For hot action of the adventurous (not naughty) kind, head to Queensland for a trip that will make your heart beat faster, and where the cuties don’t just stop at Koalas.
Action 1: Zip Lining
I am hanging upside down, 22 metres above ground, in the middle of world’s oldest and wildest rainforest, the UNESCO World heritage listed Daintree Rainforest in Cape Tribulation. Taking up thousands of acres of space on the upper east coast of Australia—the bit known as Queensland—it feels like a fitting position to be in seeing as I’m in the land ‘Down Under’.
I’m wearing a safety helmet with the words Super Girl written across the front, and am attached by harnesses, buckles and ropes onto a zip-line. Completely in the hands of two charming instructors, I’m very nervous, but hiding my fear by making my fellow flyers whizz through the air while chanting ‘I love my job! I love my job!’ as we tackle the six tree canopy lines, each one coming with an increasing fear-factor.
I’m getting a wedgie (so that’s why female superheroes stick to snug hotpants!) but, hey, this is a small price to pay for the blood-pumping, knuckle-gripping, life-affirming activities that take place in such natural beauty. My adrenaline is flowing and I’m feeling kind of otherworldly, as if I could take on anything. In front of me in the distance is the outline of a section of the Great Barrier Reef. Below me is the Daintree River, home to bugs, birds and even crocodiles.
However, the freakiest thing about my current situation is that you’d typically have to pay me to hang out in a forest while wearing an unflattering helmet—it’s usually buying new heels that provide me with this kind of high. I have become a sports-junkie for FUN. Yes, this is me, on vacation.
Generally my holidays involve beaches, Pina Coladas and bikinis. The most strenuous thing I do on vacays is lift my fake rum-packed tankard up and down to my lips (so stressful!). But for four days I have signed up with Tourism and Events Queensland for an action-packed adventure package that not only showcases the incredible vistas and versatility of the two hour space between Cairns and Port Douglas, but takes you completely out of your comfort zone and gives you a megawatt boost of confidence.
And you know what? So far I’m loving it.
Company: Jungle Surfing Canopy
Price: From $95 per adult
Action 2: Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park
Think Australia, think sunshine, the Hemsworths, hot surfers, bbq’s…then maybe some culture thrown in to boot. The north-east coast of this gargantuan island boasts all of the above so you can get adventure, learning and chilling (and perving) in exactly the same trip.
It’s a good idea to have an interactive Australian history lesson at the start of your getaway and the teaching at Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park offers knowledge that is top-notch interesting. For starters, the largest Indigenous Cultural Park in Oz is filled with hot men. In loincloths. With tattoos. Some of them do traditional live dance performances, others teach you to throw boomerangs, protect yourself like an ancient warrior, weave cloth or make jewellery. Many attempt to help you look cool while playing a didgareedoo. I sounded like a small elephant in pain while trying a version of ‘Wrecking Ball’ on mine, but at least I didn’t keel over due to breathing in and out with such hard force.
Company: Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park
Price: $60 per adult
Action 3: Cable Car Ride
Just a short walk from Tjapukai, it’d be rude not to experience the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which glides over the rainforest canopy for a literal bird’s eye view of awe-inspiring Cairns and Barron Falls waterfall. The relaxing journey from Smithfield Terminal to Kuranda takes half an hour.
Company: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Price: $50 for one way
Action 4: Visit Cool Town
Ay Kuranda! This little town at the end of the Skyrail line oozes ’70s cool and retro individuality. The air smells of joss sticks, it’s filled with artists, food, craft stalls and souvenirs (some weird!) from all over tropical northern Queensland and the quaint market is the place to head for. It’s well worth a leisurely afternoon wander.
Company: Tourism Kuranda
Action 5: Scenic Train Ride
While trains don’t usually generate excitement in the Cosmo world, there’s something devastatingly romantic about the Kuranda Scenic Railway as it’s super-old fashioned, making you feel like you’re in an old black and white movie where a dashing young chap comes running up to your open window and kisses your face off as the train pulls away (no tongues included). What? This doesn’t happen in real life? Still, our 45 minute ride took us through twisty landscape offering majestic views of greenery, mountains and waterfalls. There was no heartfelt goodbyes or kissing to be seen, but if you go Gold class like me, the prosecco and nibbles more than make up for it.
Company: Kuranda Scenic Rail
Price: From $50 one way
Action 6: Visit Wildlife Habitat
I don’t usually eat breakfast, let alone in nature, surrounded by over a thousand birds of 120 different species, wallabies, kangaroos and cuddly koalas. But here I find myself doing just that at the Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas. It’s a proper animal-fan’s paradise where you can really get to grips with conservation and nature, and forget about smartphones, deadlines, FB updates and whether you’ll get that promotion. In fact, the only thing that sneaked its way into my chilled head was what to do about my trainers after Kodi the Koala s*** on them. But hey, he was so adorable, I couldn’t get angry with him!
Company: Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
Price: $33 per adult
Action 7: White Water Rafting
The name of our White Water Rafting company on the Tully River—Raging Thunder—did not make me feel at ease (porn star name anyone?!). But there was no porn, just brawn, in the form of the lovely male instructors who head up the rafts. We’re fully prepped in life-jackets and helmets as my gang and I tackle the likes of rapids with names such as D-Cup and Jabba The Hut. As a true water-lover, when our leader, Dazza, tells us we can jump into the water during a calm spell, I go for it. It’s effing freezing, but beautiful bobbing along in a river clean enough to drink from while surrounded by huggable trees, breathtaking mountainous scenery and silence. Adhering to Dazza’s instructions for us all to lean, left, right and up and down was trying, as we each kept going in wrong directions with accompanying girly screaming as we scaled the 40 rapids, but after five hours, complete with a bbq burger lunch for energy, we’d got it sussed. It was absolutely shattering, but one heck of a ride.
Company: Raging Thunder
Price: $199 for a full day
Action 8: Scuba Dive/Helicopter Ride
I am wearing what can only described as a large upside-down fish bowl on my head. As I’m unable to do a full-on scuba-dive, I’m standing on a reef platform, fully rigged up in rubber and breathing in fresh air that’s being delivered into my helmet, ten metres under water, and gripping a bar to prevent me from floating away. I look half spaceman, half stormtrooper, but this is no place for vanity as there’s too much see. Under the watchful eye of a Safety Officer I pat angelfish, tickle the tummies of wrasse and blow kisses at groupers. Yes, I am basically flirting with wildlife but this is one childhood dream achieved! As if that isn’t wow enough, I then take a 10 minute helicopter flight over the reef, staring down at the exquisite turquoise waters and shadowed coral leaving me with memories that will stay with me forever.
Company: Quicksilver Cruises
Price: $238 per adult
Company: GBR Helicopters
Price: $169 per person
Come Fly with Me
You can fly direct three times a week from Singapore to Cairns with Silk Air’s new flight. Log onto silkair.com for schedules. For further information and itineraries you can contact Tourism and Events Queensland.
By Jo Upcraft, Cosmopolitan, October 2015