Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Exploring the coastline of Queensland and Port Douglas

PHIL: Day 36/22 March

Head for Port Douglas up the very tropical-looking coast. Sugar cane, banyan trees, mangroves along a windy road which eventually leads to Cape York in the extreme north another 1000km towards the Torres Straight. 
mangrove swamps along the coast

Port Douglas is evidently experiencing a real-estate boom with condos and luxury bungalows going up everywhere, rather detracting from the historic atmosphere of its history as a gold and sugar export point. 

Between torrential downpours we circle the boutiques and bars – one offering cane toad racing daily at 7.30p.m., which we decide to give a miss to.

I was keen to get a flight out to the Great Barrier Reef in an ancient de Havilland Otter seaplane, but their office tell me the aircraft is ‘on maintenance’ because of the ‘low’ season, so I must wait until next time to take this opportunity.

history museum of Cairns
Evening planned at a sea-side restaurant at Yorkie’s Knob, the nearby point where the Cairns marine Pilot sets out to guide big ships through the treacherous surrounding reef. A very sophisticated yacht club ambience prevails.

ALLIE: DAY 36: Thursday, 22nd of March

Up along the Queensland coast to Port Douglas

Had a fantastic night and slept until 8.30! A very rare thing. Have to go to the near by shopping mall to get some food, since dear John – obviously being a bachelor (or rather now divorced for a long time) - doesn’t have anything in his kitchen except a long row of tiny ants.

We start to explore a bit of the coastline by driving up north to the small town of Port Douglas. 

This place was first discovered by the Brits in the late 19th century as a sugar cane country. Its been rediscovered in the 80ies by property investment firms and the sporting or tourism agents. But prices are dear in Australia. 

Whether it’s property, drinks or food, it’s in the same price category as the U.K. if not even more expensive.
We walk around the town, are showered by a huge rain shower and escape to the harbour bar for a drink.

I agree to my husbands request to visit the local airfield, but all we find is a helicopter and a guy that flies the microlights.

Back to Trinity its time for a proper dive into the sea. Since the coast here is pestered by stinging and quite dangerous jellyfish it’s recommended only to swim where the country provides big swimming nets and live guards. But it doesn’t feel as nice as swimming in the open sea. The enclosed area is quite small. All one can do, is to swim a few meters up and down. Still, lovely temperature and water.
Phil and John at the guitars
The rest of the afternoon we spend in catching up in writing, washing clothes and going out for a meal with John to the Yacht club in Jorkey’s knob. 

The wine we are having is a Shiraz 2004. Compared to most of the other wines that state elaborately how great they are, this just says “the Lodge Hill produces Shiraz of distinctive qualities. 
This wine is a reflection of the vineyard and the 55 years we have made Shiraz in Clare.” We certainly enjoy it – and the Kangaroo steak!

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