Port Douglas, Day 2

Port Douglas Travel Blog

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3.45am and all hell breaks loose. Some fuzzy Australian early morning radio station, the mobile and call back all duly worked... as well as a text from the UK as more backup. Thanks Maggie!

The reason for this rising at this ungodly hour was that I was being picked up at 4.15 am for my hot air balloon ride.

At the apointed hour the minubus turned up with a few folk already on board, picked up a few more and then drove us off to a meeting point. Out for a quick comfort break, 'cos that was it for 2 hours, then off to the ballon launch site.

4.15 by the roadside was pleasantly warm. 5.15 and 3000m up the mountins wasn't and I was beginning to regret the shorts only policy. Light jumper to the rescue though.

There were 5 being launched and as I was only flying for 30 mins, it gave a good opportunity for some pics whilst the 60 minuterers hopped on the balloon and off they went.

 We then had the fun of chasing it around the Atherton Tablelands until it landed and I climbed on board for my 1/2 hour.

Well, it was a size! 20 people in the basket, plus pilot, and the balloon was 12 stories high. More hot air than a work's management meeting, but only just. When the burners were lit, it was bloody warm on the top of the head. OK, so there's not much protection on the hair front these days, but I had to put a hand there to keep comfortable. However, the views were spectacular and the ride serene. You don't feel any breeze 'cos you're moving at the same speed. logical, just never thought of it that way. The pilot was cheerfully informtive and spot on where we'd be landing.

After landing.. and yes, it was bumpy, we helped pack the balloon away and were whisked off to a champagne breakfast.

Then it was transport back to PD and on arrival it was but 11.00 am. body clock gone mad, so off to bed for a couple of hours for a kip.

Duly refreshed, I rose and took a stroll round PD in daylight. The much vaunted 4 mile Beach, of which I did about 75 yards, a jolly pleasant grassy are overlooking the bay and a nosy in a few shops and restaurants.

I also needed to sort out how to get from PD to Palm cove for 6.45 am on monday as I'd a dive trip booked and they didn't pick up form PD. It hadn't looked that far on the map, but then again, I hadn't bothered to read the scale. Anyway, public transport was a non-starter, the receptionist suggested hopping onto an airport shuttle at 5.00am and a taxi was likely to cost zillions of dolars. So..

.. off to a car hire place who were very reasonable and because of the time I needed the car and the fact that they shut at 12.00 on Saturdays, offered me an extra 1/2 day for, in the title of the film, a few dollars more. Turned out the guy was a fellow Evertonian! Splendid natter about the forthcoming season.

I then wandered down to the lookout point and spent a pleasant hour just looking out over the bay watching the sun go down. Took a few pics, but it didn't quite turn into the sunset of wonderful phot opportunity I'd hoped for. Atmospheric conditions unfavourable, I guess. Still, they'll be others.

Back to the apartment, the geography of PD now absorbed, I showered, changed and headed off into town for refreshment. There weren't that many bars but I found the Central Hotel, so stopped for a schooner or two (See, got the lingo already!) and as they served food, decided to combine both, especially as there wa sjolly decent conbo doing a good music session. Never thought a duo could pull off ''Comfortably Numb' but they did.

Fed and watered, I strolled home to rest my head.



marinabelle says:
Oh my God! Wonderful photographs, this must have been a fantastic experience - I am full of envy, would love to do this! Haze X
Posted on: Aug 22, 2008
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Port Douglas
photo by: sweettangerine