1 Dec 2000 - Cairns, Australia
After a stay in Sydney we got a 5 day package deal to Cairns - a holiday within a holiday! With Cairns being so much further North the climate turned tropical and was a world away from Sydney.
November meant that the sea was off limits as it was stinger season and any bathing had to be in special areas that were netted off from the rest of the sea. With our actual location being further North from Cairns we were situated in a more remote area served by a few hotels, restaurants and shops. The increased plant life meant more animals so other than the Jellyfish, there were signs warning 'Beware Crocodile' scattered everywhere. These were referring to the salties as they are sometimes known to swim up the coast from the rainforest at nearby Cape Tribulation and the River Daintree. Salties are the large crocs that have no objections to dining out on humans.
We took a couple of tours while there. One was there tour to Cape Tribulation and the River Daintree. This took us to see the crocs on the river, cross country and into the rainforest. I must admit that our guides were excellent and I certainly learned a lot. Even while going from place to place we had a commentary that explained the area's history and information about the flora and fauna.
Our second tour took us out to the Great Barrier Reef which was a nice journey in itself. Food was of a buffet nature but was delicious. Good selection and plenty of it. I dined mainly on huge King Prawns. After that it was off for some snorkelling from the floating platform that the boat had docked with.
The rest of our time in Cairns was spent relaxing on the beach or by the pool before we had to return to the hustle and bustle of Sydney.
Cairns - The beach
Outside my hotel was immediately this idyllic piece of beach. In the background is an island nick named 'crocodile island' because it resembles the head of a crocodile. Though the beach and sea looks inviting I didn't go on. This area is full of box jelly fish - one of the most dangerous and painful stinging animals in the sea. Some areas are netted off but there are also very small jelly fish that can slip through which are even more painful. Even walking through the surf bare footed is a risk.
Cairns - Rainforest around Cape Tribulation
This huge lizard came across our path as we were brought on a tour of the rainforest. Australia is a place of nasty stinging poisonous fauna and flora. We were shown one plant which was caged off as even just brushing past will result in extreme pain. The plant is covered in minute silica tubes like glass syringes. Just brushing past will set off the stings and these will be injected into your skin. The pain can last for up to six months.