Posts Tagged ‘Port Douglas’

Great Barrier Reef and Cape Tribulation with family

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

We had the pleasure of having Helene and Yesica, sister in law and niece, from France, spending a few days with us last week. As Helene said, their visit was short but memorable.

We couldn’t let them visit us without showing them one of our gems, the Great Barrier Reef so we booked with one of the many Great Barrier Reef cruises available and off we went. The trip to the reef was a bit rough but we all got there safe and sound. Little Nicholas was the one who probably enjoyed the trip most, with so much motion, he spent most of the trip happily asleep.

Three of us decided to go diving and only one wasn’t brave enough, sorry, wasn’t in the mood, for diving, so he went snorkelling. Can you guess who??????

The day was beautiful, we had a great time and the French girls were extremely impressed with the corals.

And the day after we took off again, this time to visit Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Forest. By the way, did you know that we help to save the Daintree Rainforest? Every month, Cairns Unlimited buys back five square metres of Daintree Rainforest.

Port Douglas was only a short stop to have breakfast in our favourite cafe, although this time we were all a bit dissapointed with the food, which had been fabulous before. The markets were on, so Steve, Nicholas, Helene and Yesi went to have a bit of a walk while I just waited for them sitting on a bench. I had taken some car sickness pill which hadn’t agreed with me and I was feeling a bit “drunk”. I even had to make my way to the car on my own, since I was falling asleep on the bench and I was a bit embarrased about it. I sent Steve a text to let them know where I was going, and when he showed it to me, it didn’t make any sense at all.

But I felt much better after the delicious hand made ice cream that we had at Floravilla. The flavours were all very exotic. Steve went for the Chilli Chocolate and I tried the Goji Berry with Rainforest Honey Yoghurt. I cannot remember what the girls had, but they were also very excited about them.

We also had time to do a Daintree River Cruise aboard Solar Whisper, where we spotted a few crocodiles, snakes, frogs and birds. It is definetely one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It was already late afternoon by the time we made it to our accomodation in Cape Tribulation Cape Tribulation Beach House. We had two lovely cabins only a couple of minutes from the beach but, most importantly, from the bar. The girls and Steve, after a very early dinner, since we all forgot to each lunch, joined Mason’s Tours for a crocodile spotting night walk. And I, very happily, put the little one to sleep and went to bed as well at 8pm. I know, very very unSpanish but it felt like heaven.

The explorers had a good time although there was no croc to be spotted. However, they came back talking about cane toads, spiders, native mice, white tail rats, sleeping kingfishers, other birds, fish in the crystal clear bubbling brook, wood frogs and even fresh cassowary poo.

The plan for the morning after was to go jungle surfing but someone didn’t plan ahead and the tour was booked out. So instead, we started to make our own way back to Cairns, stopping at Mossman Gorge. There has been talks about a road being built in Mossman Gorge but when we got there we couldn’t see much happening. There are a few massive blocks of concrete which are the base for a boardwalk that will eventually go through the rainforest to the gorge. But up to day, everything is just as it was before and you still have to walk through the rainforest to get there. It was a cool and misty morning and we know that the water in Mossman Gorge is freezing. However, there were still a few brave people having a swin. None of us, though.

All the way back to Cairns, about 60 kilometres, little Nicholas was crying. We tried everything to make him stop and go to sleep. Will you believe he fell asleep only one block away from home? Our little prince!

Helene and Yesi are now back to Stanthorpe, Steve’s home town. And Yesi will be back in France very soon. It was great to have you over, girls. Now it is time for the two rascals, Flynn and Joseph, to come and visit. We look forward to seeing you two.

And everyone, keep tuned. There are lots of news coming up very soon. That’s all I can say for now.

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.

Finally, visitors!!!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything, but life is pretty hectic in the Cairns Unlimited household and the days go by without us even realising. This post has been long due, and here it goes.

 After living in Australia for nearly two years, we finally had visitors from Spain visiting us. Well, we’re not counting my friend Jorge Rabadan and his wife, who came to Cairns on holidays, and since we were here already, met up with them a couple of times. We also booked a few tours for them. They were pretty happy with our service, as you can see in our referencias page. Since he now lives in LA, USA is much closer to Australia, so Jorge, you are welcome any time.

This time we have my very good friend Amaya with her family: her husband Luis and their two gorgeous girls, Sara and Ainhoa. They are the living proof that life doesn’t end when you become a parent. They are travelling around the world for a whole year. And since we threatened them that if they didn’t include Cairns in their schedule we would never talk to them again, they didn’t have any other option but visiting. They arrived on March 2nd!!!

Some of you may not think anything of it, but some of you will remember that we were looking for another home. And we found it, of course, but only two days before they got here. We packed everything as quickly as possible, rented UTE and moved houses ourselves. Gladly this time Steve didn’t pretend he was suffering from back pain, like he did when we moved to Yorkeys Knob, and I had to do most of the move myself .

We worked like maniacs for a couple of days, assembling furniture, buying what we didn’t have, which was actually many things, such a sofa, outside table or crockery but still had time to sit down and have a beer before going to the airport to pick them up.

I don’t know how long for Amaya and myself hugged each other. It was unbelivable to see them all in Australia. They were going to stay with us for a couple of weeks, which at the time seemed like we would have time to do many things together, but it just went so quickly…

The girls were happy just playing in the swimming pool and we seemed to be happy just sitting around the table, chatting and drinking wine. Remember three out of the four adults were Spanish, so sipping wine and going to be late was common those days. The neighbours on both sides were champions and not once did they complain about the noise.

One of the days they were staying with us we all went to Fitzroy Island. We had never been to Fitzroy Island before so we thought it was the perfect opportunity for every one to discover one of the many tropical islands off the coast of Cairns. And off we went, loaded with our fantastic digital underwater cameras. We practically had Nudey Beach to ourselves, a couple of times we saw someone else walking around, but most of the time it was just us snorkelling, sunbathing or eating. It is a beautiful island, the water is crystal clear and great snorkel. Luis and the girls even saw two turtles and a mantaray. In the evening, just before boarding the ferry to go back to Cairns we went to the hotel in the island (now closed until further notice) and saw this beautiful swimming pool, with a couple of fountains, so we had a swimm there. Again we were the only ones, but we soon found out that it was only a fountain and not a swimming pool.

Another day we all went to the Atherton Tablelands for the day. Apart from visiting some of the Tropical Wineries that are found in the area. Amaya and myself had already tried some of them at the Cairns Nightmarkets and since we both liked them, we decided to get some from one of the wineries.

Next stop was the termite nests close to one of the coffee plantations near Mareeba. They are absolutely impressive. The girls weren’t that impressed, though, so we thought they might like to see wild wallabies at Granite Gorge. We weren’t very lucky, it was a rainy day and all the wallabies decided to stay under cover. Nevermind, we made our way to Atherton because Amaya and the girls were very interested in minerals and the sort. And what better place than the Crystal Caves? Steve and myself had been there before and thought it was a pretty decent display of minerals, fossils, etc. But since we were there, Rene, the owner, now display the biggest geode in Earth. It reaches two metres easily and it’s very impressive. While amaya and the girls explored the museum, Luis, Steve and myself went for a coffee at a nearby cafeteria. That night they decided to make their way to Yungaburra and, with a bit of luck, see platypus. A shame we couldn’t go with them, but we were busy that same night and had to give it a miss. They were lucky and spotted platypus, one of the rare native Australian animals.

Another day Luis and Amaya went to visit Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas on their own, as we had offered to look after Sara and Ainhoa while they had a second, and short, honeymoon. You won’t believe how wonderfully behaved those two princesses are, it was actually a pleasure to have them with us. We took them to Toys RUS and when I offered to buy them a little present they refused. Later we took them to the Cairns Lagoon and not once I had to look for them, they were always where I told them to be.

Luis is a very keen diver and has dived all over the world. Since Steve is more of a dry man and I don’t have too many chances of going diving, we both decided to leave our partners at home and go on a Cairns liveaboard. The trip to the reef was very rough and half the passengers were seasick, even ourselves. But once we got to the first stop and got ready to jump, we all forgot our pains and enjoyed ourselves. The visibility wasn’t great during the whole trip, however, we still managed to see sharks, turtles and many different species of fish, including cute Nemo. It was also the first time I tried a night dive and even though I was a bit dissapointed I will try again, maybe the conditions will be better next time. It’s funny how some of the bigger fish have learnt that divers point their torches to other fish, so they follow divers all the way and as soon as they point their torches, these big fish whizz passed you towards the light and surprise, the cute little fish that was there a second ago is gone.

The next morning we had to be up at 5.30am to go for our morning dive. Luis was too lazy to get up although he says that he didn’t sleep at all that night. Haha. This time I went for a deep dive. It was supposed to be at 30 metres down and again, I was a bit dissapointed, we only went to 20 metres. Anyway, it was all beautiful, and it was one of the ones I enjoyed most. This time the instructor wanted to show us how at such great depth our senses are not so acute. We were given a blackboard with numbers from 1 to 20 mixed. We had to first touch our nose and then point to the numbers in a correlative order. It took us ages to do so. But the funniest bit was when the instructor tried to crack an egg open for us to play with it. Due to the pressure, the egg stays together. At least that’s what we were told, there was a fish which managed to crack both eggs open and eat the inside before we could realise what was happening.

However, the best dive was the one we did nearly in the surface. We also managed to stay underwater much longer, about 90 minutes. Absolutely beautiful. But the highlight of our trip was when we got back to Cairns and Amaya and the girls were waiting for us at the finger.

The last night we all had a great time. They had bought a few presents for us, but instead of giving them to us, they hid them all over the place and we had to find them using “hot” and “cold” as directions. Steve got a barbie set, with a beautiful apron and I got lots of nice things for the house.

Those two weeks went extremely quickly and suddenly it was time for them to keep on travelling. Japan, Hong Kong, India, South Africa and many other places before they arrive back in Spain. I hope they come back to Australia again. But for the meantime, we keep in touch by email and phone calls. And I guess we will see them in Madrid in a few months. By the way, if you are interested in their travels, they have a very interesting website, in Spanish, with lots of photos, called “Our trip around the world“.