Australia

A Continental Cuisine Series

G'day Australia

Day 5 - Great Barrier Reef

It’s a hot one today and its only 5am. Will is already at breakfast, over some good coffee we chat about the day ahead with our guide Tristan. He tells us about the flora and fauna of the island. We cream up heavily and head up to the trail. On the way he points out the hundreds of bats that roost on the island everyday. These are huge fruit bats and they make a hell of a racket. Heading up the trail to the lookout where we get a magnificent view of the islands. Its very hot now and we are all really feeling it. After filming more pieces to camera we head back before we completely fry. On the way down we see Rock Wallabies and lick, yes lick the backsides of green tree ants. The acid kick startles me, it is so sharp. The Aboriginal people used this as a source of vitamin C. Once licked, the ant is returned somewhat disgruntled to the tree or bush.

Thank goodness we are back to the main resort before it gets too hot. We drink coconut water and recover. The buggies arrive and we head off to catch the seaplane to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

IMG 7465

Our pilot, Lee, coolly lands the plane on the sea and taxis over to us. After a full safety brief, Nadine our dive master also joins us. Fully packed and another quick safety briefing later we are off bouncing over the waves and in no time we are up and away for the 20 minute flight. The view is truly stunning; I have never seen anything like it in my life. Mile after mile of turquoise blue water, peppered with coral reef just under the surface as far as the eye can see, in fact its an amazing 2,000 kilometres long.

We carefully land near a tiny pontoon and taxi to it. Lee secures the plane and we all get off and squeeze ourselves into blue skin-tight suits. Not because it’s cold, but to stop jellyfish stinging us. These tiny jellyfish are only here at certain times of the year and are no bigger than you little finger nail, but can have you in hospital in hours and in a worse case scenario can kill you….

Nadine and I sit on the float of the plane and chat about the barrier reef on camera. She has been here working for 4 years as the dive master. She explains that she used to sell pensions in Germany and decided she wanted a change. Well I think she made a great decision, and welcomes me to her ‘office’ we laugh and do a couple of takes. She is very relaxed on camera, makes my job so much easier.

Fully suited up, snorkels on we head off to explore and film. It truly is breath taking and as we dive and swim over the many coral, colours, and fish. I really am struggling to fully explain its natural beauty.

 

White Haven BeechSadly after an hour or so its time to move on, we all get out and chat about the experience. We take off and head to film at White Haven Beach, one of the best beaches in the world. Well I can see why as we circle and land in the sea. Its silica sand is gleaming white and there is hardly anyone here. You can only get here by seaplane or boat. We film a couple of pieces and get Lee to fly over us so we can film him. Lunch is a picnic from the resort right on the sand. We feast on prawns, chicken and salad. This place truly is paradise and its not often I say that. It is so hot and I struggle to even walk on the hot sand, so we all cover up with hats, shirts and slap on lots more factor 50. After lunch we load up and head back on the short flight to Hayman Island flying over a few of the 74 amazing Whitsundays islands.IMG 7461

Back at the hotel whilst the barbeque is being set up and Will and Chris are sorting things out, I take a quick dip to cool off, its lovely. Having seen the great fish and shellfish offering at the poolside bar I thought there really is only one thing to cook. A huge pile of the most spectacularly barbequed fresh shellfish, over this I would drizzle an Asian inspired dipping sauce. The star of the show was going to be Moreton Bay Bugs, or Slipper Lobster. A weird looking almost flattened small lobster with no claws, a local delicacy. We film the sequence pretty much straight off and finish just as the sun was lowering in the sky, perfect!!!!IMG 7479

After a long day we are all exhausted, but still had to meet chef Grant for dinner. That night we had dinner with him in his ‘Serious’ restaurant. The meal was very good indeed, the star being Wagyu tenderloin baked in salt. It was so tender and full of flavour. Off to bed, all this excitement tonight has made me really tired.

Bar B Q Shellfish With Asian Dipping Sauce

  • 12 small shell off fresh water prawns
  • 8 large whole freshwater prawns
  • 1 large crab
  • 6 King crab claws, cracked
  • 2 lobster tails, cracked or peeled
  • 6 Moreton Bay Bugs (crab, langoustine or lobster if you can’t get bugs)

click here for full recipe

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