Far north Queensland

Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
Trip End Mar 10, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Friday, March 5, 2010

We were back in the heat! And now humidity!  We were in the tropics.

Our first destination from the airport was downtown Cairns, to eat lunch at a restaurant part owned by the son of a friend of Mitzi's back in Lichfield. Although open air, the many ceiling fans and breezes kept us comfortable. The food was very tasty and well presented, cooked by the son, and served by amiable staff.

Port Douglas is an easy drive up Captain Cook highway from Cairns. Views of the azure Coral Sea begin to appear as you drive north. Our motel wins the trip prize for the best name. Comfortable and spacious (and air conditioned), and under new ownership since my booking, it was a quiet spot located just outside downtown.

After exploring the beautiful, almost deserted beach and Mitzi putting her toes in the Coral Sea for the first time, we lounged in the pool at the motel. Swimming in the Coral Sea is limited to carefully screened off areas because of the risk of very painful stings from jelly fish which swarm in these waters. There are stations at the beach where vinegar is available which helps relieve the pain of the sting.

Next day we were off to Cape Tribulation. We booked a small group tour (there were 5 of us in total). Our activities included kayaking in the Coral Sea, a walk in the jungle, a swim in a jungle pool, and a boat trip on the Daintree River looking for crocodiles.

The kayaking was super, we will do more, the walk was strangely lacking in wild life but we did see a lizard close up, the swim in a cool river pool was refreshing but hard on the feet, and we did see two crocodiles hidden among the mangroves. We also ate delicious tropical fruit which we had never seen before, the mangosteen (tastes a bit like lychee), and Rambutan (also known as a hairy strawberry). We even saw a cassowary in the wild!

Although not usually fans of zoos, we had visited a nature reserve in Port Douglas previously which, of its kind, was very good and did a great job of presenting the native animals in as close to a natural environment as is possible. We went again and it was even better than 7 years previously. You are able to see many of the famous animals of Australia who ordinarily you would be very lucky to see in the wild and, of course, the conditions are excellent for photographs.

We took the opportunity to rest up after a hectic few days and attempted to catch up with the blog (not a complete success).

The heat and humidity also contributed to our lack of energy combined with a certain languor brought on by the knowledge that our odyssey was soon to end. It was a nice change to take it easy and reflect on the journey we had enjoyed for nearly two months.

Coming in to Sydney on our flight from Cairns the weather was bright and sunny and Joan was able to take some remarkable shots of Sydney showing the opera house and bridge and the surrounding city.

We had booked a last night dinner in a French bistro. We were strangely subdued as we contemplated the next day's return to normality.

It was perhaps appropriate that the rain was falling heavily as our plane departed Sydney on its way to Los Angeles.

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thorn on

awesome awesome trip--your combined skills of description and photography just tale me there...

silvia on

Just great!!

ruth on

I'll miss these, John! I knew you were alive and well on a regular basis and that you were still after Rick Steve's job.

Duncan on

Odyssey is the right word, John. A memorable, inspiring journey.

We went to Devon last week ... er, it doesn't really compare! :-D

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