Saturday, February 16, 2013

Who'll Stop the Rain?

The answer is - not us.

When we arrived in Cairns with Sarah and Ken, the weather was beautiful.  Blue skies with a few fluffy, white clouds and lots of humidity - just what you would expect from the tropics.

We drove along the Captain Cook Highway up to our condo in Port Douglas.  Still beautiful.  We had lunch and unpacked our luggage.  Still beautiful.  We head out to get a few groceries.  Look, it's greying up.  We arrive at Coles.  Cue the downpour.

After getting our groceries, we called to get our reservations for a cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef and were met with "we are most likely cancelling our cruises tomorrow because of rain and swell."  No matter, we will head up to the marina and talk to a few of the cruises in person.  Same answer for the next two days and here's why - stupid cyclone Oswald, which was causing 3.5 metre swell with 35 knot wind.

Now, we're not stupid.  We knew we were taking a risk heading up to Port Douglas during the rainy season, however when people are visiting from the US, what do they want to see?  The Great Barrier Reef, of course.  This is the second time our family of four has been up to Port Douglas and both times cruises were shut down because of wind.  Maybe we should go buy a lottery ticket!

So what does one do in Port Douglas during a cyclone, you may be asking.  First of all, you refuse to let it spoil your holiday.  We determined as a group that we were going to have fun no matter what.  We asked around a few places, and it was recommended that we head up to the Atherton Tablelands.  We took the advice and had a great time.

It was a fair amount of driving, but we had lots of fun.  Firstly, we visited Coffee Works in Mareeba.  We sat out on the beautiful porch for lunch.  The rain was gorgeous on the tin roof - very relaxing sitting out in nature.  Which was good, as we were tasting lots of coffee.

Not even all of the coffees we tried
We were also able to try some tea and chocolate, which were lovely, but for me it's the coffee.  Yum!

Lunch was delicious - only made better by the atmosphere

The also had a coffee museum.  Lots of interesting artifacts about tea and coffee.  Here are a few of my favorite finds!

If it's been baptised, does that make
drinking coffee a holy experience?
Loved this ad!

Cute take of the Three Bears

We decided to head on towards Atherton, which didn't have that much exciting.  So we headed back towards a lake and dam, just because.  On our way we passed the Humpy Nuthouse.  Sarah and I decided that we must stop.  We wondered if they were aware of that American slang or were just being cheeky.  The answer is always "cheeky" - however I learned later that humpy is a bush term for an old tin shack (thanks Kim!).

The joke was on us because we bought several bags of nuts.  We were a big fan of the lime and pepper peanuts!  Sarah and I both bought mugs to commemorate the visit!

Pretty lake with clouds

We decided to head out towards Barron Falls and then back to Port Douglas for dinner.  Bri and I had seen Barron Falls when my parents were visiting, so I was curious to see it in the rain.  I got to see it - barely.

Completely in the mist

It did clear up a bit and we were also able to see a bit of wildlife.

I love seeing through the clouds

Bush Turkeys, I  believe

We decided to call it a day at that point.  It was still bucketing and we wanted to get back to Port Douglas before dark.  We wanted to see more waterfalls and planned out a route to see them the next day.  Didn't happen - here's why.

Maybe a swim instead

It's my arms!

Still pretty

Oh, well.  Back to Port Douglas for some Thai food.  Except no, the Thai place was closed for lunch on that day because of course it was!  We wandered around Port Douglas for a bit, had a lovely nap - including the children - and wandered the beach for a little bit in the late afternoon.

Port Douglas was a wash-out, but we still managed to have a great time just being together.  We were just hoping to be able to leave the next day...

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