They say that Australia is the lucky country, and I completely agree! Especially since we have some of the natural wonders of the world at our door step – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef!
In March, which is Autumn in Australia, we went to sunny Northern Queensland. We based ourselves in Port Douglas, which is a 20 minutes from Cairns and 40 minutes from Cape Tribulation. We rented a car, mainly because public transport is rare and the attractions require a bit of travel.
This is the furthest part of Australia that I’ve ever been to so was curious about things to do and see. Port Douglas is so sunny that it’s almost tropical. It’s calm, relaxed and the panoramic views are breathtaking. The people are friendly and you get an aura of “not having a care in the world”. Life is much slower but that’s because the people stop and smell the flowers (figuratively) and the air is fragrant with greenery.
There is something for everyone in Northern Queensland…
If you like adventure…
Try a jungle safari in the Daintree Rainforest, located in Cape Tribulation.
The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest and is thought of as one of the most beautiful rainforests of the world. To join a jungle safari at the Daintree Rainforest, you need to book an eco friendly tour as great care is taken to preserve the wildlife and greenery.
I’m usually scared of heights so when I had to stand on tree tops and zip line from one tree to another, I completely freaked out! I could see the tree tops and the river below us… so far far below us. They did a number of safety checks ofcourse and then they told me to sit down and wiggle my booty slightly so that I could easily fall off the edge. I wouldn’t do it! I just couldn’t! It actually took 3 goes and a tour guide to safely give my booty a friendly kick in order to get me onto the zip line and across to the next tree top.
It was exilirating when I finally zip lined from my first tree to the next. In fact… I felt so confident about my new abilities, that I didn’t mind zip-lining with my hand’s free while running in the air…
and zip-lining up-side-down!
Just kidding, it was part of the tour… but I still did it and was happy that they convinced me to!
If you’re scared of heights, don’t worry, they also have walking tours available! And while you’re there, don’t forget to visit the white sand beaches, go for a horse ride or eat at a nice restaurant overlooking the beach. So many amazing things to do!
If you’re into food…
You must try eating at Whet. After our jungle adventure, we drove past this restaurant and saw a sign telling us that it was on the top 5 things to do in Cape Tribulation – according to Lonely Planet. We couldn’t help but drive in just to find out why! Whet is this country style restaurant with a real rustic feel to it… almost like we were visiting the tropical house of a mate. I had the fish and chips while my husband tried the seafood pasta! Northern Queensland is known for their fresh seafood so it doesn’t matter which dish you try, it’s all good!
If you like nature…
Mossman Gorge is a 20 minute drive from Port Douglas and has amazing walking trails through the rainforest. It’s much more fun when you’re exploring this area in the rain! You can stand on top of the rocks as you watch the rushing water under your feet – but please be careful, the Mossman River has a strong current so stay only in the safety zones.
If you love the ocean…
My favourite place to visit in this area was Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef. We took a tour boat from Cairns to Green Island which took us about 1.5 hours. Green Island is an island on top of a coral cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef so the first thing that you see is crystal blue water and white sand beaches! Underneath these crystal clear waters is colourful coral and many species of plants and fish – some unique to these waters! So, to make the most of it, we took the plunge into the Great Barrier Reef by scuba diving!
We learnt to crawl through the water first and carry weights and oxygen tanks in a pool. Then we took a boat out to the Greater Barrier Reef where the ocean is deeper! I am also scared of enclosed places and my husband had never dived before, so we were both feeling a little nervous. The scuba instructor was really calm as we went deeper and deeper into our dive. I started getting water in my goggles and felt my breath sharpen with panic! I indicated to my instructor to let me up but he was calm and used some hand gestures to communicate to me and reduce my anxiety. I finally gathered my courage and went deeper and deeper into the dive until we saw the underwater world that is the outer reef! The coral was neon orange and yellow and the fish looked like the fish in Finding Nemo! They were blue and orange and striped and all other combinations of colours! And yes I found Nemo, a few times actually. The Nemo fish were bright orange and white and the size of my hand. I even stood close to a hairy looking sea cucumber! It looked like a big spikey slug!
If you’re not into scuba diving, you could also try snorkling. After our scuba diving adventure, we spent a few hours snorkling around Green Island. They have donut shaped floating devices on top of the water (check out the above photo) so that you can swim to each of these devices and peek at the coral and fish below you – great for people who are not strong swimmers or who just want a relaxing day in the water!
What is your idea of an adventurous holiday?
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