Places: Daintree Rainforest-Port Doulas-Airlie Breach-Beach Stop-Noosa-Fraser Island.
After spending a few days in Cairns recharging our batteries we decided to hit the road again.
We drove two hours north and headed for the Daintree Rainforest. This drive was absolutely spectacular. It felt more like Northern Thailand than Australia, with rows and rows of sugarcane and beautiful rainforest scenery. We had been told that the ‘Daintree Eco Lodge’ was a superb place to stay but unfortunately it was crossed off our wish list as it was a pretty extravagant treat. Yet Jamie was pretty insistent we dropped in on our way past ‘just to see what it’s like’. Glutton for punishment or what?! After some reluctance we pulled into the carpark in our old van when Jamie instructed me to pack my overnight bag as we were staying for an early birthday treat!! Yippee!!
The eco lodge was out of this world!! We had out very own tree house in the middle of the rainforest which was overlooked only by the wildlife in the forest. Our tree house was designed so that we felt as one with the nature (but in the height of luxury!). We had a lovely big room with by-folding doors onto a balcony with a jacuzzi, all overlooking the forest. We had a delicious meal in the restaurant and then watched the most fantastic thunderstorm in our jacuzzi until the wee hours of the morning (Oush we wanna go back!!) After a yummy breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt, pastries, eggs etc etc – oh and a quick swim, we quite literally dragged ourselves away for a day exploring the rainforest. The Daintree rainforest was another great highlight of our trip and we may go as far as saying THE greatest highlight. The scenery was breathtaking – we quote ‘where the rainforest meets the ocean’.
Our next stop was 1 hour south to Port Douglas which was very St. Tropez. Full of very wealthy people, with very nice properties and great shopping! (rather infuriating when doing this trip on a shoestring). Here we didn’t do very much to be honest! It was lovely! Needless to say the waters were full of jelly fish so again no swimming for us!
All this one hour here, two hours there driving apparently wasn’t much our style so we then spent a good 10 hour + driving trip all the way south to Airlie Beach where we enjoyed the Whitsunday’s! Campsites were few and far between which left us with not much choice but to camp in a hostel. What a mistake!! It was horrible!! Our camping spot was in the hostels backyard with campervans packed in like sardines. The facilities were disgusting – the litter found outside Mazie in the morning left by fellow campers previous nights activities were certainly not well received! That’s it! We are far too old for this hostel business.
Luckily our disastrous night was soon forgotten as we boarded a scenic flight over the Whitsunday’s. The plane was tiny! Only 2 seats wide, holding a total of 8 including the pilot. Despite the bumpy take off and landing, the hour flight was incredible!! It was amazing to see the pure white sands, masses of coral and the deep blue sea beneath us. Flying over heart coral was a highlight of the flight.
Whilst we were splashing out all of a sudden, we decided to go the whole hog and book onto a 3 day, 2 night boat trip around the Whitsunday’s. There were 15 passengers and 4 crew all squished in bunk-beds on the lower deck. The 3 days were jammed packed with swimming, snorkelling, diving and kayaking. Tarnished a little by the fact we had to wear wetsuits every time we entered the water due to jellyfish! The scuba-diving on the Great Barrier Reef was also rather disappointing.. Nonetheless we had a great few days!
Afterward, we dashed off the boat, jumped into Mazie and started our 16 hour or so drive down to Noosa to meet Ben (Charlottes brother) who was flying from Shanghai a little over a day away. We did nothing more than drive, eat and sleep all the way down to Noosa, and we arrived only a couple of hours late! Never did we think a month ago we would make it for Ben’s arrival – what with our mechanical dramas. It was great to see our Benj!
Noosa was lurvely! Very up market and classy darling! Full of designer shops, lovely beaches, very wealthy people with huge yachts. Definitely somewhere to think of when we make our millions! It was my birthday whilst we were in Noosa and it was extremely novel to have a birthday in the sun! We spent the day catching a boat down the river into Noosa and lounging in the sun. We were both very spoilt in the evening as Ben took us both out to a lovely fish restaurant on the beach. Could get used to this summer birthday business!
The following day we were up bright and early to go on a 3 day tour of Fraser Island. We opted to go on a 4×4 guided, self-drive tour of this huge sand island. There were only sand roads or dirt tracks on the island hence why we had to hire a 4×4. From Noosa we all drove, in convoy, along stretches of beach before hopping on a car ferry to the island. There were around 30 of us on our trip and it was brilliant fun. When we arrived we all set up camp for our stay. The first night we witnessed the most fantastic storm right ahead of our camp. Although, it was decided that we had to pack up camp and head to the nearest hostel before we all got blown away. It was pretty exciting! In the 3 days we did lots of driving, exploring the island, playing volleyball and swimming in the most beautiful lakes. We saw more wildlife in these 3 days than our entire time in oz. We saw dingos (we weren’t allowed anywhere without a dingo stick), huntsman spiders, death adder (highly venomous), sea turtles, dolphins and even 3 sharks at once! (Fortunately we saw these from a cliff top). Luckily our tour guide was a Steve Erwin type of guy. He scared away dingoes, kicked the deathly snake into a bin with his bare feet and kept us all safe from harm! What a guy! Yes, of course all the girls were swooning over him the whole time. But he kept the boys happy (especially Jamie) by playing him beard appreciation songs by a band called The Beards (of course) the whole trip.
Positive lessons: stick with an Aussie and you’ll be ok!
Next stop…Sydney!! (Aghh!!)
Love Charlotte & Jamie x x
Shipwreck of SS Maheno on the beach – wiki link here