I had a lot more holiday than Scott and was feeling cold so decided to go on a trip by myself. I flew up to Cairns, rented a campervan, and spent a week traveling around Far North Queensland. It was great.
Had to wake up at 4am to go to the airport. Scott drove me even though I insisted that I could just take an Uber. Why is he so nice.
I spent the first day in Cairns. I picked up the van and then checked out the Brushturkeys and mosquitos in the Botanic Gardens. Then headed into town to eat some seafood and get supplies for the week ahead.
Then I drove up the hill into the Tablelands to spend the night at the Mareeba Drive-in. I had a vegan burger and watched Where The Crawdads Sing and then fell asleep 20 minutes into the second movie. A long day.
Woke up at 6AM to drive to Atherton to meet a bird nerd for a birding tour. There was another couple around my age from Sydney on the tour as well, which was cool. We drove all around the area and looked at tons and tons of birds. The guide, Patrick, knew every single bird and was very good at making sure that each of us got a good sighting of each bird. It was very cool, and very overwhelming. I really want to get a nice pair of binoculars now, it makes a huge difference.
I didn’t get many good pictures that day because a lot of the birds were teeny tiny or fast moving. But I saw heaps of cool birds like Pacific Baza, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Red-winged Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Red-backed Fairywren and tons and tons more.
The Bowerbird was probably the easiest bird for Patrick to show us, but was still one of my favourites. They’re just so weird and unique! Great Bowerbirds like white shiny objects (and Satin Bowerbirds like blue things).
After birding all morning I made a quick stop at Granite Gorge to see the tiny rock wallabies. Then drove down the twisty road towards the Daintree. I saw lots of banana, avocado, mango and sugarcane fields. Why do I love seeing different crops so much.
6:30AM wakeup! This time for a morning bird watching river cruise. Was cool to get a bit closer to the birds. I think that Rainbow Bee-eater pic is my favourite of the whole trip. We also saw a few snakes and crocs.
I continued driving towards Cape Tribulation, constantly on the lookout for cassowary. Jindalba Boardwalk is supposed to be a common place to see them but all I saw was a stupid dragon. Just kidding, the dragon was SUPER AWESOME. I went around the boardwalk two times.
I remember stopping at this ice cream place FOURTEEN YEARS ago. This time I was very happy that they had a dairy free version of their special tasting cups. This had coconut, mango, soursop, and something like razzleberry?? I couldn’t really understand what she said. They were yum.
The boardwalks around Cape Tribulation are awesome. Madja Boardwalk was very mangrovey. I saw this crazy bug! How does this exist in real life?
That night I went out for dinner and had to eat on a couch because I didn’t make a reservation (Queensland tourism is booming yo). I felt like I was at home. Then I read my book and went to bed early. Delightful.
7AM wakeup for snorkelling! The company kept telling us that it was going to be a really rough day. It definitely was a very moistly boat ride out to the reef. Thankfully it was only a 30 minute trip, which is very short for the Great Barrier Reef. And thankfully we had wetsuits and raincoats to help with the constant drenching splashes.
The snorkelling was ok! I thought the reef would be in worse shape, tbh. I saw a turtle, some type of ray, a few clown fish, lots of other fish, and heaps of really really big giant clams… like as big as a car. They look like galaxies on the inside.
It was not the easiest snorkelling, a lot of waves and a bit cold. Visibility was great though. I was extremely greatful for a hot shower afterwards.