Today I woke up to terrential downpours and true tropical storm weather. Cyclone Olga was making its way back to the mainland. This was the day I was originally supposed to do my Great Barrier Reef Snorkel Trip. I was smiling all day while walking thru the storm, knowing I made the best decision of my trip just a day earlier. Anyhow, today was a day dedicated to just relaxing and touring central Cairns. It rained almost all afternoon so it was a good time to plan more of my Zealand trip and prepare my back for my flight to Melbourne.
When the nighttime came around it was time to finally test out the great pumping nightlife in Cairns. My dormmate Ray and I headed for Gilligans, the nearby backpackers resort and bar. It was massive and was a good party for the entire night. Heaps of backpackers and a jumping dance floor.
Cairns Lagoon at Night
Day 5 (Sunday)
Waking up from a previous pretty big night out, I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and energized. Not having anything to do again today, I decided to head up to the nearby mountain town Kuranda. Woo, what a day trip, this stop is a hidden gem off the beatin tourist track. Instead of taking the expensive scenic railway or gondola up to the town, I opted for Johns Kuranda Bus trasport, only an 8 dollar return ticket, contrary to the 60 dollar train/gondola ticket. The small shuttle bus left at 930am and took about 30 mins to make it up to Kuranda.
When I arrived in the lively and vibrant small town, I headed for the Barron River where there was some walking tracks. The track that I started on was the starting point of the path that led to Barron Falls, my final hike destination. Anyhow, the walk started off great until I encountered some major flooding of the river bank. With the intense downpours the past few days this was no suprise but did not even think about it when I started the trip. Not knowing another way to access the falls, I took off my shoes and braved thru the water. Got up to knee deep at some points and to be honest I was a bit scared not knowing what was in the surrounding waters. Having seen crocs in rivers just 3 days earlier, I was definitely tripping a bit walking for about 5 minutes thru this flooded river bank. Anyhow I made it, was feelin quite the adventure man after explorin thru to higher ground.
Unknown Waters trekked
After this wet river walk, I entered into the jungle section of the trail. The walking path took me thru the middle of a jungle, and about halfway thru experiences my second obstacle of the day, about 3 fallen trees. Being in dense jungle areas, I really couldn't go around them so I had to go through it. As soon as I started trying to crawl thru I got absolutely marred by the sharp blades of whatever specie of tree it was. Passing thru was looking pretty grim. It was then when my survival instincts came out, I quickly reached for my pocket knife and started cutting down these sharp vines, clearing way for myself. I had successfully done it and was feeling great.
After the jungle territory, the next sector of the walk was the creek trail, which was closed but had no barricade blocking its access so I decided to go for it. The path had some fallen trees that I easily trekked over and also had to cross the abnormally high creek and had to once again take off my shoes and make the pass thru the water.
I had then made it to my final path which led to Barron Falls. This was the longest sector of my trip, about 3 kilometers one way. I failed to mention that the weather on this day was clear, hot, muggy and humid. Probably around 85-90 degrees. After 3 hours of already walking, I was sweatin all over, and wearing already 2-3 day old clothes, it was safe to say I was emitting a pretty good amount of BO.
Anyhow I finally made it to Barron Falls, and what I saw was quite a suprise, I was not expecting falls of such great magnitude, it was a sight that was really quite special. The largest falls I have witnessed in person and I was there at the perfect time of year, right when the falls are in their pure natural beauty after a tropical storm.
I took in the beautiful sight for quite awhile and enjoyed my delicious salami, lettuce and tomato sandwhich that I had prepared earlier in the morning. From there, I went the extra mile or 2 on a road that lead to a lookout of Cairns. Pretty good view.
After all that, I pretty much explored every sight and sound the surrounding national park had to offer and was feeling quite good about my recent achievements. I'de say I walked a good 10-12 kilometers today, and with the hot humid weather I was absolutely knackered. I headed back into the town and enjoyed a nice and well deserved iced coffee and ice cream bar. From there I explored the famous Kuranda Markets, these markets are the main reason Kuranda attracts tourists.
Croc Made of Tires
There were some pretty good stalls and shops. My favorite being a photo gallery by Peter Jarver, a famous and well known Australian photographer. I really enjoyed his work. Feel free to see some of his great work at http://www.peterjarver.com/
At 330 it was time to take the shuttle bus back into Cairns and it was good to finally relax after a hard days work.
Back at Cairns the weather was still sweltering, I quickly jumped in the pool back at the hostel. At 5 the hostel put on a free bbq so I took advantage of that.
From there I headed to the Woolshed, a local pub/bar and watched the entire Australia Open Final. Wasn't the greatest of matches but a great last 3rd set. Federer is such a legend, so so good.
Off to Melbourne tomorrow, got an early flight in the morning. Cairns has been great...really enjoyed my stay here