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World Tour4 – Queensland

February 22, 2007

From Cairns we were driven north to Palm Cove and our hotel for the next few days, the Sebel Reef. It was on a simple, beach front road and made the best of a rather limited size of site.

It had sea-water and fresh-water swimming pools, each with its own jacuzzi and surrounded by ferns, flowering bushes and trees. The pool deck bar was run on an honour sytem – pour what you want, sign a chit for it and leave it on the spike.

The management were wonderful but not so the woman who cleaned the room. There was broken glass on the veranda. After stepping on some then picking the bits out of my bare foot I asked for it to be cleaned up. Even after she’d done that there were clearly still pieces of glass near the wall. The next day the humidity rose to 95% before one of their ‘showers’ (i.e. tropical downpour) and she turned the air con. down to 21C. Result: tiled floor wet and slippery with condensation.

Amazing Bush Tucker BBQ meal

The food there was excellent but expensive and we ate breakfast at a little bar just up the road. A little further up was a restaurant where I had the most unusual meal ever.

Sue and I reckoned emu was the tastiest, followed by kangaroo which was similar to beef, baramundi – nice fish – and finally the crocodile which was a bit chewy, like pork or shark.

Again, we had some trips booked.

The first was on a large catamaran out to the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkeling.

Here’s Sue on the top deck, leaving Port Douglas.

It was all very well organised, including food, drink and suits to protect us from stingers when we moored.

Unfortunately, snorkeling in a confined area with about a hundred others (mostly novices) and murky water due to all the movement meant it wasn’t the best of experiences. I’d recommend travelling in a smaller group.

Sunbathing on the beach or swimming in the sea outside our hotel was not advised. Even with partial cloud, the UV rating was ‘extreme’, meaning sunburn in as little as 4 minutes, and the beach boasted warnings about assorted stinging jellyfish (including the deadly box jellyfish at this time of year), sharks and crocodiles. So we stuck to the hotel pools.

CrocodileNext day was a long trip north, past Port Arthur, into rainforest country where, of course, it rained. On a boat trip on the Daintree river, after a long hunt and seeing only pythons and fruit bats in the trees, we finally spotted a couple of crocodiles.

This was a medium sized female, watching us watching her.

We were in a tidal stretch of the river where bull sharks sometimes roam and, of course, some jellyfish.

Vinegar for jellyfish stingsOn the bank at the ferry crossing was this piece of first aid.

By now I was covered in red, itchy spots, presumably from an assortment of rain forest insects. Normally Sue gets bitten far more than I do. Thank goodbess for Savlon cream.

Time for a domestic flight back to Sydney then onward to New Zealand.

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