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10 december 2015
More Cairns adventures!
Saturday december 5th 2015
I didn’t do very much on Thursday. I slept in, took a shower and had yoghurt for breakfast. After breakfast I went to the mall to buy some good sunscreen and mosquito spray. Managed to find both. I sprayed some of the sunscreen on already. It takes about 15 minutes to actually “work” so I decided to go to Kmart and see if I could also find a hat. I did, looked pretty good, but once outside I forgot that I also wear sunglasses, so it didn’t really fit that well.
O well, it is supposed to protect my brain from overheating and that’s what it did, so I’m good! It was noon by the time I came out of the mall, hottest time of the day. I wanted to go to the Esplanade, it is on the other side of the city. It’s not really a beach, it is right along the sea. But the tide hadn’t come in yet, so basically you were looking at sand and mud. Birds feeding on whatever it is they find there.
The Esplanade is just a wooden walkway along the sea front, looks really nice. And along the way there’s two fitness places, I swear, two areas where they had fitness equipment, well, I took a picture of it and continued walking! It was too hot for me to even think of doing something with those! Good thing there are signs that tell you how to use them. There are picknick benches and I think I even saw little islands like you have in kitchens, where I think they had bbq’s. Where of course the Australians can do what they do best!! I haven’t seen anyone at it while I was walking there, but I could smell it though!
Time was going very slowly this day , unbelievable, I thought I had walked quite a bit, but when I looked at the time it wasn’t more than half an hour later then the last time I checked!! Around 2pm I had had enough and I went back to the hostel to take a nap.
Then around 4:30pm I wanted to book a trip to Kuranda Village for the next day, Friday. You can go there by skyrail and come back by train, but the train was out for service on Friday, so I booked for Saturday. Then I went to the mall again to get some food and I went to bed early again!
Friday I was up at the crack of dawn, don’t ask me why! It is probably the matrass! It’s like the one I had in London in July, it’s one of those matrasses with springs in them…I get up from the bed every morning as if I have been sleeping on the rack, broken, I’m telling you I shuffle into the bathroom, takes a while to have every joint back into place! I feel like an old woman!
Today was also a day for doing nothing. I wanted to start planning my next move, but it didn’t really work, so I decided to go for a walk again. This time I took another street to the Esplanade and guess what I found?!
Right about a building that looked like it was city hall was a huge tree with Flying Foxes or fruitbats in them!!!! I had never seen those before, they look like furry bats with the face of a dog!! I thought they were night creatures, but here they were screaming and shitting up a storm!!! There was a sign that said that it was breeding season and if you happened to see a baby on the ground, to call a number so people who know what they’re doing can take care of it. I thought it was something unique, but today I learned that they are a pest in the North of the country. And yes, while we were driving around I saw more of them in trees nearby. I’m just very happy that there’s no trees near my hostel!
At the end of the Esplanade is the marina where they have tour operators to sell all kinds of excursions to the Great Barrier Reef. Anything you can think of you can do really. Well, I wanted to go, but I didn’t feel like diving. I’m just not a good swimmer, my ears are acting up every now and then and basically I’m just plane scared. But I have found a way to see the underwater world without getting wet!! Yes, they were selling excursions in semi-subs, now that looked like something I could do. So I wanted to book the trip and asked if there was a discount for YHA members. First she said there wasn’t, but then she told me that if I booked it through the hostel it would be cheaper. So I went straight back to the hostel to book the morning tour for Sunday.
Then I went to Rusty’s market, which is a market in a building with an amazing assortment of stalls with fruit and vegetables and clothes. I always wonder why you have to have so many stalls selling the same thing. Are they all sharing the money at the end of the day? Or are they really all there for themselves? If so, then how do they make any money when the neighbors are selling the exact same thing?
Anyway, it was fun to walk around in. There was also a foodcourt of some sort, a bunch of caravans were parked together and made into little kitchens, where you could buy whatever you wanted to eat and then you could sit down at a table in the middle.
I only bought some bananas and cherries. Then I went to have a pancake in a restaurant I saw earlier. As soon as I had ordered I thought about the pancakes I had Wednesday and how I didn’t really like them…fortunately this pancake was more like I make them at home, but instead of putting the apple in with the batter, the pancake was folded like a wrap and it had the apple parts in there. Okay it was a bit of mistake really, so I ate it fast and left as soon as I was done.
This morning when we drove by I saw it was very busy, so I guess people really just eat it for breakfast, not for lunch.
This morning I was up early again, it is very noisy and at some point I just can’t sleep anymore. I was down in the lobby at ten to ten and the driver who was going to take me to the skyrail was already there, so we started right away. Of course I was not the only person going there, she had to pick up several people. A cruiseship had docked in Cairns and there was a couple who had booked this trip also, but instead of just waiting for the bus at the terminal…no, she couldn’t find them and in the end we picked them up from the street.
I was supposed to be on that Skyrail around 11 am, but I had to go to the bathroom first and of course there was a line of people waiting to get on.
When I was standing in line, I told the couple behind me that I was traveling by myself and I asked them if it would be alright to get into the gondola with them. I mean I’m pretty brave, but not thát brave!
They said it would be alright, so up we went together. Turned out that the lady was even more scared then I was! Once the thing is moving it is alright for me, when it goes over the poles is where I get a little nervous.
But the view was amazing!!! The skyrail goes over the tops of the trees of this rainforest for about 7,5 kilometers to Kuranda Village. Along the way there are 2 stops where you can get off the gondola and walk around. The first stop was after about 10 minutes, Red Peak Station, where we walked around on a boardwalk. Good thing I had met these people, because now I had someone who could take my picture!
The lady thought that this was it already, only to find out that there was more to come! For the second part we were joined by a fourth person, who turned out to be a crewmember of the cruiseship that had docked in Cairns. The couple I was with were from Adelaïde and were traveling on that ship. So they knew the guy and started talking to him. He was from California and as soon as they had asked him a question, the floor was his so to speak, couldn’t get in a word.
O well, the view again was great! This time we sailed over a waterfall. Where our second stop was, Barron Falls station. There were 3 lookout points where we could see the waterfall from different angles. But the couple didn’t have time to go to all three of them, because they had to get back on a bus. I did want to see the other lookout points, so I thanked them for having me tag along and I said goodbye. Maybe we’ll meet again in Adelaïde.
The other lookout points had pretty good views too! I saw a picture of what the waterfall would look like in the peak season and man, the stream that came down now was actually kind of sad! I guess it will be awesome in wintertime!
There was also a replica of the “gondola” they had used when they were setting up the powerplant up there…they called them flying foxes…it was just a cage!!! Can you believe it?! No way would I have gone up in that!!!!
There was also an option called Diamond View for the Skyrail, which meant that you could go up in a gondola with a glass bottom…hell no!! This was good enough for me!
So I had said goodbye to the couple thinking I could find some other couple to tag along with, but this time there was no one there, I mean really I was standing there by myself….so I had the gondola for myself also!!!! The last 10 minutes of the ride I had the thing all to myself…man that is scary!!! When there’s more people in there, you always have a sense of it being more stable, it doesn’t swing that much because of the weight…
When you are by yourself, you can’t move a muscle or the thing will start swinging and I definitely don’t like swinging!!! The view again was spectacular, but I had some white knuckles when I reached the end!! Haha
Kuranda Village was filled with hippies in the 1960’s, but now it has turned into a major tourist trap! A bunch of very creative people are making and selling all kinds of things. It’s a real village though, people actually live there, it’s not like they take the skyrail up and down to go to work. There’s a hotel, church, library, policestation, supermarket and so on.
I wanted to have some lunch first and I found a restaurant where I had a club sandwich. Now I really like those, but not everyone makes them the same way. Here in Australia the bacon is not thin slices, cooked to a crisp. No it’s thick slices with the fat still on it. Then there was no salad on it and I didn’t read the part where it said that there was cheese on it, otherwise I would’ve told him to leave it off. I’ve just made the wrong choice again, I didn’t eat it all, there was just too much fat.
Besides emptying your wallet here, you can also go and see birds or koala’s or you can take a boat ride on the river nearby. But there is also a Butterfly Sanctuary and that’s where I went after lunch.
It wasn’t all that big, but it had a separate caterpillar section and when you exited the sanctuary you went through a museum where they had some species on display, dead ones. So basically it covered the whole life of a butterfly!
There were loads of them!! Really, you had to be careful that they weren’t flying into you! I had never seen butterflies this active before, I mean I have seen them flying around, but it was like they all had to take to the sky all at once. I wanted to have one land on my hand again, like I had in Singapore, but that didn’t work this time. I did have some land on my camera, but it’s hard to take a picture of that without them flying away! They had some really big ones too, nice and bright green, red and yellow colored. There was a big sign in the middle saying which was which, but I didn’t really look at that, it’s hard to remember later anyway. But they were pretty, I really liked them and I was glad I had gone there.
My train was scheduled to leave at 3:30pm, so after saying goodbye to the butterflies I went to the trainstation. I had wanted to look around in the different stores, but since I wasn’t planning on buying anything anyway, I just went straight to the train.
It was an old, original train, with wooden benches and tiles on the ceiling. It wasn’t all that busy, but somehow the row I was sitting in was full. As soon as we were off one of the attendants came through our carriage and she said me and my neighbor could sit on another bench, close to the window, which we did as soon as she mentioned it! It was really hot and it being an old train, there was no air conditioning in there, so the breeze coming from the window was very welcome!
I switched places by the window with the other girl I was sharing the bench with, so we could both get some fresh air and take some great pictures.
I love train rides, you have time to look around you and just sit back and relax. Gives you time to think as well…here I was on a train going through the rainforest, the lungs of the world basically…thinking it is a shame that we are wasting all of this away where we need it most. How man’s progress is sometimes more a waste of time, money and land really…but then I thought about how people have made this train track. With pickaxes and shovels they have managed to make a track between Kuranda and Cairns, with 15 tunnels and ever so many bridges. Now I can’t remember from what height we were coming down, but can you imagine hanging there, hammering away and hoping to God that you don’t plunge to your death?! So then yes, these kinds of progress’s make me stand in awe…every time I get on a train with a story! (same happened in New Zealand two years ago) Just wish sometimes that that would have been enough…o well…
O yeah, turned out that the girl next to me was Dutch as well! I thought I had already heard it in the way she spoke English, but it wasn’t until there was a really cool view that I told her in Dutch that she should come and see this! Turned out she was from a place called Hoorn, which is the city where you take the ferry to the island of Texel. She was there with an open ticket and didn’t know when she was going home again. Probably when the money runs out, like they all do.
Around 5:30pm we were back in Cairns. The train station is right behind the mall, which is opposite the hostel, so it only took me a couple of minutes to get back to my room!
Then I tried to book/finalize my plans for next week. But when the girl behind the desk wanted to call and make sure that they had space for me, the company was closed already, so she couldn’t ask them! So I went out to get something to eat instead.
Sunday, December 6th 2015
Yesterday she said I could book everything this morning, so around 7:30am I went back to the desk to ask them to make the call. But of course it being Sunday, they weren’t open yet… As this was the day for my Great Barrier Reef adventure, I decided to just do it when I got back.
I didn’t have to check in until 8:30am, so I left the hostel around 8am. It’s not that far away, but I want to walk slowly.
I had to go to the Reef Rocket, there weren’t a whole lot of people on this ship, most people were going on the big one and spend the whole day at Green Island.
Well, the trip to the island took about 45 minutes and the first couple of minutes were going pretty smooth…until of course it rounded the bend and head out to open sea….good lord I was glad I had bought and taken some pills this morning!!!! I had to keep my eye on the horizon the whole time!! And yes, I work on a river cruiseship, but this is soo much different! haha
So we got there around a quarter to 10, when we immediately went to the semi-sub. Which basically was just a boat with a glass part hanging beneath it, hence the semi-sub! There were benches that fitted two to a seat, you just had to put it down to be able to sit and lift it up when you left, so the people in front of you could get up too.
When I first went down the steps I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, but it didn’t feel claustrofobic at all. Being under the waterline you didn’t really notice the ship was rocking, well a little bit, but it wasn’t as bad as coming out here.
It was just beautiful!!! But none of the spectacular colors they always show in pictures and on tv. Only the fish have these colors!! There was soo much to see, you needed eyes in the back of your head! The coral was cool I liked the hairy ones, that wave in the current. We saw all kinds of fish and I spotted a turtle!! Of course for the excursion yesterday I had made sure the battery of my camera was full….but for today I forgot, not thinking of how much I had used it already the day before, so somewhere during the semi-sub adventure, the battery showed that it was going on empty!!!! That was not cool, but I managed to take a lot of pictures!
The semi-sub tour was only for half an hour, but it felt like it was a lot shorter than that, wouldn’t have minded to stay down there a little bit longer. After this tour was the tour on the glass bottom boat. Which basically took us out to the same spot, but since we were looking down you could see things a lot better for some reason. No turtles this time, but some giant angelfish though, they were pretty! This time I did have to look up to the horizon every now and then.
This tour was also half an hour and then I couldn’t wait to get off of the ship!
I had about 45 minutes before the Reef Rocket was going to take me back to Cairns. I didn’t do very much at the island, I just went to the toilet and sat on a bench reading my book. Got some postcards and before I knew it I had to hurry to get to the docking place. So another 45 minutes in this boat...this time I didn’t take a pill, but I guess I should have done so, because I was really light headed when I finally got off of the ship. Keeping your eyes on the horizon does help thank god.
Back on land I went to the Rattle n Hum, to get some food, cool off and write some postcards. I took my time with lunch and writing, I was really tired.
So then I went back to the hostel, dumped all of my stuff in the room. O yeah, I thought I had gone into the wrong room! In the days I was here, there was just a sheet and blanket on the bed, but when I came in now, there was a duvet on the bed!!! Really, it was kind of unreal, because all of my stuff was there, I checked the room number , everything was ok, but it was weird!!
After dumping my stuff I went to the travel desk to get things booked. This time there was someone else at the desk and she could see right away on the computer that the tour to Fraser Island didn’t go on Sunday’s…..she didn’t even call to ask them, she could see it right there! Which the other one could’ve also done yesterday….
Anyway, I had already booked Brisbane for 5 nights, leaving on Saturday. I had also already thought of moving the last night, but thought it would be too much of a hassle…now that is exactly what we had to do!
So I’m going to Brisbane on Monday, I will stay there until Thursday. Then I will go to Noosa on Friday, stay there one night and then I will have my Fraser Island adventure Saturday and Sunday. Sunday night I will be in Noosa for one night and I will go back to Brisbane on Monday, where I will stay one night or longer if I want to. Get it??!!
Hahah don’t worry I have all of the paper work, otherwise I would forget it myself!!
So it took a bit of arranging, but it all worked out and I was very happy!! I went out to get some food, I packed my bag and went to sleep early!!!
10 december 2015 14:18 | Door: Doris Edwards
Your stories crack me up, Linda. I can just picture you on your travels.
Keep the stories coming!
11 december 2015 04:35 | Door: Michelle
Sounds like you're having a wonderful time. Hope it's not too hot! Keep the stories coming. Michelle xx