Port Douglas

It didn’t take us very long to really like Port Douglas. Actually, it’s the first town that we’ve seen in Australia (except Sydney four years ago) that we wanted to stay in for more than a night. It helps that the (nice but cramped) campground is only 100 meters away from the beautiful beach and only 200 meters away from downtown … which is really not much more than a single, pleasant street lined with cafes, shops and restaurants. It’s all a bit upscale (the lady running the campground called it “toffy”) and rather expensive … but not in a way that we found bothering.

We went for a few walks along the four mile long beach, bought fresh prawns right off the fishing boats …

… had local oysters for happy hour …

… before enjoying the sunset.

Port Douglas really reminds us of our vacation in Hawaii. Except that there are gigantic fruit bats flying down the streets at dusk.

We really came here to take a snorkeling trip out to the Great Barrier Reef (it’s quit close to the coastline), but the weather (yet again) won’t allow it. It’s been mostly cloudy and we’ve had some short tropical downpours, but the real problem is the wind, which has been blowing with 30 knots for the last days. That makes the water just too rough to go out and especially to snorkel. The very few tour operators that run trips don’t seem to come back with very satisfied clients … in the evenings, we’ve watched them stagger off the boat with green faces, clutching their barf bags.

The forecast calls for absolutely no change in the next week and after two (very pleasant) days of waiting, we’ve decided to head even further north to the Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation, where the paved road ends. The plan is to spend a few days up there, before coming back down to Port Douglas … hopefully by then the wind will have died down and we will be able to go out to the reef for a day. Time is running out a bit, we only have about a week remaining before we return the camper in Cairns and fly inland to Alice Springs.

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