COOOEE : A long, loud call used to attract attention when at a distance, mainly done in the Australian bush
OZ : Australia!

31 October 2011


The Birthday Week Visit

We had booked in to a Spa Apartment at the All Seasons ... but after one night we beat a hasty retreat! The room had an overpowering smell of mould and the contant thrum of the air con generators on the roof was headache inducing.

Thank goodness for the last minute internet specials!!! We got a great room at a good price at the Sebel. Bliss. An enormous room with a great view. They even let us check in early (and thank goodness for that because it was soooo hot wandering around in the beautiful Botanic Gardens). It was a major plus that it was right across the road from the Reef Casino ... home of Tamarind, the restaurant where we were going for my birthday dinner! Ahhh ... Penang Duck Curry ... Yum!

We had enjoyed our day out on the reef so much that we decided to drive back up to Port Douglas and go on the more intense 3-dive-sites trip. But, having got up early and driven back to Port, the wind had picked up, the sea was choppy and we decided to save it for another time.

28 October 2011

Port Douglas ~ Reef

The Birthday Week Visit

When we were up here in Far North Queensland on our There & Back Again Tour, the Fates were against us and through a string of bad luck and bad weather we missed out on going out on the Great Barrier Reef. Our snorkel trip out of Airlie Beach had been a disappointment and hadn't lived up to Alphie's promise that the GBR was the "benchmark".

This was worth coming back for!

We ummed and arrred about what reef trip to take ... small boat, big boat, snorkel only boat, island trip, too touristy, too advanced ... but in the end we went with what just about everyone does ... the Quicksilver boat out to the pontoon. Absolutely no complaints!! We had a great day. We were blessed with great weather and a boat that was not filled to capacity. We thought the marine biologist who lead the small group tours was a jackass (just don't say "Nemo" to me!) and glad we didn't waste money on that add on.

Once out on the reef there was plenty of snorkel time. Visibility was terrific. The tides were just right. Fish were plentiful. Coral was colourful. BLISS. (In fact, the only shortcoming was having to share the underwater camera ... love that Canon!!! ... so this will be remedied for next time). There was a buffet lunch included and an open bar.

Maybe, just maybe, in hindsight ... the snorkel at different sites with a smaller group MIGHT have been better ... but this was a great day out.

25 October 2011

Port Douglas ~ Daintree

The Birthday Week Visit

As we had missed out on going out for our planned snorkel, we decided (while we were still away on the There & Back Again Tour) to fly back up here for my birthday. What a princess!!

It gave us the chance to do some more of the same and some things that were new.

We stayed for the first 4 nights at the Rendezvous Reef Resort in Port Douglas (excellent value ... a 2 bedroom villa for $100 a night). Port Douglas was not what we expected and we would be back here in a flash.

The first morning of our stay we went on an early-morning, bird-spotting river cruise on the Daintree River. Can't say that we saw a quantity of birds ... but apparently we saw quality (we had a couple of serious "twitchers" on the boat) : Papuan Frogmouth, Large Billed Heron, Kingfishers, Wampoo Fruit Dove .....

After that we took the river ferry across to our green utopia. We drove up to Cape Tribulation and then had lunch at Whet (scene of the awesome Cauliflower & Scallop Soup from our last visit). This was a "find" through the Lonely Planet guide ... and it really is a find ... a great deck surrounded by rainforest and delicious food.