On our first full day in Cairns we visited the Botanical gardens which are small and easy to walk around but honestly nothing to write home about, so we won’t. We popped in to Rusty’s Market to pick up fruit and veg, something else neither of us did last time, and I would definitely recommend going for a wander around even if you aren’t buying. It’s particularly useful if you are looking for a cheap lunch as you can easily fill up on the tasters of fruit, bread and organic dips that are on offer. Having explored the rest of the town we thought we should get out and explore the surrounding countryside and so, on day two, we decided to hire a car and venture out to the World Heritage Areas and waterfalls around Cairns. Early morning we picked up our little white Nissan Micra (christened Tic-Tac) and headed south, with a small detour to pick up a phone from the bus depot and this interesting chap…
We had already pilfered some leaflets from several tour operators so that we knew where to go and, because we have all the smarts, we decided to go around the waterfall loop in reverse order to avoid the crowds. We found ourselves winding our way up through the Misty Mountains on increasingly steep roads, much to the distress of Tic-Tac’s 1 litre engine, which eventually opened up on to beautiful rolling farmland fringed by rainforest.
Our first stop was a snap decision when we passed a sign for Cathedral Fig Tree 6 km. Thinking that it must be a pretty impressive tree to merit a 12 km detour we turned off, and we were not disappointed.
After this we made our way to Lake Eachin, one of two crater lakes in the area and a popular swimming spot, though on arrival there were still signs advising that the lake had a resident croc. The lake was a bit touristy for our tastes, but we did get to see turtles swimming and have a brief paddle, keeping a watchful eye for the croc. In search of some lunch, we arrived in the decidedly cool town of Yungaburra, which had the feel of a retired hippie commune (because it is one) with lots of colour, cafes and gift shops. Life seemed relaxed to say the very least. The town also boasts a platypus viewing platform and we were very lucky to see two swimming in the Creek at a distance, we have agreed that we would definitely need a second spotting to be able to tick platypus off our list.
Onwards we ventured towards the waterfalls; we stopped at all the popular tourist spots on the tours from Cairns, but our favourite was one of the less popular falls due to the steep climb up from them. At Elinjaa Falls we had an awesome swim in the cold but refreshing water and climbed behind the waterfall, all terrific fun.
Josephine Falls was our next stop where you can slide down the falls in to the pools below. James as a big kid of course had a go, no photos yet but they will appear in the gallery later!
Back in Cairns, we had two days before picking up the camper van so we decided to do the sensible thing of playing cards and getting drunk. As true tourists, we ventured no further than the backpacker and Irish Bars. This did lead to excellent people watching and cringing at the thought of ourselves doing the exact same thing 10 years ago. As with our wedding, we finished the night with a rendition of Delany’s Donkey on the Juke Box in McGinty’s (our choice for best Irish Bar in Cairns).
This led to our final day in Cairns being a complete write off as age has not helped our abilty to get over hangovers!
This is Tic- Tac, she was awesome.