Posts Tagged With: Port Douglas

Day 13: Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge

Today was another day for relaxing. The kids (and adults) slept a little later and then we made our way to Mossman Gorge. This is a place that has a few hikes and a suspension bridge. When the water is calm it is safe to swim in as well. Unfortunately when we were there the water was too dangerous for swimming.
After the Gorge we came back to the rental for lunch and then I took Rachel back to the Wildlife Habitat for some more kangaroo feeding. We then came back and picked up the boys and went to the Wednesday market on the pier at Port Douglas. This turned out to be mostly locals selling jewelry. I was hoping there was going to be people selling food.
We came back from the market around 4:30 and then I took the kids swimming in the hotel's massive pool. They were the only ones in the pool. The water was slightly cold but I managed to get in with them for about fifteen minutes.
We then went back to our rental and I went out to pick up takeaway food for dinner.
All-in-all not a very exciting day but it was a relaxing one.

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Day 12: Port Douglas

Today was a day for relaxing. We let the kids sleep in, though they were still up early. Around 10:45 we left the rental and headed to the Wilderness Habitat park which is right outside Port Douglas. This was a lovely little park that had Australian animals. We spent a couple of hours here. We got to see beautiful birds, crocodiles, wallabies, kangaroos, and koalas to name a few animals.

We got back to the rental around 2 and Rachel and I had lunch. Around 3 I took the kids to the massive resort pool. They lasted until one of them needed to use the restroom and then they both decided they were done swimming for the day. We chilled for an hour and then had a family walk along the ocean.

The walk was very nice. The ocean is literally right outside our rental behind the vegetation. While on our walk we found sand bubbler crabs. These crabs create interesting patterns on the beach. They ingest nutrients from the sand and then spit out the sand into tiny balls. It looks like an artist has been on the beach with the patterns these balls form.

We came back from our walk and then the men went out for dinner while Rachel and I made ourselves something back at the rental. The men ended up grabbing take-away at a place named Daves. Apparently if your name is David they take your picture and add your picture to their wall of Dave's. Pretty cool!

Tomorrow should be another relaxing day for everyone. It is also our last full day in Australia:(

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Day 11: Great Barrier Reef

Today was our first excursion to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). I had booked a tour with Sailaway cruises as they were a smaller GBR operator. Our cruise set sail at 8:30 AM and we headed toward the Low Isles. The Low Isles are off the coast of Australia. I chose this as our first snorkeling trip as there was always the option to snorkel off the island if one did not want to go further out and I thought Rachel may be too afraid.

The ride to the island took a little more than an hour. While we were cruising it rained about half of the time, but that was ok as you can still snorkel in the rain. On board they warned us not to touch the coral as it could cut you and it could contain dangerous bacteria which could then cause an infection….

Once we got to the island we divided into two groups: beginners and advanced. Neither child had ever been snorkeling before so we chose the beginner. I had a feeling Rachel was not going to do well with snorkeling and I was right. First, she had a cut on one of her toes and as soon as she put the flippers on it hurt her. Then when it was time to float on the water and snorkel she could not do it as she was afraid she would be cut by the coral and have an infection. I suggested to her instead that we could just stay at the island and have a walk around or snorkel from the shore and she was fine with that.
We walked along the beach while Jonas went snorkeling. We saw lots of coral on the beach and could also see it from the beach. The highlight was seeing a very large and dark blue sea star. We also saw two Reef sharks – one from the boat and one from the shore.

Jonas eventually returned from snorkeling with the group and we took a quick tour around the island. Then we headed back to the boat for a lunch buffet and then had another chance to snorkel or go on a glass bottom boat to see the Reef. The kids and I did this and we were able to see many colors of coral. It was very pretty.
After that the boat returned back to shore. According to Jonas I made three new friends on the boat. I spoke to a couple from Melbourne and a lady from Melbourne. We spoke about differences between our countries and we also briefly spoke about American politics. While we rode back Rachel spent the entire ride laying on the front net of the boat. She was very zen like.

Rumors are that the GBR is dieing because of bleaching. The marine biologist on the boat told us that bleaching occurs when temperatures are too warm for about four weeks. However eventually the reefs start to recover from the bleaching.
We arrived back at shore around 3:45. David picked us up from the dock and we returned back to our condo to freshen up. I then took the kids into town to check out Target Country (it was nothing much, more like a department store). Next we headed to the grocery store to pick up some more snacks and beverages for our place. I spotted a pizza place that had gluten free pizzas so we also brought some pizzas back to the rental for an early dinner.

After our day's adventure at the GBR I cancelled our reservation for our tour on Wednesday as there is no way Rachel would have done the snorkeling further out. I had expected that I would need to do this. This is why I had 48 hours between our adventures. I am ok with this as it means we have more time to be leisurely with other activities these next few days.

Unfortunately I was not able to take many pictures during our Reef visit, so here are some pictures at our resort.

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Trip planning update

Well, it’s now November 20th…the trip is coming together.  I *almost* have the itinerary completed.  Just when I think it is final I think of something else.  I only have two areas to work out – the North Island stint between Wellington and Auckland (4 nights – I am looking for only two locations there) and if we fly into Invercargill or Dunedin before heading into Queenstown.

I may have reserved all of our apartment rentals at this point.  Right now for the North Island I have us booked in a hotel for three nights, but I may change that.  I’ve reserved our rental cars as well, and only have one more flight to book.  So I’m feeling like we are getting there.  I’m the type that likes to go on vacation with everything fully paid for except for meals, so for me I like having everything booked way in advanced and paid off before we go.

Places we have apartment rentals for are: Sydney, Port Douglas, Queenstown, Nelson and Auckland.  We are in hotels for Christchurch, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, and the North Island (possibly).  I have to admit that apartment rentals keep us sane when traveling as a family.  By the end of the day we all need our own space.  An apartment gives us the capability to spread out and relax on our own.  It also allows us to prepare our own meals in case we aren’t in the mood to eat out.  It also helps us pack light as we can use a washing machine in the apartment to wash our clothes every few days.

The kids are starting to become more interested in the trip as well.  The boy would like to go to Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.  The kids also want to go skiing when we are in Queenstown.  The boy has also requested a helicopter tour…we will possibly do that at the Franz Josef glacier but with it being winter there is a high probability that the ride might now happen.  And the girl may participate in the Sydney zoo’s Zookeeper for a Day program.  It looks pretty neat.  I have been telling the kids to expect clothes this Christmas since we’ll be doing some expensive outings on our big trip.  They were not too thrilled 🙂

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Australia booked

Well, the Australia portion of our trip is now fully booked, except for the flight from Australia to New Zealand….

I ended up doing a complete 360 on the Australia part. Originally I wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne but then my husband reminded me he needs to work while we are in Australia so flying between Sydney and Tasmania and Melbourne would be too much checking in and out. So now we are going to stay in Sydney a little longer and then visit Port Douglas, based on the advice of my brother and people on a TripAdvisor forum.

Port Douglas is about an hour north of Cairns. Cairns is one of the gateway cities to the Great Barrier Reef. However, there is not an actual beach there. Port Douglas on the other hand has a four mile beach and is also close to the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman gorge, and a river where crocodiles live.

So now the plan for Port Douglas is to go zip-lining above the rain forest, enjoy the beach and try to relax for a few days before we head to New Zealand. I plan to take the kids to the Great Barrier Reef at least once but I hope we can go twice. It will depend if they like it or not.

I have the lodging booked for both cities as well.  We are staying in a townhouse very close to Circular Quay in Sydney. That is one of the central places for public transportation. And in Port Douglas we are staying in a resort where we will be very close to the beach and there are huge salt water pools that the kids will love swimming in.

Now – I just need to get my husband to start working on New Zealand, otherwise I am going to plan everything there. I keep asking him for help but so far I have gotten no feedback from him except for Australia.

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