Posts tagged: Australia
Our last full day in Queensland, and I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly!!
Although the weather has been great, with sun shining most days, because you find yourself jumping in and out of wetsuits / stinger suits, the sunshine doesn’t always get to see your skin! But today was the day we saw the sun!
A bowl of coco pops put us in the right mood and we headed to Four Mile Beach for a spot of SUP! SUP for the uncool and untrendy is Stand Up Paddle Boarding. We had seen it on the adverts and now it was our time to give it a whirl! It’s getting a rather large following over here in Aus. The ability to stand on the water gives you a much better view over the landscape and local area. The setting was perfect, very little wind and the flat calm beach was our playground for the morning.
We knelt, stood, laid, fell, turned (kinda!) and everything in between. It’s actually a really easy sport to pick up, even for the completely unbalanced like me! We didn’t stray too far, a little over the reef, but you can choose to go out to a few of the islands, and ‘Bretto’ is even taking people on freshwater tours up rivers and through the rainforest! It’s a great way to be on the water in the peace and quiet whilst lapping up the sun!
A quick walk round Port Douglas and a bite to eat before we head back towards our starting point of Cairns to hook up with the Raging Thunder Crew and try our hand at White Water Rafting down the Bossman river! The Grade 3 rapids provided my third tick on the bucket list in less than a week! We started a couple of miles upstream and the ‘descent’ took around 90 minutes. For me, it probably wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting, it was by no means tame, but I just want to go again, bigger and better!
There was the odd place which was pretty exciting, and the chance to throw ourselves out of the boat and tumble down the rapids on our own was rather cool, especially with the odd croc sighting…
Showered and changed, it was then off to ‘On the Inlet’ Seafood restaurant in Port Douglas, a lovely little fish place on the marina. Now I may not be the biggest fan of fish, but my Spanish Mackerel was possibly one of my favourite dishes of the week. Add to that a huge beer, wine and cocktail list, and it was a definite win!
The last full day is over, and tomorrow I head back to Sunny Ole’ England (via Sydney and Singapore). Queensland is beyond amazing, from the sunshine, people, food, activities, it really has it all. I will definitely be back, but definitely for longer!
With such a lovely setting and the copious amounts of food from the previous day, a strangely weird decision for an early morning was a good one! Leaving the sunshine, sea crashing and birds to wake me up, I headed down to the beach for a run on the untouched sand and some really great sun. Couple of pictures of the amazing setting below.
After a quick bite for breakfast looking out over the sea and sun rising, we headed out to a pontoon on the famous Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver Boat Tours. The large boat takes around 100 odd people I guess for the day and a selection of snorkelling, diving, helicopter tours and pretty much anything else you want to pay for.
The 50 minute and rather windy ride out to sea went pretty quickly, and first up we went for an introductory dive. Now don’t think it’s a pool type thing, we were literally thrown in at the deep end. A quick intro in the sea on the platform and we descended into the depths holding hands like small children.
The sea was so clear and the views of the coral and marine life was unbelievable, the early worry and nerves about a watery grave soon disappeared as we held hands like small children and swam our way across the ocean bottom. We saw the cast of Nemo, and of course the Great Barrier Reef, well known Greg (a Maori Wrasse fish).
It was all over far too quickly, as 45 minutes passed and we headed up to the surface. A quick change and we went on the hunt for Sea Turtles with our ‘fins’ and snorkel! An hour guided tour with the marine biologist and 2 sea turtles (or maybe 1 seen twice?!) and we were ready to head back to Port Douglas. A once in a lifetime day, and another tick off the bucket list!
The evening was spent at Flames of the Forest, a very exclusive, aboriginal dinner in stunning setting on the edge of Daintree Forest. The food, entertainment and company was to die for, the Kangaroo was awesome! We then headed back to the luscious Thala Beach Lodge.
In a contrast to day 1, today was all about the relaxation as we headed to Silky Oaks Lodge on the Mossman River. Silky Oaks Lodge is on the edge of the Daintree Rain Forest and consists of restaurant, conference rooms, spa and a limited number of exclusive onsite private lodges.
In the morning we had another session with ProBlogger Darren Rowse and spent a little time writing up some of our content, and we weren’t short of inspiration. The main lobby and restaurant is built on the side of the hill which leads down and looks over the Mossman River, I headed down to the river bank and do some work before an amazing bite to eat in the restaurant. After that there was time for a few of the braves (Ben Southall, Darren Rowse and I) to dive into the slightly chilly river and have a refreshing swim. After that it was time to warm up with a relaxing massage.
We said our goodbyes and headed back down the beach road to Thala Beach Lodge. In many ways similar to Silky Oaks, but instead of the Mossman River it sits on one of the many bays framing the Coral Sea. The individual lodges all have different views on the cliffs and in the forest, and our coconut cocktail awaited us on the beach.
Dinner was divine, and served at Thala Beach Lodge, after trying a crocodile ‘cheesecake’ for lunch, it was Crocodile Spring Rolls for dinner which were just out of this world. The different flavours infused in the hot and sour prawn broth, followed by a Fillet Steak, with the most amazing ‘Jungle Fries’ and lastly this unbelievable warm chocolate cake and caramel and nut ice cream.
Our first 2 days couldn’t have been more contrasting. Tomorrow? We head out to sea…
Even though technically I landed on Tuesday, yesterday, Wednesday was my first full day in Queensland, so I am starting my story here (and I fell asleep so didn’t write up the first half day!).
It is hard to describe yesterday, it was a varied and amazing day, and given all the different aspects, it seems to be typical of what Cairns, and Queensland has to offer. After a tired and rushed breakfast at the hotel, we headed down to the marina to catch our boat across to Green Island. Green Island is coral cay rainforests, enclosed by sandy beaches.
After a quick interview with local news (which I am told was on TV), we set sail on the rather choppy trip across to the island, around 50 minutes away.
Once there, we had a small session with Darren Rowse, known as ‘ProBlogger’ who is the main reason we are all here. Although we are all experienced bloggers in the room, it was good to bounce ideas off each other, and I think everyone (including Darren) took something worthwhile away with them.
After a spot of lunch on the deck, we headed on a Sea Walker tour. Where you go under water in a helmet filled with air, think Men of Honor (awesome film!!). Now for some, this may seem a little bit tame and boring, but as someone who only goes under water when he has a bath, this was a nice little introduction to the waters of the Coral Sea!! Just having the fish so close to your face, being able to touch them was such an amazing experience, and it got even better…
We headed (ran!) across the island to the private helipad and hooked up with GBR Helicopters. We took off in their fleet of helicopters and headed out over the Coral Sea, the views, amazing, being ‘winter’ in Queensland, the sea is so clear and the Great Barrier Reef could be seen for miles. We then headed to Vasslof Cay, imagine a tiny sand bank / coral island. Untouched and just immense!
We say a couple of Epaulette sharks getting down and dirty, and a couple of crabs as well. The scenery, and just the fact we were on there was breath taking, beyond amazing, and one of my best life experiences… GBR even had a fourth helicopter filming and taking pictures because they haven’t ever had that many together before!
From there, we flew back to Cairns, circled above and landed on the helipad to adoring fans taking pictures of blogging superstars, well in my head anyway. We then ate at the delicious NuNu Restaurant, though not the biggest fish fan, the food was amazing and is one of the most respected restaurants in Queensland.
It was a day to remember that’s for sure. Check out my post tomorrow covering Thursday events!!
So we have been in Cairns, Queensland for some 7 hours now. No time for sleep though, a quick walk along the waterfront, and the Lagoon (nice sights…) and we were off to Cairns Tropical Zoo, around 20 minutes from the town centre.
With a range of animals from Crocs to Koalas, and Wallabys to Wombats, you are unlikely to be allowed to get more hands on in any average zoo!
And even if you can’t touch, they are all very close to grab some great snaps!
Here are a selection of our snaps, including a couple of raunchy Kangaroos!
We were lucky enough to be invited over to Queensland in Australia for a whirlwind week.
Through Problogger and Tourism Queensland we will be sampling the very best that Northern Australia has to offer, including kayaking, diving, snorkelling, relaxing, helecopters and everything else!
Although full features will appear on www.averagejoesblog.com, we will also be keeping you up to date on here, trying to give a daily diary (Internet permitting).
So stay tuned, check out the site, twitter (@averagejoesblog) and here for all the updates!
See you in 24 hours!! Joe