Posts Tagged ‘Safe Travel’

Cassowaries and icecream… another road trip in Tropical North Queensland

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

As we start to wrestle control of our still rapidly growing Digital Underwater Camera rental business, it feels like it’s time to get back to exploring the region a little. Although we have camera deliveries in Cairns every evening and most mornings, there are plenty of terrific places that we can visit as a day trip from the city.

 

Last weekend it was the wonderful Atherton Tablelands, one of my personal favourite areas of Tropical North Queensland because of its diversity and the authentic unspoilt Aussie charm of the towns dotted through the Tablelands. This weekend it was time to head north, to cross the mighty Daintree River for the first time since we holidayed here two and a half years ago.

 

Our first stop was Port Douglas. With its unhurried holiday atmosphere, this is always a pleasant experience. We enjoyed a couple of huge homemade muffins and a coffee in one of the main street’s many eateries before venturing north through the came fields that surround Mossman to the sleepy little village of Daintree, where I embarrassed Maria by raucously spinning the wheels (accidentally) of the cairnsunlimitedmobile in the quiet main street.

 

 

The main activity in Daintree is crocodiles; more specifically spotting them on one of the many river cruises available. Some of the cruises depart from Daintree Village, some from just outside town, and many from just before the ferry crossing. There is no bridge across the wide Daintree River, and the vehicle ferry operates from 6:00am till midnight, continually passing from bank to bank every few minutes.

 

North of the river, it’s a slow drive through the rainforest; a winding, narrow road designed for sightseeing rather than ‘getting there’. It was due to the leisurely pace that we were able to notice something staring at us from the thick roadside foliage. We stopped to investigate, and the large animal watched us intently, pacing slowly from side to side to view us from the shelter of the shrubbery. It was difficult to get a clear photo, but after a while curiosity got the better of it, and the large cassowary emerged cautiously from the scrub. It was as it approached us that I remembered this is the species which holds the title of ‘deadliest bird in the world’. One look at its powerful legs, and Maria and I decided the photo opportunities would be just as good from the safety of our car. We beat a hasty retreat.

 

 

This was the first time I had ever seen a cassowary in the wild, but we were to be treated to two more close encounters with the large flightless birds before we reached the end of the sealed road at Cape Tribulation. In fact, it was quite a day for wildlife; upon arrival in the village, we had to slow to allow a large goanna to cross the road. The 1.5metre long lizard quickly sought camouflage in the long grass, but stayed still long enough for me to get a good photo.

 

 

The beach at Cape Tribulation really gives you a sense of isolation; it is long and wide and backed by rainforest clad mountain ranges with no signs of human influence as far as the eye can see… and usually it is all but deserted. But not this time. Being the busy tourist season – and local school holidays to boot – this two or three kilometre stretch of beach was ‘crowded’ with over a dozen people!

 

 

I was ready for lunch, and in fact had a craving for a grilled fillet of barramundi. But Maria was still full from the football sized muffins we shared for breakfast. Still, I knew she would be tempted by icecream. We sampled four flavours of local homemade icecream; yellow sapote, wattleseed, blueberry, and macadamia. But time flies when you’re having fun, and it was time to return and prepare the cameras for the evenings deliveries. Another successful road trip!

Cooling off in Cairns

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

It’s really summer here now. Hot and humid! Maria and I went for our usual early morning swim at Yorkeys Knob this morning, but as the day went on, we felt the need for a serious cooling down. And the locals know that the best place around town for a safe, refreshing swim in summer is Crystal Cascades. Just a short drive out of Cairns, Crystal cascades is a favourite with locals and visiting families. You don’t need to worry about crocs or stingers, and the water is cool all year round, unlike the average backyard swimming pool, which can be like a bowl of soup by mid-afternoon during the summer.

Maria enjoying a refreshing waterfall slide at Crystal cascades, just outside Cairns. 

Steve sliding down a waterfall at Crystal Cascades, near Redlynch on the edge of Cairns.

I must run. Maria is preparing lunch, and then we’re off to the local bowls club to continue the cooling off process with generous amounts of icy cold beer. Ah, summer in the tropics!!!

Enjoying the summer at Yorkeys Knob, on Cairns Northern Beaches

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

This morning was another glorious summer morning here in our tropical paradise, in fact one of the hottest mornings yet, and I impressed onlookers with my ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ impression as I barefoot-skipped painfully across the scalding hot beach sand this morning. It was only 7:30am but already the sand was hot enough to peel layers of skin off delicate soles.

Maria ambled slowly and casually some distance behind me (barefoot as well) so as to prove her superior pain threshold and to disassociate herself from the performing clown that I had become.  But the joke was on her when we reached the netted swimming enclosure. Since we were really just on our way to the shop to buy milk, Maria wasn’t wearing swimmers, so could only carry my hat and wallet while I enjoyed a refreshing dip!! She was too shy to go skinnydipping. Which reminds me, it’s a sad fact that there are no ‘officially condoned’ nude beaches in Queensland. Our research has turned up a number of beaches where nudity has been unoficially tolerated for decades, but the Queensland government seems to be against letting folks achieve an allover tan. While we were researching the subject, we came across quite a few nude-friendly or clothing-optional accommodation options around the region. If you’re interested, please check out our new NUDIST AND NATURISTSpage.

Maria enjoying an early morning swim at Yorkey's Knob, on the Cairns Beaches Steve doing a poor James Bond impression at Yorkeys Knob, on the Cairns Northern Beaches

Thus, the photo of Maria above was actually taken yesterday morning, and clearly shows the netted swimming enclosure that provides safe swimming during the summer STINGER SEASON. In fact, if you look behind Maria, you will see the rugged hill that put the ‘knob’ in YORKEYS KNOB.

There was a story in the paper recently that I wanted to share with you. On the 30th of January last year, in Montivideo, Uraguay, miners uncovered what turned out to be the largest Amethyst Geode in the world. It was found in an amethyst tap that was 130 million years old. The geode itself, when stood upright, is 3.26 metres high, and weighs three tonnes!!

But what has that got to do with Tropical North Queensland, you ask? Well, guess where that monster geode ended up? Just 90 minutes drive from Cairns, in ATHERTON. That’s right. Our friend René (not RENEE, as I had been writing) snapped up the three tonne giant, and had it shipped to Queensland to become the latest (and greatest?) addition to his already impressive collection, known as Crystal Caves.

Well, I’ve got loads of work to do, and I can’t sit around all day waffling on about geodes and trying to make you jealous because we live in such a paradise, so I will leave you with this nice photo of our neighbourhood. Ah….

A peaceful backstreet on Yorkeys Knob beach, just north of Cairns