Week Thirty Three - Cairns

Trip Start Aug 26, 2003
Trip End Aug 24, 2004

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Day 212 - Tuesday 6 April

Pack up and drive twenty minutes to 'Australia's Nicest Beach'. Kurrumine Beach is a windswept version of Brown's Bay. We get the Queensland brochures out and decide to drive to the 'Skyrail' which is 20 minutes north of Cairns. Everybody has said that this cable car ride over the rainforest canopy is a must. It's of course raining and the return fare is $50 each. The visibility is poor most of the 10 mile round trip. The highlight comes when I try to open the window and the supposedly locked door springs open and I nearly tumble 60 metres down through the canopy to the forest floor. We get off briefly at one of the two stops to go and look at Barron Waterfall. It is quite nice but we opt to ignore the other stops and just stay in our 'gondola' and return to the car park. We then drive on to Palm Cove which is 20 minutes north of Cairns. We check into the only caravan site in town for two nights. Our plan to take a trip out to Green Island for snorkeling is scuppered when we learn that the sea is so stirred up that the visibility is too bad for snorkelling. Once through the gates we find the worst site that we have been on in Oz. The receptionist says that she cannot give us our money back because she has issued a receipt. We can however apply to the council for a refund. We decide to just leave and drive 15 minutes further up the coast to Ellis Beach. This is much nicer and we get a site right on the beach front. We sit finishing off our drink supplies on the beach. An early night at 10pm.

Day 213 - Wednesday 7 April

Woken again by the rain around 6am. Nic lies on the beach in between showers. Due to possibility of jellyfish and our lack of stinger suits we cannot go in for a swim. I walk along to the nearest shop for fags. The rain drives us into the van where luckily The Bill is on. Nicola throws out our unused food stuffs and gives the van, fridge etc a good clean. I direct. We gather together all our unused foodstuffs and give them to the three girls staying in the tent next door. They are very pleased. Later, as we are sitting watching TV, one of the girls knocks on our door and invites us over for Baileys on Ice after dinner. As we are tired we decline but thank them for the invite. An earlyish night.

Fact: Translated directly, the word kangaroo means 'I dunno'. Apparently an early explorer asked an Aborigonal what the strange hopping animal was called. He replied 'I dunno' which is 'Kangaroo' in their lingo.

Day 214 - Thursday 8 April

Big dollops on rain splashing on our van wake us as usual. We get up and shower, unplug, check out and drive thirty minutes into Cairns centre. First stop is the 'Cash Converter' shop to offload the TV. I manage to bargain them up from $5 to $10.What an insult but we got our moneys worth out of it. We drive down to our hotel, The Tradewinds Esplanade and check in and leave our bags at reception. Next fill up van with diesel and drive to outskirts of town to drop it off at NQ Rentals. We get a clean bill of health on the van and get our $5000 deposit refunded to the credit card. Whilst waiting we get chatting to one of the guys who has just started working there. He is a golfer and gives me an introductory letter to a couple of his mates who happen to be the Professionals at two of the clubs around Port Douglas. A taxi takes us back to Tradewinds Esplanade. Our room is large and has a lovely balcony overlooking the bay and the hotel swimming pool. After connecting the Lifebook into the phone line we go online and catch up with all our e-mails. We wander into town, which is small and compact. After toasted sandwiches, Nicola goes to a shopping centre whilst I wait in one of the Irish bars. Parochially, I nip next door and put some money on both Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke for The Masters starting tomorrow. Nic turns up a couple of hours later with several bags of clothes. Back to hotel room for an early night before getting up at 5.30am for the start of The Masters.

Day 215 - Friday 9 April

Up at 5.30 to find that play in The Masters has been suspended due to electrical storms in Augusta. Ian Baker-Finch and his co-presenter prattle on about the chances of the seven Aussie players. Once play resumes they show either Appleby and Co. or Arnie Palmer between very frequent ad breaks. Terrible coverage but at least Darren has got himself into good position at 2 under, three behind Justin Rose. They don't show Darren once. Coverage stops at 9am. Nic goes down to the pool and I try to doze. Constant interruptions by Housekeeping make sleep impossible so I join Nicola in the pool. We then wash and wander into town. The lagoon on the bay is busy with locals enjoying Good Friday. Ice cream in 'The Pier' shopping centre then discover that the Casino is also closed. There is only one bar open so we have a couple of pints then go for dinner in 'Barnacle Bills' which, like many of the restaurants on the Esplanade, offers 30% discount on meals and drink ordered before 4.45pm. Nicola has Coral Trout which she greatly enjoys and I have a very spicy Seafood Jumbalaya. After a couple of nightcaps in 'Rattle and Hum' bar we walk home for another early one.

Day 216 - Saturday 10 April

Another 5.30am start. The coverage is no better but this morning it may be a blessing to not see Darren missing the cut. I manage to get an hours kip before we go into town with the intention of taking a trip to Green Island for some snorkeling. We take shelter from a heavy downpour under a stage on the promenade. Over at the quay we ask the receptionist about conditions out at sea. He says that it is pretty rough. Many people have decided to go out but we decline. We will leave it until Port Douglas. We book the bus to Port Douglas for tomorrow with pick up from our hotel. We dodge the showers on our way back to get changed out of our cossies and return to town for dinner in 'The Naked Prawn'. Nicola again eats another gorgeous Coral Trout and I enjoy Chilli Prawns. We wander up to PJ O'Briens then home for another early start.

Day 217 - Sunday 11 April

Another 5.30 start. The bad news is that coverage starts tomorrow morning at 3.30am. We pack up, check out and board the mini-bus at 10am. We get dropped off at 'Dreamcatcher' apartments at 11.30. Our room is lovely although we are 4kms from the town centre. After a swim in the pool we get dressed and walk 3miles along 'Four Mile Beach' into town. The town is lovely with loads of restaurants. Many of the bars have live bands playing. Most of the restaurants that we look at are fully booked, this being Easter Sunday and all. Menu boards outside the restaurants boast pictures of celebs who have eaten at their kitchens. Most interesting is the one of Bill Clinton dates September 11 2001.We eat in 'Salsa' off their 'Sundowner' menu. Lovely Spring Rolls, Nachos and Caeser Salad. In 'Coles' we get essential supplies (including an Easter Egg) then get the bus back to our apartment. Watch 'Our Restaurant Rules' then crash.

Day 218 - Monday 12 April

Up at 3.30am to watch Phil Michelson win an exicting Masters. I go to sleep for a couple of hours whilst Nicola sits by the pool. I get up and join her for a while then go inside and book accommodation in Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Uluru as well as car hire. One of the local courses, The Links, has a special off $55 for golf after 3pm so I book myself on and walk 15 minutes to the course. After club hire, water and balls the bill reaches $115. I play the first nine holes by myself then join a young English chap and his dad for the back nine. Really nice course although the greens are a bit ropey. Back home at seven where we order Thai for delivery. It takes an hour and a half and it not nice when it arrives. The News announces that the Aussie model who is supposed to have had an affair with David Beckham is hiding out in the Sheridan Mirage Resort in Port Douglas which is next door to our apartment.
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