Queensland capers continued

Our next full day of sightseeing turned out to be a very full day indeed – driving a lot of the day on one-lane tracks through the countryside and gulping every time a car came from the opposite direction.  A few times I thanked goodness we had taken out additional insurance on the rental car, then thanked goodness again when we didn’t need to use it!

Our day started off by retracing our steps south along the highway past Babinda (after stopping for a quick photo session of one of the local Sikh temples which I loved), then stopped at Crawfords Lookout for a quick peek – this provided a brief glimpse of the distant river, and provided a quick leg stretch for a brief moment.

Unfortunately not long afterwards we passed our first motorbike accident for the day, complete with ambulances etc on the scene … more unfortunately this wasn’t the last we experienced – only about 10km further up the road we came across a newly occurred accident with the biker sitting in the middle of the road, and his motorcycle strewn around the road.  That certainly wasn’t a fun part of the trip, but we turned off the road shortly after that and put our morning back onto a more even and fun keel … we took a detour to the Mungalli Dairy, and we’re ever so glad we did!  Aside from a small tasting plate of their local produced goodies (bio-organic yogurts and cheese), we opted to stay and have an early lunch … oh boy, was it good!!!  The bottom right photo shows our lovely view in the middle of the countryside – sheer bliss 😀

Queensland driving

After we returned back to the main highway again, we headed to a waterfall circuit about 20km away.  Here there are three spectacular waterfalls all within a short driving distance of each other.  Mum declined to walk to the first falls (Ellinjaa Falls) as the path was steep and a bit slippery due to the rainfall – I decided to still do the walk, and I have to admit I was panting and puffing for quite some time on my return back up to the top again … but it certainly was pretty!

Next up was Zillie Falls – the walk was thankfully very short and no sharp inclines, which was great, so Mum joined me for that one.  The view wasn’t quite as spectacular with this one but it was incredibly peaceful standing there watching its awesome majesty.  The final waterfall had a slightly steep incline on the walk, however there was a rail installed so once again Mum could enjoy the viewing experience – Millaa Millaa Falls were certainly spectacular, and a very pleasant ending point of our waterfall circuit.

In the photo below, the big waterfall on right right is Millaa Millaa Falls, top left is Ellinjaa Falls, then the walk to Zillie Falls, and finally at the bottom right is Zillie Falls.

Waterfall wanderings

Our next driving spree took us on a hideous one-tracked drive for well over an hour or so, and not something that I want to repeat again – unfortunately it was an ‘alternative route’, and I hadn’t realised, so next time I’ll wait for the official turn-off signs with the tourist signposts!!  Anyway, in some ways it was better as we ended up at Ravenshoe just in time for the weekly train trip at Millstream Express Steam Railway.  The train takes you on a 2-hour return trip, and we arrived just in time to see it off on its weekly journey – we didn’t have time to take the trip ourselves, but it gave us chance to appreciate some of the stunning jacaranda trees (love, love, LOVE jacaranda trees in bloom) and stretch our legs for a while.

Ravenshoe

Afterwards we dropped in to see the Windy Hill Wind Farm (I didn’t realise quite how BIG they are until you get close to them), then continued to our final leg of the journey, Herberton’s Heritage Village.

To be honest we were totally disappointed with the Heritage Village, especially because we couldn’t find it!  There were a lot of older style buildings throughout the township, which were lovely, but it certainly wasn’t what we had expected so we just bought an icecream at the local shops and continued on our way to Atherton, where we had our final stop to see the Houwang Temple.  This also wasn’t entirely thrilling to us, but the carvings were really pretty in the temple, and it was very unusual to see the temple made out of aluminium siding!

Herberton and Atherton

That saw the final sightseeing day for us in Cairns – but we did manage to have an hour at the Cairns Botanical Gardens on the way to the airport on our final morning.  The gardens are quite lovely, although I’m really disappointed my memory card ate my photos as I took loads of detailed shots with my SLR boohoo.  My absolutely favourite plant was the Beehive Plant … just stunning!!!  If you want to see more you can Google Beehive Plant or its botanical name which appears to be “Zingiber spectabile” – I love it 😀

Cairns Botanical Gardens

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And that was our Cairns trip in a nutshell … then it was back to Sydney for a really brief stay before Mum was winging her way back home again to Auckland.  And now, alas, it’s back to work again tomorrow and with some major project work coming to completion, I have a feeling there will be some late nights coming up this week … within 24 hours I will have forgotten I’ve been on holiday!

Queensland capers (part 1)

Last week Mum flew back to Australia with me, and after a 24-hour layover in Sydney we jumped on another plane and flew up to Cairns in Queensland.  We had six nights in a two-bedroom apartment, and enjoyed some peaceful rest and relaxation … and even managed to do some sightseeing, regardless of the fact that it was raining and overcast most days.

On our first day we stocked up with wine at the local bottle shop and food from the local super-expensive (!) supermarket and had dinner in the apartment.  The next day we wandered along the waterfront for a while then spent the rest of the day stitching.

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On our 2nd full day in Cairns we wandered along the waterfront in the pouring rain and picked up a rental car before going shopping where I managed to add some new ‘fatty’ clothes to my suitcase, and was absolutely thrilled with my purchases, including some lovely 3/4 cotton pants that came in handy during the holiday.  We also called into a proper supermarket and stocked up on the remaining items we needed for the week (at half the price of what we had been paying previously!). I was also really thrilled to see “real” Halloween pumpkins for sale over here for the first time ever (at least that I’ve seen).

Pumpkins at Coles

After gaining our wheels, our first day of proper sightseeing saw us heading south to Babinda, where we went for a shortish wander through the bush to the Devils Pool Walk and then further on to the Babinda Boulders.  It was lovely to stretch our legs in a natural setting, and the views were lovely.

Babinda Boulders

We then headed further south and drove through Innisfail to Paronella Park.  We started our visit off with a scrumptious devonshire tea (I’m sure those who know me well from previous posts will not be surprised by this!) – then joined a guided tour around the property.  We were surprised to learn we had spent an entire 2 hours on the grounds by the time we left – and I have to say I think this day was the highlight of our trip for me.  Unfortunately I lugged 3kg of SLR camera gear around Queensland to no avail, as it turns out that the memory card was corrupted, and I lost all my SLR photos (of which there were tons!) … thankfully, though, I managed to take a few photos on my Lumix point and shoot, so at least we have some photographic record of the week’s events 🙂

Paronella Park is alas just ruins these days after being destroyed by a couple of cyclones, but the history is wonderfully retold by the tourguides and your imagination fills in the details that are now missing in tangible form.

Paronella Park 2

Paronella Park 1

After Paronella Park it was time to return back to Cairns and another night of stitching in front of the goggle box.

Ruby Tuesday

Here is my choice for this week’s Ruby Tuesday – a street exhibit as part of the local arts festival, Cairns, Queensland. It’s a very clever use of old plastic bits and pieces thrown out in the trash!

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Ruby Tuesday

Photo Hunt – Surprise

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This week’s theme is ”Surprise” and we got a Surprise when we saw this sight in Napier, New Zealand last Christmas – unfortunately times are really tough, and it appears the reindeers have all been made redundant … there may be delays in gifts arriving this year! 😛

Surprise Santa

Then imagine our Surprise when we turned a corner in a Queensland Zoo and found this ‘little’ Surprise waiting for us on the footpath looking all brave! Yep, definitely a surprise when we’d only just recently been looking at one of its relatives behind wire bars!! Here’s an Iguana enjoying its day in the sun 😀

Iguana 2

Iguana 1