The Great Barrier Reef
Trip Start Jun 30, 2011
37Trip End Ongoing
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On arrival at Port Douglas, we stopped at the information centre, who recommended that we go up to the Daintree rainforest and see Mossman Gorge. This was like a large swimming hole in the forest, and was sacred to the indigenous people of Australia. It was about a 2km walk, which wasn't too bad as the rainforest provided some shade from the blistering heat
Our main reason for going to Port Douglas was the Great Barrier Reef. There were numerous companies offering to take us to the outer reef, and it was difficult to decide who to go with. After speaking to many of the locals one company's name kept coming up - Calypso tours. So we booked our trip for the following day and packed our gear. Contemplated buying a disposable camera, as we had done in Tobago, but eventually decided to invest in a digital underwater camera. [Forgot to change the date on camera settings, hence all photos are stamped with 2011] Only drawback was that they only had a pink one in stock, so guess that meant Parminder would be in possession of it the majority of the time.
The boat was a large three storey catamaran, and we were pleasantly surprised with the staff to customer ratio
As soon as we got our head down into the water, the magic of the Great Barrier Reef engulfed us. Fish were in abundance, and we were literally just above the coral reef in the middle of the ocean. I (Parminder) spotted a baby shark. We had been informed about sharks being present, but apparently there were never any that would lead to a real life Jaws scene. First time in, it took a bit getting used to the snorkel. We went for a further two dives. Each dive was more enjoyable than the last, and it's difficult to put into words how amazing the marine life was
On our last day in Port Douglas, we went for a walk on the four mile beach. We were advised to avoid swimming in the sea due to the aforementioned stingers and noticed there was not one person in the sea. We wondered to ourselves how it would be having a beach on your doorstep, without being able to go for a swim. There was a small area sectioned off from the rest of the sea with nets and whatnot, which people could go swimming in though. The sand is so firm that the beach has been used for horse, motorcycle and foot races. Beginning at the northern rocky headland, Four Mile Beach stretches for kilometres without a trace of development. The beachfront homes and holiday accommodation are very well hidden behind the lush vegetation.
Port Douglas is a delightful little coastal town, with a distinctive laid back atmosphere, and a low-rise tropical old world charm. The tallest building has to be smaller than the tallest tree. A place with no traffic lights, no fast food chain joints (yes, no McDonald's!) and no parking meters. The fact the local residents took on the Golden Arches is one example of how they have managed to maintain Port Douglas' Tropical North Queensland seaside village charm.