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Feb 28th – Kurunda

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Cairns 256

Originally uploaded by roupiesontour

The rain has nearly washed the van away. The rain meant we could not have the windows open last night and the humidity meant a hard going night. The free pancake breakfast here made up for it though. They were really nice and it feels like so long ago we had a hot breakfast. There were companies there plugging cruises (of course nothing is for free) and managed to find a cheap one that visits more than one site on the outer reef. The only downside is we have to be ready at 6.30 tomorrow……………..

Before the rain started again today we quickly made our way up to Kuranda and the Barron Falls. The water rushing through there was amazing and had a real power to it. As we were quite early no tourists either! There is a lookout on the hilly way up to Kurunda and the view was breathtaking. You could see the green of Cairns (as there really are no beaches here to speak of – just mud flats) and the calmest bluest ocean stretching out into the distance beyond – incredibly peaceful. Well it was until the kids started arguing about the radio and who was singing the song, I could hear them from where I was standing and it was the Rolling Stones for those who might have been wondering – quite prophetically “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, silence is golden and all that.

The drive to Kurunda was more fun than the town itself. It is really a tourist trap with markets and stalls selling opals and didgeridoos galore. You can spend a small fortune catching the train up or riding on the gondola if you needed a way to bust your budget – the drive is just as much fun on the very windy roads. We were overtaken by a carload of Aborigine workers who all cheered and waved as they passed – I wondered if they were congratulating my driving or just cheering that they could actually pass me – at least they were smiling!

2 nights left in the van and then………………..air conditioning!

Feb 27th – Cairns At Last

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Cairns 253

Originally uploaded by roupiesontour

What a relief to have reached out furthest North destination. It sounds strange but it has been harder driving North. Someone said it was because every mile gets you closer to going home so you will find it harder but I am sure it is the direction.

On the way we travelled through the Cane Cutter’s Way – named due to the vast swathes of sugar cane fields. You also cross over tiny train tracks which are used during the season to transport the cane to the refineries. Paronella Park was on the way and so worth a visit. A mad Spanish man had a vision and basically built a concrete castle here in Meena Creek – the middle of nowhere. It is now in ruins due to neglect and a few cyclones but the story is amazing. In the 1930’s he bought the land with a waterfall and built a small power station to light the ballroom that he had also built. The town did not get power until the 1950’s. The land cost £120, but for £40 he purchased a disco ball and put it up in the ballroom. New York only had 3 or 4 at this time and there was one in Meena Creek Australia! I love these tales of madness. The grounds are incredible and we saw bats, eels, turtles and lots of fish. There are huge Kauri pines and the amazing electric fern which is green but in the sunlight turns blue. If you ever pass stay here – the guide was local and obviously loved the place as his enthusiasm showed. I could have stayed all day (which would have been good as you also get a free night in the caravan park) but the kids were too hot and bothered so we pressed on.

The front of the van is covered in splodges but most I have to admit are not bugs but butterflies. There are so many here that seem drawn to our windscreen and I hate it – yellow, white, black, blue and green ones we have seen them all in the last few seconds of their lives. Bugs I don’t mind squashing but butterflies are so beautiful I feel so guilty. At least we have not had a run in with a kangaroo – there has been a lot of evidence on the roads up here of animals not so lucky. I swear I also saw a crocodile on the road (about 2 feet long) but the kids think it was a lizard.

Cairns is also experiencing some rain – we had a fun moment on the way up here when we passed a road with about 2 feet of water. I was being followed by a huge truck so I thought if worst comes to the worst he can at least bump me out of it so we just kept everything crossed and went through it. Thank God we didn’t stall is all I can say!

Staff at the park are amazingly helpful and although it has 2 pools the kids are not tempted to stray far from the van. We explored the city when we first reached here and before the rain started again, the air conditioned offices of the tourist office a welcome change from the humidity outside. In the evening we spent a few merry hours looking around the night markets and trying to ignore the kangaroo hides that seem to be on sale everywhere.

We actually have 3 days here so we feel a bit spoilt with all the time – what will we do with ourselves?

Feb 26th – Mission Beach

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Cairns 218

Originally uploaded by roupiesontour

A small town with a great beach. It’s so chilled out here I could easily spend some ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 24th – Townsville

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Airlie Beach 069 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour It is with a bit of sadness that we left Airlie Beach – the place has a great vibe about it and we actually at long last met ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 22nd/23rd – Whipped Ice Cream

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Airlie Beach 110 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour Another splurge for today – we seem to be doing a lot of those in Australia. A day trip out to see The Whitsundays, I would have loved ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 21st – Birdkids of Alcatraz

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Airlie Beach 058 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour The highlight of today was staying at Lake Maraboon, just outside of Emerald. It’s a beautiful tranquil place full of wildlife. I put out some small bits of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 20th – Sapphire

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Airlie Beach 025

Originally uploaded by roupiesontour

With names like Emerald, Rubyvale and Sapphire you know you are in the middle of the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 18th – Lashings Of Ginger Beer

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
Fraser Island 046 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour At last a visit to a drinks factory where the kids get to taste! No Josh did not sneak in under the radar, we paid a visit to ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 17th – Teenagers Meet Tiny Non Mutant Non Ninja Turtles

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Fraser Island 058 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour Bundy or Bundaberg is famous in Australia for Bundaberg Rum. We have done the beer and wine tours so now it was the turn of the rum. The ... [Continue reading this entry]

Feb 16th – Fraser Island

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Fraser Island 022 Originally uploaded by roupiesontour The largest sand island in the world looked suspiciously green from Hervey bay side – full of foliage and trees which surely can’t grow on sand – wrong. ... [Continue reading this entry]