Cairns – It’s Not Pronounced the Way It Looks

After leaving Daintree we decided to give Port Douglas a try. We had heard good things about it and it seemed like a good place to chill out for a couple of days before heading to Cairns. We also heard from one of the immigration officers that Port Douglas was a much better place to go out to the reef from. We had the impression that Port Douglas would be a sort of laid back beach-bar kind of place. That impression would be wrong. Continue reading “Cairns – It’s Not Pronounced the Way It Looks”

Hey Noah, Where Did You Put Those Plans for the Ark? Or Death to All Mosquitoes

We got to Cape Tribulation which is part of Daintree National Forest by crossing the river on a car ferry. Very nice. The 40 kilometer drive from the river to Cape Tribulation through the national park was breathtaking. In some parts the rain forest canopy almost completely obscured the sky above making it seem as if we were driving through a leafy green tunnel. Our specific destination was what turned out to be the appropriately named Noah Beach where we had reservations at the campground for two nights. Continue reading “Hey Noah, Where Did You Put Those Plans for the Ark? Or Death to All Mosquitoes”

The Dream Continues…

We read about Paronella Park in the guidebook and it looked like it was worth a visit. The guidebook stated that there we would find, “the ruins of a Spanish castle…the culmination of the dream of Jose Paronella. In 1929 he began the monumental project that, in addition to the castle, included a tea house movie theatre, expansive ‘pleasure gardens’ and even a hydro electricity plant.” The pictures that accompanied the description were convincing. Continue reading “The Dream Continues…”

Leeches Suck

I feel compelled to start this autobiographical narrative the way that many of my students like to begin their narratives: Have you ever had a leech stuck to your leg? Well I have.

We were quite pleased to get a prime spot in the Wooroonooran National Park campground. (I admit, the name is a bit unwieldy). The park is within the rain forest area and in that respect it did not disappoint. Fairly early in the morning we headed off on a hike to the falls. Continue reading “Leeches Suck”

How Much is That Koala in the Window?

Cardwell is another one of those Australian towns that, minus the different accent, might be mistaken for a town in the mid-western US. Sad looking buildings? Check. Shops that close at mid-day on the weekends? Check. Locals eying us suspiciously? Check. We stayed in Cardwell because we wanted to go to Hinchinbrook Island which is close by. Our plans were thwarted by the steep price of $85 per person for a ferry ride there.

The most exciting thing about Cardwell is what happened before we got there: I got to hold a koala bear. Continue reading “How Much is That Koala in the Window?”

Getting Old in Cape Hillsboro

Cape Hillsboro turned out to be one of the best beaches we’ve seen. We got to the park early in the morning and were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the beach was. We immediately took a walk to explore the place, and came upon a trail that led from the beach up to a lookout and back down to the campground. It was hot out, but the trail was full of life. Brush turkeys (which I cannot say without sounding the way that Jimmy Walker would say, “jive turkey”) scratched in the dirt searching for food. Continue reading “Getting Old in Cape Hillsboro”

Falling into and Climbing Out of the Tourist Trap

Capricorn Caves is one of those places that you pretty much know is going to be a tourist trap, but feel compelled to frequent anyway. We wanted to see some caves and since we didn’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the free caves, we ended up paying for the privately owned caves. Of course you have to go on a tour there, you can’t just walk around and check the place out, so that becomes a minus. Continue reading “Falling into and Climbing Out of the Tourist Trap”

If This is the Pony Ride, I Want My Money Back

Bowling Green National Park was somewhat of a disappointment. There weren’t really any walks listed except for the one to Alligator Creek falls, which sounded interesting, but it wasn’t a caravan park and that made it appealing. We called from Airlie Beach to make sure that we could get a spot. The phone conversation that followed was just as maddening as the one at Blackdown Tablelands. This time the person who was making the booking couldn’t figure out if the one spot left was accessible to campervans. It said it was, but it wouldn’t let him book it. I was put on hold many times for several minutes as the payphone and the meter that we were parked at ticked away. Continue reading “If This is the Pony Ride, I Want My Money Back”

Blackdown Tablelands

We’ve been staying at a lot of caravan parks in Australia which is not really something that we planned on doing. The problem is that to get to most of the actual campgrounds, you either have to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or you have to hike in with a tent. We are equipped with neither of these things (renting a vehicle like that would have taken up our entire budget for Australia), so usually we either have to camp on the side of the road or in a caravan park. Most of the side-of-the-road campsites are pretty sad – not somewhere you want to spend a good deal of time, but caravan parks have their downside as well. Continue reading “Blackdown Tablelands”