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Day 16.5-19: Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation

Written on: Tuesday April 5th, 2011

A journal entry from: Down Under Surf Safari

Domestic flights in Australia are unreal. You don't have to show any ID and no boarding pass (the one you printed of in a convenience store) until you board the plane. Too easy! Once in Cairns we took a cab to our room at the Bellvue on the Esplanade. This part of Cairns is TOURIST central. Backpackers and dirty hippies. After shopping around a bit we decided to settle with Reef Experience, the reef outfitter that Jova had recommended to us. We found a place on the Esplanade called Tasty Burger that had the best burgers I've ever had: Summer Sunset. Couldn't describe what was in it except beef and bacon and guacamole and pinapple and other amazing fittings. We then headed to the Woolshed a bar that Jova also recommended. It was trivia night and after entering our team we ended up in second place which got you nothing. We enjoyed some drinks and after listening to the same 20 songs that they also exclusively only listen to on radio in Australia we headed back to the Bellvue.

Wednesday we got up early to meet the boat and crew at the wharf and get ready for our 'reef experience'. Five minutes into the boat ride 3/4 of the passengers emptied out onto the back deck to vomit the nice breakfast they just ate. We had a spacious but bumpy ride. And first ended out at Hastings Reef to do some snorkling. After a short intro to SCUBA we got to play around with our regulators and got ready for a short dive.There were groups of four and another lady joined us with the instructor. As we were submerging I had a hard time neutralizing my ear cavity, we were down 3-4m and suddenly the woman in our group panicked and surged to the surface. Anyone that dives will know that this is the worst thing to do since the decrease in pressure as you rise to the surface will cause the oxygen in your body to expand. The instructor rushed after her and tried to pull her down. In the end they surfaced and she was okay, which left Joel, Curtis and I to do some diving in our own team. Later we packed up and headed to Virgin Reef to do some more snorkeling. Joel managed to spot a sting ray for me.

Thursday morning we had arranged for a rental car to be in front of the Bellvue so that we could drive up to Port Douglas. After a greasy breakfast we drove north and checked out the Animal Sanctuary. This was a well-appointed facility and we went around feeding the wallabies and looking at the birds, snakes, koalas etc. The emus were a little bold and not afraid which is a little disconcerting. They also had a southern cassowary there which is a prehistoric-looking large bird that really makes you believe birds came from dinosaurs. 

We had lunch at a cool-looking restaurant in Port Douglas called the Ironbar. We decided to be served crocodile, emu and kangaroo which we were then told might be road kill. After lunch we drove up to Mossman Gorge which we were told was quite nice. We ended up on the 2 km loop through the rainforest for which we were unprepared (flip flops and no shirt = mosquito bites) but it was cool to see the giant buttressed roots and strangler figs. We took the vehicle all the way up to Cape Tribulation which is where the hardtop ends. We just got out onto the beach to walk around when it poured on us and we made our way back to the Iron Bar for Cane Toad racing. HILARIOUS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mt6bd-EORA. 

Friday we had a late breakfast and checked out of the Bellvue. We developed some photos and bought a frame for the Simms. Grabbed one last Healthy Burger and took the flight back to Brisbane and then the train to Nerang. Simmerz picked us up and we watched Hannah and Noah race BMX.


From David W. on Apr 23rd, 2011

Great shots! Cool that you saw a cassowary, we didn't manage to see one.

From Belle on May 2nd, 2016

Shoot, who would have thouhgt that it was that easy?