Well I know some of you have been waiting a long time for this
Saturday, 20th June
Left for the airport at 4am in the morning. Yikes!! to catch a 6.30am plane. We arrived in Cairns approximately 10.30am flight over was 5 1/2 hours a little long in cattle class with not enough room to stretch in seat but time went fairly fast. I must admit these something rather decadent about drinking alcohol in the departure at 6 in the morning.
We picked up the hire car after a bit of a mixup at the airport they had us down as a domestic arrival not international. It was faster for us to go to the domestic terminal than for the;m to come meet us. Drove to Palm Cove and arrived there at 11.30. After we had explored room and amenities and got changed out of our winter clothes we went off and explored Palm Cove, walking from one end of the Esplanade to the other.
Had lunch at a place called Cocky’s – salt and pepper prawns and shrimps
Came back and wandered around the resort – had my first cocktail by the pool.
Had dinner at Vivo which became our favourite retaurant – lovely food, then early night as I had not slept at all the night before.
Sunday 21st June
Got up at 7.30am and went to Port Douglas (approximately 40 minutes up the Captain Cook Highway) to do “Breadkfast with the Birds” at the Rainforest Habitat. Spent an hour having buffet breakfast with bird entertainment – you are only allowed to feed the lorikeets grapes but the funniest thing was seeing an ibis being very opportunistic and stealing a sausage while someone’s back was turned and fighting with another one when they had managed to filch some bacon. After wandering around Rainforest Habitat for a couple of hours seeing more birds, wallabies ,crocodiles and a snake – we went into Port Douglas proper. the sunday markets were on and I could have spent a lot of money but bought myself a new top and some cinnamon coated nuts (the cinnamon coated cashews were particularly yummy) and some dried pineapple. We then wandered back along the main street buying a hat for OH and a smoothie for lunch – we were still too full from buffet breakfast to eat anything. Left Port Douglas about 3pm and came back to Palm Cove where we went to Vivo (again!) and had their Tapas and happy hour cocktails
Monday 22nd June
We only had a muesli bar for breakfast as we had a 7.30am pickup by coach to take us to our Green Island tour. the coach took us to Cairns’ Reef Terminal where we boarded a Big Cat catamaran and collected snorkel gear for our time on Green Island. While doing the safety demo for life jackets the guide was miming actions to the announcement. She added miming signing the cross and praying before pretending to leap overboard. It was very funny. Arrived at Green Isalnd and was very surprised to see underwater observatory on wharf was still there – the last time I had been to Green Island was 28 years ago (1981). the observatory has been there since 1954. I went down and had a look for old times sake. It wasnt as good as I remembered it. (mind you we’ve been spoiled by having Kelly Tarltons and places like that since then.) and this was also after having been snorkelling for 1 1/2 hours and seeing other fish up close. We had buffet lunch aboard big cat and then wandered round the island The have put a lot more amenities on the isalnd in the past 28 years. When it was time to board boat back to Cairns they did afish feeding off the back of the catamaran – we saw much bigger fish htan we had while snorkelling. We arrived back to Cairns approximately 5pm, back at Palm Cove approx 5.30
We had takeaways for tea. burger and chips for me and barrimundi and chips for OH from Pete’s Place.
Tuesday 23rd June
We decided to have a rest day and just stay at Palm Cove for the day. We had breakfast at Nunu – one of the restaurants just by our hotel. Pineapple tart with pina colada ice cream for me. Our waitress’s Mum lives in Auckland near us so that was amusing. I did my ‘Pink Pilates’ in the resort gym then we went ‘grocery shopping’ and picked up postcards and stamps at post office. Went for first swim of the day in the lagoon pool and swam up to the pool bar and ordered a cocktail – just so I could say I did!
For lunch we had cheese, crackers, pawpaw and juice on our balcony – we had to by a plastic knife for 10c from the supermarket as our room was tea and coffee making facilities only.
afterlunch I swam in the rainforest pool, which was freezing compared to the lagoon pool, then swam in the heated pool to warm up. I was amazed at how much freestyle (overarm) swimming I could do
Dinner that night was at El Greko – where we had Zorba’s feast which is a little bit of everything -really good value for $35 each
Wednesday 24th June
Another early start being picked up by coach for our Kuranda trip. We were taken to the Skyrail terminal at Caravonica. the Skyrail is a gondola cable ride that stretches 7.5 kms from Caravonica to Kuranda. It has two stations on the way at Red Peak and at Barron Falls. As you go up to Red Peak you look out over Cairns and surrounding area – when you are nearly at the top you can look out to see and see where the Great Barrier Reef is – the water is quite turquoise where the reef is. Absolutely gorgeous views of the rainforest canopy as you travel along. At Red Peak station the cable way that bought you up the hill stops and you hop off your gondola. they encourage you to go for a short walk through the bush which we did then you hop into a gondola on the next cableway. At Barron Falls Station the cable way carries on through the station and you have a choice whether to hop out and go to the falls lookout or just carry on straight through. We decided to hop out. The final leg of the journey is to the village of Kuranda.
When we got to Kuranda we took the shuttle that drives around the town showing you all the attractions then lets you off at the markets at the other end of town. We wandered through the markets and bought some things for the girls and some aboriginal paintings for ourselves. We visited the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary where the butterflies were amazing and the Australian Venom Zoo where we both posed with a snake. We had a quick lunch and then it was time to head back to the train station (beside the skyrail terminal) to catch the scenic train back to Cairns. This is another journey I had done 28 years ago (the Skyrail didnt exist back then and we had gone up and down to Kuranda on the train) – more glorious scenery with stops at the Barron Falls lookout on the opposite side of the gorge to Skyrail.
Got back to the resort about 6pm and ordered room service as it was our last night at the resort. We packed our bags for departure the next day.
Thursday 25th June
OH didnt want to get out of bed this morning. He didn’t want this part of our holiday to end. He had loved being at Palm Cove. After we had breakfast, we went for one last walk along the beach, then it was packing the car up and heading south to Townsville.
This part of the trip we had added on to the original trip I won (we had also added on the Green island, Kuranda trips and the rental car). It had always been one of my travel plans to get back to Queensland ( I had gone over in 1981 for my sis SM’s wedding and I had gone back in 1983 for her funeral when she died in a car accident) This part of the trip for me was more personal as it gave me a chance to visit SM’s grave for the first time since the funeral.
Half an hour south of Cairns I suddenly realised we had left our winter coats in the wardrobe at the resort. As we were planning on returning to Cairns on the Saturday evening (Palm Cove is about 1/2 hour north of Cairns) Luckily I had my cell phone on global roaming and could ring the resort and ask them to put them aside for us to pick up on Saturday.
We stopped in Innisfail for lunch and bought some flowers. The lady who owned the flower shop was an Australian-born Maori so she was very happy to see someone from NZ.
We then headed for Ingham cemetary where I spent some time with SM.
After visiting the cemetary I took OH on a tikitour of all the places that I had been to in 1981 out to Forrest Beach where it was hilarious that the house my sis T had been living in in 1981 was the only original house left. We also went out to Lucinda to see the long sugar loading wharf that goes out 5km . Its where all the raw sugar from the sugar mills gets loaded into big sugar tankers. On our travels OH had seen several different facets of the sugarcane industry. He hadnt quite realised how much it dominates that part of Nth Queensland.
We left Ingham and headed for Townsville arriving at Seagulls resort about 6.30. We were quite tired so had dinner at the restaurant. We were quite dumbstruck by the decor of this place (you need to look at photos to understand what I mean)
Friday 26th June
We got up and went to the Stand in Townsville for breakfast. This is a promenade they have built along the waterfront with restaurants pools and playgrounds for the kids, it was very pleasant to sit there with our breakfasts and coffees and be over looking the water with views to Magnetic Island. We made plans to meet up with my neice A (my sis T’s oldest daughter) and spend the day with her. We met up in the centre of town and spent the day shopping and generally spending time with her and meeting some of her friends. We ended up going back to the Strand to another restaurant for dinner.
Saturday 27th June
Time to leave Townsville and head back to Cairns. We had breakfast at Frosty Mango (halfway between Townsville and Ingham) We stopped off to look at the Tyto wetlands in Ingham – would have loved to have spent longer there. I paid another visit to SM’s grave then we headed north. A had told us if we had time to go to Paronella Park on the way back. This unusual tourist attraction is on a side road between Tully and Innisfail but well worth the detour. It was originally built in the 1930s by a Spaniard that had made money in the sugarcane industry but got ruined by floods in 1946. The ruins were opened as a tourist attraction in the 1990’s. My photos don’t do it justice – it is really quite a magical place. We had a lovely devonshire tea there for lunch.
We arrived at our last night’s accomodation All Seasons Gateway Cairns, on the south side of Cairns, quickly unpacked and set off for Palm Cove to retrieve our coats as we knew we would need them as soon as we got back to NZ. We had hoped to have dinner at Vivo but it was booked for a private function so we went to another of the nice restaurants in Palm Cove, the Casmar .
Sunday 28th June
We had to be at the airport by 9.30am after dropping rental car off so we had breakfast there. We had repacked the suitcases with things in their appropriate places for travelling the night before so It was jsut a matter of getting up and getting dressed. At customs/security we sailed through but quite a lot of people were getting stopped and asked to remove their belts and shoes etc after going thrugh check point. We flew back into Auckland to lightning and thunderstorms – OH and I looked at each other and said lets just hope on anther plane back!! LOL