24 hours in Brisbane

Our Australian adventure ends in Brisbane, where we had just about 24 hours to spend enjoying the city.  And with 24 hours, we accomplished a lot.  Brisbane is easily a city that I could picture myself living in, very similar to that of Chicago.  The Brisbane River is the life blood of the city with so much carved into the riverbeds, be it homes, museums, restaurants, businesses, or boardwalks.  Taking a boat tour of the river is an absolute must.  From the South Bank of Brisbane, tours run frequently, and you can just book your ticket day of, as we did.  The tour is not to be missed.  For two hours we ambled up and down the river, intaking so much information and admiring the stunning architecture and views.  Again, so similar to that of the Chicago Architecture Tours.

After our tour ended, we decided to explore the South Bank.  For a city nestled between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts of Australia, Brisbane has its own man made city beach.  Literally.  With sand.  After checking out the beach and the surrounding shops and restaurants for a snack, we waited in a short line for a whirl on the Wheel of Brisbane.  The wheel is fantastic!  A video plays during your ride pointing out landmarks and giving a brief history on the city itself.  For having only 24 hours in a place, we learned an awful lot about its history.

We then decided it was best to get a little lost.  We left the South Bank and just walked through their CBD, past beautiful museums, popped into the famous Oak Street Casino, and walked until we could not walk anymore, and still continued to press on.

We set out for dinner near Eagle Pier at Il Centro, an Italian restaurant on the waterfront.  We did not have a reservation and were fortunately seated outside with a view of the river and the beautiful Story Bridge, lit in purple on that evening.  After a relaxing meal we set out for our final Brisbane adventure, a ghost tour.  Kind of silly and touristy but no less fun.

On occasion we love a ghost tour (the one in Key West is fabulous), and decided it would be a fun way to get a different perspective on some of the city landmarks that we didn’t get a chance to enjoy.  The tour was really fun, and in true ghost tour fashion had an over-the-top tour guide.  The most chilling part for me was walking through the arcade in the CBD and through a stairwell and a hall.  With so much drama, he sent us one-by-one and mentioned a Shining Style sighting that comes out to scare most passersby.  I had no such sighting but still bristled on the walk.  After the 90 minute walk was over, we explored the city a bit more and then headed back to the hotel.  With a flight home to the states the next morning our last evening was bittersweet.

While we were excited to get home and watch the Sox win the World Series, we loved Australia and talk about going back all the time, heck, we almost stayed there.  Australia is a beautiful country with beautiful people, and Brisbane exudes that.

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Customs House
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High rises along the Brisbane River
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On the Wheel of Brisbane
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Walking through the city – I loved the beautiful and colorful archways
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Story Bridge at sunset
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Wheel of Brisbane
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Wheel of Brisbane up close

Fraser Island – Is that a dingo?

When my husband said he booked us a day trip to Fraser Island I stared blankly at him and said “Okay, great!”  I had no idea what or where Fraser Island was (geography, not a strength), and since Steve was in charge of our Australian honeymoon, I went with it.  Before our trip, I learned that Fraser Island is the world largest sand island.  Located in Queensland, and a world’s heritage site, many tours leave for the island from Noosa Heads, which fit perfectly with our plans.

Fraser Island has a relatively large camping scene, and while you can take a personal car to the island the terrain is tough to navigate and is not recommended for novices or those unfamiliar with the land.  As a result, we decided to go with a tour group, which meant a very early morning for us. The tour started at 600am (good news, the pick-up location was just a short walk from the Sheraton), and we boarded our brightly colored Fraser Island Adventure Tours bus, eager but tired.

The drive from Noosa to Fraser Island is two and half hours long, fortunately, we stopped at Rainbow Beach (close to Fraser) for a bio break and to pick up the last members of our tour group.  The views from above of Rainbow Beach were sprawling and beautiful, however, the true beauty is from the ocean looking up. Though, drivers be warned, Rainbow Beach is known for eating and swallowing more cars than any other beach! More on that later.

After driving onto a barge and crossing a small stretch of water between Rainbow Park and Fraser Island, we had arrived.  On the East Coast of Fraser Island is 75 Mile Beach, it’s literally 75 miles long, hence the name.  And we drove all over it, spotting dingoes, turtles, and a large number of dead birds.  Our tour guide explained that these are migratory birds who fly for hundreds and hundreds of miles to get to Fraser Island and by the time they get here they have no more energy to continue. Truly a sad story.  Apart from the animals (varying in levels of alive-ness), 75 Mile Beach is known for the SS Maheno Shipwreck and the Champagne Pools.  In true Fraser fashion, that’s just a snippet of what’s available on this sand island.

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75 Mile Beach seemed endless on our trek

For a sand island, inland there are two things of note.  One is the redwood style forest.  Literally growing into sand are massive trees.  I thought I was back in the Redwood National Park and couldn’t believe that a rain forest so lush and so dense could grow on an island made of sand.  It was mind blowing.  Secondly, Fraser Island has over 100 freshwater lakes, including the often visited Lake McKenzie.  The water is so pure there that it is said to be fabulous for your skin.  I naturally made sure my whole face got drenched in its crystal clear waters.  Do I look younger?

Redwood style trees in the interior of Fraser Island
Not the best pic of the “redwoods”, I couldn’t find the one I wanted so this will have to do.
The beautiful Lake McKenzie
The beautiful Lake McKenzie

Driving through the interior of the island to get to these lakes and forest, you can tell why it’s not really safe for drivers who are unfamiliar with the terrain.  Between tough, narrow one lane unpaved roads, and quick moving sand, it was comforting to be in the hands of a professional.  Plus seeing a few abandoned cars certainly helped solidify our decision to go in a group.

Our journey didn’t stop at the lakes and forest, we also explored the Pinnacles and Eli Creek. The Pinnacles reminded me so much of Bryce Canyon, as the colorful reds and yellow sands rose above the dunes.  It was crazy to me that a small island could have so many uniquely different geographies and attractions.  It seemed like Fraser Island was a microcosm of Australia itself, placed into one beautiful beachy / foresty location.

fraser island 8Eli Creek is a small stream with a strong current, so you hop in on one end and get to float all the way back to the beginning.  We had a lot of fun on this lazy river and meeting people from fellow tours during our stop there.

Lean back and let the current take you away on Eli Creek
Lean back and let the current take you away on Eli Creek

After spending about 7 hours on Fraser Island, it was time to head back.  The tides were in our favor as our tour operator decided why take roads, when you can drive on Rainbow Beach to get home???  He mentioned how the people drive on this beach all the time, but most don’t pay attention to the tides and that so many cars get abandoned or need to be towed off the beach at a later date.  He even showed us a postcards to that affect that showed all the abandoned cars in a single year.  You could probably fill a few calendars with abandoned car photos.  Despite that funny little anecdote, Rainbow Beach is truly stunning.  We marveled at the beautiful colors captured in the cliffs of the beach, understanding where it got its name, and simultaneously hoped that our driver really was well versed in the tides.

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Apparently, dingo sightings these days are fairly rare on Fraser
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Our snazzy tour bus
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Maheno Shipwreck

Bucket list: Surfing Lessons

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to surf.  My mom and I watched the movie Gidget and I was hooked.  She could surf, she could hang with the incredibly handsome boys, and she just made everything look so easy (minus her approach to snagging her crush).  So at 28, I still hadn’t tried surfing, and that was about to change.

The last leg of our honeymoon had us staying in Noosa Heads.  We follow the Starwood Hotels, what can I say?  Noosa, known for being the Hamptons of Australia, is also known for some of the best surfing spots in the country, so we had to sign up.  As part of our surfing lessons, we spent some time on shore learning the proper stance, how to jump on the board, and just get our muscle memory going.  Our group consisted of a few girls from New Zealand, and a young boy who took lessons a few times a week.  After some time on land, it was time to test our skills in the ocean.

The waves were about 4-6 feet high, and were so hard to navigate.  Half the battle with learning to surf is just actually getting out far enough.  Once we made it out, the instructor helped us get on board, push off and would scream “STAND!” when the time was right.  Stand I did not.  My husband on the other hand, stood up on his first try and gave everyone the peace sign as he rode on by.  I’m competitive, and I was pissed.

So after riding the surf in on my belly, I gathered the board and battled the current again in order to catch a wave, shoot the curl, hang 10, etc.  Again, I didn’t stand.  And again, I headed back into the sea, battling the waves, and the exhaustion that comes with it.  With each time I got closer and closer to standing and staying up, but each time I failed.  After what seemed like hours, the lesson was done, and I had not stood on my board.  I was disappointed, but more completely sore and exhausted.  And so was my husband.

The result: cocktails in the hot tub at the hotel.

At the next opportunity, I fully intend on trying surfing again, and at least this time I will know it’s not nearly as easy as Sandra Dee and the green screen made it seem.  At least I already have my Moon Doggie. 😉

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I mean look at these men! Who wouldn’t want to learn to surf if this was at the end of every lesson??

Noosa Heads – Wait, where am I?

When planning our Australian honeymoon, we knew that Sydney was a must, and so was the Great Barrier Reef, after that, we had no plan.  After looking at our map of Starwoods in the area, we settled on Noosa Heads because of a recently revamped Sheraton.  Doing a little research, we learned that Noosa was their version of the Hamptons, with surfing, beautiful beaches, a national park, and close to Fraser Island.  Fraser Island?  We’ll get to that in a later post.

We arrived late in the evening at Noosa, and checked in.  We were upgraded to a duplex, pool facing suite, with a downstairs living room, patio, and powder room, and upstairs with a master bedroom, balcony, and huge bathroom.  Like a bathroom you only dream about when watching HGTV.  To put it bluntly, the hotel was stunning.  The next morning, we were excited to start exploring.

The concierge mentioned there was a beautiful hike in the National Park, in walking distance from the hotel.  In fact, everything was in walking distance of the hotel.  The main street was adorable, littered with boutique shops, al fresco style restaurants, and on the other side, a gorgeous beach with big waves.  With our sneakers on, we headed toward the hike.  The hike was up a large hill, half trail, half wooden stairs, overlooking the beach, beautiful mountains, and various swimming holes.  The views were incredible, and the hike was fairly easy.  Upon reaching the top, the trail continued down the other side of the hill into another stretch of beautiful beaches but we chose to head back due to a hunger and an overwhelming need to go swimming.  It was here that we discovered our favorite lunch spot, Zachary’s.  Their arugula, pear, and parm salad dressed in a thick balsamic covered in grilled chicken was large enough for two.  We became regulars overnight.  One Monday during lunch, I watched the Giants get their first win of the season against the Minnesota Vikings while eating lunch.  The time difference and sports never lost it’s initial luster for us.

After lunch we decided to rent paddle boards.  This was a unique experience.  After standing up and falling a few times, I paddled out a bit further to discover I was surrounded by hundreds of light blue jelly fish.  I didn’t even bother standing up again, despite a few Australians trying to coax me up and shouting words of encouragement.  They weren’t close enough to see the terror of jellies waiting for me if I fell. I think it’s time for a new paddle boarding experience though, no?

It was back to the beach for some relaxing, and it is a beautiful beach.  In fact, there are multiple beaches in Noosa Heads.  Along the Noosa River and by the Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve, there are beautiful beaches, heavy winds perfect for kite boarding, and a view that will blow your mind.  We explored all sections of Noosa, and spent many an afternoon lounging by and walking along the reserve, watching the people, the puppies, and the kite boarders.

Noosa has a lot to offer, there was no want for nightlife or restaurants, and in nearby Noosaville, there were also wonderful restaurants and bars to enjoy.  We loved iS Tapas Bar in Noosaville (unfortunately no website to link to).  The sangria was delicious and the food was just as tasty.  Everything was either in walking distance or a short drive away, and on week three, I was a pro behind the wheel.

Noosa was a great relaxing stretch of time, and for anyone heading to Australia, I would highly recommend it, especially the proximity to Fraser Island, a really cool and fun day trip, coming up on the blog next week.

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Hanging out by the Noosa Spit
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Looking out at the beach from the entry to the National Park
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Toward the start of our hike, repping my BU Terriers
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Admiring the view
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Pups travel in style, Noosa Spit edition

Green Island

As part of our Great Barrier Reef tour, my husband booked us a two night stay on Green Island, an Island in the Great Barrier Reef an hour ferry ride off the coast of Cairns, Australia.  Cairns is an interesting spot unto itself, with high end shops like Louis Vuitton next to what seemed to be run-down bodegas and apartments.  We hardly spent a few hours in Cairns but people really love it.  I got the sense it was for the college/post college hostel crowd, but again, that was at first blush, and first blush was all we got.

Green Island only has one hotel, the Green Island Resort, which has lush accommodations and a gourmet restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The island itself also had a beach shack for day trippers, as well as a few shops with the typical sunscreen, sarong, and tank top merchandise.  After boarding the ferry, with our lovely turtle green island sticker adhered to our luggage (it’s still there by the way), we were assured our luggage would make it to our room and were told where to check-in.  We arrived mid-day and the island was already hopping.

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Welcome sign and fish on the dock upon arrival

Upon checking in, we were in a Reef Suite Room, with a spread of chocolates and fruit awaiting us upon arrival.  To say that Steve and I mauled that chocolate is actually putting it delicately.  The flourless chocolate cake was to die for, and for anyone watching the scene unfold, it looked less like honeymooners and more like Lord of the Flies with us trying to ensure every last crumb was consumed upon pain of death.  The room was beautiful, with a king bed, private balcony, and a separate seating area, a true spot for newlyweds.  After taking a moment to compose ourselves, we switched into our swimsuits and prepared to explore the island.

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The reef and that view, incredible

Raised boardwalk paths lead you through thick rain forest around the island in just under an hour, as well as to beautiful beaches with fewer tourists.  And tourists, during the day, are plentiful.

Green island is a favorite spot for day trippers off the coast of Cairns, with many ferries arriving early in the morning, with the last ferry out around 5pm.  The island is beautiful, with day trippers seeming to be the biggest detriment to the reef.  The main beach on Green Island, patrolled by life guards, is incredibly close to the coral reef – you could walk to it, and in low tide many tourists stomped all over it.  However, there were nooks and crannies throughout the island where you could snorkel away from the tourist crowd and see multiple different kinds of rays, beautiful turtles in the morning and in the evening, and reef sharks.  The snorkeling there was beautiful, and we spent most of the time snorkeling and enjoying the natural resources around us.

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Post snorkel

When we weren’t in the water, we took a quick glass bottom boat tour around the reef and just relaxed in the sun.  Steve kayaked while I read some magazines, and eavesdropped on the life guards.  My favorite stolen moment was when a young woman asked a life guard if he could take her mother out on the surfboard to see the reef.  Her mother couldn’t swim but wanted to see the fish anyway.  He politely declined and after she walked away, he turned to his mate to say “WTF?” I laughed to myself and then went back to my magazine, thinking silly tourists.

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The beach emptying out as the day comes toward a close

When the tourists left, the island felt quiet, undisturbed, and completely at peace.  The resort set up nightly sunset cocktail events, evening hikes through the rainforest, and a fish feeding frenzy.  The first night we watched the fish feeding with all the other guests on the dock.  There were sharks, smaller fish, and a massive grouper.  My husband, ever the risk taker, decided the next night to watch with his snorkel on, under the dock.  I was none too pleased, but he promised to be safe.  Apparently watching this 80 pound grouper was a huge thrill, happy he didn’t turn into fish food himself, we changed for dinner.

I decided that this was the night I would try kangaroo meat.  After feeding the adorable kangaroos at the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat, I was torn.  They were adorable animals!  But they’re like the deer of Australia, and people eat venison back home, it should be fine, no?  Well, the verdict?  Kangaroo is delicious, and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

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Kangaroo salad

Our two nights on Green Island were wonderful, and were the perfect end to our great barrier reef extravaganza.  Our next stop, Noosa Heads and Fraser Island.

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Getting ready for the first bite
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Turtles may out number tourists on Green Island

The Great Barrier Reef – By Sea

As previously mentioned, we took the Great Barrier Reef by storm from the air, but had yet to really “dive in”, pun intended.  The time had finally come for us to truly explore its depths from below.  Steve found a tour that accommodated both snorkelers and divers (I’m just a lowly snorkeler), so after booking a trip with Poseidon, we were off to see the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs.

The snorkel/dive adventure was an all day affair.  The reefs were approximately 2 hours away, so after boarding early in the morning, chowing down on some breakfast aboard the ship, we sat on the deck and watched the shore fade away.  Steve was brimming with excitement.  Thanks to one of our great friends, she provided him with a dive guide for his adventure.  There were about 150 snorkelers on board (I’m a terrible estimator, this number very well could have been only 50, lol) with only about 10-12 divers.  The divers were taken below to go through instructions, listing out the dive sites, review of equipment, and getting paired up with buddies.  Steve was paired with a lovely man from Norway, Lars, who was his buddy for the three dives planned for that day.

While the divers were getting prepared below, the snorkelers up top were getting their own lessons, masks, and equipment.  Snorkelers were supposed to have buddies but I was the odd man out (I referred to this day as the saddest day of our honeymoon, when asked who didn’t have a buddy I was the only one who raised my hand, womp womp).  However, this was a fabulous development.  I’m very comfortable in the water, but it didn’t seem like anyone else aboard this ship was. Picture 140 people jumping into the ocean with noodles and other accouterments to keep them afloat, I did not have time for that.

The first dive site was a beautiful reef, I saw a nurse shark casually sitting along the bottom, and many other beautiful coral fish.  I love spotting the Sargeant Majors as well as the colorful Parrot Fish, especially the blue ones with the pink lips.  We did not unfortunately see the famous Great Barrier Reef Wrasse that you can swim up to and pose with, but that was fine with us.  Steve was on his first dive since his certification and getting to know his partner.  The first dive site was fairly shallow, only about 30 feet.  Remarkably, I did not happen to see any of the divers during my first snorkel, but that changed during the second dive.

Upon returning the boat, we ate lunch and a few of the marine biologists on staff told us about significant initiatives to save the coral reefs, and that usually on these tours they do a check of each dive site to determine if there has been significant damage.  Additionally, during the third dive, they promised to lead a guided tour of the reef and point out specific animals.  During the meal, they also quizzed the boat on the types of coral they saw, and played fun games for the younger snorkelers.  The staff on the boat really hustled to ensure this full day experience was one of both fun and learning, especially about protecting such an incredibly beautiful natural reef system.

Dive site #2 was coming up.  Free of nurse sharks, I got to see many of the divers during our snorkel.  So after following them for a bit to determine if they were seeing anything cool, I went off on my own.  My husband saw a moray eel, but since snorkelers were too far up, this cool yet scary (at least I think so), fish eluded me.  After listening to the marine biologists talk at lunch, you could definitely tell parts of the reef that were suffering from coral bleaching, but overall the reef seemed fairly healthy.  One of the joys I have when snorkeling is spotting turtles, and I was hoping to see one on this dive, as I had not seen any on the first one.  I was on the hunt, but had come up short again.  The second dive site was hard for me to enjoy, as it felt smaller than the first, which meant everywhere I went I would be dodging poor swimmers with their floaty toys and less time looking for a fish.  As a result, I went in a wee bit early, but was looking forward to our final snorkel location.

The final dive site was what was called a drift dive.  We dropped the divers off at one area where the current would rip them around to our final destination.  After waving over the side of the boat at Steve, we headed to our final, guided snorkel, and it was a great one!  It was so much fun snorkeling with someone who truly knew what they were looking at.  She pointed out some beautiful fish and then finally, turtle sighting!!  There it was, a beautiful turtle in all its glory swimming along peacefully.  The entire group (probably 15 snorkelers) was filled with glee, and started to follow it.  No other fish in the sea mattered once a turtle had been spotted.  My day at the Great Barrier Reef had been made!  Especially after starting on such a low, lonely little note, I was thrilled!  Turtles are so beautiful and majestic in the water.  Despite our trip taking place in 2013, I don’t think GoPros had been invented yet (or at least were not nearly as big a deal), and we had no way to capture the beauty of our underwater trip, though we have the wonderful memories.

After returning to the boat and catching up with Steve, he loved the drift dive and I loved the turtle.  Bucket list item complete!   But don’t worry, our Great Barrier adventures were only beginning, as after Port Douglas we headed to Green Island for two nights, an island in the Great Barrier reef where turtles, rays, and reef sharks abound!

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Steve with his underwater dive guide!

The Great Barrier Reef – By Air

I’ve mentioned a few times that my husband is a huge fish.  He will literally jump into any body of water, regardless of temperature, and on our honeymoon, we checked off a bucket list item for him: dive the great barrier reef.  As mentioned earlier, Steve planned our entire honeymoon, and as a result, he came up with numerous ways for us to immerse ourselves in the world’s largest reef system. First up, a helicopter ride.

I had never been in a helicopter and as always, I was the nervous one.  Skysafari Port Douglas (no longer in business unfortunately!) picked us up from our hotel and drove us to their helipad.  Our pilot walked us through the safety procedures and we signed the typical waivers as with any adventure.  The plan for the day was to head up over the reef, land on an uninhabited island, picnic, snorkel, and then head back, completing our half day of adventure.  Snug in the backseat with my headset on, throwing out cliches like “alpha, niner!” to cut through my own nervous tension, we were off.  Taking off in a helicopter was the smoothest, most incredible experience.  A ride in a chopper is just beyond words, you don’t even feel like you’re flying, you’re floating.

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The Great Barrier Reef from the air!

From the air, we tried to spot fish from above and just take it all in.  The views were spectacular!  To see such beauty from above was incredible, and knowing my husband, I knew he couldn’t wait to literally dive in. Unfortunately, which turned out to be a serendipitous event, we could not land on the island in the reef as previously mentioned, so instead, we landed on a beach in the Daintree Rain Forest, which was pretty hard to beat.  We had a picnic, some beers, and a snorkel, our first time really in the Great Barrier Reef.  Our pilot was awesome, and because he thought we were fun Americans, he gave us some extra time in the air above the reef and above the Daintree. The people in Australia are just wonderful, and it felt like we knew the guy for years.  It is always nice when you’re on a private tour to really get along with your guide, and it was as if we had made a fast friend.  The American and Australian cultures have so many similarities, and the people really put us at ease there.  Especially calming my nerves around take off!

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Landing spot

I still couldn’t believe we had gone up in a helicopter, and after such a smooth and incredible ride, I swear all I talked about for days was learning to fly one (the dream’s not dead!).  It was such a memorable experience, and I cannot imagine leaving this out of our Australian experience.  To be fair, it was expensive (~$1000) but can you put a price tag on making those kinds of memories?  Sometimes, you just have to go for it, “yolo”.

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Checking out the Great Barrier Reef below
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Posing with the choppa!
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The most incredible view of the Great Barrier Reef

Cape Tribulation – Worth it?

During our honeymoon, we spent five nights in Port Douglas, Queensland, AUS.  Port Douglas acted as an incredible jumping off point.  How many places have the world’s oldest rainforest abutting a beach and the Great Barrier Reef?  Oh that’s right, none.

During our stay, we decided to take a day trip up to Cape Tribulation.  As Steve planned the entire honeymoon, I really had no idea what to expect, and I don’t think he did either.  To break up the drive, we chose to do numerous short hikes right off the main road.  Some of those hikes included the Dubuji Boardwalk, the Kulki Cape Tribulation Beach lookout, and the Beach walk in the Cow Bay area.  I personally loved these hikes, the trails were elevated boardwalks and the foliage of the rain forest was absolutely beautiful.  Additionally, these hikes were no more than hour at most, which made it a nice breather as we made our way north.

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The trees are like large fans in the Daintree
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At one the beaches near Cape Trib. Mangroves + the beach = ❤

One of the main reasons we decided to head up north was for an exotic fruit tasting*.  I am not, or rather, was not an adventurous eater.  And, as someone with oral allergy syndrome, I was a little nervous that my lips would blow-up to epic proportions.  The last thing I wanted was an allergy attack or to look like a botched plastic surgery patient, so I was definitely nervous.  But in the spirit of YOLO, we went for it.

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Our exotic fruit selections for the day!

I don’t remember all the fruits that we ate, but they had funny names like Mangosteen, Bread Fruit, and Black Sapote.  Some of the fruits tasted like garlic, or were incredibly sour.  The owner of the exotic fruit farm led the tasting and it was interesting to think of fruit as not necessarily sweet, but more savory items.  I had zero allergy attacks, but unfortunately, my taste buds only appreciated a small few of the fruits sampled above.  But that’s okay, it was still a totally different and neat experience.

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This fruit is delicious but doesn’t travel well as it bruises incredibly easy, if only I remembered the name of it!

While we totally had a great time on this day, I would say that on our trip, this day was probably one of the least memorable.  Maybe because as you could tell from our photos the weather was overcast, but it seemed like a long way to go when we were already situated on a beautiful beach with closer access to the rain forest.  Additionally, at least from what we saw, there did not seem to be a lot going on in Cape Tribulation in terms of developments.  I don’t remember seeing a restaurant, just a small gas station/bodega where we purchased some postcards from.  And no, I’m not one of those people that will only travel to where hotels, restaurants, and lively neighborhoods are, but it seemed like we went pretty far when we could have enjoyed similar benefits nearby.  With that being said, I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from heading up there, as I’m sure with more time, there would be a lot to take advantage of in and around Cape Tribulation, including beaches and much longer rain forest hikes.  But, beware of jellies!

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Steve checks out a map, I photograph a sign I have never seen before. #terrifying

*They no longer operate the fruit tasting. 😦