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Lifestyle : Discover North Queensland 2012
Specialists in escorted outback travel QLD 1 1 1 21 2 2 1 Moreton Telegraph Station Thursday Island Bamaga Lotus Bird Lodge Weipa Cooktown Cairns Cape Tribulation 12 days from $6,295* Frequent departures May to Oct 2012 Travel through the wild and sparsely populated Cape York Peninsula on this sensational 12 day adventure. Visit the Daintree Rainforest and stay at Cape Tribulation before tackling the Bloomfield Track en route to Cooktown. Travel through Lakefield National Park and stay 2 nights at the stunning Lotus Bird Lodge, exclusive to Outback Spirit! Head to Weipa and discover the world's largest Bauxite mine on a guided tour. Continue to Moreton Telegraph station on the banks of the Wenlock River where you will spend the night in deluxe new cabins owned by Outback Spirit. From here enjoy travelling on parts of the original Telegraph Track including Cockatoo Creek and Heathlands Reserve, followed by a swim at Fruit Bat Falls. Upon reaching the top of Cape York spend 2 nights at Bamaga and explore the surrounding area, including Pajinka at the very tip of Australia. Travel by ferry to the Torres Strait Islands and enjoy tours of both Horn Island and Thursday Island before flying back to Cairns with QANTAS (included). Two nights are also included in Cairns at the luxurious 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina. This tour is fully accommodated and fully inclusive of all meals, all attraction and entry fees, exceptional accommodation and travel aboard a 5-star 4WD Mercedes Benz tour vehicle. Travel in small groups of 20 passengers. Cape York Wilderness Adventure SMALL GROUP 4WD ADVENTURE *Saving of up to $1000 per couple apply to Cape York Wilderness Adventure tour for limited seats on selected departures for new bookings. Fares shown reflect savings. All fares quoted are per person, twin share, land content only. Cape York tour includes Horn Island flight with QANTAS. All fares include Australian GST. All tours operated by Outback Spirit Tours Pty Ltd. ACN 006 972 130. Licensed Travel Agent 2TA4575. EM_120453_SH www.outbackspirittours.com.au Call for your comprehensive brochure Call 1800 OUTBACK 1800 688 222 s $1000* SAVE PER COUPLE! UP TO Weallliveina... The newest way to see the Great Barrier Reef is by personal submarine -- and yes, they're yellow. The submarines carry two people, along with a pilot, and descend to the seabed and coral gardens for day or night tours. The subs have large windows and can move forwards, backwards, up and down to ensure the best views, providing many of the benefits of scuba-diving from the safety of a vessel. The minimum age is 12 years, as passengers have to be able to swim up into the back of the submarine, and there is a medical questionnaire to fill in before departure. Submarines don't come cheap, with the tour costing from $165 a passenger for about 20 minutes. However, each submarine is accompanied by two staff: the pilot on the inside and a qualified safety diver on the outside. The air pressure inside the submarine is the same as the water pressure outside, which avoids stress on the hull, and is replenished by air from scuba tanks during the dive. To get a feel for the experience before making a booking, check out the video on the company's website. gbrsubs.com.au. Highlights . . . from left, the Skyrail; the Court House Hotel; snorkelling on the reef; Cairns is great for kids. saltwater lagoon on the esplanade -- except for Wednesday mornings, when it's closed for cleaning. The esplanade also has Muddy's playground, where young kids can play with water pumps and jets (check for opening times), and a skate plaza for older kids. Older kids might also enjoy go- karting at Cairns Kart Hire, just outside the city, and brave souls over theageof10canhaveagoatbungy jumping with AJ Hackett. Kids more than 120 centimetres tall can try the company's Minjin Swing, which takes up to three people at a time, but be warned: it is fast and scary. For animal lovers, the region has more than its share of zoos and wildlife sanctuaries to keep you amused. The Cairns Tropical Zoo at Palm Cove has a large collection of Australian wildlife, from crocodiles to birds, and holds various shows and presentations throughout the day. If you have kids who can stay up late, you can also have a barbecue dinner and wildlife encounters at the Cairns Night Zoo, although it's an expensive outing for a family. Further north towards Port Douglas is Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, where on a boat cruise in a private lagoon you can see crocodiles and take a tour of a commercial crocodile farm. The Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas is also well worth a visit: the Breakfast with the Birds includes an excellent, locally inspired buffet breakfast with lots of tropical fruits plus entry to the wildlife habitat. If you're heading up to Cairns over the winter months, coming events include the Cairns Show from July 18-20 and the Cairns Festival, which includes parades, art and music and runs for 17 days from August 17 to September 2. Cairnsesplanade.com.au; cairnskarthire.com.au; cairns.ajhackett.com; cairnstropicalzoo.com.au; cairnsnightzoo.com; crocodileadventures.com; wildlifehabitat.com.au; cairnsshow.com.au; cairnsfestival.com.au. Days out It wouldn't be a trip to north Queensland without seeing something of the Great Barrier Reef, but the number of options can make the choice daunting. Reef Magic is a good choice for families, as viewing options range from an underwater observatory and glass- bottomed boats to snorkelling and scuba-diving. Another possibility with children aged 12 and over is trying out the new submarine tours at Fitzroy Island (see box). If you're looking for adventure and don't mind spending some time on the road, one of the region's best attractions is Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours in Cape Tribulation, about 21G2 hours from Cairns, or 90 minutes from Port Douglas. Kids from the age of three can go ''flying'' on zip-lines through the jungle and it is bound to be a highlight of the trip for those who give it a go. A more gentle option is to take a trip on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which transports you through the verdant hinterland of the region. A one-way trip takes about 90 minutes, including some time at rainforest stations along the way, and you can combine it with a visit to the Kuranda Koala Gardens or Australian Butterfly Sanctuary for a full day out. Reefmagiccruises.com; junglesurfing.com.au; skyrail.com.au; www.koalagardens.com; australianbutterflies.com. More information: cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au. TRAVEL 3 Special report SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2012 THE SUN-HERALD
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