Port Douglas

So off we treked on an early morning Tiger Airways flight with the inlaws and cousins up to beautiful Port Douglas, unfortunatley the sun was not shining and it was all a bit dull as we landed in Cairns.. But that didn’t dampen our spirits. After picking up our hire car in Cairns we hit the road to Port Douglas.

The kids were all super excited and looking forward to the week ahead. Specially when we arrived at the house we had rented for the week, absolutely gorgeous. Pure luxury..

After exploring the house and choosing their bedrooms our kids and their cousins were straight into the pool for a dip.

Day 2
We were up and out early to book a reef tour – having checked out a couple of touristy places we decided upon bla bla cruises and booked it. We then had a little stroll around the town stopping at the church to have a look.

After that we hit the road to head for the Daintree..about an hour and a half drive from Port Douglas. The Irish cuz were very excited about having to cross on the river ferry while we made up stories of crocodiles leaping out of the water and snatching people – which is why you have to stay in your car…

The drive up to the Daintree is pretty spectacular and is nothing like anywhere else I have been. We stopped at Daintree Discovery Centre only to discover that the admission charges are quite expensive and the staff are really really rude and very unhelpful. Both staff on the day were unwilling to tell us and other visitors where the “free boardwalks” were. They were also quite pushy and salesy…and really put us off going in. Even our kids who wanted to go there said they wouldn’t be bothered going in.

With the result that a large number of tourists just get back in their car and drive away without ever getting the oportunity to explore the area on foot – not knowing that 2 minutes further up the road is some of the most awesome scenery that you will find. It is really quite disappointing to see people having come all this way do not get the opportunity to explore the region and i think the staff in the Daintree Discovery Centre could do a better job of promoting the local area.

The Daintree is afterall a large area and the free boardwalk brings you through the same rainforest as the Daintree Discovery Centre albeit at a lower height and without the audio info. The free boardwalk does have a number of signposted info stops and tells me all the info I need to know – afterall at my age how much info can i retain anyway! There are also lots of picnic areas up at Jindalba and wildlife such as brush turkeys walking around.

Next stop was the ice cream factory where there are over 30 weird and wonderful flavours of ice cream on offer. Well worth a stop off as you won’t get the wonderful Daintree flavour ice cream anywhere else in the world – all of which are made on-site by the ice-cream angel. She is currently selling her business by the way so if you would like a change of scenery and want to become the next ice cream angel check it out.

After our ice creams it was back in the car and on to Cape Tribulation which is about as far north as you can drive in Australia – without a 4wd. On way we saw a live Cassowary bird on the side of the road ( not roadkill!). We arrived in Cape amid roars of laughter as one of the younger cousins kept mixing up Calamari and Cassowary so you can imagine some of the jokes – Cassowary and chips etc etc.

After the obigatory photos on Cape Tribulation we had a walk up the beach, but as it was starting to get dark the kids were keen to get back to the safety of the car. As from the car park to the beach you walk through a mangrove type of forest at the end of which there are crocodile warning signs so not wanting to come head to head with a croc we barreled back to the car.

Of course being the responsible adults that we are we let the kids walk in front while we threw sticks into the bush ahead of them, the resulting rustle in the bushes made us laugh as the kids screamed thinking it may have been a croc.

A great end to a great day…

The following day we brought our Irish visitors in the their long awaited trip to the Barrier Reef – which was really the whole point of the trip to Port Douglas. Unfortunately the day was really overcast and the seas verybchoppy so much so thatnthe crew handed seasickness tablets out to all passengers. The journey out to the reef takes anout an hour and twenty which passes quickly. While they say you get “breakfast” on board i would recommend eating beforehand as breakfast consisted of a muffin or pastry and tea or coffee.

The crew were really good at briefing us about all the reefs were were going snorkelling at and the equipment provided was good quality.

We visited three reefs and while there is lots to see i was really surprised how dull and colourlessl the reef was, the crew said this was because it was a dull day. However when i last visited the reef over 20 it seemed to be much more colourful – is this a result of the bleaching that is threatening the reef. While there is still lots to see and there is a huge array of fish life in resplendent colours, sizes and shapes. It is also surprising to see that each reef differs in terms of coral and fishlife. For the final snorkel Paul took us on “guided snorkel” which was really intertesing as we got to see, touch and feel the likes of sea cucumbers up close.

After that it was back on board for our rocky journey home – however the journey home seemed to take no time as the adult and kids chatted excitedly about all they had seen and scrolled through the photos that the onboard photographer had taken of us underwater.

Another great ending to a great day…

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