05.12.2010 - 08.12.2010
We should have read the fine print – our flight to Cairns included a 5 hour stopover at 2am in Darwin airport. Not the best place to spend the night but we amused ourselves watching TV, eating muffins and drinking coffee so not all bad.
It’s the small things that are best about being in Oz – you can drink water from the tap, you can buy stuff from the supermarket and cook your own dinner, if someone offers you help you can be reasonably sure they aren’t going to misdirect you to a market from which they receive a commission. The sun is shining, the pool & lagoon are shimmering, life is good.
Our first touristy trip is to Cape Tribulation – so called by Cook as this is where it all started to go wrong for him. This is a gorgeous area of rain forest surrounded by the lapping ocean which would be very inviting if it weren’t for the 20 foot salt water crocs and jelly fish that can pretty much kill you. In fact it seems that most of the water is a no go area.
I thought in Australia that, as a rule of thumb, if it moves it can probably kill you. We weren’t long into our rainforest trip when our guide pointed out that the trees and plants, if they don’t actually kill you, can do you some serious harm too. Vines that grab you and won’t let go, plants that look the same as all the others but give you a sting that is painful for months afterwards and don’t get me started on the giant chickens that are related to the Velociraptor and will disembowel you the moment your back is turned – I exaggerate of course, as I’m sure did our tour guide but this is Australia so really who knows?
Our second day in Cairns was spent on the water – a cruise out to the reef for a couple of dives. Good news – we’ve found Nemo. We also found sharks and dolphins and a few other interesting critters and fishes. Visibility compared to Cayman was pretty poor but perhaps we’ve been a bit spoilt in that department and it was nice to see a few new bits and pieces.
It was also time to say goodbye to our trusty SE Asia Lonely Planet which makes a surprising difference to the weight of our luggage. As long as you ignore most of the accomodation and restaurant reviews LP is brilliant especially for giving me plenty of scams to worry about.
The following morning we take the Greyhound bus to Airlie Beach.