Friday, October 5, 2012

Port to Cairns

Sadly, this was our last sunset at Port, celebrated from the deck of a very crowded Tin Shed last night

And this was my last gelati in Macrossan Street. We've loved the local tropical fruit emphasis and high quality of all our gelatis this week!

We left Port this morning, turning right a while after Palm Cove, along the Kennedy Highway, to the small village of Kuranda, well known locally for its historic and scenic rail (and skyrail) link to Cairns, and its extensive (tourist trap) markets. The village attracts hundreds of visitors every day via the train and skyrail - but I do wonder what all those Chinese tour groups would think of it once they arrived! The setting is certainly picturesque.

The markets started back in the 70s - but I would say they have not progressed much since then. At least there is a more visible Aboriginal presence in Kuranda, the descendants of the Djabugay people, the Aboriginal custodians of Kuranda and the Barron Gorge National Park.  So at least their music and art work provided welcome relief from all the other market tat.

Rob was delighted to find a genuine German Wursthaus in the village...locally made wursts, with proper sauerkraut and genuine German beers.  Kuranda went up in our estimation!!

The Barron Falls are only a few kilometres drive from Kuranda.  They're easily accessed from the road by a beautiful 600mt long timber walkway through the rainforest.  The view of the Falls and the Barron Gorge was quite spectacular. It must be mind blowing in the wet season!

Heading back along the narrow winding mountain road towards the turn off south to Cairns we were able to get this shot of the coastline from the Henry Ross Lookout.  The strong NE winds have really whipped up these normally placid seas - they still look very grey brown under the hazy sky!

We arrived in Cairns around 3.00 this afternoon and headed to the waterfront as soon as we'd unpacked and got our bearings.  There were hundreds of tourists everywhere. We got to the marina just as the boats were returning from their day trips to the reef.

All the development along the Cairns pier and esplanade looks very recent, and seems very classy. It was really buzzing every which way we looked on this Friday afternoon. We stopped at the gorgeous Salt House on the pier for a drink to celebrate finding Cairns!

I loved the whole esplanade area at this time of the day. Families out picnicking, people walking, chatting, jogging, lots of ethnic diversity, happy healthy looking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families too, hundreds of people doing a group exercise class, fairy lights, a gorgeous sunset ........

and even a huge free form pool and beach area for kids (and deep enough in parts for adults to have a serious swim).  Cairns has been a pleasant surprise for us.

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