06.09.2009 - 13.09.2009
Today we report from the Big 4 Crystal Cascades Holiday Park located near Redlynch, a suburb of Cairns.
Sunday 6 Sep was a busy day in Cooktown, the cruise ship Sun Princess was visiting and had discharged almost all of her 2000 passengers into the little village. There's no wharf of any size so the ship was some distance out to sea and passengers were taken ashore using a shuttle of tenders - about 150 people at a time. We stuck with the crowds for a while and returned to the park.
Monday 7 Sep was spent looking over Cooktown, it didn't take all that long. Lots of restaurants, three pubs and an RSL and a Bowling club. The to-do thing was to go out on fishing charters, not something we're known for.
Tuesday 8 Sep we're on the move again. We back-tracked as far as Mount Molloy and then drove down the escarpment to Mossman. Lots of sugar cane and cute little cane trains. Checked into the Big 4 Glengarry Holiday Park some distance South of Port Douglas. After setting up we drove to Mossman where we did the tour of the sugar mill. Interestingly we were actually allowed to follow the guide into and around the place. Very hot and very noisy and we left with a better understanding of how the sugar gets to the table. Drove in and out of Port Douglas on our way back to the park. Port Douglas is one continuum of holiday accommodation, eateries and junk shops. Again, fishing and snorkelling charters are the main attraction. Not a place I'd go back to.
Wednesday 9 Sep we drove to Cape Tribulation, reportedly a MUST DO destination. Just over 200 Km for the round trip and quite an interesting drive. The road through the Daintree is narrow with many twists and turns. Despite frequent warnings to be on the lookout for cassowaries we didn't even catch a glimpse of any. Wrong time of the day or wrong time of the year but the lack of wildlife was a bit disappointing.
Thursday 10 Sep we hitched up and drove the 60 Km to Cairns. It takes the best part of an hour because the "Heritage Listed" road isn't all that great, especially with the van in tow. The caravan park is excellent and the staff most helpful. We were guided into our site with a shoe-horn and a minimum of fuss. Reception fixed us up with an appointment to have the Patrol serviced but couldn't fit us in until Monday. There are a lot of worse places to spend an extra day. Drove into the CBD to pick up the mail and looked around the place. Our last time in Cairns was 1968, to say it has changed would be an enormous understatement !! Accommodation, back-packer hostels, bars and eateries wall to wall and thousands of people, mainly young and of Asian appearance.
Friday 11 Sep we were in tourist mode again and drove a loop up to Kuranda, Mareeba, Atherton, Gordonvale and back to Cairns. We made it into Kuranda before the train arrived so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The village is one big market offering many "alternate lifestyle" items at rip-off prices. We didn't do the train or the cable-car - it would have cost us $200 for the trip there and back. Zipped past Mareeba and drove South to pick up on some places we hadn't looked at on our way North. Of interest was the "Rocky Creek War Memorial Park". It is located where a major military camp was established during World War II and commemorates the units and formations that trained in the area. In Atherton we visited the Crystal Cave which contained an amazing collection of rare and beautiful specimens of natural crystals from around the world. We headed East towards the coast and visited the "Curtain Fig", historic Yungaburra, Lake Barrine and then down the 250+ bends into Gordonvale. The bends down the escarpment are individually numbered !!!
Saturday 12 Sep we visited the Crystal Cascades only 5 Km from the park, they were quite peaceful but we could imagine them in full flood !! Back to the caravan for some essential housekeeping and relaxation.
Sunday 13 Sep we enjoyed doing nothing yesterday so much we're thinking of doing the same today.
We hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next 6 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".