I’m to the end of a lovely stay with Frances in Far North Queensland, land of crocodiles, beaches, rainforest and the best wild swimming ever!
We’ve hung out for a few days in Cairns and for a day in Port Douglas, loving the beaches and the sun (although not loving the strong winds blowing sand all over us).
Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Yesterday we had a very fun day snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. We saw whales and dolphins from the boat and then checked out some gorgeous coral and colourful fish on the reef itself. The water was incredibly clear and there was so much to see – just magical.
Earlier this week, we journeyed around the Atherton Tablelands – half rolling dairy farmlands (that everyone kept assuring us are “just like England”!) and half rainforest. We saw crazy, otherworldly hanging fig trees and breathtaking waterfalls (including Millaa Millaa Falls, where, rumour has it, the video for Peter Andre’s ’90s classic “Mysterious Girl” was shot, pop pickers).
Cathedral fig tree
We also spent an energetic day cycling and canoeing through the rainforest, which I loved. It’s like no landscape I’ve ever been in before – dense, enchanting, lit with a weird golden-green light breaking through gaps in the canopy, with climbing vines everywhere making wonderful knots, loops and spirals around all the other trees.
Before that, we took a trip north from Cairns, croc-spotting on the Daintree River before hanging out in very very beautiful Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest spills down to meet the sea.
We stayed for one night in a hostel in the rainforest itself and felt like extremely adventurous backpackers, contending with cold showers, cold dormitories and ominous noises coming from the trees at night . . .
My favourite bit of these trips was swimming in some really lovely places – in the sea at Cape Tribulation, in swimming holes at Mossman Gorge and Millaa Millaa Falls and finally at Lake Eacham, which involved a hair-raising leap into the freezing cold water off a branch hanging over the lake – so fun!