Posts Tagged ‘whitsundays’

New friends!!!

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

As usual, we have been very busy, but we have somehow managed to find time to meet some of our customers, that, as you can see in the photos, had already become good friends by the end of their stay.

Nacho and Cristina are from Barcelona, Spain, and Nacho contacted me a while ago because he wanted everything to turn out good. This was his first trip with Cristina and Austalia was his whole idea, so he couldn’t fail. They first went to Sydney to visit their friends Dan and Paula (also in the photo) and later came to Tropical North Queensland, stopping along the way in MISSION BEACH, CAIRNS and CAPE TRIBULATION. I think their favourite spot was Mission Beach, they were lucky enought to find a room in Scotty’s Beach House Backpackers Hostel, the place where we slept when we were making our way to Cairns from Brisbane. Don’t you remember? No dramas, check our previous blogs.

We went out with them for lunch, along with their friends Dan and Paula, Aussie and Spanish, and we enjoyed a really beautiful Mexican lunch. Loyal to the Spanish tradition, we finished our lunch and stayed in the restaurant long after, sharing travel stories, different points of view about various subjects, and just enjoying ourselves. I was very sad when we had to say goodbye, for some reason I felt I was saying goodbye to old friends. I hope they come back very very soon, otherwise we will have to go to Barcelona and see them. Good luck with all your project, guys, you deserve it!

Nacho and Cristina came to Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, to spend their holidays. Here they met with Paula and Dan, friends from Sydney. We met Ana and Elias in Cairns, the day before they went diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Ana and Elias live in Sydney and came to Tropical North Queensland to celebrate Ana’s birthday. Happy birthday, “guapa”! I had been in touch with Ana long before they planned their trip to Cairns, we both belong to an online community of Spanish expats, so we had chatted on the phone and exchanged emails a few of times. But when Ana decided she wanted to visit this wonderful part of Australia, mostly because she wanted to go on one of the many DIVING TRIPS to the Great Barrier Reef, she contacted me and asked for our help. We put together a nice itinerary for them and during their time in CAIRNS, they also visited KURANDA, the DAINTREE RAINFOREST, the GREAT BARRIER REEF, and today they are in PORT DOUGLAS. Ana doesn’t know yet, it is a surprise Elias has organised for her, but they are staying in these beautiful apartments, Lychee Tree Holiday Apartments and later on they’re going for a beautiful Aboriginal show with dinner in the middle of the Rainforest. Have a really good time, guys!!! Poor Ana really wanted to go scuba diving and they booked a trip through us with one of the many diving companies. But she felt really sick on the way and didn’t feel like diving. And the crew were so nice than Ana got a refund. Isn’t it awesome? I hope they can come back and try again, it is really worth it.

And we also met with another great couple, Maria Jose and Fernando. It is a shame we didn’t take any photos when we shared a few drinks with them, but they have promised to send us some pics when they go back home. They only wanted to go snorkelling, so we booked them with one company that only does snorkelling so you can be assured that you will be taken to coral reefs suitable for snorkellers. And they had the time of their life!!! Today they should be on a SCENIC FLIGHT over the WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, spending some time on WHITEHAVEN BEACH. Guys, let us know how everything went.

This is a photo of the Digital Underwater Cameras Cairns Unlimited has for rent. Take as many photos as you want of your diving or snorkelling trip to the Great Barrier Reef.And of course, their trip to the Reef was even more enjoyable because they rented from us one of our great DIGITAL UNDERWATER CAMERAS. If you are thinking of scuba diving or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, don’t miss the oportunity of renting one of our latest model 7.1 megapixels digital underwater cameras for much less than you think. Have a look at the photo of the camera and if you are still hesitant, why don’t you

The return of the white whale… Migaloo!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Well, the big news of the day was the sighting of Migaloo, the world’s only known white humpback whale, off the coast of PORT DOUGLAS on his annual migration from Antarctica. Passengers on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef were stunned when they witnessed Migaloo breach the surface close to their craft. Witnesses reported that it was like watching an iceberg rise from the ocean.

Migaloo (which is the Aboriginal word for ‘white fella’) is no stranger to Tropical North Queensland. This is the third year in a row that he has been sighted in the northern waters, but how far north he travels varies each year.

Every winter, about 8000 humpbacks make their way up the east coast of Australia in search of warmer water, and who could blame them? Many linger around the WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, but they have been sighted as far north as Torres Strait. But Migaloo is the undisputed star, and in one aerial photograph in today’s paper, you could see the 40 tonne giant cruising through the tropical waters, flanked on each side by a smaller whale, and with two dolphins leaping the waves in front of him, almost like a royal cavalcade.

In general, Australia’s humpback whale population is on the climb, after being hunted almost to extinction in the 50’s and 60’s. They have enjoyed protection in the Antarctic since the countries of the International Whaling Commission agreed on a moratorium that halted whaling in 1986. But Japan wants to resume whaling, under the guise of an Antarctic ’scientific research’ program. Ironically, the commission’s governing convention lets each member country issue its scientific permits - including for lethal research.

Japan does not recognise the Australian Antarctic Territory, or its 200-nautical-mile offshore Exclusive Economic Zone. That means, “Australia’s whales” may be in the sights of Japanese harpoons. Over the years, our humpbacks have become accustomed to a human presence in their waters, and in fact are often noted to approach whale watching boats out of curiosity or to ’show off’ to their audience. It is feared that Japanese whalers will first target those whales which are more comfortable around boats; the ‘easy targets’ so to speak.

Cairns Unlimited is not shy to express our disgust for whaling, and we award our first ever big Cairns Unlimited ‘Thumbs Down’ to anyone who would want to kill these magnificent creatures.

Migaloo wasn’t the only BIG THING to arrive in Tropical North Queensland this week. But you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read more…

Arrival in Tropical North Queensland

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Well, here it is… the very first installment of our Cairns Unlimited ‘Daily Blog’. It’s been a very, very, very long road since the conception of Cairns Unlimited almost eighteen months ago, and there have been many frustrations and obstacles along the way, but I am delighted to inform you that we are finally reporting to you from Tropical North Queensland!

 I guess the most polite way to start would be to introduce ourselves. My name is Steve Savage. I’m a Queensland boy from birth, but caught the travel bug from a fairly young age and have spent a great chunk of my adult life exploring the world, from West Africa to the Middle East, much of Western and Eastern Europe, a number of Asian countries, and a lot of time in North America and the UK.

Cairns Unlimited receives its feminine touches from the other half of the team, Maria Marcelo. Maria is a Spaniard; a hot blooded Madrilena. We met in Madrid almost three years ago, and she hasn’t been able to get rid of me ever since. We visited Tropical North Queensland together eighteen months ago, and had no sooner boarded the plane back to Spain than we started planning a way to return to this beautiful part of the world… but not just for a visit this time!

We arrived back in Australia just over two weeks ago, and have spent that time catching up with friends and family, buying a van, and making contact with North Queensland businesses. Our trusty Toyota Hiace van has covered almost 4,000 kilometres already, and hasn’t missed a beat. Today was our longest drive yet; 12 hours from Mundubbera in the state’s south to beautiful AIRLIE BEACH, just an hour or so above the Tropic of Capricorn.
I have fond (but slightly cloudy) memories of Airlie Beach from a visit ten years ago. Maria hasn’t been here before; in fact everything from here on in - with the exception of the short stretch from CAIRNS to CAPE TRIBULATION - will be new territory for her. So stay tuned for some possibly surprising revelations about Tropical North Queensland from an outsider’s point of view when Maria takes her turn at our Daily Blog.

Where was I? Oh yes, Airlie Beach. We wheeled into town at about 6:00pm and couldn’t pass by Bush Village Backpackers Hostel, just before Airlie Beach township. This is where I stayed all those years ago, and I wasn’t really surprised to find the same friendly face behind the reception desk. Greg has been the manager here for fourteen years, and the ownership is still the same as well. Ironically, the owner, Ken, is in Spain at the moment. At first glance, the place hasn’t changed much. But when Greg swung open the door to our private studio cabin in the tropical gardens, I had to admit that this isn’t the same Bush Village Backpackers I had stayed at in my younger, wilder days. Once inside the studio, you could be forgiven for forgetting that this is actually a backpackers hostel. It has obviously been recently renovated, and is neat as a pin, and immaculately clean. At around 32 square metres, it’s almost as big as the apartment Maria and I shared in Madrid, and here’s something we never had in Madrid … fresh tropical flowers on the bed, and in the bathroom! On the subject of the bathroom… if I told you that the shower is large enough to fit a whole Swedish netball team, would you take my word for it, or would you want to know how I could be sure?

Our deluxe room at Bush Village Backpackers in Airlie Beach 

Maria and I dropped our luggage in the cabin and headed into town for dinner. Airlie Beach was uncharacteristically quiet, although a couple of the hostels along the main street seemed to have attracted decent crowds. The town’s dining choices have doubled since my last visit, but unfortunately so have most of the prices. Airlie Beach is definitely not some scruffy backpacker destination, and many of the old fashioned burger bars and fish and chip shops have been replaced by upmarket seafood restaurants and trendy eateries of every imaginable style.  Maria and I ended up settling on a couple of bowls of noodles from a noodle bar, which was a welcome change from the ‘roadtrip food’ we’ve been subsisting on recently.
A word of warning. Restaurant kitchens tend to close early here. In fact, a couple of establishments were in the process of mopping up while we were still making our minds up… and that was only 7:30. If you were to go in search of a restaurant after 9:00pm - as is the Spanish custom - your options would likely be severly limited.

But we’re back in our comfortable cabin now, and are discussing our plan of action for tomorrow. Tomorrow is our first full day in Tropical North Queensland, and our first day on the campaign trail, so to speak. On with our newly embroidered uniform shirts, out with our glossy business cards and our gleaming smiles, ready to hit the pavement and meet as many local businesspeople as possible and spread the word about Cairns Unlimited before it’s time to venture a little further north.

It’s great to be back!