Part one here
Our next journey on our killer holiday was Brisbane to Cairns AKA Noosa to Port Douglas and you can instantly tell the difference. Noosa is rife with surfers with chiselled abs and strong jawlines, and designer shopping on the squeaky clean iPod-white (a phrase I coined back in the early 2000s which didn't catch on one jot) Hastings Street whereas as Port Douglas boasts portly fisherman, pokies and a Hog's Breath but is also "The Gateway to The Great Barrier Reef."
If Noosa was the perfect, false sense of security of Australia, used to sell it to the masses, Port Douglas is the real deal. I liked that about it. I liked the constant feel of danger in the air as storms regularly swept in. It felt very different to the UK. The giant toad or frog (I don't know the difference?!) that fell out of a tree in front of us nearly killing us, bats the size of cats, Rainbow Lorikeets as common as gulls and warning signs for crocs and stingers on the beach creating that difference.
Our first day in Port Douglas was a leisure day, left to our own devices which led us to wander about and enjoy all the "real" things mentioned above. We experienced an insane storm before heading to an awesome, busy, bustling Aussie bar where I ordered a sharing platter for what I can only assume was four, for one. Thanks for letting me know Miss Bar Lady. A valiant effort was spent on this but sadly, I was defeated.
The next day was time for an iconic Australian experience; The Daintree Rainforest. The other side of the world, a huge rainforest, honestly we are in a different world... but it's a small world. We talk to our tour guide and she is from...CAMBORNE! A small town in Cornwall WHERE I GREW UP! How does this even happen?! En route we see sugar cane and pineapple plantations alongside the rainforest and we really are in a different world, almost Jurassic. Which brings me to a chance encounter of - a Cassowary. Elusive, aggressive animals that kind of bizarrely remind me of Julian Clary?
That was just on the way to the first part of our day; a river cruise on the Daintree River where seeing crocs in their natural habitat were promised... we did see one... I've seen bigger tiger loaves in the local bakery but it was a lovely cruise nonetheless.
A drive through the Alexandra Range with a stop off for tea, lamingtons and feeding wallabies authenticated the experience and made up for the weeny croc. We then went into the rainforest on the Jindalba Boardwalk through to Thornton Beach with sweeping views of the rainforest and the reef.
A couple days later we had a bucket list moment; The Great Barrier Reef. We saw a giant ship with hundreds of people which made our small excursion on a catamaran all the sweeter. We headed for the Low Isles, a small island with fewer people. Seeing the life on the reef was a bit like being in outer space, aliens everywhere and in some ways it freaked me out. I was, however, in awe of it all. Going out on a catamaran with cold beers and freshly prepared food really was incredible and if I did it all again it would be the only way that I'd do it.
Coming up in our third and final part; 24 hours in Sydney and the final locations of Melbourne and Adelaide.