Skyrail and Kuranda railway train to Cairns

Had a lazy morning. Slept in and got packed and checked out of Dougie’s by 10am. Had a beer and steak sandwich. Was picked up by Brett for the Skyrail and Kuranda train ride and half day tour. The Skyrail is currently the longest in the world and it gives an aerial view over the rain forest. Very peaceful. I’ve joined an older (but feisty) group of Australians and Brits who are a really friendly bunch. Saw some wallabies along the way. A lot of urban sprawl pushing out the local wildlife. After the Skyrail, we spent some time in the small touristy town of Kuranda. I tried an Aussie pie (beef with some gravy sauce in it–almost like a chicken pot pie). Next we’ll make our way to the train (we all upgraded to the “gold” train — complete with wine, cheese, fruit). Tonight I’ll stay in Cairns. And figure out my itinerary for tomorrow. This will most likely involve an early morning hike and a tour of the esplanade with a swim. I checked into my hotel and the ladies at the front desk drive me to pickup a group order of Thai. Everyone has been so extremely nice!

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Great Barrier Reef

I booked a tour with Wavelength in Port Douglas specifically because they tour the outer reef. This mostly translates to being healthier and livelier with more aquatic species thriving! It was a 30 person boat with snorkel. Half the boat was full of really friendly older German tourists. We took a 1.5 hour boat ride to Opal Reef. The conditions were amazing: low tide, minimal wind, warm water, and no storms. We snorkeled at three different sites along that reef and the views were spectacular. I felt like I was swimming in an aquarium…. A beautiful, well-maintained, colorful aquarium. I rigged my GoPro to capture some amazing videos. Can’t wait to see how they turned out!! It’s an amazing experience. Checked that one off my bucket list!

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Port Douglas, Australia

7:30a pickup with Tony’s Tropical Tours. There were about 8 of us: couple from Atlanta, couple from Israel, mom and daughter from San Fran, and another gal from San Fran. Randall was our supremely positive and jokester tour guide. 😊👍
Drove to Mossman from downtown PD (Port Douglas). Lots of sugar cane here with lots of poisonous snakes in sugar cane fields.
Mossman gorge: River that was clear and pretty shallow (drought of the dry season). Basket fern. Wait awhile Palm. Cardamom ginger.
Passed Wonga Beach and Snapper Island (pacific : Spielberg and tom hanks) on our way to the Daintree River.
Crocodile River tour: salt water crocs. Low tide for tour. Baby croc alongside bank. Saw a larger 2m male. Metallic starlings. Tree frog. Cable ferry. After the tour, drive to our tea time to a beautiful beach. We’re looking for Cassowary (like an emu, but extremely rare). Copper creek: Mix of fresh water and salt water… Gives cloudy color.
Beautiful desolate beach. Sand bubbler crab w small pebbles. Tea time.
Arrived to a private property for further rainforest tour. Poisonous fruit – cassowary plum. Termite mound. Clustered fig tree. Black bean HIV tree. Boyd’s forest dragon.
Lunch: damper bread kinda like cornbread (very dense, almost flavorless). Sweet chili sauce. Veggemite (kinda like a yeasty thick soy sauce paste; a little goes a long way). Hike along Noah Creek – private 600 acre property.
Drive out to Cape tribulation – bath tub warm water.
Local ice cream – blackberry, mango, pineapple, whattle seed (tastes a bit like coffee, without the caffeine). Made fresh daily.
Cable Ferry across river.
I’m exhausted. Heck of a long day. This post went from coherent sentences to fragmented mush of memories from the day.

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Sydney to Cairns to Port Douglas

The three days leading up to this trip were pretty hectic: long days at work paired with errands, meetings, hangouts, and unpacking from the Boston weekend. I left work on Wednesday around 4p and made it to the airport at 7p (90 minutes before my international flight).

The journey:
SAN → CAIRNS
Virgin Australia International Flight 6763
San Diego SAN
8:32 PM
Los Angeles LAX
9:30 PM

Virgin Australia International Flight 6551
Los Angeles LAX
10:15 PM
Sydney SYD
7:15 AM

Fri, Oct 31
Arrive Cairns
Virgin Australia International Flight 1413
Sydney SYD
8:55 AM
Cairns CNS
11:00 AM

Sydney is 18 hours ahead of Cali time. And Cairns is 17 hours ahead of Cali. I felt extremely short as the Sydney Kings were on my flight and occupied at least 4 rows. Another 5 rows seemed to be usurped by a presumed bachelor party (their rowdiness was definitely felt in the plane). The stewardesses definitely had their hands full. As soon as I landed in Cairns, I saw a shuttle kiosk that sold round trip tix from the airport to Port Douglas. $90 later, I grabbed my luggage and hopped onto the bus. The drive was gorgeous. Beautiful winding roads with Aqua blue water and inspiring mountainscapes. It seemed very similar to Kauai. I checked into Dougie’s backpacker resort and changed my existing reservation of a quad share room to a private room. Purchased wifi…made contact with my loved ones and headed out to see what Port Douglas was all about. It was quite the trek from my hotel to downtown PD, but it was a beautiful walk! I checked out the marina and various stores/shops along the way. Very cute downtown area. After doing some grocery and gift shopping, I headed back home (hadn’t taken a real nap since the plane ride)…. Had dinner, showered, and now making plans for tmw and the rest of the week. Tmw I’ll be checking out Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation, and Daintree Forest.

**my wifi is slower than molasses… Pics to follow in an edit**

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