State Flag of Queensland
The Queensland state flag was created as a colonial flag - a British Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony added to the blue field. Because some of the Australian state badges were originaly created to represent the Governor (as distinct from the Colony) they generally showed some element of British royal heraldry - the main criteria being that it be different from similar badges used in other parts of the Empire. Queensland uses a blue Maltese Cross (Malta used a red cross). The Crown [superimposed on the cross] on the Queensland badge represented the status of the Governor as representative of Queen Victoria in the Colony.
OUT OF TOWN DAY TRIPS/OVERNIGHT TRIPS TABLELANDS
I am writing this here as I want to incorperate it in my Cairns page.
The Atherton tablelands area is beautiful to visit. It has lakes, water falls and also grazing land. There are creeks and rivers to explore as well as small towns scattered throughout.
When you go here you could spend a night in accommodation set among the rainforest.
Compared to Cairns, it can been a little cooler. A nice change actually.
We head to the tablelands a couple of times a year. My most favourite place to stay is the *Pole Houses* in the accommodation named Fur and Feathers.
There are a number of ways you can drive up to the Tablelands. One of my favourite drives is to head south of Cairns towards Innisfail to Palmerston Highway, this is about 10k's before Innisfail. Driving from Cairns you pass wonderful scenery mountains, cane fields and then banana plantations. It's beautiful. Once you get on the Palmerston Highway you head up into the mountains, there are waterfalls areas that you can visit, small towns scattered and main tyowns such as Atherton and Mareeba.
You can do a round trip and then come down the hills either Kuranda range or go on to the Rex Range which is up near Port Douglas. Rex range is more than a days outing, you would just have to stop at Fur and Feathers!:)
The best meal of a 5 week trip to Australia!
First off, as a rule we do not put a lot of restaurant reviews in our VT pages. The reason is that we eat out a lot, and there is not point in writing reviews for other travellers about average restaurants. If we do a review about a restaurant, to us it means that it is somewhere where our friends have to go if they are in the area.
Saying that, this place qualifies as a must go in our mind. (How about that for an endorsement)
This is a small french restaurant, with a proper clean, high end appearance. Fresh table linens, unbeatable service by true restaurateurs, a wine list chosen by a wine drinker and not sold by a wine rep and most of all > stunning food.
You can always tell when a restaurant is great, it is off the beaten path, it always has customers and most of them are locals. this is one of those great examples of this trait.
Be careful about when you want to go though. It is only open from Tuesdays till Saturday, and only for lunch (with a break in the afternoon) then supper. This is not a lounge type place, but a pure eating establishment. Have no doubt, this is about great food. Amelie owns and runs the place. She will most likely greet you, seat you, take care of you and make you feel special, all while also taking care of her other patrons.
The menu was created by her father, a famous french chef who is also based in Australia. All the food is provencial styled, but modern and exceptionally well prepared. We had many favourites, the pork loin was great as well as the sea bass and the calamari. There is enough variety in the menu to take care of all tastes.
The wine selection is well developed. All wines in all price ranges were of great quality and chosen for the consumer. Prices are very reasonable for the quality served. Amelie will always help to chose a wine that will compliment the meal, while making you feel comfortable with the selection no matter what your criteria (price, taste, name). The sign of a great restaurateur.
Lastly, the deserts in this place are stunning, works of edible art. The selections differ from the traditional (creme brule) to the exceptional (Vacherin glace). The deserts again are another reason to save some room from dinner.
Overall, this is one of the best restaurants we have eaten in. And we would not give this endorsement if we did not truly believe it.
Lastly, if this restaurant was in Sydney, the prices would be at least twice as much and it would still be worth it.
Daintree, Cape Tribulation & Mossman Gorge
We booked a full day 4wd tour with Oz Tours for the Daintree, Cape Tribulation & Mossman Gorge. We can not recommend this tour company highly enough. Our guide for the day - Matthew was excellent. Matthew had obviously spent alot of his own time researching information and history of the area to enhance the tour.
Matthew shared with us his knowledge of Aboriginal culture, the rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Matthew was well organised which ensured that we stayed on schedule.
Any one can hire a car and drive up to the Daintree but booking with Oz Tours definitely enhanced the whole experience.
Passions of Paradise: Sail the GBR!
Passions of Paradise was the first dive charter I took out of Cairns, and it was the best. The ship is a catamaran with a huge sail on it, and the locations were unparalleled. There were probably 100 people on our tour, but the extremely friendly staff made it a very personal experience. I both SCUBA dove and snorkeled. I hadn't SCUBAed in over two years, so I was a little nervous, but everyone made sure I was well-equipped and okay to go in the water both times I went. One dive I went with a group, and the guide showed us a lot of things I would have missed on my own. Snorkeling was no less fantastic, because the dive sites had many shallow coral plateaus where you could see everything without much effort.
There is a resident sea turtle that hangs out at Paradise's docking spots, and it swam with us for awhile. It was an exhilarating experience! We also dove a 20 meter coral wall with feather stars, soft corals, and a mind-boggling array of fish. Passions of Paradise has a glass-bottomed boat that allows patrons to see the coral without getting wet, and they also offer an "introductory dive" experience for those who don't have a SCUBA license. One of the stops is located near a low sand island, and visitors can get a short boat ride over.
If the wind is favorable, the sail can be deployed and the engines turned off. Sailing on the Great Barrier Reef is a beautiful, silent way to enjoy the world's largest living organism.