Monday, 5 November 2007

Port Douglas

It appears I have forgotten to blog about Port Douglas. I was fiddling with my photos and never quite got around to it!

So, Kat and Paul had spent a couple of days in the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains, and came back to Sydney on the evening of Thursday 11th October. On the Friday they did the Harbour Bridge climb and some other sightseeing, then met me in the bar of the Shangri La hotel overlooking the city and harbour after work. The bar is on the 36th floor and the view is amazing! After a couple of cocktails there Milord joined us and we went to dinner at Cafe Sydney, my favourite restaurant in town. It's on the 5th floor of the old customs house, and we sat outside on the balcony - this was the view from our table:

On Saturday Kat and Paul went sightseeing in town while Milord and I caught up on paperwork, then we all went for lunch in Watsons Bay - a very pretty beach looking back at the city. We had lunch at Doyles, a famous seafood restaurant right on the beach. Milord and I shared the seafood paella which was awesome! Several bottles of wine and a pub crawl later we caught a ferry home at sunset, then went out to dinner with other friends as well... I didn't last very long that evening, but Milord carried on until 2 in the morning and was not very well the next day!

We flew to Cairns on Sunday afternoon, picked up a hire car and drove an hour north to Port Douglas. Kat had chosen a very nice self catering apartment within 10 minutes walk of everything including shops, beach and marina. We dropped our bags and went exploring - ending up in a very nice restaurant for dinner, then had an early night as we would be starting early the next day.

On Monday we did a safari in the Daintree Rainforest with one other couple. We saw lizards and ferns and cycads and aerial plants... it rained all over us several times too - guess that's why they call it a rainforest! We were on the go from 7am to 5pm, with a stop for morning tea and a very nice lunch. We also went for a ride on a "crocodile boat" along the Daintree River, but didn't see any crocs among the mangroves. Apparently that means they're off lurking in the sea... nice. We walked on the beach at Cape Tribulation, and also took a walk to a high waterfall through some lovely ferns and trees. Turns out the bugs in the forest like me just as much as their town counterparts - next time I'll cover myself in repellent!

On Tuesday we went on a 4-story boat cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. The boat goes to a permanent platform which has underwater viewing rooms, semi submersable trips and lots of safe snorkeling. Rob and I didn't see much of this, as we'd signed up for 2 dives so spent most of the day on the dive boeat instead! It was pretty good diving - probably our best in Oz so far - but not a patch on the Red Sea. Kat and Paul looked at the fishies while staying dry, and we met up for the trip back to land again in the afternoon.

Wednesday Kat and Paul snuck out of the apartment early to walk on the beach and lie by the pool. We didn't realise and spent hours whispering and tiptoeing around waiting for them to wake up! We only realised what they'd done once we had crept out leaving a note in search of breakfast and found them by the pool! We'd made plans to visit an old mate of Milord's, Adrian, for the afternoon and night, so after leaving Kat and Paul by the pool and a lovely brunch on the beach Adrian picked us up and took us back to his place in nearby Wonga Beach.

It was a very interesting afternoon. Adrian has sort of dropped out of the rat race and is a hippy handyman. He has built his own beach house using construction site cast offs and pieces from Thailand and Bali... very funky. While we sat on cushions in the garden various friends and neighbours dropped by, and it turned into an impromptu party. I wandered off to bed around midnight, and Milord wasn't far behind... Thursday was a slow start, and then Adrian drove us back to Port Douglas and the three of us went for brunch overlooking the marina. Kat and Paul had gone off to the Kuranda Sky Rail, so Milord and I spent the rest of the day by the pool, resting.

Thursday night was our last night and we booked into Nautilus - a swanky restaurant tucked away in a grove of coconut palms and open to the elements. That was actually kind of annoying, as the only light was candles and they kept blowing out! The food and wine were superb though. We were the last diners to leave.

I really enjoyed Port Douglas, and I will definitely go back. They say it's too hot and too wet in summer, but it is an excellent winter/spring destination.

We flew home on Friday, and had a quiet night in. Milord cooked us his famous lamb curry and we copied photos from cameras and burned them to dvd. Kat and Paul picked up a hire car on Saturday morning and headed south for the next week, all the way to Melbourne. Sounds like a fab trip and I look forward to hearing all about it!

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