Creeping around Cairns: Daintree Rainforest and Port Douglas

The day after our Great Barrier Reef trip we were anxious to get out of Cairns and see the rest of the area, specifically the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. We hit up the Budget car rental that morning, grabbed a map and headed toward the rainforest with no real plan in mind.

We followed our map to the Mossman Gorge, at the southern part of the rain forest. They have a car park there and a shuttle that runs you to the entrance of the park for a small fee.

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The gorge has lots of small swimming holes tucked around it, and lots of people were swimming in the chilly water while we were there.

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We enjoyed just (carefully) climbing on the slippery rocks and watching the water rush around us.

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There’s a short walking track that takes you through the rainforest, that’s home to over 400 hundred of species of birds and several reptiles (eek). We didn’t see too many of them but we did see lots of plush green trees and plant life and some HUGE trees and boulders.

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After we were rainforested out (it’s a thing, I promise) and I was on the verge of hanger we decided to continue our journey to Port Douglas to look for lunch.

On the way there we stopped at a scenic lookout and I told Travis to go pose by the view.

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“Is this downward facing dog?”

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Never a dull moment, folks.

I had heard great things about Port Douglas and we were hoping to see some beautiful beaches after our failure in Cairns. Luckily, it did not disappoint.

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Port Douglas is a cute, little resort town about an hour from Cairns. We ate lunch in the town and then strolled along Four Mile Beach.

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We had to leave our mark in the sand…

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I would love to return to Port Douglas for a holiday, it was gorgeous and we have heard the diving in the area is great.

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The next day we headed back to Brisbane and on to the next adventure- New Zealand. More to come…

Linking up with Travel Tuesday!

Great Barrier Reef: Take Two

Because when you live a short flight away from the world’s largest coral reef you can’t visit just once.

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When my mother and sister in law were in town last month we decided to take them to see the reef for themselves. Our first trip was last September and we stayed at southern part of the reef in the Whitsundays. We took a large boat out the Great Barrier Reef for a day trip and docked on a barge called Reef World and spent the day there. Travis thought it was cheesy but I liked it. You can read more about that here.

SO this time we decided to head out from the city (town?) of Cairns and take a smaller dive boat to the reef since 3/4 of us were going to be diving most of the time. I am not allowed to dive due to previously explained ear problems.

DSC_0185The three divers post-dive, Trav’s hair is my favorite ever.

The weather was not on our side from the moment we landed in Cairns and that morning it was rainy and cloudy as we pulled out from the dock. They started passing out sea sickness pills almost immediately which is never a good sign. The waves were pretty intense (our cups were literally sliding off the table) and I was pretty relieved I decided to take the tablet after all. After an hour or so of rocking through the choppy seas, the boat stopped and they told the divers to start getting ready because we were at the reef.

DSC_0173I let out a sigh of relief that I wasn’t about to hop in that scary water when they called for all the snorkelers (there weren’t too many of us) to assemble and start getting ready. Snorkeling in choppy water is a serious workout and luckily the coral (and a giant turtle friend I made) helped distract me from the waves tossing me about.

Unfortunately being the lowly snorkeler I did not have GoPro privaledges and could not document any of the cool fish or coral I saw, including one that looks like it has a bow on its tail. So you will have to just enjoy their dive pics which were mostly selfies of Travis (don’t worry I weeded through them for your sake). The clouds during the first couple dives apparently made it difficult to get very good visibility down at their level.

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We found Nemo!

After the first couple of dives, they moved the boat to a new spot and the sun came out from the clouds. The third dive they said was much better with the sunlight shining through. I did not, however, opt for a third snorkel as I had exerted more than enough energy fighting the waves the first two times.

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Just a little windblown…

After doing both the large boat/barge day trip and the medium sized dive boat option we were able to compare the pros and cons of both. As a diver I could see the benefit on being on a purely diving vessel because they got more dives in than they would have on a more crowded ship. As a non-diver I preferred the options to do other things besides just snorkel, such as lay out or visit the underwater deck (all of which are available on Reef World). Also, the kid in me liked pulling up to Reef World and feeling the excitement of being somewhere so famous, it may be cheesy but it worked on me.

Now we just have to work on trying out a third option- staying on a live aboard sail boat off the coast of picturesque Whitehaven Beach.

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I have a feeling that might become the front runner if we ever actually do it. 🙂

Creeping around Cairns: Our Crocodile Adventure

When we plotted out our day trip to the surrounding towns while we were in Cairns last month, one attraction on the map stood out to me- Crocodile Feeding. For some reason the thought of watching these giant reptiles gobble up hunks of meat was very appealing to me.

The sign on the side of the road and the name “Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures” led me to believe we would be pulling up to some shack by a swamp where a toothless local named Hartley would take us out on his boat and show us some crocodiles.

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Well, I hate to break it to you but Hartley’s is actually a legit crocodile farm and wildlife park. For $36 you get to see a wide variety of Australian wildlife, including the ever popular kangaroos and koalas (and since you are in Queensland you can cuddle them). Your entry fee also includes a boat tour where a guide feeds the crocs in their habitat. Our guide, Duncan, was highly entertaining albeit slightly innapropriate. He busted out in a impromptu rendition of “All my Exes Live in Texas” for us so he gets a A in my book. According to the Trip Advisor reviews (4.5 stars from over 1,00 reviews) Duncan is a crowd favorite, one person even said they would happily return every 6 months to listen to him.

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I really enjoyed the afternoon at the Croc Park even though it wasn’t what I expected. I learned so much about the slightly terrifying but fascinating creature, and all of the employees truly care about crocodiles and are extremely informative. The main thing I learned though… check the signs and don’t swim anywhere near a crocodile.

Sidenote: We did not visit the actual Crocodile Farm so I have no comment or thoughts on that particular subject matter.

Friday Favorites: Live from Cairns

Hi friends, today I am reporting to you live from Cairns, home of the Great Barrier Reef. We are here for a few days with our family to see some fishies and soak up some UV rays.

Now let’s backtrack a little to the beginning of the week to review the favorites…

1. Pitch Perfect 2

Tuesday night I took our visitors to the number 1 Brisbane tourist destination- the movie theater! I just couldn’t wait much longer to see Pitch Perfect 2 and luckily my sister-in-law, Morgan, felt the same. We watched the original the night before in order to catch up my mother in law and to annoy Travis, so we were more than ready Tuesday night. And the verdict… SO good. I thought it was a lot funnier than the first one and I loved the music choices.

2. Throwing Shrimp on the Barbie

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Just a little clarification on this common “Australian” phrase- they don’t call it shrimp, it’s prawns. Sunday afternoon after church (another tourist hotspot) we headed down by the river to have a true Australian BBQ. Travis made sure we didn’t starve by providing us with lamb, kangaroo steaks, shrimp, brussels sprouts, potatoes and a cheese plate.

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It was all so delicious and we even had a little party crasher- a brush turkey.

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We topped off the meal with a glass of Prosecco that Travis and I had bought in the McLaren Vale. Perfect Sunday afternoon.

3. This Scented Candle

The lovely people at Airwick Australia sent me two candles this week to try out, the Amber Mandarin Glow Silhoutte and the French Vanilla Romance. I love candles and try to always have at least one lit when I am home, so I was pretty excited to test these suckers out. In fact, I was so excited that I tore them straight out of the box and then realized I didn’t know which scent was which. I am typically a big fan of anything vanilla scented so I was hoping to light that one first, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had lit the mandarin candle and loved it. BUT that isn’t the best part- these candles CHANGE COLORS. I don’t understand science or technology very well so this BLEW MY MIND.  Morgan and I stared at it for the longest time trying to figure out how it worked, and then I just gave up and just took a snapchat video of it changing colors. So, now I have a new favorite candle that smells amazing, is in a pretty jar and is actually magic. Back to the smell though- I can light it in the kitchen and still smell it upstairs in my bedroom. Clearly magic. Now I want to creep on over to the store and pick up some reed diffusers to put in our apartment for during the day so I don’t accidentally burn the house down. I am eyeing the Crackling Fire and Cinnamon Spice scent since it is getting into winter over here.

4. The Rosie Project

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Source: Text Publishing

I kept seeing this book on other people’s book lists and had been waiting for it to come off hold at the library. I finished this book in less than a week (which is really fast for me), I loved it so much. It’s an adorable love story told from an unexpected narrator/main character who reminded me of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Now that I am done with The Rosie Project, I am already starting on sequel- The Rosie Effect.

5. Travel Misadventures

One of my favorite things about traveling are the misadventures. If everything goes as planned then you don’t have a good story! Our first day here we spent the afternoon searching out a nice beach to hang out with and wound up at Australia’s ugliest beach. No cabs in sight and an hour wait for the bus- we found a restaurant, ordered a bottle of wine and laughed about the situation. The rest of our trip went much better and I can’t wait to share everything we’ve done but the look on everyone’s face when we walked up the brownest ocean I’ve ever seen was one of my favorite misadventures (and we’ve had a few, read about them here).  Note: water appears much bluer in the picture. It looked like mud. 

Linking up with Andrea and Heather