It was a short drive from Mission Beach up to Cairns. We stayed at the Cairns Coconut Resort Caravan Park. http://www.coconut.com.au/
This is promoted as Australia's first, and Queensland's only, 5 star park. It was great. Particularly for families with young kids. They had a terrific time. We got a real kick watching the kids on the water playground. We wish they would set aside an afternoon for "big kids" so we could have a go too.
There was a family of Bush Curlews near our van and they welcomed two chicks into the world while we were there. I'm glad that this park maintains a "no pets" policy, otherwise these birds would have been breakfast for some poorly supervised pet.
We drove out to Barron Gorge national park. Very pretty. It must be out of control in the Wet Season.
We also took a drive up to Port Douglas. Once again, a bit yuppified for us. Nice scenery though.
We spent a few hours in the Botanical Gardens. Outstanding. It amazing what rich soil and good rainfall (and an army of gardeners) can achieve.
Tuesday 13th September:
Today we went on a reef cruise with Sunlover Reef Cruises. http://www.sunlover.com.au/
It was a rough day. A huge swell and big waves. Some of the tourists aboard with us did not survive the trip. Well, at least the contents of their stomachs chose to abandon ship.
This photo is one of Sunlover's taken on a fine day.
Once out at the reef there were various activities available. The large permanently moored pontoon was the activity area where everyone prepared for what they would do.
Robyn and I had booked to go on a Seawalk. This involved getting into a wetsuit, first time for both of us, and a diving bell type of helmet. I explained to Robyn how to make the wetsuit warm. It worked for me.....
We were then taken under the boat onto a submerged platform where the staff, in scuba gear, attracted the resident fish to us with some food, and took a bunch of photos.
On the surface the wind was blowing and creating choppy conditions, even though we were sheltered a little by the reef.
A glass bottom boat was included in the tour and we went out amongst the coral outcrops.
Despite the heavy seas it was a very good day out. All the staff looked after us very well, running around collecting sick bags everywhere.
Wednesday 14th September:
Today we went on a tour of the Daintree Rainforest with Billy Tea Safaris. http://www.billytea.com.au/
It was an excellent day out. The driver/guide, Mark, had a wry sense of humour.
There are signs on all the roads asking drivers to be cautious in case a cassowary crosses the road. This one was modified by a local. Apparently it has been seen on T shirts.
We went a few kilometres up the Bloomfield track and had morning tea, billy tea actually, on a river bank.
A walk on the beach at Cape Tribulation was pleasant.
After lunch we fed a couple of kangaroos. One was particularly greedy and took things into his own hands... paws.
The tour ended with a river cruise with a few salties sighted. This was good.
We have been on 3 river cruises. One in Kununurra, one on Yellow Waters in Kakadu and this one on the Daintree. Yellow Waters was the best of the three for wildlife spotting.
Friday 16th September:
Today it was up to Kuranda on the Skyrail.
Last year we came down to Cairns on the train and back up on Skyrail but this time it was Skyrail both ways.
That's a cable water ski park.
You can see an aircraft coming in to land at Cairns airport. Just to the right of the tower.
In Kuranda we went to Birdworld. http://www.birdworldkuranda.com/
They were very friendly.
We were warned that they tried to remove the winding pins from wristwatches, so it was off with them before we walked in.
I must remember to shave more than once a week.
After that it was a short walk to the Butterfly Sanctuary.
We came here last year but it is always worth visiting.
When we got back to the van, Ken and Lyn had caught up from their flying visit back to Perth. On Sunday 18th September Robyn and I had our 40th Wedding Anniversary. We set up our BBQs and tables and chairs between our vans and had a lengthy seafood dinner: fresh oysters, scallops, barramundi. Superb.