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 😀
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.
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.
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!
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 😀
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!