Friday, July 11, 2008

A Slam Dunk

We just returned from a fantastic vacation on Dunk Island. The island itself is located in the state of Queensland which is about a 4-hour plane ride north of Melbourne. Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef and Dunk sits right on the far-north tip of the reef. We took a commercial airliner from Melbourne into Cairns and then a 5-seater (!!!) puddle-jumper plane to the island. Ben was gripping the seat arms during that flight.

The Dunk Island Resort is the only hotel/resort on the island and the remainder is protected national rainforest. You can walk the entire island in about 3-4 hours so it is fairly small. Our room at the resort opened up on to the beach and Brammo Bay and we were able to watch beautiful sunsets every evening.

Ben did the island rainforest walk up Mount Kootaloo which is a 45-minute walk UPHILL to the top. Good exercise and gorgeous views. He also did the Sunset Sea Kayak Tour which he really enjoyed.

Between the Aussie mainland and Dunk Island is a tiny island called Purtaboi. We rented a small boat take us to Purtaboi for a family picnic and exploring which was great - sort of like "Gilligan's Island" - except our picnic hamper had champagne....the island is very rocky and the "beach" is almost all coral so you need water shoes or something to protect your feet.

We enjoyed the beaches, swimming pools (solar-heated - brrrr!), sea-kayaking (saw a 15ft. sea turtle while out on the kayaks), jet skiing, beautiful sunsets and good food. The beach and rainforest scenery are out of a picture book and it was fun to watch people gaping (when we weren't staring at the beauty ourselves).

I took a snorkeling trip out to the
Eddy Reef which is a small horseshoe part of the Great Barrier Reef. It's a 1 1/2 hour fast boat trip out to the site so lots of people were getting seasick which was kind of gross, but once we got there everyone was fine. I did snorkel and also ended up doing an introductory scuba dive with an instructor. The dive is handheld and they take you down about 20 feet to "swim with the fishes". We got to put our hand inside a GIANT clam, touch sea anemones and watch an octopus scurry away. Just truly incredible....I think I want to go for the diver certification now.

The island is home to the
Ulysses Butterfly which has an electric blue wingspan of 5 1/2 inches. One landed on my sarong for a moment and it was just the most gorgeous thing.

Kaia and Ben took a couple of jet-skiing rides. I can already tell Kaia has a need for speed.
And I promised to blog on the insects - put it bluntly they were HUGE. We saw a Golden Orb Spider on the resort. Stunning in a fearsome-size kind of way. You could totally tell we were tourists because all the Aussies were just walking right by us while we are staring at the size of this thing. Just so you know, that spider is a SHE. The one we saw was as large as Ben's entire hand (not just the palm). She hangs out on her web (which was strung about 12 feet above the sidewalk BETWEEN trees) and all her teeny tiny (think the size of your pinkie fingernail) boyfriend spiders (the males) crawl around on the edges of web waiting for a mating opportunity.

Makes me glad I'm a she and not a he....

No comments: