Sunday, 2 November 2014

Australia, week three: Port Douglas and Hamilton Island

I am back in the UK now, however I need to complete this trilogy of blog posts on Australia and what better way to finish than the north east coast of Australia. This part of the holiday was where things turned tropical, where the rainforest met the ocean and where I had to be very brave and snorkel for the first time ever in the middle of the ocean.

We left Sydney and flew to Cairns. When we arrived we were met by our transfer driver and it took about an hour and a half on some pretty winding roads to get to our hotel in Port Douglas. When we got to the hotel the receptionist asked us if we were on our honeymoon as only 'old people' stay at the hotel! It was very cringe and awkward! The room was fantastic, it was huge, we had a lounge area with a kitchen, a large balcony and a massive bathroom. It was probably the most spacious hotel room I have ever stayed in. The two main tours we had booked for our time at Port Douglas were to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

The day after we arrived we went on our Great Barrier Reef tour. As we booked our entire trip through Trailfinders we didn't really know what to expect with the tours. This time an enormous coach pulled up outside the hotel. This one was the most touristy trip. We were driven to the harbour and got on a fairly large boat and began our journey to the Reef. This was the trip that I had been most looking forward to but also worried about whether or not I would swim in the sea or whether I would chicken out and just go in the glass bottomed boat. When we were on the boat there was a safety video about snorkelling and they mentioned you could hire a 'stinger' suit. I decided I couldn't pass on this opportunity so we hired the stinger suits, borrowed the snorkelling equipment and flippers and headed to the snorkelling area. When you get to the Reef there is a large pontoon where all the equipment is plus lifeguards and instructors. I even borrowed a life jacket and had a talk from a snorkelling coach. I couldn't get my head around the fact that you could breath underwater with a snorkel and didn't put my head under water until we were quite far out. When I eventually put my head down I didn't realise how deep the sea was and quite how beautiful it would be. It was like everything stopped and it was just me and the dream I'd been imagining for so many years. It was really overwhelming! I am so glad I got over my fears and just went for it!

The next day we went on our second tour to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest. Here we saw crocodiles in the wild along with many mangrove trees and the stinging bush. We went on the trip with a group of other tourists and a guide called Bruce who was a bit of a legend. He had lived in and around the rainforest for 25 years and regularly goes walking in the rainforest with the aborigines so had lots of inside knowledge for us.

On the Monday of our final week we arrived on Hamilton Island. We were staying at the Palm Bungalows, which are really nice but if you like a big secure lock on your door don't stay here! It was basically the same sort of lock you might have on a toilet door. Hamilton Island is a massive resort but the beauty of the place has been kept. Our last tour on the trip was to Whitehaven beach, which has some of the whitest sand in the world. We also went on a very hot and sweaty walk to the highest point in the island and saw the most spectacular view of the Whitsunday islands.

We flew back to Sydney for one night before we headed on our epic 20 hour flight home. I had such a fantastic time in Australia and would strongly encourage you to save up and visit this beautiful country!

Alice
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4 comments

  1. The snorkelling sounds like an amazing adventure! I can't even imagine, I bet it was so beautiful and magical to see. Good for you for getting in there too!

    I hope to go that way in the next few years. Reading your stories makes me want to leave tomorrow!

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    1. It was fantastic!! You have to go, snorkelling was amazing, so proud of myself lol! xx

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  2. I didn't make it to Cairns but I did visit the Barrier Reef via trip to the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach. How AMAZING is the reef? I could have stayed there for hours after they called me back to the boat.

    Amy at Amy & More

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    1. Ah amazing, I know it was ridiculous, it just felt like nothing else in the world mattered!!

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