May 5th, 2016 - Day 33 - Docked at Townsville, Australia

We had breakfast at the Grand Dining Room.

Jim had a Cheese Blintz with Berries Compote.  Pat had a bowl of berries and half a grapefruit. 

Our tour today is to the World Heritage Rainforest Discovery.  We met our group on the pier.

Our guide is Zack and is driving the van.  In the other van is Ross who is the other guide.

There are 200,000 population in Townsville.  8,000 are in the service.  Their main source of income is industry and a little tourist business.  

Saw a funny sign on the road "Don't  Sleep and Drive"

Another sign "Rest if Sleepy"

Zack played a song I think the name might be Three Rivers Hotel by a local artist, Slim Dusty, that sounds like Willie Nelson.

Along the highway we saw lots of Termite Mounds. 

On our 90 minute drive we enjoyed a picturesque drive up the coast before turning inland.

On the ascent to McClellans Look Out in Paluma Range National Park, the road became very curvy and the rain forest denser.

We passed Noah's Ark Creek named after a huge rock that looks like a ark and it sure did look like an ark.

When we arrived Ross was our naturalist and guide as we began our walking tour through the Wet Tropics Rainforest. This was not a ordinary forest, as it has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional natural beauty, and remarkable ancestry.  All of Australia's marsupials and most of its other animals originated in rainforests, and the closest living relatives can be found in the Wet Tropics.

Ross pointed out various flora and fauna.  Many of the species are found no where else in the world, including green possums, tree kangaroos and tooth billed catbirds. Although the only animal we saw there was the Australian brush-turkey.

There are more than 2,800 types of plants that thrive there, including cycads and some of the world's first flowering plants.  We enjoyed walking through this natural cathedral as some call it.  We saw some hoot vine tall trees and strangler fig trees.  Not sure how to spell this one Quond Dong but going to look it up.  We saw a lot of fungus and a beautiful shell fungus.  We saw buttress roots.  It was a very interesting walk.

We then took another ride for thirty minutes over bumpy and dirt roads to the Hidden Valley Cabins.  We had lunch at a beautiful outdoor area.  Jim had steak and Pat had chicken.  There were great salads...pasta salad, potato salad, 3 bean salad, marinated onions, sliced tomatoes, beets for Jim, and the best homemade bread.  We enjoyed our lunch outdoors among beautiful colorful birds that made so much noise but we loved the sound. Not sure of the name of the birds but they were red, black and yellow.  We heard they might be a Noisy Pitta or Rainbow Lorikeets.

We started our drive back to the port.  We saw a wallaroo on our drive out.  It was whitish.

We stopped at Mount Speck which some say is  named after a horse or others say the rocks were blasted and found specks of tin in them.  There was a creek and waterfall and we saw 2 swimmers swimming in the water. 

Zack played the Slim Dusty CD on the way home.

It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back to the port.

We got back to the ship at 5:10 PM and the shipped sailed at 5:30 PM.  After our group got back they lifted up the steps.

There was a jazz duo singing and playing music as we set sail.

We left Townsville at 5:35 PM.

We had dinner in the Grand Dining Room.

Jim had Iceberg Lettuce with Creamy Goat Cheese and Miso and Anchovy Dressing for his salad.  For his main course he had Canard a l'Orange:  Crispy Duck with Orange Sauce Potato Gratin and Braised Red Cabbage.

Pat had Cantaloupe, Grapefruit and Raspberries with Sweet Coteaux du Layon Wine for her appetizer.  For her main course she had Stir Fried Vegetable Pad Thai with Glass Noodles, Fried Eggs, Tofu and Peanuts.

For dessert we shared Pavlova with Passion Fruit and Caramel Sauce. 

Goodnight from somewhere on the sea!