Saturday, December 1, 2012

Queensland, Australia: Sea, Land, and Way Up in the Air

I spent a few weeks in Australia in 2003. I had just completed my Bar exams. I spent part of my trip in the state of Queensland. It's in the northeastern part of the country. If you picture where New England is in the US, it's similarly in that vicinity when looking at Australia. The northern part of Australia is the warmer part of the country, whereas the south is the colder. Being from Boston, Massachusetts in the US originally, I had a hard time getting that to sink in.

I used Connections tours (now a part of Top Deck) to tour Queensland. From Airlie Beach, we headed to the islands of the Whitsundays. We stayed at Club Crocodile on Long Island.  The tide movement here was immense.  This is the start of low tide.  At full low tide, all that water disappeared and the rocks you can see only a bit of in the photo were exposed throughout the entire bay.

[click any image to view it larger]

At Club Croc, I decided to spend an afternoon on my own taking a bushwalk. I walked on paths where I viewed different vegetation, swampy areas, bays with boats and ended at a small beach. private beach!  I had a nice picnic lunch and enjoyed the solitude.

As a group, we sailed upon the Ragamuffin to Whitehaven Beach.

It was on the sailboat that I broke a toe. I also grinded up the sail, no easy task. Great fun for a city girl like me. The texture of the Whitehaven Beach sands were fine. Our guide said these sands could polish jewelry.

My tour with Connections brought us back to the mainland and the city of Cairns (pronounced: cans). I took a day trip of Daintree National Park. I cruised the waters of the Daintree River. Spotted a crocodile! We stopped at Cape Tribulation for a few minutes too.

Cape Tribulation

A highlight for a chocoholic like me was watching our guide swing around (literally) to make Billy Tea, while promising us chocolate pudding fruit with our lunch at Emmagen Creek. 

It didn't taste like chocolate.  I can't recall what it tasted like. I looked at my travel journal and I didn't mention it in there either.  So disappointing to be jipped out of the taste of chocolate.

Another highlight of the day was our stop at a bar.  And not for the drinks! 

 One of these guys hugged me.  Aww.

The next day was a return to water--The Great Barrier Reef. I was on a catamaran all day for the two snorkeling and diving stops. I received my first sunburn ever (and only, thankfully). They served lunch on the boat, but at the time I was a vegetarian. I ate a Mars bar.

Our captain said this island was formed by fish who grind sand when they eat. Breathtaking (even through the lens of a disposable camera).

My last adventures in Cairns were in the air.  First stop, the Skyrail. Some nice views of the rain forest. But, I was more focused on the second air adventure of the day...

Which was at 14,000 feet.  My experience with Paul's Parachuting was fantastic.  I could see the sugar cane fields and ocean as we plummeted for about a minute and then floated for about 6 minutes. We landed in a sugar cane field just as the sun was setting.  It was a beautiful and exciting end to my Queensland visit.

What are your favorite air, land or sea adventures?

No comments:

Post a Comment