Published: January 18th 2007June 10th 2006
It's been a long time now since I last wrote, I know. What can I say, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to these posting deals. But enough excuses, onto the trip at hand: about two months ago I took my mid-semester break to travel around Queensland for two weeks. Also, my parents had planned to come and meet me there for a week, so naturally I was doubly excited to go.
Week I: Rain, rain, rain, parents, rain, rain, rain.
The first week of my trip was a 5-night stay at a quaint resort in Cairns. More specifically, we stayed at Palm Cove, a small town a 40 minute drive north of Cairns. As the title would imply, it rained quite a bit for this part of the trip. A LOT. On the bright side, it was great seeing my parents after having been in Australia for so long - not to mention the benefit of their paying for essentially everything, meaning good food and accomodation (a far cry from the sleeping-with-20-person-bunks-living-on-easy-noodles lifestyle of the backpacker).
I arrived on Easter Sunday to beautiful, sunny weather; unfortunately that was the only sun I was to see for about a week. We spent the first day settling in Palm Cove. Not too hard since the surrounding area consisted of no less than eight other resorts and a small cluster of stores and restaurants. The beach was slightly less than spectacular, as the weather would be poor for the duration of our stay. Even if it was beach-appropriate weather, we had the unfortunate luck of arriving at the tail-end of jellyfish season, meaning no swimming immediately off the coast unless you 1.) were in a designated swim area (a floating net perimeter) or 2.) had a full-body "stinger suit", essentially a thin-ass wetsuit with a head and gloves. Thus, I wasn't exactly impressed by Queensland at the start.
The next day we took a bus into Cairns to look around. By then, the rain had begun and wouldn't stop untill the end of the week. Cairns itself isn't a very big city, but it does have a city center of sorts. Like you would expect in a tourism dominated area, there were bountiful shops selling useless souvenirs nobody wants. I suppose no one really goes to Cairns unless they are jumping off somewhere more interesting.
The following day my parents had arranged a trip to the Daintree Rainforest, an area about a 90 minute drive north of Palm Cove. We took a little bit of a river cruise looking around for crocodiles, but alas, they all happened to be hiding that day taking crocodile-naps (probably stayed up too late the prior night crocodile-drinking). The food was pretty decent, however. I will say these tours do excellent jobs keeping their patrons well-fed. Later we drove to the Rainforest itself, which was pretty interesting. Much of Queensland is inhabited by these green ants that create some sort of sour acid in their butts as a defence mechanism, and supposedly when you lick their butts you can taste this acid. Naturually, I had to give this a try and I will say it tasted like a lemon. Nature must have a strange sense of humor to create such a tasty "defence mechanism". I mean, how many ants have died because humans keep picking them up and crushing them for their defence juice?
Anyways, later in the day when we went to a museum collection by a single, devoted insect enthusiast. Seriously, this guy had hundreds, maybe thousands of dead butterflies, beetles, etc. posted up in innumerable display cases. I suppose everyone has their hobbies. I got to hold one of the butterfly larvre's on my jacket. Check off another strange animal held in Australia...
Wednesday came around and the parents and I took a trip to the local animal zoo. It had the traditional Australian fare (kangaroos, emus, crocodiles, etc.) but the highlight of the excursion (not just of the day but of the whole week) was the koala-holding. Thats right, I got to hold a friggin' koala. It was great, an experience