Monday, 31 October 2011

Palm Cove - Day Twenty Six

Dear Lola,

Today is our last day on holidays! But don't despair little one, because come November 10th we will once again be boarding that big, funny thing we point to in excitement and say "plane, Lola, plane!" to go to New Zealand for a month. Although lets not get ahead of ourselves quite yet as we still have today to explore!

And explore we did as we headed back into Cairns to check out the sights. We filled up on felafel's for lunch in the comfort of Cairns shopping complex, and then let you loose on the Christmas display at Myers. You gently touched all things sparkly and were not at all impressed when we had to buckle you back in your stroller! What else would we expect, your middle name is Noelle after all.

Cairns art gallery was our next stop, and let us tell you baby girl, these galleries are so baby proof that we had enough time to admire the art without worrying about you getting into something you shouldn't. Best place to take a baby by far! If we didn't know better we would have sworn you yourself were a famous piece of artwork judging from the smiles and looks of admiration you were getting from everyone in the room.

The hot sun was beating down so a lovely, relaxing swim in the lagoon along the esplanade was a perfect idea before we bundled back into the car for the drive home to Palm Cove.

We strolled the main street of Palm Cove soaking in the salty atmosphere. What better way to spend our last night then by sitting by the seashore enjoying some delicious Indian. You wouldn't be our child if you didn't like butter chicken and naan, so it's a lucky thing you not only ate that, but soaked your naan in raita too. That's our girl!

We are off home tomorrow sweet girl. We may be leaving behind a little piece of paradise, but we have our own piece waiting for us when we get back home. 

Your mama

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Palm Cove - Kuranda - Day Twenty five

Dear Lola, 

You slept like the little champ you are last night and awoke all bright eyed and ready to jump straight in the pool this morning. You love the water, you always have ever since you were just a wee newborn. Despite this you haven't had that much practice going under water. That all changed this morning, as we dunked you over and over (to your delight I might add). Following this I waited in nervous anticipation as you and papa braved the croc slide in our pool. What was I worried about, you flew down it and hit the water with a splash! There were no tears, a cheeky smile and a look on your face as if asking "again?" 

Midday saw us hit the road with our destination being Kuranda (in the hills west of Cairns), and what we found was a quirky, colourful, fun little town. First stop was the butterfly sanctuary, where we oohed & aahed at all the flutter butterflies flying around and landing on us. Lola you stretched your arms as far as you could and even caught a butterfly in your little hand.

Look mama a butterfly

A stroll through the town & the alley markets in search for lunch was a cheeky little adventure, as we immersed ourselves in the quirky town atmosphere.

Back at home mama napped while papa took you for another splish splash and run about the grass. We strolled into town and dined by the water on coral trout and delicious antipasto platter. You approved of the fish, but preferred the bed of mash it was sitting on.

Your mama

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Palm Cove - Green Island - Day Twenty four

Dear Lola, 

We are excited to touch base with Cairns this morning before we board a boat to Green Island. As it is a Saturday the esplanade is buzzing with seaside markets, picnics and live music. Situated amongst the fun chaos is a huge swimming area, complete with sand. shade covers & abstract, stainless still water features. As we look over the blue, still, untouchable water, we feel it's a shame that one can't swim in it, but  decide that the huge lagoon pool is a pretty good alternative. 

Boarding our boat 'The Reef Rocket', we are advised that ginger tablets are available for those experiencing sea sickness and for best results take one NOW. I believe my last words were "If Lola is fine, I'll be fine." Pretty much as soon as the motor started I felt quesy. I spent a majority of the trip standing at the front of the boat focusing all my efforts on the horizon. Papa had you out back, you were less than thrilled as the boat trip coincided with your midday nap, and there was no chance of you napping in these rocky waters. We were more than happy to get off that boat and the beauty of the island and crystal blue waters soon made everything better. 

We took it in turn to snorkel, Lola you finally got your nap and we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing by the water.

Highlight of the snorkelling was swimming with this guy

The colourful array of fish and coral life was incredible. As I didn't do a reef tour, I felt I saw my special, little piece of the reef today. We walked around half the island, we lost your hat, & before we knew it we were all waving farewell to Green Island from the boat. 

Mama took Papas advice this time and the ginger tablets worked a treat! With the wind in our hair and Cairns city fast approaching, we felt so incredibly blessed to have explored and swam in the surrounding waters of Green Island. A day we won't soon forget. 

A picnic dinner of Wok in Box noodles on the balcony as you watched kids splashing about in the pool was a perfect way to end the day.

Your mama

Friday, 28 October 2011

Palm Cove - Day Twenty three

Dear Lola, 

Time to pack our belongings up yet again as we make the journey to Palm Cove. We don't know what to expect of this town, our accommodation was a mystery deal when we booked it, and we were pleasantly surprised when we are informed that we were staying at the Novotel. Our comfortable room overlooks the lagoon style pools, infamous croc water slide & restaurant. It is surprisingly peaceful as we have a bunch of palm trees providing privacy & shade to our balcony. Nothing is over two stories tall in this town, so there is that nice sense of wide open space.

We stroll into town and discover a little piece of paradise. A long, tree lined street  with the ocean on one side and busy restaurants and shops lining the other. The bricked street has a posh feel to it, although the tastefully coloured buildings & relaxed vibe of the place gives it a bohemian edge. The huge, towering palms that line the road explain the name.

Several islands are visible from the seashore & jetty, and when I ask Marty whether or not he would swim to one of them for a large sum of money, the short answer is no. Crocs are a big risk in these waters!

The evening is spent swimming in the pool and dining at the restaurant. Lola, you haven't been eating very much of late, and the reason is soon unveiled as a big tummy laugh exposes that one of your back molars has cut through.

This explains your higher than normal dependency on your dummy over the last few nights. Oh and Lola, we have to use code words around you now as you are just too much of a smarty pants. Code word for dummy is any German word we can think of, which makes us laugh, especially when Marty says "should we give Lola her bratwurst?"

Better get some rest now as we are off to Green Island tomorrow.

Your mama

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Port Douglas - Day Twenty two -

Dear Lola,

Breakfast was served by the seashore today. Some days you're not particularly interested in pursuing a morning nap, and it's on these days that we have breakfast al fresco.This is our last day in Port Douglas, a place we have grown very fond of. The relaxed lifestyle that this place evokes often leaves us questioning what day it is, and don't even ask what time it is, as our response is a silent, blank stare, often relying on the sun or whether or not our tummies are grumbling for food.

A big midday nap allows Papa to read by the pool as I put my feet up and doze on the couch. 

The warm afternoon leads up back to the shade of our palm tree at the beach. We swim and then join efforts in building a gigantic moat with several castles. Papa chases and catches a crab, announcing the snappy critter Sebastian - King of Crab County! Lola you are fearless as Sebastian crawls in your hand and you watch intensely at his every move.

 As the sun is setting we stroll into town for one last walk down main street. A passion fruit sorbet refreshes us all, as we decide where to eat dinner. I vote Mexican , and before we know it you are tucking into a burrito and enchilada!

Off to Palm Cove in the morning!
Your mama

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Port Douglas - Day Twenty One

Dear Lola,

Having re-discovered how much you adore the beach, after your morning nap we find ourselves splashing & walking about the sea-shore again. Oh and you also ate half a watermelon.

In the afternoon we decide to go on a river cruise down the Daintree River. We board our electric eco-boat and spend the next hour pointing out crocs, electric blue kingfishers, snakes dangling from trees & spoon bills (birds) and egrets. 

This is your best boat cruise yet, as you sit still 95% of the trip, banging rocks together, pointing to birds & munching on crackers. Of course everyone on our boat is offered a soggy cracker, and a wave. You also get up close to two baby bats that have been rescued. You say "bat" and point to the little furry critters and laugh. 

It was a lovely way to spend a warm afternoon and as we drove back to Port D. we were treated to the sun setting over the mountains.

The day wasn't over yet and before we knew it we were strolling along the beach on our way to dinner by the water. Beautiful prawns & mackerel were on the menu, both of which you loved. 

Your mama

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Port Douglas - Day Twenty

Dear Lola,

This morning you looked through all the pamphlets for 'things to do' in Port Douglas....

Nothing caught your eye, so we decided to relax & spend the whole day at the beach! We couldn't tear you away from the shoreline - as you waddled along, picking up all sorts of treasures, plonking yourself beside other fellow beach goers, splish splashing in the water - and generally having the bestest, funnest time imaginable!

We had just enough time to check out this beautiful lookout over Port Douglas & Four Mile beach. Say cheese!

Your mama

Monday, 24 October 2011

Port Douglas - Great Barrier Reef - Day Nineteen -

Dear Lola, 

Today papa is off to explore the reef, we have a relaxing day that involves; brunch scones with jam & cream (coffee for mama) at the marina, a play in the park by the harbour, and a swim in the pool & a stroll in town & a choc chip ice-cream for two! 

Over to Papa - 

I left this morning just as you woke up, but I was still able to feed you your Weet-Bix and get a kiss goodbye before I left for a day of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.

I set off from Port Douglas with a group of about 20 snorkelers, as we cruised out toward the reef I watched the clouds rolling over the hills just off the coast.

The barrier reef is an incredible place, one minute you are in the open ocean, then you begin to see waves breaking on the horizon, as you get closer you realise the waves are breaking on the reef and dark blue water is replaced by whites, pinks, browns, and light blue shallows as you approach the each section of the reef.

We would snorkel at 3 different spots, all located in the Agincourt Ribbon Reef section of the Barrier Reef. This is the part of the reef that furthest from land which drops off into the edge of the Coral Sea. 


Over a day of snorkeling, I would see endless coral gardens & crazy underwater rock structures;

I would encounter many colourful fish of all shapes and sizes; parrot fish, colourful wrasse, barracudas, clownfish (nemos), and many others;

There were giant clams nearly as big as me! Little ones too;

At the last reef stop my mission to find a shark was completed. After spotting three inquisitive reef sharks circling below me they seemed to follow me everywhere! Over an hour in the water I must have bumped into them about six times. They were about 1.5 - 2m long and didn’t seem threatening (or threatened) but I was always looking over my shoulder in case there were some bigger specimens around;

After a long day on the reef, and a cruise home watching turtles and dolphins swim past the boat it was a perfect end as you and mama were waiting at the gate to welcome me back home for a swim, dinner, and a relaxing evening.

Also worth noting are the perils of snorkeling alone, there are certain places even the longest arms cant rub sunscreen…

PS: Thanks Auntie Jules & Uncle Jimmy for the lend of their underwater camera

Your mama & papa