Saturday – July 11, 2009 –
Today was our last day in Central Australia, but we had one thing left to do after breakfast. We went to the camel stables for an express camel ride. Jeff and I mounted the same camel where we were guided around a coral. This wasn’t quite the Egyptian fantasy you have of riding a camel for the first time, and we had to wear bike helmets! But it was still a neat experience for only AUD$20. It was an interesting introduction to the camel culture of the Outback. Camel trains were critical to the exploration of interior Australia from Darwin to Adelaide.
Afterwards, our transfer took us to the Ayer’s Rock airport. Our flight left Ayer’s Rock at 14:30 for Cairns, one of the most important cities in northeastern Australia’s Queensland state. As we left the desert-like scorched interior, we soon arrived over the lush and tropical greenery of Queensland. We arrived in Cairns around 17:30.
Then we took a transfer bus to the resort town of Port Douglas, located about 40 miles north of Cairns. Along the way, we admired the palms, banyan trees and sandy beaches which all looked like the landscape of Hawaii. Then we arrived in Port Douglas, a small resort town known as a base for exploring the world-famous Great Barrier Reef located nearby offshore.
We checked into our hotel, the Hotel Stella. Then we explored the tourist town and ate dinner at the Café Fresq. We had to go to bed relatively early because we booked a tour to the Great Barrier Reef in the morning!