Nick & Gill's Round the World Trip 2006/7 travel blog

Aussie roadsign in Daintree

Gill at Cape Tribulation

Nick in lycra stinger suit

Gill overlooking Four Mile Beach

Beached whale on Four Mile Beach

PORT DOUGLAS - Monday 20th November to Sunday 26th November (Days 24-30)

After a brief look around a still showery Cairns we caught a minibus transfer north to Port Douglas. The Cook Highway winds its way up the coast offering spectacular views of the sea, and the surrounding rainforest. We had initially booked 3 nights in an apartment but on seeing Port Douglas, the apartment, Four Mile beach, the lack of crowds, the restaurants, we immediately decided to stay for 6 nights for a bit of R&R after the trauma of the tourist crowds and huge distances of Central OZ! Oh, it also meant that I could sit down in front of the tv and watch the first test match! (Although after England's performance I wished I hadn't! Having to listen to Ian Chappell going on about how crap England are, and that bloody TonkAPom advert with Matt Hayden between every over, I don't think I'll bother with the other matches!!!) The main street of Port Douglas has many upmarket shops and boutiques and Gill decided that this was the place to act like a woman of wealth and hit the plastic - I don't think she realizes that we are on UNPAID leave! Along with the shopping, the cricket, and the beach we did manage to fit in a couple of day tours as well during the week;


An 07.45 start in a 4WD and a small group (6), we headed north out of Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge, a boulder strewn rainforest river. Our guide Dean was a real expert on the rainforest habitat of the Wet Tropics and its ecosystem. Then on to the Daintree river for a short cruise, where the crocs decided they were going to keep their heads down and hide in the mangroves. We did see plenty of flying foxes though! Alexandra Bay gave great views of the Daintree river entering the sea, and we had a short tea stop at Thornton Beach. Next stop was the magnifient Cape Tribulation, named by Captain Cook in 1770 after his ship hit a reef - ancient forests, sandy beaches, and rugged mountains! This is one of the few places in the world where tropical rainforest meets the sea. We then headed for Noah Valley for a guided walk through the rainforest, described as a 'refugium' where species have survived undistrubed for millions of years and where many plants don't exist anywhere else in the world. A remarkable experience.


As Gill can't swim very well we had no choice but to rejoin the tourist crowds again, using the areas big operator who offers alternatives to actually getting in the water to see the reef. Transport was via a huge catamaran out to the outer reef (Agincourt Reef) to a moored platform (think James Bond villains home, like Dr No and you will get the picture!). While Gill went off in a semi-submersible to view the coral, I got straight into a lycra stinger suit (see photo) and out onto the reef snorkelling. In the afternoon I paid for an extra excursion with a marine biologist out to a place on the reef away from the crowds called Barracuda Bomy. It was spectacular, a place not surprisingly inhabited by many huge barracudas. During the snorkel the biologist would dive down to point things of interest out, like giant clams, and bring sponges and starfish up for us to hold. All very informative. Gill didn't have her sea legs, on the way out to the reef she fell over on the catamaran, her face landing between two blokes legs who asked her if she was practicing diving - she then felt violently sick on the semi-submersible (to be fair it was a moderate sea), and on the way back to Port Douglas a gust of wind caught her coffee which flew over about 10 fellow passengers!

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