We finally arrived back to where our holiday began, Coconut Resort in Cairns. I’ve decided to eradicate the two fecal infested truckstops that originally occupied the first two nights of our trip from my memory so for all intents and purposes our holiday officially began at Big 4 Coconut Resort in Cairns on June 30th 2017.
On our way back to Cairns from Cape Trib, we stopped in at Floravilla Ice Cream Factory, located in the Daintree Village. I was very underwhelmed. I’d ordered mango ice-cream and it tasted more like frozen milk with a bit of mango juice mixed with it. The kids made far more sensible choices, all having picked some variation of chocolate ice-cream. They loved it but to be honest, those kids would eat anything (with the exception of Rohan who will not eat butter…. or cheese).
We next stopped in at Port Douglas, just to say we’d been there. It was beautiful but extremely touristy, which is not to our taste. Ben made comments as we drove around about how ugly all the flashy houses/apartments were. I nodded in agreement while secretly thinking how awesome it would be to own one or at the very least stay in one. Lunch was a picnic on a cliff top watching the hang gliders then we made our way to Cairns.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Rohan was just a tad tickled at the thought of meeting a cassowary and our endeavours to spot one in the wild were fruitless. So we’d promised him a trip to either Birdworld or Hartleys. After spending a few hours pouring over the brochures and contemplating which would be the better option, kids finally decided on Birdworld as you could do a package where you got to go to three animal parks AND the sky cable AND the train back to Cairns for only $49.50 per adult and $24.75 per child….. well at least – thats what we thought!! I will include a picture of the brochure which I think states as clear as mud that those are the inclusions.
When we went to book this package we discovered that that price was only for the animal parks, not the Sky Cable or train. Rohan was not happy. This meant that everyone was unhappy, including anyone in the vicinity of our campsite at the Big 4 who had to witness his unhappiness. Apparently the Sky Cable / train option is an extra $130 per person!!!! I was livid. As far as I was concerned it was blatant false advertising, trickery and misleading to the customer. Birdworld were going to get a call from a very, very unsatisfied customer who was dealing with a very, very unsatisfied Rohan.
The girl at Birdworld was a bit bewildered with my call and didn’t have a scripted response on hand to sort me out. Apparently I’m the only one who has interpreted the brochure this way in the many years that the brochure has been in circulation. I can’t decide whether that makes me a secret genius, or incredibly daft… She quickly told me to ring Hartley’s as they own Birdworld and talk to an owner there.
I rang Hartleys and managed to speak to an owner/manager. He insisted that the brochure clearly states that it is a separate price for the train and sky cable and I begged to differ. As a person with eyes, and an ability to read, I had interpreted their brochure to mean that the Wildlife Experience included the train and sky cable and expected to have the experience that the brochure states. I have no knowledge of the price it costs to go on a train & sky cable and it seemed to me to be a reasonable price. The animal parks at Kuranda are quite small, it’s not like you are going to a huge zoo. We argued for a few minutes before I hung up in frustration. I felt like he was insinuating that I was an idiot (which is a fair call in some situations.. but not this one!!)
He may have thought that was the end of it…. but it wasn’t. Next I rang the Qld Office of Fair Trading and told them the whole story and sent them a pic of the brochure. They agreed that it was misleading and told me I had a case to move forward but that it would take some time. To register a complaint you need to put it in writing then after 10 days you will be assigned a case worker who will negotiate with the company on your behalf for an outcome suitable to you. The person on the phone at the Office of Fair Trading asked me what would be a favourable outcome? “All I want is for my son to see a Cassowary so he’ll shut up about it and move on to obsessing about something else.” I said with a teeny, tiny amount of frustration in my voice. The man on the phone explained that the resolution would take some time (weeks) and he suggested that I try to email Hartleys again and see if we could come to some kind of arrangement.
Now you are probably wondering why we didn’t just drive up to Kuranda to go to Birdworld, Butterfly world and the other one (Koala world???). By this stage not only was Rohan unhappy but Kylah wasn’t well and had decided to bail out of the trip. This meant that I needed the car the next day to ferry Kylah around to her school and the airport so Ben and the three others were carless on our one free day in Cairns. Besides that however, I was a woman who felt she’d been wronged.
I emailed the manager and politely expressed my displeasure at the way the information was presented on the brochure. He replied:
Thank you for your email.
It is unfortunate that you have misinterpreted the brochure, though upon re-reading it I believe that it is clear in relation to what is offered. During the years that we have been operating Birdworld we have printed over 250,000 of these brochures and this is the first time that I am aware that such an interpretation as yours has occurred.
As a gesture of goodwill I am prepared to offer ½ price entry for 1 adult and 3 children to either Kuranda Wildlife Experience or Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. If you wish to avail yourself of this offer please ensure that you contact me by return email before 8:30am Tuesday so that I can advise the necessary persons.
So it was resolved, albeit I was very miffed at the response, which I deemed to be a tad condescending. Had the brochure been clearer, we would have taken the kids to visit Hartley’s earlier in the week and made different decisions.
Ben and the kids went on their merry way to Kuranda bright and early and only paid half price for the tickets for the wildlife experience. This sort of made up for the fact that they had to spend a small fortune on the Sky Cable & bus (we ditched the scenic train).
They had a wonderful day!! Ben did comment that he was glad he only had to pay half price as it was definitely not worth the full price. Rohan was delighted that he got to see a Cassowary and Jazzy was thrilled to have a butterfly land on her. They were all excited to spend some of their money on souvenirs and came home with an assortment of junk.
I picked them up in the afternoon still very teary from farewelling Kylah but my mood picked up when Ben showed me all the pictures he’d been sending Kylah in order to torture her. Regular readers of my blog would be aware that Kylah is a bit of a rule follower. You would also be aware that Ben and I jump at any opportunity to “torture” our children by forcing them to eat tinned tuna and listen to historical audio books while driving. Ben has discovered a whole new way to drive Kylah nuts in the form of taking photos of himself breaking rules. This may be by touching something, when there is a sign in the picture clearly saying “Do Not Touch”, or a picture of his barefoot under a sign that says “appropriate footwear must be worn AT ALL TIMES” (this is a sign outside of the bathrooms at Big 4 – much to my delight!!), or a picture of a sign that says “Please do not take photographs in this gallery”. My mind immediately ditched sad sack Bianca and scheming Bianca started thinking of ways that I could also jump on this rule breaking bandwagon.
Our final day in Cairns was met with miserable wet weather. I discovered this morning that I was married to someone who still wore his B-plates. Yep. You guessed correctly. Ben has never played Bingo. In order to fix that I dragged him and the kids off to Bingo this morning at Coconut resort. It was a disaster. Rohan couldn’t keep up and kept panicking that he’d missed a number (when in actual fact he’d missed many numbers), Isabelle was upset that I was making her share her book with me and did not like me ripping the book from under her in order to mark off numbers. I could barely keep my mind on the game because it kept getting bewildered by all the little sayings after the numbers. I totally get 88 being two fat ladies but why is 56 “was she worth it”? Or why does everyone yell out “toot, toot” after 59??? Jazzy was a bingo pro. She may have found her calling. Ben commented that if getting old means you have to play Bingo… then he doesn’t want to get old. Bloody killjoy. Bingo is awesome!! We didn’t win anything but that’s okay. The prizes were shit and we only played because the money raised was going to the Cancer Council (and also because I like Bingo). If anyone is thinking that they will have to definitely visit Coconut Resort today because they have Bingo – don’t bother. Today was their last Bingo game. It has been given the axe. I have no idea why – it seemed really popular!!
After Bingo we went shopping and then all went back to Cairns Distance Ed to have a meeting with a few of Kylah’s teachers.
I caught up with one of my uni friends this afternoon and we are now in the process of packing up to leave bright and early tomorrow morning (did I say we?? I meant Ben. I am sitting on my bed writing my blog, much to his displeasure).
Tomorrow we are headed South and are stopping somewhere halfway between Cairns and Gladstone. My only requirement for our accommodation tomorrow night is that there is no human waste on the ground anywhere near me.
Thanks for reading!!
Some pics of Ben torturing Kylah: