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Australia: Day 8 – 19.11.18………. Anyone for Tea?

Today we’re off on an adventure with Billy Tea Safaris and we are very excited. Having organised ourselves last night, which is most unusual for us on this holiday, by pre-arranging our bags and laying out what we’re going to wear we were ready and waiting outside the hotel at the allotted time of 08.20am. We boarded the big 4WD safari bus and off we went. Our ‘safari’ had begun.

There were seventeen of us all together on the tour and we were most surprised to find that four of these were doppelgängers, looking just like friends back home. It was most strange and a bit unnerving to have so many on one trip! Matthew, our driver come guide was very amusing, chatting away to us as he drove us to the Daintree river for our cruise down the river, proving that men can multi-task after all! We learnt so much on that drive. Did you know that Australia is the second largest producer of sugar cane in the world, with Brazil being the first and that in Queensland, wine, tourism and sugar cane are the three biggest industries, in that order? We boarded our boat and set off in search of crocodiles and other wildlife. I must say, these crocs are very elusive. Everyone’s eyes were peeled to the riverbank hoping to get a glimpse of one but no such luck. We saw plenty of ‘log-o-dillies’…..predictive text, should be ‘log-o-dimes’ no, log-o-dives’ no, log-o-doles’, for goodness sake I just can’t seem to get this word on the page, it’s meant to be.....’we saw plenty of logs that looked liked crocodiles’! The Guides from the other boats were in radio contact with each other and had announced that ‘Scarface’ had been spotted a bit further down the river but by the time we’d got there he’d disappeared. Typical. However another one, ’Titch’ had been spotted so we chugged along the riverbank to find him. Omg, there he was, laying stretched out on the bank as still as anything, totally camouflaged, trying to look like a log-o-dillie, but he’d been spotted. We all jostled for position in the boat to get a good photo of him, and click, we caught him on camera.

Maice and I named him ‘Titch’ due to his size. You see ‘Titch’ is a juvenile, the guide reckoned he or she was only about six months old hence why it’s only a foot and a half in length! You see, size doesn’t matter. To us, we can now say we’ve seen a real live crocodillie in the wild. We continued along the river and saw no more crocs however what we did see hidden in the treetops, and all you ‘twitchers’ out there will be most envious, was a Papuan Frog-Mouthed bird. How someone on the boat spotted this bird is beyond us, it took us ages to actually see it despite it being pointed out to us it was that well camouflaged. All in all we enjoyed our adventure on the river but all to soon we were back on board the safari-mobile.

Our next stop was a very interesting guided walk with Matthew through part of the rainforest. I think he must have been practising for a walking event, he walked so fast, but in a slow relaxed Aussie manner, if that makes sense, and we had to trot to keep up with him.

Apparently, the rainforest isn’t as dense as it should be due to lack of rain this year. It’s been so dry this season that the streams running through the rainforest have all but dried up and the trees have gone into ‘stress mode’ by shedding their leaves therefore making the forest less dense. Talking about dense, Adrienne, she of yoga challenge fame has issued a new yoga session called Yoga for the Brain. We’re going to do it this week in the hope it helps our de-fuddled brains! Having wandered some more through the rainforest and listened to Matthew talking about the vegetation we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the plants that make it a deadly place to be. The number of plant species with thorns and spikes on them is unbelievable. How on earth animals survive in here is beyond us. Talking of which, on the drive to our next stop, which was for lunch, we kept our eyes peeled for the Cassowary bird, a big bird belonging to the ratite family (flightless bird) but of course they’re just as elusive as the crocodiles and we didn’t spot any although Matthew did pull over for us so we could admire their poo which they’d deposited at the side of the road, proving that they were around.

At our lunch stop, whilst Matthew multi-tasked again and cooked up some steaks on the ‘barby’ we got to feed the macropods, Wallabies, to you and me. They’re much smaller than the kangaroo and much cuter and we even got to feed them their favourite food, sweet potato.

After lunch we headed off to Emmagen Creek for a swim and on the way some of the guys on the bus said they’d spotted the lesser-sighted Cassowary. We turned the bus around to go and find it but it’d disappeared by them. What a shame, so we never got to see a real one in the wild after all.

The creek was lovely. Matthew set up the ‘tea’ table, the ‘fruit’ table and the ‘damper’ table and told us to have a swim whilst he prepared our afternoon tea. Some of the group decided to walk across to the other side following the path but of course Maice decides she’s going to paddle through the water only what she didn’t realise was that the stones in the water were slippy. I happened to turn round just as she was falling backwards in the water, hand held aloft to save her camera, her bottom sinking slowly into the water when suddenly she found her footing and righted herself. She was so lucky to only suffer a soggy bottom and her camera has lived on to take a few more photos! Swimming in the creek was gorgeous although getting dressed was a bit of a task as there was nowhere to hide and we were totally exposed. Fortunately we managed to wriggle out of our swimsuits with just a micro-towel protecting our modesty and then wriggle into our underwear. I think we managed not to expose any body parts to the rest of the group!

We watched Matthew making traditional tea on the stove with his big billy can, ate some exotic fruits and tasted the damper, which is a dense bread smothered in some form of Aussie syrup. It was quite claggy to eat and you definitely needed the tea to wash it down! It was here that Maice realised she’d been bitten by mosquitoes despite spraying herself in Avon’s Skin so Soft which came highly recommended from many of our friends as being the best thing to apply to stop being bitten. Obviously that didn’t work so we’ll need to add repellent to the shopping list.

Our next stop, seems like we’ve been on the go for ages, was Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the sea. It was beautiful. The sand was so soft and white it was like being on a tropical island. According to Matthew there’s been numerous films made here and you can see why. Our final stop was at the ice-cream shack, known for making all different flavoured fruit. We had the four scoop which consisted on coconut, mango, black sapote and wattle-fruit and ate our ice-cream on the bus home, arriving back at 5pm.

We’ve had a super day out, we’ve learnt so much, we’ve seen so much and we’ve been to some beautiful places. We’ve seen animals we wouldn’t normally get to see and walked through a rainforest. What a great trip out. To energise ourselves as we were quite tired we went for a swim in not one but both the hotels heated bijou swimming pools, sat in the outdoor jacuzzi then did our Day 6 Yoga Challenge. Where we found our energy from we don’t know but we’re ready now to go out in search of supper. We were very surprised at how quite it was considering on Sunday everywhere was really busy. We walked up and down the Main Street and just as we were beginning to give up hope of finding somewhere we fancied we came across an Italian restaurant that was super busy. We ordered a bottle of Zirra Zirra wine from Adelaide, which was gorgeous, the two for one pasta deal which was also gorgeous and that was it. We were back home by 9.15pm. We’ve realised that this isn’t Greece where shops and restaurants stay open till really late. Shops close around 5ish and people seem to go out to eat really early. We’ll remember that for tomorrow.....

On that note, G’night

A&M xx

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