Great Barrier Reef + Daintree Rainforest
Friday and Saturday
We got into Cairns late, and didn't get to the Floriana Guest house till after 11pm. And then we had to get up at 6.45am to get to the jetty in time for our cruise! But it was a pleasant morning walk along the Esplanade and fortunately we managed to grab a coffee and a bite to eat on the way.
The Barrier Reef cruise was great. This was my first experience of the Great Barrier Reef, and thanks to the prescription goggles Camilla had made me get, I could see everything clearly. Afterwards we wandered around Cairns, had dinner, then headed back to the guest house. On the Esplanade we ran into four tall-necked brown birds making keening noises — Bush Stone-Curlews, we think, or possibly juvenile Night Herons. (We discovered later that the Cairns Esplanade is a bird "hotspot".)
We walked to pick up our hire car from Apollo car rentals. We took a sidetrip to Kuranda, then we returned to the coastal highway and headed north. When we stopped in Mossman we found the car boot wouldn't shut and attempts to fix the lock or tie down the boot didn't get anywhere. Fortunately the RACQ got there within half an hour of us ringing and we still had time to visit Mossman Gorge. We had a brief swim there — it was late enough that there were only a few people around.
We reached our accommodation in the Crocodylus Village YHA after dark. The kitchen had just shut, but they had some sandwiches and carrot cake. There were bandicoots wandering around, coming right up to people!
We had to get up at 5.30am to get the ferry across the Daintree River for our Daintree river wildlife cruise. After the cruise we drove into Daintree village, where Camilla bought some pottery and we had brunch.
In the afternoon we visited a wildlife sanctuary, then stopped to watch and photograph several score of kites that were circling over recently cut cane fields.
Crossing back over the ferry, we went back to our hostel, then drove out to Cow Bay for a swim. Afterwards we tasted interesting flavoured icecream from the Daintree Icecream Company, where Camilla also discovered dried mango, and wandered around a short boardwalk at Fan Palms. Then we went back to Crocodylus Village, showered and had dinner in the restaurant, and finally got an early night's sleep!
TuesdayWe visited the Rainforest Discovery Centre, then went north to Thornton's beach where we had a swim and ate lunch. Camilla had another swim at Cape Tribulation, while I sat and read.
We had dinner in PK's Village and then went on the night tour we'd booked the previous day, with Mason's. This was a disappointment — the woman leading it didn't know that much and if we'd been given a rough map and let lose by ourselves I think we'd have seen more.
In the morning we did the shorter loop of the Jindalbi boardwalk. Before crossing back over the ferry, we checked out the flying fox colony just next to the crossing. We didn't have time for anything more than lunch on the way back to Cairns, where we returned the car, got a taxi to the airport, and were soon back in Sydney.