Queensland and January

Old Jan 5th, 2007, 01:29 PM
  #1  
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Queensland and January

Greetings! My family is planning to go to NZ and AU right after Christmas 2007. I know that's the most crowded time to be there, but it's the only option we have. We'll be traveling with our sons (ages 7 and 4 then), who are crazy for wildlife. I was thinking that, in addition to a quick tour of Sydney, we'd go to Port Douglas so that we could take them to the Daintree, Mossman Gorge, etc., but I'm concerned about beastly weather. Is it likely to be awful? Are there alternative destinations within AU that I should consider?

Many thanks for your help!
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Old Jan 6th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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Actually, the weather is quite delightful in Port Douglas today, cloudy morning giving way to sun and blue sky. Perfect reef conditions with a balmy 10-15knot ENE. It's humid so a bit unpleasant for manual outside workers, but that shouldn't affect tourists with resort pools and a/c rooms, shops and restaurants. And certainly of no concern on reef.

But if your sole reason for coming is for your 4 and 7yo to see wildlife (am assuming you mean native animals in wild on land) you could be disappointed. Much of the wildlife is nocturnal and demands some perserverance to spot, I think beyond the patience levels of young kids.
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Old Jan 6th, 2007, 11:28 PM
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Pat,

Thank you so much for your response! Is today's weather typical for January in Port Douglas? (I was there once, but in March, which was lovely.) In terms of wildlife, I think they're most interested in the crocs - my husband and I certainly were impressed with our Daintree tour many years ago. Are there other places, though, where we'd have some luck seeing them (other than, say, the Australia Zoo)?

-Mia
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Old Jan 8th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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yes, pretty typical for January, miamatusow. Actually is even nicer today than 2 days ago when I posted, clear sky, a light northerly breeze which is the best here as it comes off the sea. Ideal reef conditions. At the moment there is no monsoonal activity forecast, these days the heavier rain seems to come later, April was the wettest month last year. Humidity is 67%, just a little higher than today in Sydney, and forecast max is 31C.

Daintree River is probably your best bet for estuarine crocs in the wild, they're all over the north and the Daintree operators are experts at finding them. And they don't feed crocs on Daintree, so no "jumping croc" spectacles. Your kids would probably love Hartley's Creek for croc show(they do feed them there) and other native animals, its on highway south of Port Douglas. But there's no shortage of crocs in any wildlife park in the north, as well as about 20,000 of them penned at a croc farm south of Cairns. You can only visit this as part of a tour, Big Cat does trips up Trinity Inlet from Cairns to the farm. Its not for everyone, it is a farm and these crocs are bred for meat and skins.
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Old Jan 8th, 2007, 09:50 PM
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Pat: Thank you so much for your reply! (I've also enjoyed your insight on other postings!) I had been thinking about perhaps avoiding the Port Douglas area because of the weather, but you're certainly changing my mind. We're thinking about flying into Sydney, spending a few days in that area, then driving up to the Brisbane area over the course of a few days. I just saw the website for Tangalooma, which I'm considering for a couple of days, too. But then perhaps we should take a flight up to your neck of the woods. Hmmm...food for thought.

(As for the crocs, my kids are nature guys, so the fact that they don't feed the Daintree crocs is probably a plus.) I wish we had months - rather than weeks - to spend because I'd love to see WA, do some winetasting in SA, show my boys my old stomping grounds (lived in Melbourne as a small girl), etc. Australia is delightfully big - with so many things to see and do. It's tough to prioritize.
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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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For close encounters with wild animals go to the Atherton Tablelands while in Cairns. At Granite Gorge you can hand feed wild Mareeba Rock Wallabies. Go to Lake Barrine to see the tiny Hypsy, the smallest and most primative kangaroo. If you miss out on Platypus in the local creeks and rivers then at Tarzalli Lakes south of Malanda one can see them there. They have a "no see, no fee gaurantee," of which they are quite proud. Possums and tree-kangaroos can be seen occasionally in the day time at the Curtain Fig near Yungaburra but it is best to stay until after dark and take a guided tour. The kids can sleep on the trip back to Cairns or you could base yourself on the Tablelands for a couple of nights. I reccommend Yungaburra.


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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 09:47 PM
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Hi miamatusow; I meant the non-feeding of crocs on Daintree as a plus too. Maybe they're not so hungry in January anyway, we have a case up north where a Cairns' cop was grabbed by his head by a 3 metre croc while spearfishing. It then spat him out! Make you will of that, but he's OK, just a few cuts about face and scalp. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious, acting Cairns police Supt Katarina Carroll told the Cairns Post "he's a very lucky boy .. when someone gets bitten in the head by a croc, they're very lucky to survive".

Tree Roos given you some good advice for non-croc wildlife spotting in Tableland, and its much cooler and less humid up there than on the coast in summer.
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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 11:50 PM
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Thank you both so much for your feedback! What would you think of our staying at Zanzoo and doing one day on the Daintree and another with a guide, perhaps in the Tablelands area? Does that make any sense? Would those days be so packed full that we'd need a "down day" in between?

That's hilarious about the cop, although not for him, poor guy. But it's good to know that they're not too hungry in January - I've heard that they're partial to Americans, of which I am one.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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miamatsow, Zanzoo B&B, a bit out of Cairns city, is first-rate choice of any property in north. Beautifully restored traditional Queenslander on 14 acres with a river running through property, a far cry from the new cookie cutter resorts which can cost at least 3 times as much. Its only a few minutes drive to Crystal Cascades, just a lovely rainforested area with clear, cool fresh water - safe swimming with no crocs or jellyfish. Kids love the bottom section, and there's very few tourists! Marc at Zanzoo can arrange Daintree and Tableland trips and give you all the local advice you need. To my knowledge there's only 3 genuine Queenslander B&B's left in Cairns area and Zanzoo is one of them.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Well that sounds just wonderful! As soon as we're able to book flights (the airlines don't accommodate travel that far in advance, evidently), they'll be my first call. Many thanks!
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