Friday, 3 December 2010

Tales from Cape Tribulation

Me and an Ostrich!
I awoke on Tuesday morning, a tad hungover  (thanks to lovely Fernando and Lara!) and got dropped to my tour bus by Steve (I’ll say it once again, what a bloody awesome chap!) for the 3 hour journey up the beautiful coastal road to cape tribulation – stopping along the way at a wildlife sanctuary in Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, The Daintree River, the Alexandra Lookout and finally kicking us out at PK’s backpackers hostel.  Our guide, Fraiser, was a very witty, true aussie, nice bloke!

We arrived at the wildlife park, and as I jumped off the bus, I chatted to the girl who was sat infront of me, Leah, 25, London. We immediately hit it off, got some brekkie together, and sat next to each other on the bus from then on! Aw!
Havin a Swim!
At Mossman gorge we had a lovely walk through the rainforest, saw a green snake! And went for a dip in Mossman Gorge – it was a bit too chilly for  Leah but I got right in there and swam against the current – so weird trying to swim as hard and fast as you can and just being dragged sideways!

Mossman Gorge
 We stopped off at a picturesque part of the daintree river to have a picnic and a cuppa (while Fraiser serenaded us with a tune(?!) on the didgeridoo!), then hopped on a river boat and went crock watchin on the daintree! We saw two crocks – pretty crazy, but my bloody camera battery had run out! Then for the last leg of the journey, (after a brief stop at the stunning Alexandra Lookout) we listened to tunes and chatted, finally arrived at PK’s at 4.30pm, to my delight, Leah had also booked in at PK’s (one of 5 places to stay in tiny, not-mains-electric-connected, no-phone-signal Cape Trib).
Alexandra lookout

So….PK’s… I chose to stay here because Janet (Simon’s Mum), had very kindly sent me some recommendations, including a stay at the infamous PK’s.  SO …you can imagine my surprise when all the brochures describe the place as a backpackers dream if you like drinking and dancing and are not too fussed about sleeping! I wasn’t entirely sure this was me, but thought, if Janet can do it, I can do it!


PK's pool
We checked in at reception – Leah chose to book a snorkeling trip for the morning, and I booked a horse ride (yup, a horse ride!) When we went in, it was like a tropical paradise, beautiful, tranquil, quiet if anything! We were delighted. 

However, when we went to check the dorm we’d been allocated together, our joy quickly abandoned us! 3 single cots and 2 rickety bunkbeds (one of which was vacant, rather uninvitingly for me and Leah).  The air conditioning unit was hanging of the wall and beyond repair (covered in gaffa tape from numerous desperate attempts by previous stifled backpackers no doubt!), and the other beds were occupied by sweaty men who we strongly suspected would be snorers, and a very curt young girl, who we tried to engage in conversation but conceded defeat when we received no eye contact and an acutely taciturn response! The only thing that cheered me up was Leah’s ingenious idea to see if my camera battery would charge using her camera charger. Success! I was SOOO relieved after thinking none of my cape-trip adventure would be documented. 

So we were staying in what was essentially Hell on Earth, (I kid you not, the room had condensation dripping down the walls, the sheets were thick with damp and it musta been 32 degrees C in there), but hey, at least I would soon have a functional camera again!

We consoled ourselves at the awesome PK's jungle bar with a few cold pints where we met Ryan (a couch surfer I had emailed) and Heidi, the yank I had met in Cairns on Monday. We got some take-out tinnies and went to play cards, where we met Jeremy and Maddie – a lovely kiwi who I instantly adored and a gorgeous lesbian who I completely hit it off with! Turns out someone was having a bonfire party down at the beach which we all decided to head down to; but first, Leah and I needed some sustenance so went to get chips from the bar. 

As we sat scoffing, Leah said “That room is so damp, we are gunna get NO sleep it’s just not on, they said all rooms were air-conditioned”…. Well I can thank my wonderful father for teaching me how to be a good complainer, cus realising suddenly that we weren’t getting what we paid for, I marched to the bar and explained precisely what Leah had pointed out. The guy just said, without hesitation, “no worries, here’s a key from room 11, let me know if that one’s ok”…. Try to imagine the sheer glee we experienced when we entered a room void of any other backpackers and a shiny, fully operational, AC unit. We actually did a little happy dance and high fived. Dumped our stuff in our now v. safe room, and headed to the beach.

Camera? Check.

Cool, dry, clean room shared with your new best friend? Check

Beers on the beach by the fire? Check

I couldn’t have been happier. 

'keep out' wasn't doing the job! 
We woke early on Wednesday and went off for our excursions. My horse ride was fantastic, with just 4 other people, a lovely Scottish couple who’d never ridden before, and 2 kiwi girls. Steve, the ranch guy, was hilarious, friendly and passionate about horses! We saddled up and had a fantastic ride. We  trotted, cantered, trudged  through creeks, pounded the golden beach – it was like something out of a movie, I had to keep reminding myself, This is My Life! Back at the stables we drank lime cordial, chatted, laughed, and admired Steve’s eloquent signage!

Roasting by the pool
Leah and I met back at the pool and roasted ourselves for a few hours, before taking a nice stroll along the beach. My bus picked me up to take me back to cairns at 4.30pm whilst Leah had another night at PK’s – it was truly sad to say goodbye. I felt like I was leaving my friend behind, but I know we’ll keep in touch and hang out back in the UK. 

Missing Leah already
Steve and I went for some farewell beers before my dreaded 11 hour bus ride down to Airlie Beach. Hell on Earth round 2 – but I couldn’t wangle my way out of this one. 12.35am-11am, desperately trying to sleep in an aisle seat with no leg room. 

Felt my first pangs of home sickness and was even missing Leah!

Let’s hope Airlie is worth leaving beautiful cairns, wonderful friends, and a horrific bus journey…. Will keep you posted!

Beautiful Cape Trib - Goodbye Lovely Far North Queensland, I will miss you.

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