Fitzroy Island

For my last day in Cairns, I decided to get back on the water and have one last go at the reef.  I took a ferry to Fitzroy Island and got snorkeling right away.  Unfortunately this beach was made of rocks and shells, so it was a lot more uncomfortable to actually get to the water.

The corals were really nice here, but the visibility wasn’t the same as in the open waters.

From here I went on to do a glass bottom boat tour, where we spotted more turtles!

Finally I saw myself down in the restaurant and enjoyed this view.

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There are two boats which take you here, a regular one and a speed boat.  I took the regular one to the island, but hopped on the speed boat back, and it was the highlight of the day!

And this ended my time in Queensland! All in all, I got to see a lot of different things over the last 3 weeks (and no large spiders or bugs in any of my rooms!), and I’m really happy with how this time was spent.  Now on to the Northern Territory!

Daintree & Cape Tribulation

My next day trip took my north, to the world’s oldest rainforest (the Daintree Rainforest) for a hike and some croc spotting.

We started with a stop at Alexandra Range Lookout in the rainforest, for a lovely view.

We passed this speedbump sign, which has been beautifully altered. A classic scenario of Aussie humour.

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And then we were in the rainforest for a short hike.  Apparently this is the oldest rainforest in the world, with the Amazon coming in second. For some reason, I was a lot more on edge here, compared to when I was in the Amazon.  I think it’s because there was a man-made path for us to walk on.  I instinctively expect paths to be clear of things like spiders that can kill me, but obviously here they don’t care if there is a path or not, and I say many a fellow tourist almost walk right into a web.  Whereas in the Amazon everything is natural and there are no paths so I just expect to see more dangerous animals cross my path, if that makes any sense.

As we made our way to the Daintree River for our crocodile cruise, we stopped by the Daintree Ice  Cream Copmany for some fresh fruit ice cream from locally grown fruits.  While there, we saw a baby cassowary! The biggest and most dangerous birds on the planet, the Daintree Rainforest is one of the places you can find these big birds. I didn’t get to see an adults in the wild, but it was cool to see the baby.

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The cruise was good too – we saw a 1 year old and 3 year old croc.  I was hoping for a big one, but at the end I;m just glad we saw some!

Our next stop was the Mossman Gorge, and it’s long and bouncy suspension bridge! This was the only stop that we were allowed to swim (due to crocs).  I hadn’t planned on getting in the water, but it decided to rain so I got wet anyways.

And our last stop of the day was the Rex Range Lookout, just past Port Douglas on the way back to Cairns.

It was a good day.  It wasn’t as good as it could have been as it was our guide’s first week on the job, but it definitely could have been worse, so all in all I was satisfied.

 

The Great Barrier Reef

I went out on the water today, and I don’t think anything will top today. The crew on the boat said they get maybe 30 days like this a year – we had over 30 feet visibility and perfectly calm waters.  We went to 3 different sights and it was just such an amazing day. Thank goodness I bought an underwater camera before I left.

I don’t know where exactly we stopped, but here’s stop one

And stop number two:

And then we came across a turtle!

And stop number three:

The walk back to the hostel took me by the harbour and the lagoon, so I had to catch a few snaps.

Atherton Tablelands

Back in Byron Bay I stopped by a travel agency to help books some tours in Cairns. I choose this particular tour because it was inexpensive compared to the rest and who doesn’t like waterfalls. But I didn’t have very high expectations. To my surprise, this was one of my favourite tours of all!

We started with a visit to Lake Eacham.  You can swim in this lake, but it was a bit too early in the morning for my to go for a swim.

We went for a hike at Malanda Environemental Park to go turtle and platypus searching.  And boy did we find them!  I couldn’t get a good picture of the platypus, but it was super cool (and much smaller than I expected).

Next stop, a giant Curtain Fig Tree.

We stopped by our first little waterfall.

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Before we headed to the much larger Millaa Milla Falls.

We had another waterfall stop next, Josephine Falls. There’s a mostly flat rock that the water goes over, creating a natural slide.  So of course we all had to give it a try.

Our last stop of the day, Babinda Boulders, provided the most gorgeous hike and view.

It was a seriously perfect day.

Cairns

My (9 hour overnight) bus arrived at 5:30am, but thankfully my hostel has 24 hour reception so I headed that way to recover from my ride. And then I was all about exploring town, as I was actually in a place which had more than one main street.

There’s a huge pool by the waterfront, so I spent a good amount of time cooling off down there, because it was HOT.

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When I was done with the pool, I headed to the beautiful air-conditioned mall (an actual mall! My first since Brisbane!).  Not only was it nice and cool inside, they had 5 bookstores.  My kind of place.

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