We have had a fabulous day, long, but fabulous! We were up at 3 AM to catch a 6 AM flight to Cairns, in the AU state of Queensland. We arrived around 9:15 AM, got our rental car and decided to check out Cairns before heading north to our home base for 4 days, Port Douglas.
Cairns (pronounced Caans) is the largest city north of Brisbane on the northeastern coast of AU and the place many people use as their home base when going to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and this part of Queensland. We had a bit of brunch here at an outdoor cafe, overlooking a park that was right next to the ocean. We were intrigued by infinity pool that seemed to be the focus of the park. Our after-lunch walk showed us that the pool stopped short of the ocean, where the mudflats meet the boardwalk. Apparently Cairns does not have any beaches, only mudflats so they built the beautiful pool area.
We started our drive north on the Captain Cook Highway with our first stop being at the Cairns Tropical Zoo, where Alison was able to hold a koala~something she really wanted to do! The zoo was great with exhibits with the great saltwater crocodiles, kangaroos, lots of tropical birds, koalas, and Jim’s favorites~the cassowaries!
We continued our drive up the Captain Cook,stopping for a walk at the beautiful Palm Cove beach. A bit farther up the coast, we pulled over to check out a scenic overlook only to discover a group of people watching two guys getting ready to make a tandem flight on a hang glider! We watched them take off from the cliff and soar high above us and the ocean! What fun!
Port Douglas is a smaller town than Cairns, but was recommended to us by several people and they were right, this is a lovely town, right on the stunning Four-Mile Beach! We are staying in a 2 bedroom apartment here which is very spacious and comfortable. We walked to town to find a restaurant where we could book a table for dinner tonight and bought some groceries for snacks and breakfast in the morning. Our apartment has a big kitchen so doing brekky here will be most convenient. We booked a table at Nautilus restaurant, more about that later.
We returned to the apartment and some of us got into our swimsuits for a quick dip in the ocean. There was a bit of concern about swimming when we read the sign that indicated that the chance for getting stung by jellyfish was low, not non-existent! But Tucker, Jim and Alison decided to be brave and in they went. I went in as high as my thighs and documented their quick swim. I am happy to report that no one encountered a jellyfish!
We all got quick showers before walking back to town for dinner. We booked a table at Nautilus, which was up a steep gravel path from the main road. At the top of the path was this open area surrounded by the rainforest where there were tables with white linen clothes, candle light and high-backed wicker chairs. It was gorgeous! We got to the place early so we could have a drink in their lounge area, again, in the rain forest! Nautilus’s signature drink is a mango daiquiri, which we all decided sounded like just what we needed! And it was like drinking in heaven! After drinks we returned to the dining area and had the most wonderful meal. Between the setting, the ambiance, the food and the company, the meal could not have been better. We asked our waiter about what they did when it rained and he pointed out an elaborate set of clear plastic curtains that are pulled high above the diners. He said it takes about 10-15 seconds to get the place covered and sure enough, a shower blew through mid-way through our meal and in no time the staff had these “shower curtains” in place. It was very impressive! So if you ever find yourself in Port Douglas, treat yourself to a meal at Nautilus!
Our walk home felt good to our tired, full bodies so we extended the walk to include the beach. A nice way to end a wonderful day.
Tucker and Alison have been dealing beautifully with their jet lag~we try to keep them so busy that they don’t know they are tired!
Tomorrow we’re going to the Daintree Rainforest National Park. Here are a few bonus photos from today!