Our last few weeks have certainly been busy.
On Friday, we drove to Cairns for the second time to pick up mum and dad, as mum had surprised dad with a surprise trip for his birthday and fathers day. A surprise that left dad speechless, which we all appreciate as gold. We took this time to check out a few more shops, with coffee and boost juice on the agenda!!!
After picking mum and dad up we headed down to the foreshore on the Esplanade and enjoyed lunch and some good warm weather. We took the most scenic route back to Atherton, which really impressed dad. He had finally got to the Atherton tablelands but I take great pleasure in reminding him that we got here first!!!
Once home Bridget enjoyed opening her presents from her Nanna & Pop and from Aunty Vicki & Uncle Pete, whilst we enjoyed the new Jameson Whiskey premixes (first of many goodies awaiting dads arrival) – the apple cider is a must!
After dinner we headed into town to watch the Maise Festival Mardi Gras, one of the
street parades we have seen...
Saturday was dads birthday, turning a young 56 and we thought to celebrate we would take him to some local attractions that he would love. After a cooked breaky, we hit the road with the first stop being the peanut place, Bridget helped all of us by carrying the basket.
Next stop was the Rocky Creek Memorial Park, where they have placed numerous rocks with plaques recognising different battalions and different nationalities that fought for Australia.
Onto Mt Uncle Distillery where we sampled some ver nice liqueurs, dad bought a coffee liqueur and we bought their signature marshmallow liqueur in a hand blown glass bottle – this liqueur is too smooth and would get you in trouble..
A little further down the road we hit Jaques Coffee Plantation, we enjoyed a tour, that included a video presentation of their history that showed us that luck was not on their side for years thanks to the local government and natural disasters, but this never stopped them. The owner shared with us a joke about Julia Gillard – on her visit to America, the native indians presented her with her own cherokee name being “Walking Eagle”, this quite literally translates to “Bird so full of shit, it cant fly”. We finished off the tour with an amazing coffee, stocked up our goodie bag and will for sure buy online in the future!!
Our last stop was the icecreamery, mum and I without knowing ordered the same flavour, dad enjoyed homemade applepie with passionfruit icecream, ben enjoyed his signature pistachio choice and bridget shared all of ours...driving home we took mum and dad on a little 4wd track through the heart of the tablelands!
For fathers day we had an early morning wakeup as we were heading back to Cairns for the Scenic Kurunda Railway! Before leaving the boys opened their presents and we planned to have brunch on the train but that didnt quite work out. The train ride was brilliant, the history impressive and the scenery was breathtaking! Once in Kurunda we enjoyed our belated brunch, browsed through the shops and then onto the skyrail cable cars. That was certainly an experience in its self – friggin scary but awesome all at once. I think Mum summed it up nicely.....whist holding on tight and bracing herself she said “Im really enjoying this now!” If you ever visit Cairns then this is a must! Here is a little history about the railway.....
In 1873 the cry of “Gold!” echoed through the mountains. Primite supply routes from the coast to the swelling gold fields were slow and perilous. In 1882 a devastating wet season brought misery to the blossoming townships. Supply routes were impassable and thousands of people came close to starvation. A reliable supply route had to be found. Legendary bushman Chritie Palmerston was tasked to find a route for a railway to link the mining belt to the sea.
In 1886 construction commenced on one of the ambitious railway projects ever undertaken. Up to 1500 men at a time endured terrible hardships and an unforgiving landscape. Armed only ith picks, shovels and dynamite, these men moved almost three million cubic metres of earth. Impa swamps, mysterious diseases, deadly creatures, dense jungle, deep ravines, raging waterfalls and sheer cliffs were to prove no obstacle.
The 37 kilometres of track from Cairns to Kuranda ascends 327 metres and includes 15 tunnels, 55 bridges and 98 curves.
Monday morning we stopped by the local bakery for dad to try the Beesting Cake and then made our way to the Nerada Tea Plantation, Malanda dairy museum & the Gallo Cheese and Chocolate dairy farm.
Tuesday was another early rise, with a packed breaky of ham and cheese croissants and coffee we made our way to Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation via Daintree Village.
Another local stunning drive through windy roads and lush rainforest, luckily for us we got to experience the viewing of a cane sugar train passing by, carriages being loaded by tractor and a field in the process of harvest.
Mossman Gorge is run by the local Indigenous community and is so well done, especially with such a minimal entry fee. A Litte further into our drive and we were in the middle of the Daintree Forrest. To reach Cape Tribulation we crossed the Daintree River by ferry and enjoyed a further 50 or so kms of forrest and spectacular ocean views, we were also on the lookout for a Cassowary, they are harder to find then bigfoot. We were taunted with numerous “recent crossings” signs, Ben of course had to take one for memories. We tryed some local biodynamic and organic icecream (so yummy) and picked up some Daintree Forest Tea & local chocolate.
We followed the coast home via Port Douglas for coffee and cake and enjoyed take away for dinner.
It was back to work for Ben on wednesday, so we chilled at the campsite and had dinner at the pub that night to top off the last few days!
Mum and Dads mini holiday was over so back to Cairns and the airport on thursday. That afternoon Bridget caught up on some much needed sleep and I relaxed with a good ol gossip magazine.
Friday night we headed to the Drive In Movies to watch The Dark Knight Rises and The Campaign. On our way we witnessed an amazing sunset - probably one of the best on the trip! The drive in was great with the twist in Batman being brilliant but a litte dragged out (Ben slept through most of it) and The Campaign was a typical Will Ferrel comedy.
Ben and I have decided on settling in Bright, Victoria and we are now ready to make our way home. So on Saturday we started the big pack away, the final time on this trip and to be honest it felt a little surreal that our dream trip was coming to an end.
To end our time in Far North Queensland we drove back to Port Douglas (the opposite way from the other day to get a different view) to have a better look around, we enjoyed the markets, shops and the local lookout. It will be awhile before we get back up here!
Today we did the last minute packing, caught up on washing, cleaned the car and of course updated this journal. Our time in Atherton has been one of our highlights on the trip, and I am grateful that we went a whole year without winter!!!
Reaching QLD was one of greatest goals on this trip and we are so rapt that we did it! Pure determination will do that!
Tomorrow we hit the road again!
Whilst in Atherton we travelled 3922kms.
PS - Sorry about all the photos!!