Tuesday 20 March 2012: Washed Out
After the highs of yesterday it was back down to earth with a bump as we landed in Australia. We had been travelling for over 20 hours when we touched down in Cairns to learn that the road to Port Douglas, where we were booked into a hotel for three nights, was closed due the torrential rain and a landslide. Almost 8" of rain had fallen in the past 24 hours as a deep depression passed through.
I couldn't believe it, after all the hassle we have had with the A83 closing due to landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful, here we are on holiday on the other side of the World with the same problem! Only difference this time is the alternative route over the mountains is also closed, with no Dalmally alternative! We are not alone and there are other couples in the same predicament. As independent travelers there is nobody there to help and we just have to get on with it!
Its a quick lesson in managing a new currency, telephone boxes and geography to work out our contingency plan. Fortunately, when I managed to speak to the hotelier in Port Douglas he told me that he had already booked us into an alternative hotel in the centre of Cairns and to give him a phone in the morning to check out the condition of the road. A quick taxi ride into Cairns and we were safely tucked up against the rain, which continued off and on. No time for any fancy blips today, just a quick snap from the balcony of our accommodation during a slightly drier moment. We had originally written Cairns off our itinerary as we thought it was a bit too busy, but it has turned out to be a welcome pit stop after a long day.
The local TV news is reporting serious flooding in and around Cairns over the last couple of days and a tornado causing devastation in Townsville to the south. While it may ease, the rain is expected to continue for a few days yet. And here we are trying to escape the dreich weather back in Scotland and, please, don't anyone tell me how nice and sunny it is in Carradale, as I have already had one report of this!
The irony in all of this is that North Queensland has had one of its driest wet seasons (if that makes sense!) with farmers complaining about the lack of rain. It just seems to have saved up all its rain for our visit!
And the lesson to be learned from all of this? Well, if you decide to go to a tropical area at the end of the rainy season use Trip Adviser to help you decide your accommodation. All the reports on our hotel raved about the owners and how helpful the couple were. They certainly proved that today and will be getting an enormous big thanks if we ever manage to get through to Port Douglas!