Australia · Cairns · Cape Tribulation · Daintree Rainforest · Mossman Gorge · Palm Cove

Australia – Not just for criminals…(Part 2)

Palm Cove Sunset, photo credit: Haemish Melville

As you probably noticed, Part 1 was anything but short and sweet, as it was supposed to be.  Matter of fact, it’s gotten so long that I had to break it into two parts.  Oh, well – I haven’t written in a while and I have a lot to talk about!

Cairns and Palm Cove

  • I don’t know what the weather is like in the summer (probably hot and humid, if I were to guess), but when we were there (July), it was gorgeous.

    Palm Cove Street 2
    Palm Cove Esplanade, photo credit: Kate Melville
  • The coastal cities that I visited had a really nice atmosphere.  It was laid back but not so much so that it bordered on incompetence.
  • If you’re visiting Cairns, Palm Cove, or Port Douglas – try to stay in a hotel near the esplanade, which is basically a main street parallel to the ocean. It’s lined with a park, bars and restaurants.  If you’re like me, and prefer quieter surroundings, stay a couple of streets back.
  • I could move to Cairns for nothing but the esplanade – it has a great park, a boardwalk, fun bars and restaurants, and a free public pool with killer views.

    Cairns Esplanade Pool
    The prettiest public pool I have ever seen.
  • We met several several enthusiastic Staffie owners walking their dogs in Cairns and Palm Cove (if you haven’t heard me gush over my dogs yet – Staffies are English Staffordshire Bull Terriers, aka The Best Dogs in the World). Australians love their Staffies, therefore, I love Australians.
  • My husband and I scuba dive.  There are a few ports that scuba/snorkeling tours depart from; one is Port Douglas.  Having taken the tour leaving from that point, I suggest to anyone reading this to try and go further south for diving.
  • Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is suffering from coral bleaching, and it was pretty evident when we were there.  The reason I suggest leaving from further south is because the water further south is colder, thus; there is less coral bleaching there.
  • That being said, it was still a wonderful experience that I will never forget. The different species of fish is a sight to behold.  It’s like diving in an aquarium. I’m already hoping that I can get back to that part of Australia.

Daintree National Forest and Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation
Catamaran at Cape Tribulation, photo credit: Haemish Melville
  • This was our final leg of the trip and unfortunately, a bit disappointing. Part of my disappointment was from my expectation before arriving there. Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world, and for some reason I thought this meant it would be visibly crawling with wildlife, like some kind of BBC Earth episode on the Amazon. Well, it wasn’t (crawling with wildlife).  Another reason I was disenchanted was because of the absolutely awful, falsely advertised “bed & breakfast” that we had the misfortune of staying in. Well, it wasn’t (a bed & breakfast).
  • There’s a spot between Cairns and Daintree called Mossman Gorge.  The area has some of the prettiest swimming holes I’ve ever seen.  If you have the time, it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re there in the summer.

    Gorge swimming hole (1 of 1)
    A lovely spot in Mossman Gorge, photo credit: Haemish Melville
  • Daintree is a beautiful part of Australia- however, don’t expect it to be teeming with wildlife. I think it would be a fascinating place for those interested in botany. I found out after our trip that it’s actually not common to see many animals scurrying around the rainforest, because there is such an overabundance of places for them to hide!
    Mangrove tree (1 of 1)
    Beautiful mangroves and fan palms in Cape Tribulation, photo credit: Haemish Melville

    Epiphyte orange flower (1 of 1)
    Something spiky and orange in the Daintree rainforest, photo credit: Haemish Melville
  • We did see a bit of unusual wildlife, including a juvenile cassowary. Cassowaries look like some kind of prehistoric leftover, and they get pretty mean if they’re provoked. South Africa has the “go away” bird (grey lourie); Australia has the cassowary, or as I like to call it, the “run the hell away” bird (See this link for information: We also got close enough to a wild echidna to touch its spikes!

    Adult cassowary
    “Run-the-hell-away” bird, aka cassowary
  • Australia has some weird, and many times dangerous animals. How about the platypus? Aww, so cute, right? Wrong. That little weirdo is warm-blooded, lays eggs, has a tail like a beaver, swims and has a stinger (to be fair, only the males have a stinger)! I would love to see a platypus in the wild and I respect it’s right to live, but I don’t want to get cozy with it.


  • Australia’s list of dangerous animals is an extensive one. Take for example this bad boy: the textile cone snail . It’s usually no larger than your ring finger, but has enough venom to kill you within a couple of hours. I saw a couple of these beauties on the beach and left them laying right where I found them.  I wasn’t interested in adding Australian hospitals onto my itinerary.

I do hope that there’s a bit of helpful information for anyone who is considering a visit to Australia. All in all, I loved the trip and I encourage others to try and get there at some point – just don’t mess with the cone snails.  Or the cassowaries.  Or the platypus.  You get the idea.

Palm cove beach (1 of 1)
Palm Cove beach at sunset, photo credit: Kate Melville



3 thoughts on “Australia – Not just for criminals…(Part 2)

    1. Thank you! No, the majority of people don’t wear water shoes. The shells are not laying all over the beach (at least, not the beach I was on). I only saw a few. I would say that the real danger would be from picking up a live one, or stepping on them in the water. Fortunately, the ones that wash up on the beach tend to already be dead.


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