Posts Tagged ‘Green island’

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.

Snorkelling on Green Island

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Yesterday we finally enjoyed our first snorkelling trip since we’ve been back to Cairns. Early in the morning we went to the Reef Terminal eager to board the Big Cat Cruises, the company who would take us to GREEN ISLAND.

Green Island is located only one hour away from Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. Green Island is located only one hour away from Cairns, but it is very different. As soon as you leave the coast, the water changes to a green color and then to deep blue, to change once more when you get close to the island, when it becomes turquoise blue. Green Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is a beautiful coral cay that was formed during 6000 years of winds, waves and currents sweeping reef debris on to the sheltered side of the reef. Vegetation grew on the island thanks to the seeds washed ashore or brought by birds. And nowadays, what we have is a beautiful island readily identified from the air by its emerald rainforest surrounded by white sandy beaches and beautiful coral reefs. Just another interesting note: the white sand is the result of thousands of years of corals dying and desintegrating on the bottom of the water.

We got there around 11am and went straight to the beach to do some snorkelling and, of course, to try our DIGITAL UNDERWATER CAMERAS As you can see in the images below, we still have a long way to go in the underwater photography world, but some of our customers have been taking extremely good photos of the reef. In case you cannot distinguish what they are, the first one is of a very colourful fish, there were dozens of them, and the second one is a picture of an octopus. Steve freaked out a bit, he’s a bit wary of everything that moves underwater, so we asked the lifeguards if they were dangerous and the assured us this type of octopus isn’t. So back to the water for another session of snorkelling.

Snorkelling is one of the many activities you can enjoy on the Great Barrier Reef, Far North Queensland.Try snorkelling in Green Island, off the coast of Cairns, and discover the beautiful reefs around its shores. We also booked a glass bottom boat tour and a semi submersible tour as part of the whole Green Island experience, so after lunch, a delicious tropical buffet, we were ready again for more excitement. A couple of very interesting facts: Green Island was the first place where a glass bottom boat operated, is home to the world’s first underwater observatory and even the first movie theatre located on an island. The glass bottom boat took us a few metres off Green Island. It consists exactly of that, a boat with glass bottom, where people sit on the sides of the boat, so the bottom is empty and you can see everything that comes underneath the boat. We saw a massive sea turtle (sorry, I was too slow to take a good pic and we missed it), lots of different species of fish, including a fish called “sucker fish”. It has a type of suction cup on the top part of its body. They aren’t a very energetic type of fish, so when they run out of energy, they attach themselves to anything that moves.

A tour on a Semisubmersible while on Green Island is a must if you want to discover its beautiful underwater life. The semisubmersible was my favourite tour. You sit in the bottom part of a boat, where all the side walls are made of glass, so you can see what’s going on around you. Again, we saw heaps of different species of fish, including another sea turtle and a couple of reef sharks. But my favourite were this colourful type of fish that travelled with us all the way. I learnt something hilarious: there is a type of fish commonly called “mother in law”. Why? Because it tastes so bad that the only person you would serve it to would be your mother in law.

After finishing these two tours, we went back to the water for another half an hour before the cruise departed for Cairns. The water around Green Island is so clear that I could have spent all day having a swim or snorkelling. Besides there is a swimming pool on the island open to every visitor, as well as some bars and cafes where you can get that cold drink or ice cream you look forward to after a hard day’s work. We look very stressed, don’t we? Anyway, we really enjoyed a cold drink before we went back on board to return to Cairns.

Maria snorkelling on Green Island, Great Barrier Reef.Steve snorkelling on Green Island, off the coast of Cairns.

Beautiful view of Green Island's pristine beach. And then it was time leave Green Island and come back to Cairns. I was a bit sad, wish we could have stayed there longer and spend the night in Green Island wonderful resort, but glad we had such a fantastic day experiencing the wonders of Green Island and the GREAT BARRIER REEF. And living so close to this magnificent paradise, we can always come back. Although next time I will try to convince Steve to go scuba diving as well. Who knows, I may be lucky this time. There are so many amazing things to see underwater in this breathtaking part of the world…