Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands
I took a day trip from Cairns to the Atherton tablelands, just south of Cairns. These were created by European settlers because they discovered how fertile the soil was and cleared acres of rainforest in order to grow sugar cane. It's quite strange to be one minute driving through thick rainforest and then suddenly it disappears to be replaced by fields of sugar cane. We stopped at Josephine falls, waterfalls with rapids and rocks to slide down. Great fun. Next stop Johnstone River lookout, a spectacular view across the rive valley. We had lunch at Mungalli falls, which was really good, even had pudding! Afterwards we headed to Millaa Millaa Falls where Peter Andre filmed his video to 'Mysterious Girl'. I had a swim under the waterfall, the water was so cold. After our swim we headed to Lake Eacham which is a volcanic crater lake created thousands of years ago, it contains 100% rainwater so really pure. It was lovely swimming in the lake and we spotted turtles native to Lake Eacham, they can breathe out of their bottom. The last stop was the curtain fig tree, this is another strangler fig tree that killed the host tree and then fell sideways creating a curtain effect with its roots. In the rainforest we also saw large orb spiders and the 'burning leaf' tree which if the leaf touches you, causes a burning sensation which can last up to 5 months! Our guide Roger was very knowledgable, and it was interesting to learn about the Aboriginal people who were not considered part of the Australian population until 1968 when the government took a poll asking white australians if they thought Aborigines should be classed as Australians. 90% voted yes, until then they were classed in with the flora and fauna!
Cairns is a nice small city with a swimming pool lagoon as the sea is full of crocs!. The night life is pretty good too. Gabriela and I went out for her last night in Oz to the Woolshed, the most popular bar/nightclub in Cairns. We had a good night and with about 3 hours sleep, I waved her off on the bus to the airport. After two months travelling together I was so sad to say goodbye.
Cairns is my last stop on the East Coast of Australia, tomorrow I fly to Alice Springs to join a 10 day tour from Alice Springs to Melbourne.