Location:Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation
What We Did:
We said we’d have some special visitors this week, and special they are. Bobba and Zeida (grandma and grandpa) have flown all the way around the world to see their grandkids, and reunite with their long lost Australian family after too many decades. After they spent a few days in Sydney, we picked them up in Cairns and what a treat to have them with us, if only for a short while. But if you think we’d just sit around the BBQ and chew the grilled salmon skin, you’re mistaken. While Mom and Bobba spent some time with Gali feeding the fish at the Oaks Lagoons, Dad, Raquel and Zeida jumped into our jet black Ford Everest for one of the most stunning drives we’ve yet encountered: the road to Cape Tribulation. After passing the town of Mossman and fields of tall sugarcane, we crossed the crocodile-infested Daintree River ferry and drove along the narrow road that snakes along the coast and through the world’s oldest rainforest. There were tree tunnels of palms and figs and ferns the likes you won’t find anywhere else in the world. With our dual sun roof, even Raquel could look up into the forest canopy. She also saw the sign for the Daintree Ice Cream Co , which demanded a hard brake and four scoops of some of the most delicious and unique ice-cream in the country. Davidson Plum, sugar banana and wattle-seed anyone!
Our destination was Jungle Surfing, definitely one of the more exciting and fun ways to tackle the impenetrable Daintree jungle. A series of ziplines take you high into the trees, gazing out over a landscape that existed before the dinosaurs! With our friendly guides Brydehn and Estonia’s own Brad Pritt, we kitted out in harnesses and helmets, said G’day to a massive golden orb weaving spider, and walked through the jungle to a human hamster wheel that would manually elevate us to the first tree platform. One zipline in, Raquel officially declared it the best day ever. Much like the obstacle course she conquered in New South Wales, our little girl just beamed during our treetop adventure. “Faster! Is that longer? I want to go by myself! I want to hang upside down, no wait, I don’t want to hang upside down!” So small, light and skinny, she practically floated between the trees with a watermelon smile the entire time, not a whine, moan or meltdown in sight. High fives, big hugs, and a sincere thank you at the end of the day to Dad and Zeida for “such a wonderful day!” Is this what life will be like with a five year old? Have we finally entered that golden era of post-toddlerhood everyone keeps talking about? Maybe it’s just that every five-year-old needs to zipline in a magical forest to kickstart the process!
What We Ate:
Breakfast: Bobba eggs (which apparently taste better than Mommy eggs), smoked trout, toast, avocado.
Lunch: Pies, lentil chips and dips. Although the tropical fruit ice-cream pretty much did the trick.
Dinner: A BBQ of lamb chops, chicken kebabs and fresh salmon steaks with lemon zest and garlic butter, served with Caesar salad and homemade potato salad (“just like Bobba’s”)
Where We Ate:
Breakfast: At the Oaks Lagoons
Lunch: At the IGA in Cape Tribulation
Dinner: At the Oaks Lagoons
My Favourite Pictures Today
Where We Slept:
Mom and Bobba were more than happy to hang back with Galileo at the six pools of the Oaks Lagoons. Thunderous storms had passed over and the hot, humid and sunny day was perfect for long hours soaking in the pool and overdue family catch-ups. Gali had to take Tash up on the offer of feeding the local fish too. 5:30pm like clockwork the giant bats swoop in to perch on the nearby trees, best viewed from the pool. Bobba and Zeida are staying in the apartment right next door, all with walk-in access to the swimming pool and interconnected patios. Lots of space for all to get a good night’s sleep!
The Daintree forest pre-dates the Amazon, and is 180 million years old. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with dozens of plants and trees you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. It looks Jurassic, and indeed, it is! We learned that saltwater crocodiles patrol the coastline and are not to be trifled with. We learned that Mossman Gorge has water that is considered among the purest water on the planet. We learned that cassowaries roam these parts and we need to drive carefully. We learned about vines and palms and ferns and spiders and snakes. We learned all about humidity! We learned that in Port Douglas, when it rains, it pours, as much as 600ml in a single day, and 7 metres of rainfall in a year. We learned that Air New Zealand is not the airline we thought it was (no apologies for Bobba and Zeida for stranding them in Auckland after abruptly cancelling their connection). We learned Zeida still hilariously mispronounces things like Bond-ie for Bondi and Melville for Melbourne. We learned that Australian mosquitoes don’t like Canadian bug dope. We learned that five year olds can do more than you think they can, if they have the right attitude!
Reflection of the Day
The Best Part:
Jungle surfing! Especially the last, fast one! And the sugar banana ice-cream was pretty amazing too.
The Worst Part:
There’s not enough time in the day to spend precious moments with the ones you love.
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Brydehn
- Favourite Place: New Zealand
- I Love Travel Because: I love to experience the world and different cultures
- My Advice for Kids: Don't get old or grow up too quick
- Name: Pritt
- Favourite Place: Back in Estonia
- I Love Travel Because: I don't know what I want to do with my life
- My Advice for Kids: Do what makes you happy and the stuff you love
- Name: Mandy
- Favourite Place: Western Australia
- I Love Travel Because: it's fun!
- My Advice for Kids: Listen to your parents
- Name: Georgie
- Favourite Place: Tropical North Queensland and the Daintree!
- I Love Travel Because: I have new experiences, see amazing scenery, connect with people, and taste beautiful food.
- My Advice for Kids: Always use your imagination, have fun and don't grow up!
- Name: Brett
- Favourite Place: Hope Island, QLD
- I Love Travel Because: I love adventure
- My Advice for Kids: Be adventurous
Today's Random Thing
A Note from Mom and Dad
We asked the folks at Jungle Surfing how kids typically do on the ziplines, which are offered to kids as young as three years old. They told us that it has much to do with the attitude of their parents. If the parents are scared and nervous and neurotic, the kids pick up on it, and they become whiny and scared. Kids are a blank slate. They don’t know what they should be afraid of, or why. Ziplining is probably the safest soft-adventure a family can do, and yet Pritt shared the story of young kids crying because their Dad freaked out from the heights (although why anyone would be looking down as opposed to the incredible forest is beyond me). Kids have antennas. They amplify the emotions of their parents. If you don’t feel safe, they definitely won’t. Says Jungle Surfing’s Brett: “When I saw you pull out a chocolate and get your daughter excited for the adventure, I knew she was going to love it!” It’s nothing Dad planned, it’s just his natural enthusiasm for adventures, hopefully infused into the next generation of travelling Esrock.