Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Dry South Australia to Tropical Queensland

We had a wonderful final day in the sunny dry Adelaide Hills and McClaren Vale wine regions. Thanks to the wonderful hospitality from our friends Jan and Annette (Lisa met them trekking in Nepal 2 years ago) we had a whirlwind tour of some wineries in this region and then had a cold beer in the Handorf hotel. We had a beautiful dinner overlooking the city of Adelaide, the ocean with a full moon over the hills. There was a major car race in town that weekend and we could not find a hotel room to save our lives. Thanks so much to Annette and Kym for putting us up (and putting up with us!) for the night! Thanks to Jan and Annette for taking us out for such a wonderful day and evening. Can't wait til we meet again, hopefully in our fair city.

We flew from Adelaide to tropical Cairns to be greeted by stifling tropical heat and humidity. It was just like a day in Toronto during a summer heat wave. We stayed for 4 nights in Port Douglas, a quaint town one hour north of Cairns. It did not take us long to discover the beautiful lagoon style pool accompanied by a bottle of Australian wine. We spent every evening in this pool, even during a light rain. We made wonderful friends with some lovely people from the UK and had a bit too much fun (and wine).

We took the Quicksilver boat out to the Great Barrier Reef and had a gorgeous sunny day. The box jelly fish are dangerous stingers at this time of year so we all had to wear these blue Lycra suits with a matching hoodie and mitts. We looked like blue smurfs with our varied body shapes but these suits had the additional bonus of protecting us from the sun. We loved these suits! Most people were in tears laughing. We looked ridiculous.

Karin had her first snorkeling experience on the Great Barrier Reef - what an introduction! She felt a bit apprehensive to be breathing through a mouthpiece adorned with a mask but once she caught her first glimpse of the coral reef and beautiful tropical fish, she was hooked! She saw a sea turtle the size of a tire, a shark and neon coloured fish. She was in sensory overload because it was so visually stimulating and ever changing.

We took a small group snorkeling tour to a different part of the coral reef and saw sea cucumber, star fish, Nemo and Dory and a sea monster. They had to drag Karin out of the water to go home and she can't wait to get to the Whitsundays to do some more snorkeling. We may just have to power drive through the night to get there so she can get her next fix!

The next day took us from ocean to the tropical rain forest where we travelled a cable car over top of the rain forest canopy to the village of Karunda. We visited the RainForestation park where Lisa got dragged on to the stage to try her shake her booty like the Aboriginals do. She gave Karin such a good laugh and she is still giggling as we write this. We saw some crocs, a dingo and the usual koalas, kangaroos and wallabies which are becoming commonplace to us. We tried to throw a boomerang and and watched spear throwing. We had a lovely Spanish style meal at Salsa and enjoyed drinking our own wine (BYO).

Our final day we went on a search for crocodiles in the wild along the Daintree River. We saw a little wee snake, some bats and a wee wee crocodile. The big ones were too far inland to see. We walked through the Daintree Rainforest, a World Heritage site. Some of these trees are over 600 years old. At Cape Tribulation, the tropical rain forest meets the Great Barrier Reef but we think it may be best viewed from the sky since it just looked like a beach to us! A nice beach but it still does not meet Lisa's criteria for Best Beach in Australia(no cabana boys to be found here...need to keep searching).

We are southbound and on the road again seeking new adventures. Check in soon. Love you all.


Anonymous said...

Love your stories! Keep the blog updated with your adventures.
You're sure having a lot more fun than us Toronto folk with our snow and cold weather, which I'm sure you're both missing.

Hope you keep avoiding the rain and enjoy the rest of your journey.


Lisa said...

Bob, we were just proofreading our update and you left a comment. Too bad we can't chat online! Yes!!! we are really missing the cold and snow. It is dripping hot here. Enjoy your evening and give the girls a hug and scratch from both of us!

Lindsay said...

You are making us very jealous over here in the land of the never ending snow.

We have loved reading about your adventures and can't wait to see all of the pictures when you get home.

Karin, it sounds as if you really enjoyed your first snorkeling experience. It must have been amazing!

Safe travels. See you soon!

Lindsay, Val, Mitch and Phil

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing back all the memories of my 2000 trip !!!I too loved the honey ice cream !! and Karin it was my first snorkling experience at the GBR although I did not have to wear the blue smurf suit.. that sounds hilarious!! I wish you more great adventures!! and searches for the best beach, wink , wink, Steph