13th, 14th & 15th January 2017:
We’ve just driven 1030 miles to Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland to the highest point on our journey. It took us twenty hours and a three day drive in torrential rain and a testing climate. We briefly stopped in Rockhampton and Townsville (the Capitol of North Queensland) for a nights sleep and then we were back out on the open road.
Port Douglas is adjacent to part of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. It has a tropical monsoon climate with a extraordinary high humidity level, which we have already had a taster of! We have come in one of the hottest and wettest months of the year. We are staying at the Shantara Resort & Spa, which is beautiful. It is full of tropical plants, palm trees and two very inviting swimming pools.
16th January 2017:
Today we explored the small town of Port Douglas which is full gallery’s, clothes and locally ran businesses as well as an assortment of restaurants and cafes. It is actually known at the gem of restaurants.
We headed to the Marina which has a beautiful backdrop of the Daintree Rainforest and then walked through the centre of town to four mile beach the other side, we were absolutely exhausted.. did I mention the humidity!?!
We had a lazy afternoon with a delicious BBQ and testing out the GoPro in the pool. It was as if we were kids again, Pete can definitely swim better underwater but I insist I have the better underwater handstand. It has been one of my favourite days today, so laid back and tropical.
17th January 2017:
It looked like it was going to be a gloomy day today with a few dark clouds covering the sky, but they soon cleared. I was awoken in the middle of the night but a huge thunderclap, like nothing I have ever heard before, Pete was pleasantly unaware and sound asleep. We have had another relaxing day today but this evening we headed to On the Inlet which serves seafood cuisine on the Marina. I was so tempted to try the Mud Crab, which is supposed to be the delicacy here, but they were huge… I just couldn’t do it! Pete enjoyed a beautiful Tuna steak though.
18th January 2017:
Today we visited Mossman Gorge, a world heritage site, in the Daintree Rainforest. It is part of the traditional homeland of the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people. We stopped at all of the beautiful look outs and made our way into the Rainforest to the 2.4km circuit (which we thought was going to be a walk in the park). No, it was quite the opposite, I don’t think I’ve ever been more aware of my surroundings. The path disintegrated into a tiny track which often disappeared so we had to climb over rocks and over small creeks to try and go the right way.
I was more worried about the insects and reptiles that we might bump in to rather than getting lost but we made our way back to the start and unfortunately we didn’t see any wildlife!
19th January 2017:
Today we headed out to The Great Barrier Reef, via catamaran, to the picturesque small island of the Low Isles. My main hope for this trip was to get to see and possibly swim with a turtle but I wasn’t that optimistic! The 50ft catamaran was beautiful and we made ourselves comfortable on the outside trampolines for the hour sail to the island. Before arriving we made sure we were all geared up with our flippers, snorkels, masks and Lycra swimsuits to protect us against jellyfish stings. Then we transferred to a glass bottom boat which took us to shore. On the GBB the guide was pointing out turtles, and even noticed a shark causally swimming past.
We set out with a small group tour of the corals and immediately we were met by a beautiful green turtle swimming in the shallow corals. We were extactic and it definitely increased our determination to find more! Our guide took us to three different parts of the reef. One which was nicknamed the turtle garden which had a sleeping turtle and others just chilling out. The second was an area which was full of huge clams, which are very impressive to see open and shut. Our guide picked up a sea cucumber, which is in the starfish family, it isn’t the nicest looking of living creatures but we were able to touch it. Pete says it felt very hard and slimy. Our final stop on our coral tour was to a part full of beautiful coral gardens. It is amazing to think that the reef is all living and created by nature, absolutely mind blowing. In total we saw four turtles, five clams and lots of beautiful fish with our guide.
After the guided tour me and Pete set out on our own reef adventure. It did take us a while to find our bearings and to find the best parts for seeing the turtles. We came across one sleeping turtle but felt as if we weren’t in the right section so swam on further. While we were swimming I went slightly in front of Pete as he was filming with the GoPro. I thought I saw something coming towards us out the corner of my right eye and as I looked round a 1 & 1/2 metre Black Tip Reef Shark swam right in between us! It was amazing but terrifying at the same time and we were both definitely pumped with adrenaline after that.
You can watch it here:
After 2 & 1/2 hours swimming we started to make our way back to the shore. We were surprised to come across three more turtles swimming in the crystal clear part of the reef. One of the turtles began to swim with us and came right up to the surface with us. He was so beautiful and majestic, I will never ever forget that moment. We were incerediby lucky to have experienced this and I’m sure we will be going back to the reef very soon in Cairns.
We started our sail back to Port Douglas watching the sunset over the mountains and the ocean was beautiful. We’ll never forget the Low Isles. We both said it was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to. We ended our cruise with sushi and an ice cold Corona. A great end to an extraordinary day.
20th January 2017:
Today we visited Hartleys Crocodile Adventure to find some Crocs, as we haven’t seen many up close during our trip! We started the morning watching the Crocs being fed and learning a bit about them. Apart from there size I was more surprised about the loud noise their jaws make when they snap! We then departed on the Crocodile River Cruise which takes you around the lagoon in search for hungry Crocs! We were lucky to see loads, up close and very snappy!
One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t want to be the one who has to go and gather the crocodile eggs from her nest.
21st January 2017:
We were extremely lazy this morning. Infact I think the pictures below sums up exactly how we spent our morning:
This evening we drove to Cairns to see Passenger play live at the Martin Munro Parklands. The Parklands are normally a place where the town can go to relax and have picnics but tonight it was transformed for passengers private venue.
While we were waiting for the gig to begin thousands of bats flew over our heads and I mean thousands consistently coming from the mountains for at least half an hour.
It was really laid back as people were allowed to bring their own chairs, blankets and picnics to enjoy, under the stars and during the performance.
We were very lucky to be right at the front. The calmest gig we’ve ever been to! Passenger was as amazing as I thought he would be making us laugh, sing & dance.Even though it was night time it was still extremely humid, Passenger put it perfectly: “An Englishman should never get this hot.”
We will be leaving Port Douglas tomorrow morning for Cairns and even though we will still be in Tropical North Queensland I will never ever forget this beautiful Port or the experiences we’ve had this week. One of the best weeks of my life, no doubt. (I would also recommend anyone thinking of going to the reef via Cairns come to Port Douglas, it’s one of the prettiest, quaintest place I’ve ever been!)