Edit Blog Post
Published: February 11th 2008
Port Douglas Beach
Deserted, except for jelly fish
Greetings from nowhere. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, can't go south, tried, all day, can't go north. But been that way, so don't really care. At least I have the internet. There's some poor sods who chose to stay in hicks ville. Doubt there's even a hotel. Will get to that later.
Last time I wrote, I believe I was on the way to the rainforest. Had 2 glorious days playing in the forests.
As instructed by Pam, I went to Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, Daintree and day 2 in Kuranda. Good call, thanks.
Day 1 was in a cheap, all inclusive, organised tour, nice air-conditioned bus. A tour of Port Douglas (weird little tourist town, devoid of local life) Mossman Gorge (fabulous river, interesting tour of the rainforest) and Daintree. Daintree village itself is gradually being given over to the tourists. Crocodile spotting is their hobby of choice. We had an hour long cruise through the marshes, and up the wide river. Apparently it's a bit warm for the crocs, so we saw squat. Area was very pretty, and I enjoyed staring at logs intently waiting for them to move. We followed that with a really posh lunch
at Daintree Tree-House Restaurant. Beautiful setting, in the heart of the forest. Fabulous food. Their famous fish, Barramundi (with chips, I presume to appease any Americans) plus an amazing selection of tropical fruits. We even got the chef describing all these fruits after the meal. Can't remember any of the names now, relatives of our passion fruit, lychee, something that looks like a banana but wasn't, and an odd crisp made from what looked like a big mango (lots of pretty colours, yummy fruits)
That was followed by a trip to a wildlife park. Koalas (cute, but they don't do much) walabies and kangaroos wandering the park, an impressive habitat with lots of rare birds and a few duck in it. The highlight was meant to be a massive salt water crocodile. Our over-enthusiastic guide dragged us over to see this big dull creature. Doesn't move much, and wasn't chomping on a wilderbeast so struggled to keep my attention. The problem wasn't really the croc. The trees were full (as in hundreds, maybe thousands over the whole park) with bats. Yay yay yay! All fanning themselves to keep cool in the baking sun. Well cute. Not even the dear departed
Steve Irwin could compete with trees full of bats.
Tour finished with a wander round the posher residential bits. They get the best beaches, but not enough protection from jelly fish. Can't swim even on your own private beach. Fun day out.
Day 2 - Kuranda and Barron Gorge. For those with nowt to do all day, find a picture of Barron Gorge. I took the skyrail up to Kuranda, and as that waterfall appeared over the hill, it literally took my breathe away. WOW. Niagra and Igassu will have to try hard to beat it. Possibly because it's so far into the rainforest, can only be seen from distance, and you can barely see man's influence on the area, but it felt like you were getting a real treat being allowed near it to see the power of nature. Mother nature's way of winking quietly and saying, "go on, try and beat that" Not possible.
Kuranda itself was nice enough. My Bat Sanctuary (admittedly the only reason I'd delayed my journey a day to go) was closed sob sob. Peaked through their gate, and the place was tiny, but they had cages full of bats. Guide book did
Could stay here all day
warn me that the owner frequently has to shut up shop to collect rescued bat so was half expecting to miss out. Still irritating. Saw few more Koala's (decided 10quid was a bit too much to hug one for 3 seconds), fed a cute ickle wallaby, and wandered the markets for a it. Rest of town is a large collection of cafes and gift shops. Couple of good galleries. One particular aboriginal gallery got me very tempted. If I had unlimited cash, and a really big bag, there's several paintings I'd love to have on my wall at home. One day.
Took train back down the mountain. Not thrilling. Fat American woman blocking the nearest window so couldn't see much. Stopped briefly on the other side of Barron Gorge. Made the journey. Stared into space for rest of it as not much but trees to see anyway.
Night 2 - Greyhound buses. Yawn. Caught bus at midnight from Cairns. Had to explain to stroppy German girl that she should shut up and go to sleep before I knock her out. She was objecting to not being allowed to sit next to her mate. 3 seconds after the driver had
just shouted at half the bus and made them sit in their alloted seats (made sense to me, those in the aisle seats were getting off first) she asked me to move so her friend could sit there. Took offence when I said no. who really cares who you sit next to when the whole bus is asleep. We were rudely awoken at 3am in Cardwell. A little town I had considered stopping off in. Nowt there, so quite glad I changed my mind. Pee and stretch stop. Not that welcome when desperate for sleep. Arrived Townsville at 5.30am, 2 hours before hostel opened. Kipped at Ferry terminal. Too tired to care how many funny looks I was getting.
Lunch with 2 sweet Korean girls. They seemed impressed that I'd been to Korea and didn't look too disgusted when I struggled to come up with any Korean food I actually liked. Townsville itself is weirdly dead. Everyone either still asleep, or on the reef. Saturday night in the centre of town was completely devoid of life.
Yesterday I attempted a day trip to Magnetic Island. Start of hurricane season. Paradise Island was a wash out. May have been fun
to hire a jet-ski, but way too expensive. (and probably about as dangerous as a quad bike - softer landing I suppose) My idea to walk from one side of the island to the other also rained off. When water is dripping off my nose and there's no point brushing it off, that's my crunch point. Find cover and wait for rescue. Hadn't actually got as far as the rainforest by this point so local bus not far away. Nearly hugged the bloke when he appeared out the storm. Think I disturbed him. When I'd finished scaring bus drivers, I took an early ferry back to the mainland and walked into the first dry place I could find. A dinky Aquarium. Pleasant enough, (much cheaper than scuba diving the reef - but never going to be as impressive) fish looked a a bit squished, most in 2 quite small tanks, with the odd shark, turtle and fat fish. Except Nemo, he got his own tank. (Nemo and Steve Irwin get equal credit for vastly improving tourism in Australia, if anything, Nemo is more highly regarded, though that's probably just up near the Great Barrier Reef - really funny watching a
big burly bloke describing dive sites by where to find Nemo. There's stingrays, turtles and sharks out there, but the majority on the boat wanted to see Nemo)
Had thrilling day today. Got on bus at 10am, 12am reached Yellow Gin Creek. Little bit of water in the way (possibility of crocs in the water so Sheffield can stop moaning, your floods weren't exactly a bunk of laughs, but at least they were crocodile free) Sat there for 2 hours, police officially closed the road not long after we got there. Further down the road was also blocked so not much point chancing it. Besides, would have been a bit miffed if all my luggage got wet, and wasn't about to get out and push. Retreated back to nearest village, Home Hill. Good luck finding it on a map, barely exists. Local chippy had a fit when a full bus load trouped in. Think they were about to start peeling potatoes so gave up in favour of supermarket. 3 more buses arrived soon after us. Everyone stuck.
We were given the choice of staying there in case a miracle happens, or returning to Townsville. My bus was retracing it's
steps back up an increasingly wet road. Still pouring with rain and didn't really want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere. A few people actually opted to stay in hicks ville. I very much doubt they got out as our bus was struggling in the rising waters for large parts of the return journey. Ayr, between Home Hill and Townsville got cut off not long after we passed through so retreated just in time. An accident and more flooding has blocked off the road just north of here so quite a few people panicked, long way from where they need to be. Expensive flights being discussed, but the nearest airport is Cairns, blocked off by floods, and last I heard, also closed.
Very productive day. Down the road and back again. 8 hours sat on a coach. Yipee. Booked on bus again for tomorrow night. Praying it's cleared a bit, otherwise will be the same again. Nevermind. Struggling to get too depressed. I'm still on holiday, the weather's crap, but at least it's warm. Actually got a better room in hostel than had before. Get extra day in Townsville.
Life is good (safe to say, if I'm still
here in a week, my blog will get decidedly more cranky)
Tot: 0.183s; Tpl: 0.074s; cc: 12; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0179s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb