Port Douglas, Queensland | 12 . 12 . 12
Got an early start to our adventure for our last day in Port Douglas. We decided to book a river float/snorkel. When booking it was explained to us that we could see some wildlife like freshwater fish, freshwater eels, birds, water turtles, and maybe a platypus if we were lucky. We thought platypus? That would be cool! So we were excited to see where we were going to do the river drift.
We were picked up at 8 sharp from our hostel and then had to make the rounds around the town to pick up all the other people joining the tour. Once the ten of us were gathered the guide explains to us that we are going to Mossman… Courtney and I instantly thought ‘is this going to be exactly like Mossman Gorge?’ Hoping it wasn’t we kept an open mind.
Once at Mossman we grabbed our snorkels and got what we thought was ready… in our swim suits. NO. We were then handed a wetsuit and water shoes. Mind you its about 90 degrees and we were amongst the sugarcane putting on wetsuits and water shoes. We definitely looked odd to the passing cars.
We then headed down to the refreshing river and had to show the guides our swimming ability, which was quite hysterical to watch all the other people try to swim. Quite stupid. Then to the deeper part of the river to start our drift. We saw freshwater fish, eels, and a turtle but all we wanted to see was a platypus. It was like we were searching without a clue on what type of environment they are found in or how big they were going to be. A little hard but we were destined to find one. It the end we didn’t so we were bummed and quite frustrated that we decided to do that on our last day in Port Douglas which is probably one of our favorite places in Australia. But until next time…
Once back at the hostel we enjoyed some free wifi and then got ready to go see the Grouper feed at On the Inlet, which we were too late to see on Courtney’s Birthday. We were told its best to get there early to get a good seat and then enjoy a drink from the bar while we wait. We order two ciders and some chips to enjoy while we waited for the feeding. We had no idea what it was going to be like but we heard about it from a couple people that it is quite a site. So we were excited. As we waited we chatted with a couple gays from Chicago and made some friends! J
After a couple minutes the feeder came out with a fish to chum and began to tie the chum to the rope to get ready for the huge Grouper. At first all we could see was the top of its fin but we could already tell it was HUGE! A MONSTER! Then all the sudden its breaches and we get our first site at the giant fish definitely bigger than an average human. It goes for the chum and we all get splashed with water and experience the power of the fish. My shutter on my camera is continually shooting while Courtney is video taping it to make sure we capture this amazing fish. Just wait for the pictures! So crazy! Amazing site, and a great end to an unbelievable 6 Days in Port Douglas.
Port Douglas, Queensland | 12 . 11 . 12 COURTNEY’S BIRTHDAY!
Today we woke up early to get prepared for our full day of Diving. We met the boat early to sort out some confusing charges and therefore were able to board the boat early. It was my second time diving with Poseidon so I was able to get us a killer deal which was good for us broke travelers.
Breakfast snacks, tea, and coffee was served on the boat in the morning so court and I grabbed some muffins and headed up to the top deck waiting to depart from the harbour. During departure we were divided into groups and then debriefed with the following schedule and sites for the dives. The boat was not as packed like it was when I was here with Kiley in September which lead to smaller groups. Courtney and I were in a group of three- Courtney, myself, and an English gal. After going over some safety stuff and paperwork we were able to sit and relax on the top deck until we got to the first dive site.
The views were spectacular, we would all the sudden come upon some shallow sandy bottoms and then 3 seconds later be over deep blue water. Crazy how fast the sea floor depth fluctuates.
Once at our first dive site we put on all of our gear, which included a very attractive leotard type full body rash guard stinger suit that protected us from…stingers! I must say they were quite attractive outfits! NOT.
I was a little nervous because this was my first dive apart from my PADI cert but Courtney made me more comfortable. Once in the water I was good and all the procedures were automatic. Courtney and I had to hover at about 5 meters for a good 5 minutes because the English gal with us was having some problems getting down which kinda made Courtney and I question if this was how the next two dives were going to be but after a couple of minutes she was able to join us and then we were on our way.
It was such a different experience diving vs. snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. I was able to experience and see so much more marine life and coral. So many vibrant colors and tons of different textures of the coral. The fish swam all around us… a little overwhelming but amazing at the same time.
The second dive was my favorite we dove around a huge bombie with tons of wildlife. Barracuda, Lion fish, Parrot fish, Reef Sharks, Manta Rey, and tons of bridle Coral-were the highlights. Courtney even got a picture with a Happy Birthday sign and a Lion Fish-pretty cool. FUN FACT: Lion Fish are the most venomous fish is the ocean! Towards the end of the dive we saw tons of Barracuda which was a little nerve racking as they are quite a tough fish.
After a great seafood lunch we continued our diving at the third reef where we had a fish follower which was the size of us. Crazy site. Also during the dive our instructor gave us shrimp to feed to the fish allowed us to see the fish up close and personal. Really fun.
Probably one of the best highlights and best day on the trip so far.
After looking at the pictures on our computer once back at the hostel we got ready and went out to dinner at On The Inlet- a fancy restaurant on the water. It was a little busy so we were given a wait but headed to the bar for a cold cider until we got a table. I ordered Tuna Steak and Courtney ordered Barramundi which we both shared and decided that the food was probably the best seafood we have ever had. Delicious! While eating we also got surprise drinks bought for us because it was Courtney’s Birthday! Quite cool! First drink I have ever had bought for me! FREE! J
We ended the night with the best night sleep we have ever had! Great Day!
HAPPY 26th BIRTHDAY COURTNEY!
Port Douglas, Queensland | 12 . 10 . 12
Woke up and boarded the BTS bus transfer to Mossman Gorge a sugarcane town just 15 minutes away from Port Douglas. The views were beautiful of the Rainforest and the sugarcane fields that were just harvested. FUN FACT: 7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world are found amongst the sugarcane fields. eeekkkk. SCARY!
Once at Mossman we had to pay a small fee to get into the gorge. The gorge is so green with plentiful amounts of flora and fauna. Grandma you would love it! Another FUN FACT: the famous stinging tree is also found here so we had to be careful not to touch or come near the infamous plant which was once used in war time by the ANZAC Military to mess with the US and British.
While walking the Gorge track we saw and heard some of wildlife like birds, and lizards. Huge trees and vines were on the edge of the path making us feel much more immersed in the wildlife and rainforest. It started to rain so we took cover by a huge overhanging boulder where we met some honeymooners from Perth who told us a bunch of things to do. They had great suggestions and places for us to visit that we will definitely have to check out when we get their.
After the walk we took refuge from the heat in the freshwater river. The cool river was filled with tons of fish, seabirds, and eels which we got to get a closer look at with our snorkel and underwater camera.
After snapping a couple pics we people watched and then headed back to the gorge visitors centre. We waited for our BTS bus to take us back but they did not show. Stranded we decide to walk to the main road sticking our thumb out at every passing car to see if they will stop to give us a ride. We ended up hitching a ride to the main road where we caught the public bus back to Port Douglas.
We treated ourself to some much needed cold ice cream and then headed to BTS tours to have a few choice words with them. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT TOUR UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE STRANDED.
After, we enjoyed a sunset walk along 4 Mile Beach and then headed back to the hostel to cook dinner and watch the bats fly overhead.
Great day at Mossman!
Pictures coming soon!
Hayley and Courtney
Port Douglas | Queensland, Australia 12 . 9 . 12
We woke up to pouring rain, didn’t think we were going to have to wear a rain jacket in Port Douglas but it was a good little break from the humid heat. Ate the famous Courtney special for breakfast and then headed to the Local Market, which happens every Sunday. While we were in rain jackets trying to keep dry it seemed like the locals were not fazed by the rain at all, wearing tanks, shorts, and flip flips. Although it was still hot it was a weird site to see. The Market was full of homemade crafts, tons of frozen treats to keep you cool, fresh juices, and jewelry. Both Courtney and I bought really cute turquoise bracelets and I bought another brown one to deck out the wrist. While wondering around the Market we came across a coconut juice tent. We stopped to check out how they open the fresh coconuts, trying to compare to our methods. Their method was much more efficient, using modern tools, we were in survivor mode with our method; it was just a little more time consuming.
After wondering around for a while we then headed up to check out Flagstaff Lookout. On the way to the top we stopped at the lighthouse, really small. At the top of flagstaff lookout you can see all of Port Douglas and the surrounding mountains. Beautiful. As we were sitting a taking in the view people kept coming and going. They were just having a quite look and then leaving down the hill. We took tons of pictures then headed back to the hostel to get ready for our sunset sail out on the water. Both of us were extremely excited. Showed up to the harbor at 4, hopped on the boat and got complementary beer and nibbles. Delish!
The view from the sailboat was amazing. The water was a little rough but exciting. We were both sitting on the deck as the boom came crashing from one side to the other. You could barely stand up on the boat, which made for a really funny scene. Courtney and I were having a blast taking tons of pictures and laughing till we were crying. So much fun! The other people on the boat did not look like they were having as much fun as we were and who knows what they thought of Court and I when we were taking selfies and goofy pictures but we had a great time. Sadly the cruise came to an end and we headed back to the hostel and made some delicious pasta with chicken and pesto. So good we both devoured it in seconds. Great Day!
PS: We both decided after today that we are going to own a boat in the future. So much fun.
Port Douglas | Queensland, Australia 12 . 08 . 12
Slept in a little bit but quickly got our blood pumping with a run to the Marina. Once we got back we made a delicious breakie of eggs, bacon, banana, and red bell peper (or capsicum as they call it here). Yummy! We went to the beach again today to relax and enjoy the sun! Courtney brought some magazines from the US so I was able to catch up on some quality People and US mags.
After lunch I decided it might be fun to open a coconut with my bare hands, muscles, and a stick! A lot harder than it looks but by the time I got some dents in the outer shell I had already invested a good 30 mins. Courtney wanted to help too and so it became team work. We were throwing it against palm trees to try and crack it but that was not working so then came the stick. It was our one tool, after jamming the stick in the coconut tons of times we finally were making some headway. We got a hold of some husks and began pulling away with all of our muscle. We kept working with the stick alternating from courtney to myself to try and get the coconut free. After about 20 more minutes Courtney manages to get to the coconut shell. It was not fully exposed but we were getting closer! We kept pulling more and more husk off which was a long process and finally the coconut shell was exposed. After a couple more pulling and prodding we received the best reward…the coconut released! YAY! We were so excited!
After that long process we walked up to the small lookout over 4 mile beach and then went into town to check out the shops and such. We walked to the boathouse and found a park that looked out into the harbor and expansive ocean. At the park was this cute little family celebrating what looked like early Christmas- Courtney and I want to do this next year. Their was also a circus rope girl doing some tricks in the tree nearby. Weird but interesting to watch.
We walked back to the hostel where we had the ‘Hayley Special Chicken’-if I must say it’s delish! With Diet Coke, Watermelon, and TIM TAMS! YUM. Finished the night looking at pics and videos from the trip so far…great laughs already!
Port Douglas | Queensland, Australia 12 . 07 . 12
Woke up at 3:50am to catch the train to the airport. At the airport we had to quickly check in as we were suppose to be through security in the next 5 mins, but that was not a problem because security is a breeze here. Both of our bags, thank god, were under 50 pounds, which ment no fuss with the ‘lovely’ Jetstar overweight fees. Once through security it was straight to our terminal with no airport time.
At the Cairns Airport we caught a shuttle bus to our Hostel in Port Douglas, Port-O-Call. I stayed here beforehand when Kiley and I first came here. FREE WIFI, which is very hard to come by in Australia. We quickly found our room, dropped our stuff and head out to get some food-we were starved! We found a great little restaurant on the Marina and enjoyed the best meal ever outside on the deck. Beautiful.
Back at the Hostel we prepared for BEACH time at 4 Mile Beach. We posted up under some Palm Trees and enjoyed the beach and the EXTREMELY hot ocean water. 87 degrees! You can say it was more like a Jacuzzi. Courtney and I floated in the water and relaxed on the sand.
After the beach we headed to town to get some food to make meals from Coles. We thought it would sound fun to go to the BBQ’s at the beach to cook our dinner. For Dinner we had Kangaroo Kebabs. My first time eating Kangaroo-I liked it but I think we should have cooked it a little longer because I got a little bit of an upset stomach. We ate in the dark which ment Headlamp time! I love my new headlamp-probably the best/most handy item I now own. It was a tiring first day so we hit the sack early.
Port Stephens | NSW, Australia 11 . 19 . 12
Caught the bus to Nelson’s Bay, the touristy town part of Port Stephens. Tons of Yachts and people trying to sell you tours out on the water. I walked around and headed for the beaches. Found little beach where people were relaxing and having a BBQ. In the far distance I saw a man gutting a fish and he was surrounded by huge Pelicans just waiting to get the guts. I never knew they were so big! Got some crazy pictures. I continued to explore the further beaches walking to Shoal Bay.
Back at Nelson Bay I decided that since Port Stephens is know for their dolphins that I should take a tour. The tour was about 2 hours and we saw tons of dolphins-babies too! Fun Experience to see Port Stephens from the water as well. After the Dolphin cruise I grabbed some fish and chips and then headed back to the hostel to pack up to get ready to go home.
Great trip and great accommodation - Highly recommended. Samurai Bungalows in Port Stephens.