Sunday, May 28

Far North Fun

My Mum clocked up a pile of frequent flyer points when we toured Africa a couple of years ago. Last year we realised they were about to expire so Mum and I made plans for her visit Sydney for a week. We scheduled the trip to coincide with ANZAC day as its timing this year allowed Garry and I to book in a four-day weekend. Taking time off has become rather challenging now that we're small business owners.

On a whim I decided we should all take an extra day off and spent four nights in Far North Queensland visiting Garry's brother and his family. My Mum was delighted by this idea as it's been almost 25 years since she last visited Port Douglas (which was also my first visit to this popular resort town).

We flew out shortly after lunch on Friday.  Unfortunately Garry had to cancel at the last moment. He'd come down with a shocking dose of flu and decided he was best to rest and recuperate at home. Our tropical excursion coincided with the tail end of the tropical wet season.  However, we got lucky. the few brief showers we experienced never hindered our plans. Several days even saw us enjoying extended periods of passing sunshine.

We based ourselves in a spacious holiday home overlooking Six Mile Beach. I'd rented it under the assumption three of us would be travelling.  As a result, Mum and I really found ourselves experiencing a rather luxurious stay.

Our first day was spent driving north as far as Cape Tribulation.  We began the day with a croc-spotting cruise on the Daintree River.  We weren't disappointed.  We saw one huge croc and several smaller baby crocs happily sunning themselves along the muddy river bank.  Mum and I then caught the Daintree Ferry and made our way to the Cape, stopping briefly at Alexandra Lookout to soak in views of the Daintree river mouth.

Cape Tribulation was exactly as I recall. This was my third time there.  The first was also with Mum in 1992. Back then the road was unpaved and could only be safely traversed in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Today its a comfortably paved road all the way to the cape.  After a rather disappointing lunch and a rainforest boardwalk we made our way home.

On our way we dropped into the Daintree Discovery Centre. We had the centre's rainforest canopy walkway and canopy tower climb largely to ourselves for almost an hour. Sadly there no Cassowaries wandering the forest floor.  However, we did later see a wild Bush Turkey on the roadside.

Our second day was spent experiencing the Agincourt Reef on the Great Barrier Reef.  We caught a Quicksilver tour out to the outer reef.  The company has done a superb job of creating a memorable day. We filled our time with snorkelling, touring the reef in a semi-submersible and viewing the reef from an underwater observatory. I also surprised Mum with a helicopter flight over the stunning ribbon reefs. We were lucky enough to see a couple reef sharks basking in the shallows.  All in all is was an incredible day.

Our third day was spent shopping, dining and generally chilling out.  Mum bought a lovely necklace and I finally found some new swimming shorts that fitted me perfectly.  We also ate some of the most delicious salt and pepper calamari we've ever tasted.

Our final day was spent on the Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.  We spent a couple relaxing hours wandering the markets in Kuranda and enjoying some truly mouth watering savoury crepes at a highly recommended market cafe.  It was then back to the airport for an early evening flight home again.

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