A few months ago, I was invited by my company to spend a few days in the TNQ – or Tropical North Queensland, the north east of Australia. In theory, this should have been synonymous with palm trees, tropical islands and heaps of sun!
In Cairns, with no time to breathe, we went straight to Fitzroy Island. We arrived three quarters of an hour later at the hotel where we had been advised to get our cozzies ready for action. We first started with a tour of the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. We were introduced to one not-so-shy green turtle who had been previously injured. I was expecting a lab where there would be tons of turtles, maybe some scientists, but instead, the centre was like a tiny building where they installed some above ground pools to rehabilitate the turtles. After that, we had free leisure time. Some of us spent time under the water in search of turtles, cool fish and colourful coral in a super un-sexy wetsuit (recommended as it was jellyfish season). A few others were dreaming about exploring Nudey Beach and what it had to offer, but for the rest, the aperitif had already started! We then all met up for a “Sunset” drink under the threatening rain clouds before a delicious dinner.
I still wanted to check out this famous Nudey Beach the next morning at dawn. The beach was accessible by a quick 20 min walk though the tropical rainforest; and despite the name, this beach welcomed young and old (with clothes on). A real scam! Haha, it was still a really relaxing and pretty beach despite the earlybird mosquitos!
A little bit after noon, we made our way to Mission Beach. It was pouring rain the whole way but thankfully we didn’t aquaplane down the road! We could not see anything past 2 meters and the roads were totally flooded! We first stopped at Paronella Park, where the staff welcomed us with a lot of enthusiasm, despite the crazy torrential rain – it was absolutely bucketing! With weather like this, you’d better wear your swimsuit and your flip flops… we could hear the sneakers of everyone making some squish squish noises, haha! On top of that, I was totally eaten alive by hungry, angry mosquitoes but it was (sort of) worth it! The park was a picture of a romantic spot and the rain made it even more dramatic…
They treated us with a nice afternoon tea of tropical fruits, before we headed off to our final stop of the day, Mission Beach! We checked into our rooms with a beautiful view of a stormy sea and wind-blown palm trees.
The next day, we were all praying that the rain would stop so we could jump on a boat to Dunk Island. Unfortunately, the rain had gotten worse, and the expedition to the island was cancelled. Instead, we went chasing the cassowary, the elusive, big, scary, prehistoric bird; and then, we had a little dip in the cold water of Josephine Falls. No need to say that most of us chickened out.
It may have been a wet famil, but the fun and excitement of discovering these places made the experience worthwhile!