Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Boomers Do Queensland

I'm behind in posting. Now in Melbourne after spending nine days in Cairns and four in Uluroo.. That's two states and two ecosystems away.

Our room Internet is non existent so I will have to rely on my little phone for all social networking over the next four days. 

To catch you up let's start with our time in Cairns. Cairns is in Queensland and is the gateway to two world heritage sites: Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. We checked both off our list.

When it comes down to it this area is all about the reef, the rainforest, and the beaches.   We had nine days but probably only needed four.  Live and learn.  

Our first rainforest venture was Kuranda. The little town on the edge of the wet tropics was a little hippie enclave. The kind of place where a passing hiker says namaste instead of g'day.  Where you see plenty of wild colored hair and long flowing skirts.

It was also where we saw the cassowary on an otherwise ugly side trail. I've already written about our big animal adventure. Suffice it to say it was the highlight of all our hikes.

Since we are here in  the dry season waterfalls are a little skimpy, but we heard tales of great roaring cascades. I'll have to take their word.  But the trees were very cool. In particular the twisty, curvy vines that hung down just begging for our best Tarzan imitations caught our attention at every turn.  Sometimes straight. Sometimes twisted and curled. Sometimes strangling a tree.   The paper bark tree was at first a mystery as we wondered what animal was ripping off the bark but then saw that it rips off all by Itself and sometimes with Hubby's help.

Once Grace arrived we visited the Daintree Rainforest.  It was raining. A little miserable being wet in the wet tropics. We visited Mossman Gorge the southern end of Daintree.  Big roaring water running over monstrous sized boulders.

And speaking of Boulders, earlier we visited a similar area called The Boulders. Aptly named.  It stood out as the spot where your typical crazy male ((Aussies in this instance)  dives from high above into the water rushing through the boulders below.  Everyone shook their heads but couldn't stop watching.

The Beach

Hubby and I visited Trinity Beach. I had assumed Cairnes would have a beach but all they have is mud flats at low tide. They do have a very cool man made pool Referred to as the lagoon. It was shallow and had it been warmer I would have jumped right in.  We watched a Zumba water  aerobics class and thought of the mimis (grannies) that used to exercise at the Y.

Trinity Beach was quite lovely. I walked the shore snapping selfies and scenery while Hubby napped on the beach.  I collected shells to spell out a love note to my sweetie in the sand but as soon as the last shell was in place, in came the wave. Poor placement on my part. I settled for scribbling in the sand.      

The Reef

This was my big adventure. I'm not a swimmer but was convinced that I'd be able to snorkel with a jacket or noodle. We got lucky. After two days of rain and wind, we got a sunny calm day.

I was nervous but put on a thin life jacket and jumped in staying near the snorkel guide. After I stopped hyperventilating into the mask and calmed down I began to enjoy myself. Had no idea what I was seeing but it was all impressive.

Where we snorkled the reef is near the surface. It's huge with lots of different kinds of coral and tiny and small fish swimming about. Schools of fish right below me.  I kept worrying I was going to hit the coral with my flippers it was so close. Saw a really big turtle, my highlight. Also some really cool giant clams.

We had two spots to snorkle. The first  stop was off St. Michaelmas Key, a little strip of white sand sitting in turquoise blue waters. Gorgeous.  The second was just in the middle of the sea. Since the wind had picked up I skipped the 2nd snorkle. Grace reported that there were some incredibly large fish so I kind of wish I'd gone for it.   Before Grace arrived I tried to talk Hubby into going on his own not thinking I would do it.  In hindsight, two reef trips would have been fun.

So that's a bit on the rainforest, reef and beaches. Next up Uluroo.

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