Quisland: from jellyfish to ram lizard
What is Queensland? One of the five states of Australia with a subtropical climate, miles of beaches, the lights of luxury hotels, the noise of the ocean tide and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the brightest exotic.
Do not break corals
The Great Barrier Reef – one of the main wonders on Earth – extends from Papua New Guinea to the South Tropic. A chain of coral reefs stretches for two thousand kilometers, most of which are under water, but some appear on the surface at low tide.
First you need to get to Port Douglas – a pretty place with a spacious pier, where yachts creak with gear and swing on the waves of a boat. Every morning, the Quicksilver cruise company catamarans leave for the Great Barrier Reef. An hour and a half of a light breeze – and already on the horizon is visible a giant pontoon drifting on the surface of the ocean. Tourists unload for the whole day – but even a whole day is not enough to catch a snorkel, dive into the abyss on a submarine, fly over a reef in a helicopter and feed the marine inhabitants. The main thing is not to forget to dine yourself, because the company offers a whole set of yummy prepared by the best Queensland chefs.
Divers dive into the wonderful world of underwater caves, coral formations and marine plants that sway with tentacles, trying to capture prey: fish, turtle, shrimp or skate. All this can be photographed even at a depth of twenty meters – the water is transparent, like glass. The only nuisance awaiting the diver is a poisonous jellyfish, or “jelly fish”, that is, “jelly fish”. From its deadly substance, only acid helps – that’s why bottles of vinegar always stand on Australian beaches.
Scientists say that three conditions are necessary for the formation of a reef: a shallow bottom, a clear sea and a warm underwater environment – and this is very rare. Corals grow by three to four millimeters per year, and the largest of them is more than a thousand years old. That is why nothing can be broken off from the Great Barrier Reef – a large fine can be awarded for a small piece.
Koala or termite maker?
On the roads of Queensland, there are a variety of cars – from antique convertibles to ultra-modern sports cars. But classic jeeps prevail with good cross and a steel grill on the hood – in case of a collision with a kangaroo. A shy marsupial creature can bounce in front of a rushing car and fly into the cabin through the windshield.
Full of animals along the road – have time to turn your head. An ostrich emu walks on high stilts, looking for delicacies in the form of beetles and locusts. But the two-meter bungarra lizard, or “race lizard”, scared, rushes to the nearest tree and climbs to the very top with sharp claws and a rough tail. And over there, on a branch, a pretty fluffy koala curled up. How not to take a picture with a typical Australian beast? It’s not known to tourists that it’s not a koala at all, but a termite mound covered in fluff, built on a tree by hardworking ants.
The highway overlooks the ocean and runs along the cliffs along the Queensland coast. A magnificent panorama opens from here: white sandy bays are interspersed with black rock blocks. Clouds walk on the peaks, fog spreads along the gorges, a rainbow rocker is thrown across the water surface. Hillsides covered with dense forests descend directly into the sea – these are the most ancient forests on Earth.
Hills are replaced by dense rainforest, the road rests on the wide Daintree River. On the other side you need to cross on an old ferry, which glides through the water with a creaking iron rope. Daintree flows into the sea, the largest crocodiles in the world are found here – their length reaches ten meters. These are marine crocodiles, they live in semi-salted water and have very strong jaws. Speaking in technical terms, the pressure on compression with a bite is about twenty tons. Not so long ago there was a case: breaking away from the heat, a middle-aged tourist decided to swim in the river. Exactly one and a half minutes later, he crawled ashore without a leg – or rather, without a prosthesis, which he used for many years. The comrades dragged the disabled person away from the water, and the crocodile spat out a prosthesis, chewed up like an Orbit cushion, and yet it was made of heavy-duty material.
Captain Cook’s mistake
The farther north, the more often you come across special moisture-containing palms that grow only in Queensland. They are a man’s height and have a curly black top – that’s why the first white settlers mistook these trees for Aborigines dumbfounded by surprise and called them “black boys”. In our time, such a phrase is politically incorrect, now they say “grass palms.” They grow only one centimeter per year, and by height you can determine how old each tree is – at the same time, three hundred years old is considered very young.
In a fire at these palm trees only the tops burn. But after a few years, two grow on the place of one top. Seeing on a moonlit night a “black boy” with two heads, the British fled in horror. But, getting used to it, they learned how to extract water from the trunks of grassy palm trees.
The science is simple: you need to cut down a tree, break off the top and filter the moisture into a bowl. In one hour, a meter-long piece of trunk gives three quarters of a glass of liquid, although with a taste of wood, but clean and perfectly suitable for drinking. You should be aware that in this way water is received in the early morning when the tree has accumulated it during the cool night hours.
In the middle of the forest, in the depths of the primeval tropics, the Coconut Beach Resort Hotel is located – two dozen stilt houses, each with wicker furniture, mats on the floor and ceiling fans. An unusual combination: the jungle is approaching the threshold, and inside – comfort, hot water and coolness. Restaurant, pool, tennis court, beach and the highest level of service – what else is needed for happiness? Probably an adventure.
At night, the most incredible animals can be seen at the doorstep: a luminous green frog, a marsupial cat, a flying fox, and a tree posum. Do you know that these are completely different animals – possum and posum? When Captain Cook traveled along the coast of Queensland, he saw a creature that looked like a muzzle on a possum, and wrote about this in his report. By chance, he missed the first letter. So they began to call Posum a marsupial animal, which has no affinity with the possum, well-known in Europe.
In the first half of the last century, posums were ruthlessly destroyed. For a long time, the most fashionable in the West were fur coats from chinchilla fur – the so-called furriers Possum fur. If it weren’t for the ban on shooting, we would never again see a living possum, they simply would not have remained, just as there were no marsupial wolves. Rather, in one of the Queensland zoos, only one living marsupial wolf has survived, and now they want to clone it.
At the very edge of the earth
The road runs farther past deserted beaches and sheer cliffs. In 1770, the English sailboat Endeavor ran aground in these parts. The repair took seven weeks, and in memory of the failure, Captain Cook called the treacherous coast of Cape Tribulation, or Cape Napastey. The name is symbolic – from here you should move on already two cars. On one too risky – if something breaks, help will have to wait a long time.
From Cape Tribulation to Cape York, the most extreme point of Queensland (and indeed all of Australia), get at least a week. On the way you will have to overcome all kinds of natural barriers: deserts and mountains, forests and waterfalls, chasms and blockages. Cape York is one of the last unexplored territories on the planet. The history of this sparsely populated area goes back to ancient times and the legends of the natives. Here is a real country of adventure, a desert area inhabited by spirits and creatures not known to science. Dangers await at every turn. Here is a poisonous tree whose leaves cannot be touched – death occurs in half an hour, and there is no medical antidote. True, one small flower always grows next to this tree, chewing which one can save a life. Only Aboriginal people know what he looks like, but they keep their knowledge secret.
From November to March, monsoons and cyclones rage in Cape York, water tornadoes fall on the forests and plants “get drunk” from excess chlorophyll. It’s impossible to drive on roads even on an all-terrain vehicle, giant toads wink from under the snags, hallucinogen mushrooms appear in the glades. But from May to August, not a drop is spilled, everything around dries up, moisture goes deep underground, and only a wild dingo dog can recognize places where water comes close to the surface.
After traveling through the wilderness, it is especially pleasant to be at Surfers Pardise – the main resort of the Queensland Gold Coast, a vacation spot for surfers, sailing and fishing enthusiasts.
After dark, a pleasure boat departs for a night walk along the Gold Coast. The program includes a dinner with an unlimited number of dishes and drinks, an exotic show and a panorama of the lights of a rugged lagoon.
What could be better than outdoor activities, which is remembered by vivid impressions? If you like exotic adventures more than treadmill lying on a beach mattress, welcome to the Australian state of Queensland.