Ant and Christine do Oz travel blog

Tuesday 4 August

Our catamaran trip over to the Green Island resort was not until 1pm so that gave us time to repack and put all the warmer clothes into a suitcase that we could leave at the Shangrila, as we had decided to have an extra night there on the way back from the rainforest, which was a big help. The weather was typically tropical, bright blue skies, but warm rather than hot. The cat journey was only 45 mins – I was a little nervous about being a poor sailor but it was no problem, and the journey was beautiful – lovely views of Cairns nestling in the background of the hills and mounting excitement as we saw Green Island getting bigger on the horizon. We expected to be met by Robinson Crusoe, as it looked just like you’d expect a tropical island to look like, fringed by light coloured sand with dark green trees covering the middle of the island.

We pulled into a long jetty, and the well-oiled organisation rolled into action, with the rep meeting us off the cat and our luggage appearing beside us. Green Island is only small – it takes about 20 minutes to walk round the periphery – and the resort hotel and a small number of tourist shops are well hidden in the interior. There are 46 rooms, so the number of overnight visitors is limited but there is a thriving day tripper business out of Cairns which swells the daytime numbers. The last cat is at 4.30pm and all the shops close after that, so it’s pretty quiet.

The resort was well planned and laid out, all on two floors around a winding boardwalk which occupied about half of the island. The Green Island/Mai Tai/rainforest part of the holiday had been arranged as a mini-package by the nice gay guys at Mai Tai, so there was a fixed itinerary which we were happy to stick to. They had had difficulties in getting a room for us on Green Island so I had pulled the “silver wedding/50th birthdays” plea and they had managed to find us a room altho not one of the luxury suites as they would normally do. I don’t know what the luxury suites were like but our room was perfectly lovely, a spacious bedroom with two double beds, balcony overlooking the trees (everyone’s did as the resort was surrounded by them – nobody had a beach view) and a nice big bathroom, one floor up which was perfect as there was no chance of being disturbed by anyone passing by on the boardwalk. It felt v tropical – lush green vegetation, including various palms, and exotic plants, birds and birdsong, including a distinctive sound coming from the buff-banded rails, which have no natural predators on the island so they are many and plentiful.

We dumped our stuff and went to pick up our wetsuits and snorkels, which were part of the deal. The guy in the watersports shop was typically Australian, laid back and helpful, and gave us some tips on how to snorkel. We wandered down to the beach, which was quite narrow, and grabbed a couple of sunbeds while we relaxed with an ice cream even though the weather was not brilliantly sunny. I held my ice-cream over the side of the sunbed to stop it dripping on me and nearly jumped out of my skin when something grabbed hold of it. It was one of the banded rails, which we came to realise were v bold, indeed shameless when it came to food.

Ant was keen to snorkel in advance of our day trip the following day to the outer Barrier Reed - Green Island is on the inner reef, where the fish and coral is good but not quite as exotic as on the outer reef. We struggled into our wetsuits (too much cake and coffee) and Ant made a foray into the water. He soon came back, desperate for me to join him as he was so excited with how good it was. We went out into the shallow water, and I put my mask on and mouthpiece in and put my head forward to dive under the sea. I had not expected that my (v mild) claustrophobia would kick in and it made me panic even before I had put my head in. This happened a couple of times, but finally I got may act together and could see why Anthony ad been so keen. Even though the water where we were was barely 4 feet deep, putting your head under water was like sticking it into an aquarium. There were lots of fish of brilliant colours, and various wildly different types of coral. The water was slightly murky but not enough to prevent having a great view. It really was v special.

We spent a v happy half hour looking at all there was to see before we realised the day trippers had left, the lifeguards packed away, and the sun beginning to set. This meant ti was time to go and watch the fish feeding – the resort does this off the jetty every night at 5pm, so off we trotted to watch the water looking like it was coming to the boil as all the fish clamoured for the titbits. The big daddy was a huge reef cod which hovers under the jetty and emerges to push the others out of the way to grab its share. Fish feeding over, it was time for Mitchell feeding so we had free drinks on the beach in the dying rays of the sun, and then a v pleasant dinner on the semi-outdoor restaurant. Our waitress was a chatty lass from Hartlepool who was working her way round the world, and we tried a local delicacy of mud crabs, which was delicious. We went to bed tired but happy.

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