Monday 12th August
The week began with a drive from Cloncurry to Townsville, with a detour to the Billabong Sanctuary. It was a small park with super cute animals! I started the adventure off with a quick cuddle and smile with a koala! It was so adorable, surprisingly heavy, and surprisingly sharp claws (but not too sharp!).
I had to pay for this privilege so I did some research beforehand – all koalas which are being handled cannot be handled for more than 30 minutes a day, nor more than 180 minutes a week, and cannot be handled more than 3 consecutive days without a rest day. Billabong also send a portion of the proceeds made from the photo opportunities to the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital.
We wandered around the park, came across some friendly roaming kangaroos, and birds, and stopped off at the bird show in the afternoon. I LOVE birds! I think they’re so pretty and love how they fly! So I was super excited when the barn owl flew straight over my head! At the end, there was also the opportunity to get up close to beautiful parrot, who both Tom and I had the pleasure of holding.
Our last stop in the park was the turtle race. In the billabong in the middle of the park, live some turtles. And each afternoon, 2 turtles are chosen by the keepers to be today’s racers! A grid is outlined in the sand and park customers stand either side, cheering their turtle on! It was hilarious, and the turtles loved it! They were all fed lots of fish as their reward.
When we left the park, we decided to go and explore Townsville so aimed for the Strand. We walked along the pier, collected some shells on the beach, and had a yummy ice cream! It was still a bit early but we headed to our nights accommodation, and a good job we did! Tom had found on Google a little area for free camping, right on the beachfront! We just managed to get a space, and joined several other campers in taking advantage of the beautiful area!
Tuesday 13th August
We made it to Cairns! Unfortunately, the camping around Cairns was either full or expensive so we checked into a hostel – we were only here for a night so didn’t mind, plus it was quite a nice hostel, with a 4 bed room and our own bathroom off to the side! They were handing out cards to guests to receive a special deal at the local Coffee Club restaurant, so we decided to check it out for dinner. Due to it being a Tuesday, they had an even better deal than the one we were offered so we tucked into a couple of burgers, for 2 for 1, and a fish bowl!
Wednesday 14th August
Our adventure continued bright and early to go to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree National Park, via Port Douglas.
Port Douglas was very pretty! We stopped at the 4-mile beach to go for a walk but cut it short as it was very windy and slightly chilly.
We continued on along some winding, hilly roads, to catch the ferry to Cape Tribulation.
We drove up some more winding roads, stopped off at a couple of look-outs, and checked into an unpowered site at Cape Tribulation Campsite.
Covered by trees, we were a 10 second walk from the beach!
We went to explore and found the tide was out, and there were no crocodiles around. We’d been told when we checked in where we could see them if we wanted to have a look, but we decided we’d seen enough crocs for a while! There was lots of dead coral and muddy patches on the beach, and a few shells around.
We had no phone signal at the campsite so had to drive all the way back down for me to be able to submit a video interview to Adidas! Once completed, we drove back up again and made some pasta for dinner.
Thursday 15th August
We decided to go further up the road today, instead of down, and ended up finding the end of the sealed road… and beyond! It became a bit bumpy but the van did good! We had to stop after a bit as we reached the edge of “4X4 ONLY” road.
We parked up, hopped out and walked through the forest until we found a creek, safe from crocodiles! The water was crystal clear, with fish swimming around, and a rope swing to jump in with. Some other tourists arrived so we had a chat and swam around together for a bit. Everyone except me used the rope swing to jump in, but I was too scared to have a go, especially with so many people around! The other guys all left, and we were getting ready to go, when I suddenly decided I was feeling brave and grabbed the rope swing!
After multiple words of encouragement from Tom, and waiting a million years to be brave enough, I finally swung from the rope with a scream and landed in the water with a splash! It was so much fun!! Tom and I took it in turns to jump, whilst using the camera to test out different modes and how they capture moving images!
We eventually got cold so dried off and got changed before heading to find some lunch.
After refuelling we stopped off at the Dubuji Boardwalk for a walk in the tropics! It was really interesting! We found a golden orb in the foliage, tarantulas/funnel web spiders in holes in the ground (creeeeepy!), a caterpillar, lots of noisy animals, birds and frogs, as well as seeing a wild turtle and a wild cassowary! Cassowaries are giant, prehistoric looking birds which stay away from humans, however if provoked can cause serious damage!
As we finished our walk, it began to rain; we’d left our coats in the car, so we accepted we were going to get soggy and headed to the beach to find some coconuts! We chose our two, based on weight and noise of sloshing inside, and took them back to the campsite. The campsite had a coconut spike we could use to crack the coconuts open! It was hard work but we managed it! Turns out I still don’t like coconut water… I decided to keep my coconut as I wanted to transform the shell and turn it into a project!
Due to being soggy and still raining, we decided to get a couple of pizzas from the campsite as they had a pizza oven! They were yummy!
Friday 16th August
We made our way back down to the ferry via a few stops, to finish off our sightseeing! First was a cute little ice cream place, with completely natural and individual flavours – Tom had a flavour called “Daintree Rainforest” and I had “Dragonfruit”, they were yummy! Our next stop was the Daintree discovery centre where there was a massive tree top walk through the rainforest, assisted by an audio guide. It was really interesting and a good last activity in the Daintree!
On the way back to Cairns we stopped off at a beach where there were lots of stacked stone towers – it was quite a sight to see!
Saturday 17th August
After crashing at Caravella’s Hostel, we got up for breakfast at Muddy’s cafe across the road – super yummy brekky and juice!
Today we moved on from the hostel to an NRMA campsite – peace and quiet!
Sunday 18th August
Today was my cousin’s birthday, but her present didn’t arrive in time – sorry Chess! Happy Birthday!
Tom and I spent the day taking the meat out of the coconut so that it was just the shell left, and then I was able to sand it down! It’s beginning to look awesome!
Next week… Week 9