Posts Tagged ‘four mile beach’

Around Tropical North Queensland

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

No that I can do a lot in my condition, with only three more weeks to go before our life changes completely and forever, but we’re trying to show my parents as much of the region as we can. They are loving it!

We have always loved Port Douglas on a Sunday, when the markets are on. So one morning, after doing our weekly shopping in Rustys and making sure the rain was going to give us a break, we headed for this fantastic destination. First thing, as we always do when we get to Port Douglas, we went for a coffee and a muffin in our favourite cafe in town (I’m afraid we never remember the name of the place, but the muffins there are absolutely delicious). And then to the markets. This time there weren’t as many stalls as usual, still we managed to see a few unusual things, at least for the Spanish eye: the bike producing cane sugar juice, funny faces made out of coconuts, a whole stall selling macadamia nuts with different flavours, exotic fruits, etc. It’s always very interesting to wander through markets, since you never know what you can find.

Next stop, Four Mile Beach, where there were quite a few people enjoying the tropical waters. We didn’t have a swimm, can you believe we had forgotten our swimming apparels at home? Lucky we have a swimming pool at home. Yes, I know, it isn’t the same, is it?.

Another area we have taken my parents too is Steve’s all time favourite: the Atherton Tablelands. The weather wasn’t the best, so we had to give Granite Gorge a miss this time, which is where I really wanted to take them so they could hand feed wallabies. I don’t think there are too many wallabies in Spain. However, we had plenty of time to do other things. First we visited one of the many tropical wineries in the area, where my parents bought coffee liqueur (by the way it is disappearing from the frigde, I have the feeling that it’s very good, not that I have tried it). After that, a stop to drink a very tasty coffee, since the area is also well known for its coffee plantations. Being Spanish, they’re a bit particular about their coffee and it seems the one we had at Skybury met their standards.

My mum was very surprised by the size of the termite mounds that we saw all the way along the road, so we took her to see the massive mounds that have been put together to create a very impressive avenue in the area. As you can see, some of them can be the size of a grown up person.

Another thing they are finding interesting is the amount of “Big Things” that you can find in Australia. So far, we have seen the Big Pineapple in the Sunshine Coast, the Big Captain Cook in Cairns, and the Big Fish and the Big Peanut, both in the Tablelands. There are still a few around the Cairns area we haven’t seen, hopefully we will before they leave Australia. It’s something we don’t have in Spain and they seem to be very interested in.

We also had time to show them what Australian food tastes like at The Falls Teahouse, in Millaa Millaa, one of our favourite restaurants in the Cairns region. I’m not a very big fan of meat, in fact, I’m really struggling with the amount of meat that I have to eat during the pregnancy, but I always look forward to their meat pies, the best ones I have ever tried. I probably haven’t been around too much to be able to talk about meat pies, but if the same afirmation comes from Steve, a meat lover, then it must be true. And since the Falls Teahouse restaurant is so close to some of the falls that belong to the very well known Falls Circuit, we also visited Millaa Millaa Falls, the best known of all of them, but definetely not the only one around. There are about 7 or 8 waterfalls, all of them beautiful and worth a visit. So if you have the time, go for it, 100% recommended.

And our last visit so far has been to Green Island, off the coast of Cairns. Finally I got to visit Melanesia Marineland, where Cassius lives, the biggest croc in cautivity. The sweet little thing measures only 5.5 metres and has such a kind face… I find crocs and snakes fascinating, so I never get tired of seeing them, although when they find a comfortable position they can remain quite for a very long time. It wasn’t the case in one of the enclosures we saw. There were at least 9 small crocs in a few different ponds. The one that seemed like the boss run from one pond to another, where there was a smaller croc. This one jumped out of the pond towards us at a very high speed, and the three of us run away from the fence at the same speed. At the time, we didn’t ever remember there was a fence between the crocodile and ourselves.

We also did a couple of tours on the island: one of them on a semi submersible and another one on a glass bottom boat. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, a semi submersible is a boat partly underwater with glass windows on both sides, so as the boat moves you see the different corals and marine life. And the glass bottom boat is somehow similar, but this time is the bottom of the boat what it’s made of glass.

Thanks to both boats, we saw lots of different fish species, being our favourite ones the Clown Fish, best known these days as Nemo. I just love the anemonies moving and the Nemos coming in and out of them. We also saw a couple of massive turtles, giant trevallies and many other species, including a manta ray. This time we didn’t see any sharks, unfortunately.

We’re already planning a few things for the next few days, such a basketball game in Cairns or a visit to Paronella Park, but right now, we never know what we will be able to do. Junior is not here yet, not because I don’t want to, but it seems he’s very happy where he is right now. I hope he decides to meet us all soon, we’re definetely getting “unpatient”, as our lovely Flynn, Steve’s nephew, says. I’m sure nobody is more impatient than I am right now.

Port Douglas Markets

Monday, September 8th, 2008

We decided to go for a bit of a drive yesterday and what a better place than Port Douglas on a Sunday, when the markets are on? So we left Cairns early and hungry, with no breakfast whatsoever. But we knew that a delicious meal was waiting for us at one of the cafés in Port Douglas, that we have made into a bit of our routine when we go up there. We always order their muffins, they are absolutely delicious. It seems we didn’t manage to keep Java Blue a secret, yesterday the place was absolutely packed with tourists, all of them after the same delicacies we were too. However, we managed to find a little table inside and were very happy indeed.

Then it was time to stroll around the markets. We’re looking for presents to take home when we go to Spain for Christmas, but we didn’t want to take the typical boomerang, basically because we have already done so and unfortunately we can’t keep on buying the same presents all the time. So this time we’re looking for something more elaborate, and it’s not easy. I think we have found what we wanted, but I’m afraid I won’t be let the secret out, just in case my family happens to read this post and finds out before we get there. We’ll tell you when it’s all over, see what you think.

The markets are a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday morning. Lots of different stalls, from fruit selling to second hand items, bric a brac, souvenirs, clothes and accessories, furniture, art, etc. But my favourite stall is the one which sells the coconut faces. They are superb, so funny and tropical and different from your “Made in…” souvenir. I’m tempted to buy a couple, one to give away and another one to keep myself and have a laugh every time I look at it. Have a look at the pic below, don’t you think they are funny faces?

Steve was completely fascinated by the guy peeling and cutting coconuts. Although it’s not very clear in the photo above, he was using one of those knives that pirates used to use and was absolutely amazing handling it. If it was me cutting those coconuts, I would be in hospital right now. Where we live there are lots of coconut trees everywhere and when the season comes, you can see all the coconuts lying on the floor. I love coconuts so one day I decided to take one home with me, cut it open and eat it. Well, easier said than done. I tried cutting the coconut with every tool and instrument I found in our house. I ended ut with a hammer hammering the coconut as hard as I could but the freaky little thing resisted and I ended up giving up and thowing the coconut away. From then on, I buy all coconuts from the guys who know how to do it. Easy!!!

The sugar cane guy was also an interesting sight. He has modified his bycicle in such a way that he can squeeze the juice out of the sugar cane by peddling. I guess the peddling starts some sort of machinery than then squeezes the canes. He’s more than willing to let you try, of course he would be in such a hot day as yesterday. I must say we were slightly careless and now we’re suffering from a bit of sunburnt. What would my mother in law thinks, as Steve always tells me.

But one of the funniest sights of the markets yesterday was the one just above. I guess this guy hadn’t been such a great father (for those of you who didn’t know, yesterday it was Father’s Day in Australia) and his kids had taken revenge on him by giving him “a massage” as a present. When he got off the bed he had red marks all over him but a big smile on his face, so I reckon it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

And after we had stopped at every single stall at the markets, we went for a walk on Four Mile Beach, the prime beach of Port Douglas. It doesn’t take much imagination to find out why this beach has been given such a name: it’s four miles long and fabulous. By Australian standards, at least in the Far North, the beach was crowded, with more than 30 people playing, laughing and having a swim. Even the lifegards were enjoying the day out, playing cricket, very different from the tv shows about the lifegards in places such as Bondi Beach, where they don’t get a minute rest saving lifes. The water was really inviting, very clear and refreshing but since Steve wasn’t wearing his swimmers, I didn’t want to go for a swim on my own. Nobody to duck under the water, you see?