire a camping pitch and sleep in the car. This seemed like a fun idea until we realised how humid it would be at night! We fell asleep, sweating, with the windows ajar to try and cool down. We were then woken up by rainwater flooding through the windows! The windows then went back, only to come down again when the rain stopped. This pattern was repeated several times throughout the night!

After a patchy night’s sleep we got up and got underway. We basically only had the morning in the Cape Trib area. We started at the Cape itself, so named because Captain Cook’s boat had suffered damage on a nearby reef. Although the weather was far from perfect (raining on and off) the cape and beach were really impressive. It kinda looked like a set from the Pirates of the Caribbean; a thin strip of beach enclosed by rainforest on one side and the vast sea on the other. The place was so deserted you could imagine Captain Cook and his men coming ashore, exploring the surrounding area (‘Land ho!’).

After this we went on two of the man rainforest walks that you can do around Cape Trib. These were really good as well; they showed you a massive variety of scenery. One of the most impressive bits was a large mangrove forest that had a walkway built through it. I almost walked straight into the most enormous spider I have ever seen, but luckily I ducked in time!

After these two walks we went to a view point where you could see all the way back to Port Douglas, which was some two hours drive away! With our whistle-stop tour over we got back into the car and headed back to Cairns. We both really enjoyed our short time in Cape Trib, it was really unique and a great place to see some different wildlife, though unfortunately we never saw a wild Cassoway.

So now we are back were we started in Cairns. We are meeting up with Dan and Matt tonight (our friends from Byron) for a drink or two, and then we fly direct to Ayres Rock. We are both really excited, we get to see one of the world’s greatest landmarks and Annabel gets to see her parents, who are meeting us there! Next stop, the Red Centre!!
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