We departed Sydney this morning at 8:50 AM on a Virgin Australia flight. I find it interesting to note the differences between airlines. On Virgin they had people board the plane from both the front and the back. The flight safety announcements were recorded but the flight attendants seemed to do the motions in sync. I often wonder how the things airlines do impact the amount of time it takes to load a plane, and which airline has found the most efficient method. I also wonder what the impact would be if people were charged for carryons versus checked luggage, but then I wonder what the impact would be to the ground crew with the increased checked luggage…I think about these things way too much.
We arrived in Cairns around noon. Right away I could tell there are many Asian tourists here. I went to use the toilet and there was a huge sign telling women to sit and not squat….
We then went to pick up our rental and it was a comedy of errors. First – I had received an email from Hertz telling me I had to check in at the desk. We waited for about 15 minutes to get to the front of the line and then the woman tells me since I am Gold I can just go to the booth by the rentals. So we then trek over there. Get there and the woman tells us our car is in stall 230. It was a massive van. We then realized that the keys we had did not open that car….and realized the wrong car was in the stall. The woman inside told us to just go hunting for the car we were supposed to have. We finally found it and then discovered the car was missing a floor board on top of the spare tire. So then we had to get another car….car number three turned out to work for us and then we were off.
We headed to the Cairns Esplanade car park. We parked the car there and then walked to a chain called Grill'd because I read that they had gluten free rolls there for burgers. As we walked there we had to pass the massive pool and Rachel wanted to swim in it immediately and did not want to eat lunch. Anyway, we ate lunch and my burger was delicious. Too bad that chain is not in the US. I cannot remember the last time I was able to order a burger and bun in the US.
Next we headed back to the gigantic pool to go for a swim. Initially Jonas did not want to go in but then he changed his mind. The pool was awesome but a little cold. It was the largest pool I have ever swum in. Parts of the pool had a sandy bottom. It was like swimming in the ocean.
We were not in Cairns very long but my quick observation was that I was thankful we were just stopping through here and not staying here. There is no beach in Cairns. Half the fun of being on the coast of Australia is to be able to walk along the beach and dig in the sand. The area we were in also seemed very touristy- restaurant after restaurant, and there were a lot of people around. I also observed many camper vans and several cars that appeared to have extra gas cans with them. My guess is that the cars with extra gas have been traveling in some of the more remote areas of Australia.
We left Cairns around 3:30 and headed to Port Douglas where we were staying. My brother and Rachel's teacher had both recommended Port Douglas and they also both recommended staying at the same place. TripAdvisor people also suggested Port Douglas over Cairns as well.
The drive to Port Douglas was beautiful. Unfortunately I did not take a lot of pictures today….it reminded me a little bit of Hawaii with the mountains on the left and the ocean on the right.
We made it to Port Douglas an hour later. We proceeded to our rental and Jonas was the first one inside. The look on his face was priceless. This rental was my splurge rental. The unit we are renting is two bedrooms, two baths and two floors. It has three different outside areas. You cannot see the ocean from the rental but it is right beyond the vegetation and you can hear it from the unit. It is in a lovey area where you can walk around and feel secluded.
I left the family at the unit and headed to the grocery store for food. David took the kids to the beach while I was gone. There are two things one needs to be careful about in this part Australia – crocodiles and man-o-wars. There can be crocodiles in the ocean and dusk is one of the times they are most active…so they needed to be on the lookout for these while they played.
I came back from the store and made dinner. We did not end up eating until 8 and by this time the kids were super tired as we had to wake up early to catch our flight. We ate dinner and then told the kids to go to bed.
So not the most exciting day but tomorrow should be more adventurous!