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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassowary). We also got close enough to a wild echidna to touch its spikes!
- 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.