Cairns & an unsuspected adventure (roadtrip # 5)

I literally cannot begin to explain just how much fun I had in my short time in Cairns before shooting off to Atherton to do some more farm work for my second year visa (where I am currently). So... I arrived on the Sunday evening. Cold, tired, and bloody hungry after my bus ride from Townsville. It was raining, I was lugging around far too much crap in my bag (standard), and I wasn't too excited about staying in Gilligan's. As it happens, Gilligan's isn't as bad as I thought... It's just a huge backpackers resort (in a way) with its own pool (granted this was shut for maintenance whilst I was there), bar, and nightclub, and every room is kitted out with balcony, air con, and ensuite. Perfecto!!! The eco rooms (8 bed dorms) are only $22 a night (probably more over the weekend like most places) and were pretty comfortable. Win win.

Okay, so I arrived and dumped my stuff in the room and suddenly felt pretty damn scared and intimidated. I'd left the island party atmosphere to come to another party atmosphere only this one kinda required proper shoes (and definitely didn't condone NO shoes...I miss island life) and the girls were all dressed up. Okay. Definitely no longer living the "I don't care I'm on an island" lifestyle. 

I shrugged it all off and grabbed my waterproof (hell sexy) and ventured out to find food and just get myself out of the hostel. I walked, got rather lost, backtracked and ended up somewhere else, and then found myself on the Esplanade where the Iron Man contest was going ahead. Sweet! Now... Food. I ended up by the night markets and spotted the food hall... It was all very reminiscent of Old Shanghai in Fremantle/ Perth and that drew me in. Unfortunately it was nothing more than over priced greasy crap but I found out too late. Never mind lesson learnt for sure. Fed, watered, and pretty rained on as well as tired I took myself back to the hostel for my much needed sleep. Bliss!

The next day is where the real adventure began. Okay so before I left England I made a pact with myself to grasp every opportunity that I could and always say yes. When I woke up that morning, dazed and ruffled, I was greeted by one of the guys in the room that I hadn't met previously. We chatted about our plans and he was off to see a travel guide to help plan out his time in Cairns. We parted ways as I got ready to explore Cairns and literally as soon as I was leaving he turned up with a big grin on his face. He'd hired a car!

Now at this point all I knew about this guy was his name and that he was a Cali dude. For all I knew he could've been an axe-wielding murderer but I trusted him and in the days leading up to my departure we had three incredible road trips. First up... Kuranda.

What an awesome little adventure. We listened to old music, music from musicals, rekindled my love for car singing, and eventually arrived in the rainy little village in the middle of the rainforest. Typically most things were shut early due to the public holiday but that didn't matter.

We walked, mooched around the markets (held a bottle opener made from kangaroo balls.... Ummmm)

...and then the highlight - we paid to get into the open air bird sanctuary, Birdworld.

Oh my gosh! It was hilarious and had us in fits of laughter. We were followed around by this little fella who stole one of the balls off my helix piercing, nibbled my ear, and was fascinated with licking my hands and camera. OK little buddy.

We finally got to see a cassowary (scary looking bird, almost prehistoric/ dinosaur-esque) and I just about got a photo with him before freaking out.

As we returned to the central part of the aviary where the macaws were a bigger bird decided to become fascinated with my ears and proceeded to try and pierce them. Thanks buddy! That was really kind of you. Ouch. As I got him off I started to sketch myself out a little bit as the scarlet macaw was started to fly onto peoples' shoulders and I really didn't want him on me.

I did manage to get a pretty majestic photo of the blue and gold macaw though, beautiful bird.

Once we left and grabbed a bite to eat (we were insanely lucky, the wraps had just been reduced to $2) alongside a flat white (cue hyper Rachel) we hit the road again, this time towards Barron Falls. Well, the weather was pretty horrific so we might as well make the most of seeing some waterfalls eh? After all this time of year they're supposed to be pretty dried up (the dry season and all that).

Oh my goodness the view was incredible. When we arrived there was a heavy mist hanging over the top of the waterfall, completely concealing its beauty. It reminded me a lot of the time I climbed Table Mountain with my wonderful friends - Team Moist - during a 2nd year field trip to South Africa. A few people were put off by the rain and dull weather/ lack of view and so turned on their heel to head back out of the area. Not put off (that wouldn't have been good would it?) We descended down tube slippery steps towards a better view point. And there it was.

The mist cleared, the clouds lifted, the rain stopped just momentarily, enough to let the beauty of Barron Falls shine through.

After a fair while there (I'm a sucker for natural beauty what can I say?) we headed off homeward bound with an exciting plan to drive up to Cape Tribulation the next day. Little did we know that we would be finding a third party member that evening. We joined the rest of the dorm buddies for some food and a beer or two and a German dude comes bouncing over asking whether anyone was heading to cape trib in the morning as his mates has bailed. It couldn't have worked out any better really..


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