Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yorkeys Knob here we come!

Tropical Far North Queensland - Yorkeys Knob, Cairns to Port Douglas 70kms

Where the reef meets the rainforest
It's the July school holidays and we're joining the Melbourne exodus in search of some winter warmth. We've used some long forgotten Air-miles and will support the local economy by staying local... Well not that local! The three and a half hour flight to Cairns will transport us to palm trees, banana plantations, tropical rain forests, Four-mile beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.

Our eldest Wren-let is not with us, Beanz has returned to Europe and is currently studying Apartheid in South Africa before traveling to Rwanda to learn about Genocide. What an incredible degree she is piecing together and what an amazing time to be completing the Seeking Justice course - my Twitter feed, set to CNN and BBC Breaking News is full of daily updates on Nelson Mandela's health...

So it is just the four of us that front up at the Qantas Lounge having somehow arrived way too early for our flight. As the kids have got older it becomes more and more difficult to stretch the accompanying visitor allowance to get a gaggle of leggy teenagers into the lounge, but today they wave us through with a flash of a Gold card and a cheery "Good Afternoon Sir". I tweet a thank you in grateful recognition from my comfy seat, a good use of the free Internet connection methinks, as we settle in to enjoy the facilities...Gotta love Qantas xx

A nice way to start the holiday!
Cairns is one of those regional airports where you can pick up the keys to the rental car, whilst keeping an eye on your baggage arriving on the carousel, have a quick chat with the desk about the best route, and still be on the road quicker than the time it takes to reach the Arrivals Hall in one of our main capital cities...

We're heading to Yorkeys Knob about 10 minutes north from the airport, named after a colourful Pioneer called Yorkey and the knob-like hill he purchased in the 1880's... At least that's the story I heard and the one I'm reporting... As we drive down the main esplanade the place appears deserted. We are delayed by stopping to allow a baby echidna shuffling across the road, a safe passage. Clearly disorientated by the bright lights of the headlights, the little spiny anteater turns in circles... We suspect he has been extremely unlucky with his timing tonight, it is not a high traffic road... We wait patiently to ensure our prickly friend is safely off the road before continuing on...
Looking down to Yorkeys Knob beach
We are staying at A Villa Gail Bed and Breakfast. Never looking much further than the first page of the Trip Advisor recommendations, (A Villa Gail is top of the list) our booking was confirmed after speaking with Gail, who was so friendly and clearly loved having guests to stay that we couldn't wait to meet her.

It was Gail's suggestion to book us in for dinner at the Yorkeys Knob Boating Club and Half Moon Bay Marina and we relieved to arrive to find the car park full and the restaurant packed... So this is where everyone is! We promptly ordered a nice looking pull apart loaf to keep us going, and forgave them the hour wait for dinner... Sitting out under a massive shade sail, on a balmy July evening surrounded by incredible boats, it was a lovely way to start our holiday.

Yorkeys Knob Boat Club
Tim's foot was flat down on the accelerator of our little Budget rental car as we drove up millionnaires row to the top of the world. A Villa Gail is perched at the top of the bluff with spectacular views overlooking the sea. There won't be many places that you will greeted as a long lost friend when you arrive at 10pm at night! We were shown to our own apartment in the grounds, and after checking that the TV reception worked for Wimbledon, we decide on an early night, falling asleep to the sound of the water below. With the alarm set for 5.30am to see the dawn break...

On top of the world...

5.30am was a cloudy start to the day and sunrise not as spectacular as it may have been, but joy of joys, Andy Murray was still playing his semi - final at Wimbledon so all was not lost...

Dawn over the Coral Sea
Later that morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the verandah looking out over the Coral Sea towards Green Island, Double Island and the Arlington Reef.

A yummy breakfast with a great view!
The drive to Port Douglas along the Captain Cook Highway is one of the most beautiful ocean drives in the world, where the reef meets the rainforest. We stop off in the aptly named Paradise Palms for a coffee... And can't wait to see what the next few days brings...

Paradise Palms Golf course

Little Wandering Wren


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