OK, I guess it's time for another blog - I can't believe that it's been 2 weeks since the last one. So I will do this blog in 2 parts as it's going to be a little long.
So let's go back to the end of the last blog in which we had just arrived in Port Douglas and were looking forward to the toad racing. That night we did go to watch the racing which actually wasn't very good. First of all I think it was extremely inhumane towards the toads which were being picked up and thrown around lots of drunk people and second it wasn't really a race. Basically the toads were dumped on the middle of the table and the frightened by a party blower to hope off the table into a bucket! We left that bar pretty quickly and settled somewhere a bit more quite for a few drinks before going back to our caravan.
We spent the next day (Friday 27th) in Port Douglas as well and as our caravan park was right on the beach spent the day sunning ourselves and swimming in the enclosed netted swimming area (because of jelly fish you could only swim in this area). It was the perfect way for us to recover from our hangovers!
I should also point out that by this time our air-con in our caravan had broken down and so at nights it felt we were sleeping in a Turkish bath!!! And we couldn't leave the doors of the caravan open for ventilation because we would be bitten by anything and everything. We made this mistake 1 night - and not even deet would stop the bugs. The deet we were using was 50%, it literally would strip paint of the wall and yet the mosquitoes still managed to have a feast. So we just had to endure the heat. The next morning we decided that we needed a fan and so we drove to Mossman which was the nearest town that would sell something like that. Also we were planning to see Mossman Gorge and so when we bought our fan headed down a narrow lane in the middle of the forest to the gorge.
We really didn't know what to expect and had only decided to go there from recommendation from the woman who ran the caravan park. Well, this place was amazing. It was a swimming hole in the middle of the forest with gorgeous rock waterfalls and clear waters. As it was the weekend it was pretty busy but still it was an unforgettable experience and even though the water was cold (and I mean really cold - think Bournemouth in October cold) you still just didn't want to get out. I found a couple of rocks that were set like a chair and relaxed in the water while the variety of fishes were swimming around me.
Thoroughly refreshed we walked a little further into the forest and crossed a wooden bridge which looked like the sort you would get in an Indiana Jones film before heading back to our caravan to go to the Daintree river to see some crocodiles.
Since we've been in Australia we have become huge fans of crocodiles. I know that's strange but they really are amazing creatures. I mean here is a predator that hasn't really needed to evolve that much since the age of the dinosaurs because it was so perfect already! The fact that they can grown up to 6 meters and weigh a ton and live for 100 years, or that they can survive without food for a year, or that the have the same power in the jaws as the engine of a jumbo jet - all makes you respect them even more. And when you see these creatures in the wild it really does send a chill down your spine!
We had been very aware of their threat anytime which we went near water in Australia and looked out for warning signs. Basically they exist anywhere above Cairns, but this was different - the Daintree river is croc territory and there are warning signs everywhere. So when we spotted one lovingly named "Lizzie" on our river cruise we really were glad that we weren't in the water. Our guide was telling us about the number of people who have died going into the water ignoring the warning signs - the latest was a 7 year old boy and his dog who had died just 3 weeks ago - so this place wasn't a joke. And when a little later in the cruise we spotted "Fat Albert" - a 6 meter croc weighing a ton we knew he was right! This thing was huge you didn't need to be a croc expert to know that he could do some serious damage. Our guide told us that if "Fat Albert" wanted to he could very easily leap 1 or 2 meters out of the water - or in other words onto our boat! Again we were glad to view him from a safe distance!
We were actually really lucky to spot crocs on our cruise as this wasn't really the time of year to see them and so drove back to Port Douglas in good spirits. On Sunday we headed to the Daintree rainforest and had to cross the Daintree river in our caravan aboard a ferry and after what we had seen the day before on croc tour we were a little nervous. But we got across safely and headed through the winding road of the rainforest in our caravan. After checking into our caravan park we went for a canopy walk in the rainforest - the highlight being an 85 meter lookout tower overlooking the forest. By this time we were getting withdrawal symptoms as we hadn't been on a beach for...erm 48 hours! So we found a gorgeous empty beach to have a stroll on. We had also been told that we had to try ice cream from the Daintree ice cream company which make organic products using produce from the area. After our ice cream (which really was fantastic - worth a visit to the Daintree just for that) we were knackered and headed to the caravan to spend the night in the rainforest.
And finally on Monday we started our journey back down. We drove to Cairns and spent the next couple of days there - a lovely city which I actually liked a lot more than Sydney - before giving our caravan back with a few tears in our eyes on Wednesday. We then caught a flight down to Melbourne and picked up a hire car from Hertz (a lovely little Yaris) to drive up to Sydney.
So this is the end of the first part of the blog, you can have a quick toilet break and maybe a cup-of-tea before reading part 2.