Port Douglas

Trip Start Oct 12, 2004
Trip End Mar 15, 2005

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Croft's Take:

We got the tour bus from PK's Jungle Village at 1:30 and left Cape Trib. It is such a curvy road that it makes even me carsick. The views are spectacular though. Speaking of nice views we stopped at Alexandra lookout on the way. Turns out, Henry the VII was the King of England at the time Australia was "discovered" and his main squeeze Alexandra had many plants and locations named after her. The lookout was very impressive covering both rainforest and beach. We then hopped back on the bus and headed to Mossman Gorge. It was next to an Aboriginal reserve and is a place of spiritual significance to them so you know what that means... that's right! A swimming hole! The freshwater swimming hole was very nice with little rapids and big round boulders all in the comfort of the rainforest. Everyone had a blast and swimming in water that was more like the Gatineau's temperature was very refreshing after the now 28 degrees celsius ocean.

We finally got back on the bus and got dropped off at Doogies, a hostel in Port Douglas. Up until Dougies we had had pretty good luck in terms of accomodations. Our streak was to end here. It is not necessarily that Dougies is a bad hostel as much as we were unlucky. No doubles were free so we got a double tent. This was sweet at first as it was very cheap and had real beds in it. The downside was that Dougies had a loud bar on site...right next to our tent. This wouldn't have been too bad had we not been buggered from all the hiking and swimming. Also, in Port Douglas we had the warmest weather we have had so far. From 8 in the morning it is over 30 degrees. This means our tent gets really really really hot. I woke up very sweaty and tired already. The pool was being repainted so we could not hop in as we were accustomed to doing in the morning. We snuck into another hostel's swimming area to cool off but it was a far enough walk away.

Port Douglas has an interesting history where this entrepreneur tried to pump cash into it to turn it from a sugarcane farming town into a tourists paradise. He created this hotel resort on the beach named the Mirage and it appears as if it was working. However, he was embezzling the money and fled to Majorca where he died earlier this year of cancer still wanted by the Australian authorities at the time of his death. Port Douglas is sort of like Cairns-light. It would have been the perfect place to set up camp except even the cheapest hostels were out of our price range and I was not staying in that god damn tent if I could help it.

Port Douglas reminds me of a tropical version of Ste-Anne-to-Bellevue in Montreal. It is all build around one strip with tons of nice restaurants and stores. We managed to peg a nice cheap bakery and pizza place for some meals. Our sandals, coated in salt and sand had begun to wear on our feet and our patience. We had to bandage them up and I am back to sweating in shoes now. We loved Port Douglas' beach, Four Mile Beach. It was seriously beutiful and had just the right number of people. We hit it on our last day in Port Douglas with our luck starting to turn for the better. Doogies filled up their pool and since it was newly filled it was cool like Mossman Gorge. Other places of interest we visited in Port Douglas were the pier where we got some beautiful pictures and a little non-denominational church with a beautiful view on the sea (Cape Trib and PD have made m overuse the word "beautiful", feel free to add synonyms as you please). Tropics Explorer (the tour company) picked us up and we are now back in Bohemia at Cairns.

*Interesting sidebar with Port Douglas was that Bill Clinton was here with his family eating at a restaurant when September 11th 2001 happened. He received the call at the restaurant and told everyone including the lady who had been serving them that "the trade center has been hit by two planes, it looks deliberate" before apologizing for cutting out early and leaving. Later the waitress received a photo taken with Bill and co. via the mail with a letter of thanks and she has posted the story and photo on the front of her restaurant. I wish I had had camera when we stumbled on the pic because it is hilarious. Bill's face is burnt so badly I cannot believe it. Anyway, I thought that was a funny sidenote.*

Jess' Take
Oct 27th afternoon

Today we were picked up from Cape Trib in the afternoon and we got to go for a short hike to an lookout along the way. The lookout was great as it offered a wonderful view of Cape Trib and the surrounding areas. It was funny as tons of tourist were out, standing all in a row shooting shots as fast as you can say clicky clickies (that is how our guide likes to refer to photo taking). We also stopped at Mossman Gorge which is a spiritual and special place for aboriginals. Unfortunately, information about this spot was thin, as the tour guide did not offer any info about this area. Croft and I will have to research it as bit when we have time. At Mossman Gorge we got to go for a very refreshing swim.

Croft and I decided to stop at Port Douglas for two nights. Port Douglas is this great, ritzy little town. Its economy used to be based on tin, timbre and gold but when these resources ran out they moved to farming (sugar cane farming) and recently they have been trying to cash in on the tourist buck, which they have done quite successfully I must say. Croft and I both loved Port Douglas as it reminded us of a hotter, prettier Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. It is seriously hot here. In the summer its is 26 to 33 degrees Celsius and in the winter it ranges from 22-25. Croft and I both burned a tad, even though we were serious about our sunscreen applications.

Our first evening Croft and I wandered around and checked out the town and ate some pizza. We wanted to go to bed early as we were both a tad tired from the Cape Trib hike but unfortunately at Dougies Hostel the bar was right beside our tent. All night I heard this really drunk Brit shouting "I love Dougies" and "I love shagging" among other things. I felt like shouting that I would love some sleep but he seemed like the talkative sort so I decided to avoid that.

Oct 28th
It was the 28th that I officially decided that I hate tenting it. In the mourning the tent felt like a sauna and I woke up super dehydrated. Moreover, I had bug bites everywhere. Yes the tent at Dougies was cheap but horrible in so many ways!! I am itching bug bites now that were acquired from that visit!! This lead to a somewhat cranky mourning on Crofton's part but he perked up after breakfast. We pretty much just checked the town out again, visited this beautiful church called St Mary's by the Sea that was rebuilt in 1911 after a cyclone damaged portions of the town. The church has a beautiful view and apparently 255 weddings were held there last year. On the way back we were planning on going to Four Mile beach but the blisters that were initially developed in Cape Trib reached a whole new level of painfulness and I was pretty cranky for the rest of the evening. Thank goodness for mole skin. Crofton and I ended up taking it pretty easy and watching two back to back episodes of Law & Order SVU. Which I must admit was quite enjoyable.

Oct 29th
We checked out Four Mile Beach after reapplying mole skin to my feet. This beach is lovely and laid back and we had a great swim. I really think I am beginning to love beach culture (except for ultra fine sand). We also met a dog named Buddy who is a professional beggar and drooled all over Croft's feel while we ate lunch. It was funny because as soon as we were done he moved on to his next victims. I think he may have belonged to the restaurant and if so he must have felt like he was in doggy heaven or maybe hell with all the good smelling food always around him. He was pretty cute though so I am sure he fares well with the tourists.

That is pretty much all. Right now, Oct 30th, we are back in Cairns and I must admit I am pretty much exhausted. I didn't sleep well in either Cape Trib or Port Douglas so today we are taking it easy and resting up as we plan the next leg of our trip. We are back at the Bohemia hostel and we plan to take advantage of their great pool and figure out a reef trip and whether or not we are going to the Atherton Tablelands. Any suggestions would be much appreciated if anyone is doing their own research. (That is mostly directed to Barb and Suzy:)

Anyhow I hope eveyone is well and enjoying the end of fall.

Take care,
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