It should come as no surprise to you that the focus of this blog post is the one and only Great Barrier Reef. Situated in Far North Queensland, which is just far enough for you to feel like you’re on holidays somewhere really remote and yet strangely comforting upon hearing the twang of a northern Queensland accent (which brings you right back to reality at lightening speed!)
Back in 2014 I started a selfish travel tradition. I say selfish because I placed the pressure of up keep of the tradition on friends, but mostly just Moo. The goal = visit a new destination in Australia over my birthday, simple! It started out in Alice Springs, then Perth, then Port Douglas and this summer we’re headed to Tasmania. 4 years is still considered a tradition right?
So in this belated edition, I bring to you the findings from spending 5 days in Port Douglas in February (yes, summer!) back in 2016.
Daintree Rainforest / Cape Tribulation
The only place in the world where two World Heritage listed sites exist side by side. The Daintree is 95km in length and is believed to be one of the three oldest in the world with unique plants and animals found nowhere else.We took a day tour to visit both and I think it’s fair to say this was amble time, although if I had my time again, I’d like to do the Aboriginal guided tour of Mosman Gorge too. Unfortunately the cassowaries played hide and seek a little too well – but hey! There’s always next time.
Okay, I give this next tip with a word of warning. Listen to the life guards and read the sign’s. Port Douglas beach is a true stunner, but you can’t even touch your feet on the sand before observing a warning sign. Crocodiles, jelly fish, low hanging coconut palms, you name it, they’ve got it. In short, the place is trying to kill you and if you make it out alive-kudos!! There is a netted area for people to swim because, crocodiles. The water in the netted area gets tested throughout the day for Irukandji jelly fish. For those who don’t know Irukanji are the size of 1 cubic centimeter and are listed as the most venomous creature in the whole world. One bite from this little creature is noted as being 1,000 x stronger than a tarantula. Moo and I wade in the 30 degree water for a mere moment before I feel something sting. Oh great, I think. I think I’d prefer to go via coconut to be honest. The lifeguard treat’s my bite as seriously as possible and before I know it there’s blue vinegar being drizzled all over my legs. Not only do I look ridiculous, the smell is enough to make me starving for fish and chips. I’ll come and check on you in 20 mins to see if you have any symptoms he says. What am I looking out for here, I question him. “You’ll know” was his only response. Of course I googled it. I stopped reading after ‘you might experience a feeling of impending doom.’ I was fine. It was probably sea lice. But I guess I’ll never know.
We ate fairly well whilst in Port and while there are plenty of good restaurants I could recommend, what’s really stuck in my mind is little Betty’s Bohemian Beach Cafe. Fresh ingredients, service with a smile and a memorable and relaxed ambiance. We would have eaten here loads if we hadn’t left it last to try unfortunately.
Think: Sunset, sun downers, happy hour, afternoon breeze over Dickson Inlet… Am I painting a good picture here? Well that’s exactly the setting before our afternoon drinks at Barbados after a long (and hardly arduous) day on the reef. Barbados is a stylish and luxurious bar with notable attention to detail. I can’t recommend the cocktails enough with my poison of choice being the Caribbean Mojito. Delightful!
The Great Barrier Reef
We boarded Poseidon at 8:45am in the morning. Like any good tourist, Moo and I frequented the Visitor Center regularly for information on which boating conglomerate we should board for our reef experience. Note: The choices can feel pretty endless.This would be my first time seeing the GBR first hand so I wasn’t about to make a snap decision. We chose Poseidon because they went to the outer reef’s, including Agincourt and they ensured a marine biologist would be on board to educate us along the way (there wasn’t). But we had a memorable day none the less. I’ve never seen such colour’s under water before. EVER. We met a sea cucumber and countless fish, we even found Dory!! I’d go again if the opportunity came about, but a second time around I’d seek out Opal reef to compare the two.
I’ve said it before (Uluru, The Kokoda trail and now the GBR) it’s something every Aussie should see first hand, like some sort of education upkeep. Akin to when we welcome new citizens, I think every Aussie should do continuous learning like a doctor or lawyer must to keep their status. I’ll never tire of visiting new places in Australia and I always leave them loving home that little bit more.
All I can say is: ‘Do it now! Before it’s too late!’