Saturday, 6 September 2014

26 August - 1 September 2014 - Cooktown and Port Douglas

The drive to Cooktown included some steep mountain passes but also some interesting scenery. After arriving in Cooktown we setup camp and headed to the Tourist Information centre where we picked up brochures and bought a book on Australian Raptors.

The next day we walked to town and visited the Cook Museum where they had the anchor and canon from the Endeavour which were recovered from the Endeavour Reef where Cook threw many tons of items overboard to get his ship off the reef. We then walked through town to view the historic sites where Cook beached the Endeavour for repairs which took 11 days to complete but was only able to leave 3 weeks later due to wind conditions. In the afternoon we drove to some falls but only found one which was not that great.

Next day we headed to Daintree National Park to see the Bloomfield Falls. Stopped at the Lion's Den for coffee and delicious scones and cream. There were  amazing Yellow Breasted Sunbirds feeding off Jade Vine flowers which looked like plastic flowers but were completely natural! The falls were great and we spent some time viewing and photographing them.

Next day we left for Port Douglas along the same road as we came in. After settling into the caravan park in Port Douglas we drove to the marina where we booked a reef snorkelling tour then had a beer and garlic bread for sundowners.

Our first full day in Port Douglas saw us head into the Daintree forrest where we had to cross a river on a ferry to access the park. We headed to see Cape Tribulation where Cook ran aground on the Endeavour reef. We drove a steep hill to the lighthouse for a great view of the coastline. Next we headed for our Jungle Surfing adventure through the canopy. This is actually ziplining through the forrest canopy on 6 different ziplines and was initiated by a human hamster wheel! We all had helmets with names on them - Tinkerbell for Vlasta and Tarzan for Keith. Great fun but scary for Vlasta specially when the last surf was done up-side-down!  We did see an amazing blue Ulysses butterfly and Double-Eyed Fig-Parrot. After this adventure we visited the Discovery Centre where we had information overload but most interesting anyway. We are still looking for a wild cassowary but have seen its droppings!

The next day brought great calm clear weather for our snorkel cruise with Wavelength who only do snorkelling tours to the Opal Reef. The trip to the reef took 1 hour and 40 minutes on choppy sees but we survived and had three 1-hour snorkels on 3 different reefs. We had a Marine Biologist on board who gave us a guided tour on one site and showed us a genuine Clown Anemone fish. The trip back was pretty rough which left Vlasta rather green. We had taken seasick tablets which seemed to have worked for me but not so much for Vlasta.

Our final day we spent at Mossman Gorge where we took a leasurely walk through the forrest where we saw a Green Tree snake, the blue triangle butterfly  and a number of birds which were either very difficult to see or completely ignored us like the Brush Turkey and Orange-footed Scrubfowl.

Cook's Endeavour at the Museum
The Endeavour's Anchor
Cooktown from the Lighthouse
Bloomfield Falls
Pass over the mountains to Cooktown
A Strangler Fig
Mangrove Boardwalk - Daintree
Green Tree Snake
Striped Surgeonfish
Blue Triangle Butterfly
Rain Forrest Boardwalk - Daintree
Jade Vine Flowers at Lion's Den
View from the mountain pass to the coastal plain
Jungle Surfing - Daintree
Australian Brush Turkey

Clown Anemonefish - Great Barrier Reef
Pale-Yellow Robin
Yellow-Bellied Sunbird
Rufous Fantail

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