2016 Trip to Cairns Part 2
We visited the Malanda Dairy Centre Café and Museum where we had a nice lunch and a look around the museum. A lot of reading but very interesting stories about the early pioneers and their lives. I am glad I was not clearing the land.
We stayed at the Lake Eacham Caravan Park which is only a small park but feels like you are camping in the middle of the rainforest. We did the walk around Lake Eacham which was very good – we saw some large (Curtain) fig trees.
Large fig tree on walk around Lake Eachem
Next we did a day trip to Yungaburra where we saw the Avenue of Honour, had lunch at the pub, did the walk along the creek spotting some platypus before driving out to the ‘advertised’ Curtain Fig Tree and Gallo’s Dairy and returning to the caravan park via the backroads. There were a lot of tourists at the Curtain Fig and Gallos.
The Curtain Fig Tree
Part of the farmyard at Gallo's Dairy.
Next day we packed up and moved over to Granite Gorge which is about 12 kilometres west of Mareeba. On the way over we stopped in at Atherton for the Crystal Caves. What a collection of quartz crystals, amethyst and various other rocks and crystals collected from all over the world but especially from South America! We easily spent about 2 hours there just walking through his displays.
Some of the many crystals at Crystal Caves. Unfortunately the photos don't do them justice.
Granite Gorge is a terrific camp spot. It is not overly expensive at $32 per night for a couple on a powered site. The amenities near our camp site were very new and therefore in very good condition. The operators are a little different but friendly and they have quite a menagerie – lizards, snakes, guinea pigs, various chooks, parrots, peacocks and ducks that constantly patrol the camp grounds all day but they were not a nuisance unless you fed them. Just down in front of the reception area is a big flat rock where all the cute little rock wallabies come for some free tucker. They are very quiet although a little timid but if you sit down with the food you soon have at least one or two holding your hand for some food. We did the walk down the gorge which starts off easy but ends in a Grade 4 walk as it is over all the granite boulders, some of which have become quite slippery from all the people walking over them. We took the easy option of returning to the camp ground via the emergency exit which is basically a dirt road up from where the walk ends. At night all the wallabies come up around the camp grounds but you don’t usually hear them until after everyone has gone to bed. It is really a beaut spot to kick back for awhile.
I will hold your hand if you feed me.
How cute is that!
C'mon I know you have more yummies in that white packet.
Start of the Gorge Walk. Looks easy doesn't it?
Dinosaur Foot Prints??? or maybe Big Foot.....
Just follow the red markers
The end - Whale Rock - now just the walk back.
We had a day sightseeing around Mareeba and spent a few hours at Coffee Works in Mareeba. We really enjoyed Coffee Works. When we entered we were given a little cup and you could then try as many coffees as you wished - they had four home grown coffees and at least a dozen from overseas as well as some flavoured coffees and teas as well as several different types of chocolate and liqueurs. The coffees all tasted so different, some good - some not so good. I think we left there on a 'high' after all the coffee and chocolates we consumed. As well, they have a Coffee Museum - bet you didn't know coffee could be so interesting. I certainly didn't realise that there could be so many different coffee roasters, coffee grinders, coffee percolators, coffee pots and the list goes on.
Just the start of the line up of coffee to taste.
From Granite Gorge we made our way down to Cairns where we spent a few days with our nephew and his family. Whilst in Cairns we did the Skyrail trip up to Kuranda which was absolutely terrific (although not for anyone who suffers from vertigo). You really do get a bird’s eye view of the rainforest. We had a good walk around Kuranda - however, we found it to be very touristy but quite nice.
On the way up on Skyrail
View from Skyrail
On the return journey we had a carriage with a glass floor and this is the view looking through the floor.
Phil and David (and Luke) also did quite a bit of fishing but unfortunately the fish weren’t interested. David caught one that was a keeper but we had better luck catching bait – pippis, yabbies, mullet and prawns – I thought some of the prawns were big enough to throw on the barbie but I was not allowed to.
Obviously the fish weren't biting.
Casting for bait all the while keeping a keen lookout for crocs.
We had a couple of rainy nights in Cairns but the days were fine although overcast. However, the morning we packed up to leave it just continually rained and rained and…….. – great fun especially when you have your caravan parked on someone’s front lawn strategically placed between a garden and a light post! It continued to rain quite heavily down as far as Cardwell where we checked into a caravan park for the night. The parks are all very busy up this way. We firstly, tried a park (more like a bush camp – the office only opens between 3p.m. and 6p.m so you just find a spot and set up) just north of Cardwell, but it appeared all the powered sites were taken and the unpowered sites looked very wet or very overgrown. Next we tried the one on the waterfront and they were completely booked out and we got the second last spot at the next one we tried. Quite a nice park but next to no mobile service.
Looking towards Hinchenbrook Island
Battle of the Coral Sea Memorial
From Cardwell Range Lookout - Hinchenbrook Island is in the background shrouded in cloud
It did fine up for a few hours in the afternoon which gave us the opportunity to have a walk along the foreshore and the jetty. However, we woke in the early hours of the next morning to torrential rain. We heard that over 100ml fell that morning but fortunately it fined up in time to pack up. We did travel through quite a bit of rain as far south as Townsville but very little since but it is still very rainy looking. We are at Ayr tonight.
Main Street of Ayr