Monday, January 23, 2017

Cairns to Port Douglas on yet another tour bus 1/7/17

Yay mornings, not actually.  The first thing I booked with those tour/travel agencies was a trip to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest.  I really wanted to do this because when I was here in Cairns 2 years ago with my dad and sister this is one of the things that we didn't get to do despite everybody raving about it.  There are few moments in time when you have a chance to do a do-over and while it often proves worthwhile and you are able to make something right.  On the other hand, every once in a while you learn that you needn't have bothered because you did things right the first time.  It wasn't a complete waste of time just not the best use of my time or the absurd amount of money given that we sat on the bus the vast majority of the time and half the stops were duds.

Our first stop was Mossman Gorge where we were supposed to take part in an aboriginal ritual of welcome and then go swimming.  I will admit that the swimming was in a pretty awesome spot.  The problem was the ritual was a complete waste of time.  The aboriginal who did the presentation was so bad that after he left our bus driver stepped in to show us a few more things, our white kiwi bus driver, yep that bad.  From there we headed up the coast toward the Daintree river where we were hopped on a croc cruise.  Too bad there wasn't even a hint of a crocodile anywhere, barely any animal life at all for that matter, yup... unfortunately the frustrations don't end there.  We continued on up the coast to Cape Trib where we got to eat lunch by the beach.  Only two problems: crocodiles and jellyfish.  We weren't allowed anywhere near the water because there was a chance of both and no we still didn't see a crocodile.  On the plus side we got to try kangaroo for lunch, unfortunately they put it in a burger which sounds cool but kangaroo is far too lean a meat to be turned into a burger.  I did survive by drowning it in barbecue sauce though.  On the plus side this is where the trip got at least a little interesting.  Our next stop was a short (and I mean really short) hike down a trail in the Daintree Rainforest.  The part that was cool was that our bus driver showed us a bunch of really cool things about the jungle.  Turns out basically everything in the jungle is trying to kill you from the vines that hang down covered in thorns to the poisonous spiders and the still missing crocodiles.  I can't actually remember everything he taught us but there were these really cool vines that strangled trees then replaced them.

Epic structure created by the strangle vines
But it turns out it is even cooler from the inside (there used to be another tree in here)

From there we continued down the coast back towards Cairns and right before we got to the Daintree river crossing we found this spectacular creature.
It is a little difficult to make out because the pictures were taken in a bit of a hurry but this is an adolescent Cassowary (you may see the blue head).  They are incredibly rare and when fully grown I might mistake one for a dinosaur

Our next stop was a small ice cream place and the hill behind it that offered some spectacular views.  I can't for the life of me remember what mine was called but it had Daintree in it and it was this bizarre shade of green.  I couldn't not try it.  

The view from the top of the hill (I finally got at least part of a photo sphere)

Our last stop before Cairns was Port Douglas and while we only stopped for a few minutes I did snag a terrible picture of a beautiful parakeet.  

The best part of my day was that I got to hop off early in Port Douglas instead of going all the way back down to Cairns.  Travel hacking really paid off massively today.  I managed to leverage a free night using an SPG promotion at any class 1-5 SPG property.  I picked the Sheraton Port Douglas and having status from my Amex Platinum got me upgraded to this gorgeous room.

I know it is blurry but I don't have another good picture
The view
The salt water lagoon (1 of 7) under my window
And my epic restroom

Let me tell you, after being on the road for this long having a properly comfortable bed, a really nice shower, and a little bit of extra space was unbelievably satisfying.  I threw the cricket match on tv and just absorbed the quiet for a while.

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