This weekend I took my second trip to Cairns – after the first was interrupted a little by Cyclone Larry! Sarah came up with me and we met up with Vicky, who is a friend from medical school doing her elective in Sydney. We stayed in a lovely apartment we had got a great last minute deal on.
We spent the first day exploring the town – showing Vicky the places and shops we liked from our last visit. Before ending the afternoon in this lovely tea shop we discovered – we all felt very English taking afternoon tea!
On the Saturday we took a tour up to Cape Tribulation; an area of outstanding beauty – where the Rainforest dates back 135 million years and is now a World Heritage Protected area. The weather held good for most of the day, enabling many photos to be taken from the various lookout points we visited. Lunch was provided at a lovely beach side resort – as usual it was delicious, so fresh and full of flavour. We were lucky enough to see a Cassowary, it stepped in front of the mini bus while we were driving along, and they are now extremely rare due to loss of habitat and being killed by cars on the roads. It is an amazing bird that really shows the sheltered evolutionary process that has taken place on Australia.
Later while cruising down the Daintree River, I saw a green tree frog, a python hiding in a tree, a large female salt-water crocodile and her much smaller infants.
We had afternoon tea by the river before returning to Cairns, the weather changed and closed in around us and we drove home in rain and thunder and lighting – which just made me appreciate the area so much more!
In the evening, after a dip in the hotel's swimming pool, we went and had a lovely meal and a couple of bottles of wine at a restaurant in town.
The next morning we again got up bright and early for our trip to the Reef! We had chosen a tour that left Cairns by minibus and drove south for about 40 min where we then got on our boat which cruised down the river before entering the open ocean, after about another 40min of sailing we arrived at one of the Islands in a group known as Frankland. We left the boat and were based on the Island for the day. Our group was only small, about 25 people and we had the Island to ourselves. There were guided walks, rock-pool tours, a trip in the semi-submersible as well as introduction to snorkelling. Though the most popular trip of the day was the 'toilet tour' a boat ride that took you back to the main ship to use the conveniences! The guy teaching the snorkelling look exactly like Dr Mark Greene off ER and he was amazing – I told him I had never snorkelled before and was unsure about swimming in open deep water, he said he would stick with me and help me all the way and we would only do what I was happy with and if this meant swimming in the shallows all day that would be fine. So with "Mark" and a floatation device in toe I took to the water – he laughed at my initial fear when he saw how easily I took to it. We went progressively into deeper water and he pointed out all the fish and sea creatures for me as we went along. It was so amazing – I can't wait to do it again now! It was a perfect day that is hard to describe, can't wait to show you the photos!