There seems to be a lot of beards in Queensland. Love it.
Fertile Atherton Tablelands
Other great things about Queensland include Cassowaries, rainforests, strangler figs and Ulysses Butterflies.
Bad things about Queensland include poor coffee making skills and stingers. When it’s 35 degrees out and you can’t go in the ocean because jellyfish will eat you alive, it’s a bummer.
The elusive Casswary
If you find yourself in Cairns, take a couple days to drive up to Cape Tribulation. Just driving on the twisty road is adventure enough! But then you also get lush, green forests, crocodiles, and cassowaries. For some reason there were very few tourists around when we were there. It wasn’t like we thought it would be…it’s not developed at all. Just a few caravan parks. It really makes you feel like you’re in the wilderness.
On your way back to Cairns, stop for a dip at the Mossman Gorge. The water is chilly, but the view is worth is.
A drive through the Atherton Tablelands is also a must. Magnificent landscapes. I also recommend Paronella Park, which I thought was going to be a huge tourist trap for Japanese Anime Fans. It turned out to be a beautiful fairy-tale forest complex with a lot of local history.
Cairns itself was nice, but nothing too note worthy. The lagoon is a nice alternative to the ocean, which leads to certain death (stingers).
All it took was a week for me to fall in love with Tasmania. Although we only saw Hobart and the area around it, I feel that we got a good taste for the state. It reminded me a lot of Halifax as a city; small, coastal and cheery.
Out of all the markets we visited in Australia, the Salamanca market in Hobart wasby far the best. Bustling with people and buskers, it had rows and rows of stalls with a good variety and quality artisan work. If you’re there on a Saturday it’s a must!
Port Authur was also a favourite. It’s an old penial colony shut down in the 1870s. I know what you’re thinking…the whole country was a penal colony, right? Right, but they weren’t actually in prison. They were given land to work and were basically free but they weren’t allowed to go back to Britain. Port Aurthur was where you went if you re-offended after being sent to Australia. A lot of history there. At one point it even held Canadian political prisoners. Cool.
Solitary confinment at Port Arthur
We visited two beautiful national parks, Mt. Field and Freycinet. Mt. Field has the famous and beautiful Russell falls and Freycinet has Wineglass Bay…one of the top 10 beaches in the world. I’m sure the others are in New Zealand…more on that later.
And, of course, we saw some Tasmanian Devils. So cute! They’re currnetly endagnered due to a facial cancer that’s spread through biting. They’re trying to breed resistant populations so if you’re in Tasmania try to donate to the cause! There’s donation bins at all the wildfile parks and such.
Looks shockingly like the beaches in Canada. haha
Brad and I recently spent the weekend in Lorne, which is a town about 2 hours out of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road. When we did a day tour of the G-O-R early in our Australia stay we just drove through Lorne but it looked so adorable I wanted to go back!
Look at that cheese! Oh baby!
I had great hopes for some hiking to see the forests and waterfalls in the area but the weather had other plans. We were really right along the coast and about 90% of the time we were there we had a lovely storm. Pretty much a hurricane. Rain and wind like there was no tomorrow. So we watched some footy, ate and read a lot. And I had a nap. It was a lovely weekend to relax at least.
So if you happen to visit Lorne, based on my experiences I recommend you eat at Kafe Kaos for breakfast and get the focaccia that’s smothered in cheese or try the River Tea House and have the fruit toast with brie and stay at The Shed (it’s a cottage with a little kitchen and it was ADORABLE). And you can skip the Lorne Hotel. Bleh. And maybe visit in the summer and not the winter! haha
Melbourne is nutters over coffee. Nutters. More so than Vancouverites.Â There are cafes everywhere, and fortunately only a couple Starbucks. It’s a nice break from Starbucks I must say.
Now if you were to arrive in Melbourne from Canada and try to order a coffee you would probably be confused and so would the barista. You cannot ask for a coffee. Well you can, but that will be followed by “what coffee would you like?” They don’t even have drip coffee! It’s all espresso made. You can ask for a latte or cappuccino and those are the same. But here’s a mini lesson:
Latte = Latte
Cappuccino = Cappuccino
Flat White = Latte with less foam
Long Black = Americano (like a black coffee)
Short Black = Espresso shot
Macchiato = Espresso shot with a little milk
But here’s the kicker…coffees in Melbourne are better than any coffee I have ever had anywhere. It’s soooo good. I’m already dreading of what will happen when I go back to Canada and need to fuel my caffeine addiction. And it’s cheaper! A latte at Starbucks in Canada is going to be $4-$5. A latte here is going to be $2.50-$3.50. That makes a big difference if you buy a coffee (or three) a day. I’m lucky enough to work at a cafe and get coffees at work, otherwise I’d be poor. This is the plus 1.
The minus 1 is that no one uses travel mugs! I’ve hardly seen anyone go into a cafe with their own mug.Â A lot of people do have their coffees in the cafe, and get real cups and mugs, but there’s a lot of take-away coffee cups used in this city everyday. I’m trying to use mine every time I go and maybe it will catch on. Maybe.
Honey Bee huddle at Nationals
Well we’ve gotten to do some more traveling lately after being stationary for a while. The Australian Ultimate Championships just took place in Perth, Western Australia. Did you know it’s the most isolated capital city in the world? (So said one of our guides…I have not actually checked this fact)
I definitely recommend that you make the effort to get there if you’re in Australia. Basically, Australia seems to be mostly concentrated on the East Coast, so I imagine most travelers don’t make it over to the west. If it hadn’t been for the frisbee tournament we probably wouldn’t have made the trip.
We actually didn’t see the city hardly at all. We took a 3 day trip
to the South, going as far as Wapole, where we did the tree top canopy walk, which was a delight for the botanist in the group. We also climbed the bicentenial tree, 75 high. The way up is via a ladder made of re bars stuck into the side of the tree. Totally worth it but also totally insane. This tree ladder would not but legal in Canada. There were also some wineries on the way and the really cool Ngligi cave.
Look up…look waaaaaaay up (Bicentennial Tree)
We spent a day going north to the Pinnicles Desert. It was pretty cool but if you have limited time I might skip it.
And finally we spent a night and 2 days on Rottnest Island. Loved it! Could have stayed longer. It’s a great place to relax, ride around on a bike and meet the local ‘critters’ as Brad calls them (actually called Quokkas). Also, if going and you’re not rich, BYO food. There are minimal places to eat, which surprised us; and that allows them to jack the prices. $16.50 for fish and chips? Ouch.
In summary, it was a great trip. I would have loved to have had the time/money to head up the coast to Broome and other lovely sounding places. But ‘dems the breaks!