|Inside our bungalow|
|Great Barrier Reef|
|Daintree River cruise|
Two bucket list items were easily accomplished here. Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef and stay in a rainforest. I was quite surprised to learn that Australia had a rainforest, needless to say, the oldest rainforest in the world.
We got off the plane from Sydney to Cairns and it felt like we had just landed in Hawaii. Tropical, humid air and unpredictable skies. We rented a car and headed up the Gold Coast. Stopping at our first opportunity to see a beach, we wandered onto an empty vast strip of sand where it seem like we were the last people on earth. Every once in a while we could see a Qantas airliner dip out of the clouds. We jumped back into the car and stopped at a little hamburger stand and chowed down on burgers topped with beets- that’s a thing in Australia!
We soon came upon our destination; an eco-lodge and spa just off the road, deep in the Daintree rainforest. The lodge has several raised bungalows embedded right in the thick of the forest. We were greeted with a gift of a necklace made from a decorated pod from one of the local trees and then showed how to get to our sanctuary in the trees. Our bungalow was natively and luxuriously decorated, but the real treat was a hot tub on the screen-enclosed balcony. We spent each night soaking and listening to the sounds of the rain forest. The eco-lodge has a great room where meals are served and lectures on aboriginal culture are given, as well as serving as a general recreational center. The spa on site at the eco-lodge was top notch and the hydro treatment that I had on our last day was one of the best spa treatments I’ve ever experienced.
If you want to get away from the lodge at all, there’s enough to explore that is driving distance. We basically set out without any plans and stumbled upon a small farm that made ice cream from their fruit trees, boardwalks that wind through the shady palms of the rainforest, and up to the hippie gathering point of Cape Tribulation. We also took a day to visit the Daintree Discovery Centre and were deeply educated on the rainforest and all of its living creatures.
Most of the snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef departs from the town of Port Douglas. Port Douglas is a small, beach town with coral colored homes and tasty eateries along the main drag. It felt like a strange mix of California and Australia, which to me felt like home. I could seriously live here…
Australia is a place that is worth the time planning, worth the dollars spent, and worth the long trek. two and a half weeks felt like a blessing but I know there is so much more to explore down under. It carries a special place in my heart and I even toyed with the idea of living there for a coupe years, applying for some teaching jobs in Brisbane and Melbourne. How ever I get back there, I can’t wait to share the adventure with you!