It seemed like a long time coming but finally with bags packed it was time to head up to Port Douglas. It may seem like a simple thing but it was indeed quite a big deal for me. When I was diagnosed with Advanced Breast Cancer everything changed forever and that included how I looked forward and into the future. I could give you dozens of reasons and excuses why I could not book too far into advance to do anything and it really all came back to the ‘what if syndrome’. What if I was undergoing chemotherapy? What if I was not well enough to travel? What if I could not move around well enough to see anything in the area? I was a bucket of nerves when I booked the flights back in February.. and really was not too confident that I would make it to the airport. But it was my ‘Michael Buble Moment‘ that really brought it home to me and for the rest of my days, I will think a little but then jump in feet first and do what it is that I long to do. It was at this time that I decided to go for it and booked the accomodation and the hire car and was totally committed even though I was really feeling joint pain all the time and was very fatigued. I was going to take it in the fashion of ‘one day at a time”.
Yes, it rained but it is the Tropics and you expect a bit of the wet stuff.. But the temperature was average of 27 every day that we were there and many of the clothes we had packed were too heavy and a hasty shopping expedition was arranged to sort that out (what a shame !!!) The place that we stayed The Port Douglas Retreat was perfect. A two block walk to the centre of town. A lovely pool and bbq area. A comfy room with a kitchen (if you felt the urge to cook). A good rate and our lovely hosts David and Joyce (too funny, David once lived down here on the Mornington Peninsula!!). Nothing was too much trouble and the local knowledge was very helpful. mmm I am feeling like a bit of a tourist brochure but it is all true and I would stay again if returning to the region.
Bonus of the warmer weather?? My joints did not ache for the entire time away. Only if I tackled any inclines or steps did it give me any reminders (and yes, there were many steps and inclines!!). It was really nice to have my constant companion removed for a little while. I also had a nice supply of Panadol Osteo which helped me out no end.
We drove all over the place during the week and I cannot believe just how many pictures I have taken. It probably explains why it has taken me so long to get through them all. I am really pleased that I jumped in and decided that no matter what restrictions I took with me that it was happening. It is an item that has now been ticked off on my list and has given me hope and inspiration to begin to work on other items that are just crying out to be ticked off.
With a cyclone and associated flooding in the region about 6 weeks before we arrived, as you can imagine there was some damage but overall it was still very beautiful. The inner reef was very dirty and the constant easterly winds were making for 1 to 1.5mtr waves and at the price of $225 each, we decided not to head to the outer reef but to save that for when we were next at 1770. Yes, an addition to the list. But that is not the biggest addition to the list.. As we drove the windy coast road between Cairns and Port Douglas most days, even in the not so perfect weather, quite often there was a hang gliding business working at a cliff site between the two. I have never really thought about it before and would never ever EVER jump out of a perfectly sound aircraft but as I watched them quietly and magestically floating, it grew on me. I have never been one for timing and by the time the bug had bitten me, I was left with the choice of a day in the Daintree Rain Forest for go hang gliding.. The Daintree won and hang gliding has now been added to my Just Do It list.. I just have to find somewhere to do it!!!!!! I am still amazed that I could possibly want to jump off a perfectly good cliff.. But I really really do..
I was indeed a happy snapper whilst I was away and really could have spent a second week wandering about but 8 days was a lovely amount of time to relax and take everything in. Here are some of the adventures that we undertook…..
Thankfully there was a bus to take us from the visitors centre up to the start of the walking tracks. (all up a steady incline and through two creeks). It was unfortunate that the cyclone had damaged one of the walks and it was the one that spent most of its time along the river. But there was still so much to see. I was extremely slow due to the steps, but we had all day and just took all the time required (and then took the bus back down – yay!!) We even met some people from the Mornington Peninsula on the bus – very small world.
I think that you could have sat in the forest and just sat and waited for birds and animals to come out. With the constant stream of visitors and the noise that comes with them, it certainly made it challenging to wait to see the critters. But the forest was just lovely. It did not even matter that it rained for much of the time whilst we were there.
It was such a wonderful day. Whilst staying at Port Douglas, we took the train up to Kuranda and spent time wandering around in the village. It was a great way to spend the day and then we saw it.. It took me a couple of hours to leave and quite honestly I could have spent the whole day in the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.. and is well worth the stop off. The entire process is explained in the guided tour – From egg to butterfly.. The surroundings were very pleasant and was easy to get lost in chasing the little guys around with the camera. The birdwings were almost impossible to get a shot of with their beautiful green wings showing but the undersides are extremely beautiful anyway. The butterflies of Tropical North Queensland are indeed very beautiful. I found this to be a very special and relaxing place. I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat.
OK, I admit it. I am a bit of a closet train buff.. When I was small and my father was the Station Master at Crib Point Station, I used to not only get free rides on the trains but used to ‘help’ drive them and count passengers for the conductor. It was a great way to fill in a day running up and down to Frankston. So it should not be surprising that I was pretty sure that if there was one thing that I would do whilst up in the Cairns area, it was to ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway.. Fortunately or unfortunately (depends which hat I have on at the time) the Skyrail was closed for maintenance for the first time in 20 years so we had to ride the train up and back. Such a relaxing and scenic ride. The clickety clack of the train was hypnotic and could easily have put me to sleep (and yes, I couple in our carriage did indeed nod off on the way home).. I really would have liked to ride the skyrail to see the baron falls from the other side and a different aspect of the mountains.. Perhaps next time..
Daintree Rain Forest
We spent a whole day wandering about in the Daintree. It was both beautiful and a little disappointing all at the same time. The cyclone that had gone through only weeks before along with huge amounts of flood waters had taken areas and trashed them. Yet others were left almost untoughed. So it made it just a little hard to find crocodiles and birds. But the magnitude of the entire area was not lost on me. It was obvious that no matter the damage, it would soon be overtaken by the forest once again, just waiting for the next weather event. Oh and if you are ever in the Daintree, make a point of stopping off at the icecream shop.. The most amazing icecream EVER!! On the day we visited the flavours were coconut, raspberry and wattleseed (coffee chocolate flavour). YUMMMM. Looking it through the eye of a camera lense, the weather was tricky to say the least. Changing so very quickly.. I admit it. It sometimes got the better of me whilst trying to create the panorarma pictures, but I am sure you will get the idea.
We did indeed finish our day and started to head back to the ferry but there was a truck that had kindly jacknifed and lost its load all over the ONLY road in or out of The Daintree. So we were 45th in line – yes we had time to count.. There were group photos, selfies, a barbarque, a game of cards, a cup of tea and a biscuit and best of all a huge meet and greet whilst we waited for the road to be cleared. Once it was the people leaving were ferried over first and I had not given much thought to the ones coming in because it was after 4pm in the afternoon. How wrong could you be, the line to get on the ferry went for a couple of kilometers!! Busy place indeed!!!!!
Cape Tribulation – A collage of photos
The Daintree River – Waiting for the Ferry
The Things you See
The crocodiles are just babies, but are still very cute. The snake held still despite the rain and that bush turkey seemed to turn up anywhere I went in the rain forest !! Since I was in the tropical north, I could not resist taking a beach with palm picture or two either. Dragonflies, well who can resist taking a shot of those cute little guys? In the Daintree, there are many boardwalk tracks to follow and you get to see the forest and all it offers.
At the Port Douglas Market – Amazing what you find!
These orchids were bred and grown by a lovely elderly gentleman who also sold sugar cane juice. They were so beautiful, I could not help but take pictures
We headed to Cassowary Falls as part of a half day tour. The first half was a croc tour – yep, raining and the only one to come out and play, just a baby, but soooo very cute.. We then had scones and tea at the Daintree Village.. and Yummo.. Then off to get the 4WD – open air version.. and off we went.. The falls were beautiful and we spent time there exploring and meeting the locals – turtles, fish and eels. The tractor you can see is at the farm house at the entry to the falls road (it is on private property but can be walked to or accessed by set tours). The funniest thing was the tourist that was with us who wanted a close up of the turtles.. So off she went, bare footed and over the river, up the rocks and around the trees. We sat and watched as each step closer she came, another turtle would duck away, until she made it to them and they were all gone!!.. As she left, yes, you guessed it, the further away she got, the more turtles popped back out of the water. I can still imagine them sitting around laughing about how they get more tourists that way !!!!
So there you have it.. My trip in through a camera lense. I am pretty happy with many of my pictures but have decided it is time to learn more about the manual settings on my camera and begin to experiment with the shots. Hopefully that will get me into lots and lots of trouble in the future.. I find that when I have a camera in my hand, time means nothing and I just get lost in the moment. It is a very good thing when you can just forget everything in your normal life and just get lost in the moment that you are experiencing right there and then.