Last week Andy and I headed north. The original reason was to submit my permanent residency application (yay!) but we decided to extend the stay and have a relaxing holiday as well.
We drove through sugar cane fields, banana plantations and rainforest, over creeks and rivers and up and around hills. After 4 1/2 hours, we were in Cairns.
The Immigration Office was a breeze--I expected an interview and a long meeting, but found out when I got there that Cairns can't process those applications. So off it went to Brisbane and we just wait... it could take up to six weeks, but I'm not really concerned anymore. It's out of my hands!
Because the meeting was so short, we made it to our accommodation in Port Douglas by late afternoon. We stayed at the New Port on Macrossan, which was infinitely better than our accommodation in Airlie Beach (yet only $30 per night more). A king sized bed, a balcony and a giant spa bath were enough to make us happy. But there were some smaller touches that made our stay extra comfortable, like vegan organic toiletries in the bathroom and free movie channels.
Our first stop was the pool, solar heated to a cool but swimmable temperature. And we had planned ahead so that we could make the most of the poolside BBQ. Dinner on the first night was some chickpea burgers and grilled corn.
The next day we slept in (black out blinds! no cat to feed!) and then proceeded further to the north. We went as far as Daintree Village--any further north requires a ferry crossing, and we weren't up for that kind of adventure. We wandered through some local shops and checked out the river. I kept my eye open for swimming crocs but all I saw were a few logs.
Then we stopped in at the Daintree Eco Lodge, where we'll be getting married next year (located in a 140 million year old rainforest left over from Gondwanaland). We hiked up to the waterfall where the ceremony will be held. It's not as full as it should be in June, but it was still very pretty.
Then it was on to Wonga Beach, where we sat in the shade and made some salad sandwiches for lunch.
The beach was signposted as a croc habitat, so we decided not to go for a swim. Instead, we went back down to Mossman for a look at Mossman Gorge. The water here was absolutely freezing but the views were pretty!
We made it back to Port Douglas in the afternoon so we had a wander around the village. It reminded me a lot of Lake George, New York--full of expensive boutique shops, flash restaurants and resorts with day spas. We found a place (ironically, a seafood restaurant) with a few vegan options and had dinner. It was overpriced, but my pasta was yummy and my apple crumble cocktail was even better!
Stay tuned for the rest of the trip...