Friday 15 January 2016

Port Douglas - week 2

...imaginative title!
Here's what we did in our remaining time in Queensland. 
Cleggy and I so enjoyed our yoga that we ended up going every other day! It was hot Hatha - I thought I'd struggle with the heat but it was surprisingly bearable. Man I ached though - in places I literally didn't know existed!
 We went to the 7am class - which meant seeing the sun come up over the Port - a good a reason as any to make the effort.

By the time we got back the boys were almost awake - 
so it worked a treat.
 (I became addicted to photographing this building)
 I really wanted to spend some time further North in The Daintree National Park - so we spent a couple of days up there.  

The only feasible way to get up that coast is to cross the Daintree river on the small but perfectly formed ferry.
And marvel at the fact that there are actual crocodiles in the river...

On the way we passed a brilliant stop which I think was called Alexandrea viewpoint.

The first stop was The Discovery Centre - a lovely walk through rainforest and climbing a lookout point to see over the tops of the trees...

genuinely made us all chuckle...
Apparently the elusive Cassowary bird is a visitor - both to the whole area and also to the centre. We drove extra slowly along the roads where there were signs and hunted all over the discovery centre...but no sign.
It's not known as elusive for nothing.
THEN...on the way back to the car Kenzie spotted a footprint in the mud. The size of which gave you some idea of how massive it was....
 lo and behold a massive wild Cassowary came out of the rain forest and walked right by our car. 
We were all memorised, and despite taking about 100 photos I didn't manage one good one!

I followed it in to the forest for a while to try and capture its beauty. I probably got a little bit too close..considering that if it feels threatened it lashes out with it's feet and attempts to disembowel you with its claw!!
We felt incredibly fortunate to have come across it - they are pretty hard to find. 
What luck! 

We travelled further up to Daintree itself, which is like stepping back in time. There's something of the wild west about it. 
this is the only hotel in the area
 And took a brief walk by the river. I struggled to relax since the boys seemingly didn't share the same fear of the massive crocs I knew were in there...and kept getting a little too close for my liking.

It was such a beautiful drive we decided to visit again before going home so we could explore more of the area.

The holiday house was just perfect for lazing around.

partaking in a spot of crochet...natch
And in the evenings, despite the house being massive, the boys always seemed to end up on out bed. 
 I turned in to The Granny and started taking photos of all the plants....there was so much colour (for Winter!!)

Anna had asked that we watered the garden every 2-3 night - it was such a pleasure.

There were little olive-backed sunbirds all over the garden - and while we were there one made a nest over a wind chime on the veranda. It was lovely to watch - and try to capture. 
Credit to wildlife photographers!!

And Port Douglas is perfect for mooching - with loads of gorgeous coffee stops. I had forgotten how good Australian coffee is!

 this came home with us:

Sometimes the boys came with us - but often they were happy at home.

 The beautiful little white church right on the coast.
 a beautiful back drop for the sunday morning market

We also took a day trip to Hartley's Crocodile farm. It was a fascinating insight into the world of crocodiles - we learnt loads about these amazing creatures - and lots abut how they are farmed. 
It made for interesting discussions about how ethical a practise it is - and something we discussed at length afterwards.

There was less controversy about wondering through the Wallaby park!

 There are so many stunning beaches on this coast - most of them wonderfully empty. 
  And lots of them backed by rainforest.
 Unfortunately this ray was dead - but still beautiful.

always with (clean) toilets. I love that about Australia.

 I think it's fair to say there were two massive highlights to what was a brilliant holiday. The first was a sunset boat trip on the River Daintree. 
 I had chosen Dan Irby's boat due to his trip advisor reviews. He didn't disappoint. It was the only boat on this part of the river for the whole 2 hours.

and we saw real life crocs in the wild!! 

and beautiful mangroves

 It had been quite a cloudy day so we weren't expecting anything special from the sunset. How wrong we were! 
As the sun went down the light changed almost by the second. 
It was breathtaking.

and after dark the bats came out...and they were HUGE! none of us could believe they were bats. 

We also had a wonderful view of the Milky Way.
We were all enthralled.
AND more crocodiles - which Dan was able to find by using a spot light to see their eyes.
A couple of days later we took out last day trip up to Daintree and went as far as we could go before the road becomes a track and you need a 4 wheel drive. 
The beaches all have croc signs - and people still go in the water. That amazes me!
Although to be fair crocodile attacks are rare - most deaths happen when drunk people end up in muddy rivers!
 Cape Tribulation beach was serene - especially as we were pretty much the only people there.
we had a picnic - watching out for the giant ants!

and a walk. 

so peaceful.
On the way back we only had time for one more beach - so plumped for Thornton. Because it had a cafe. Which was closed!

The other highlight (of our lives!) was our day on the outer reef snorkelling. Again we chose Wavelength as they are a pretty small company with brilliant reviews. 

All the (beautiful young) staff are marine biologists so full of interesting facts. 
Even The Teen (who knows EVERYthing) learnt something.
safety talk
 Then we're in!
None of these are my photos - one of the team takes a go pro and follows you around - photographing what we saw on the day - and some of us.
It was ace. 
 we saw Nemo

that's me!
 giant clams

We did get caught under a massive storm - which was amazing and terrifying all at once.

Cleggy and GB

 AND we saw a shark!! 

Then right at the end of our second stop we saw Angus - the huge Wrasse who is known to hang around that particular bit of reef. He was HUGE

The sun came out on the way back - and before the boys slept we actually saw a whale. It was pretty far away but we saw it. It was the end of a brilliant day we'll never forget. 

And that was that. We loved Port Douglas SO much we are going back this year.
It is the calmest, most laid back, friendly place I've ever been to.
Not to mention just beautiful.

The day we left we had one last walk on four mile beach
then tea on the harbour 

in a weird purple sunset.

It was a great adventure. I can't wait to go back.
quick stop over in Sydney
I may have had a small (but happy) weep
fee x


  1. Fee, thank you very much for taking all those photographs and allowing stay-at-home folks like me to see some fabulous places, and the joy of your traveling family, too. xo

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fee x