We’ve been in Cairns for just over a week now and apart from getting some stuff done to the car (see below) and doing a bit of sightseeing we’ve spent most of our time just relaxing and, believe it or not, having a swim almost every evening in the pool at the caravan park (hard to believe it’s Winter here!). We also collected our postal vote forms, filled them in and sent them back and got our satellite phone thingy sorted out.

We chose to stay at a caravan park in Redlynch and it turned out to be an excellent choice – it’s in a quiet location, has great facilities and wonderful staff and there is a good shopping centre nearby. In fact we like it so much that we’ve booked to stay here for a few more nights when we return from Cape York. That said, we wished their claim of “No mozzies or midgees” had been true – these critters make my life a misery and I have now invested in lots of repellents as well as some good itch relief cream.

We managed to combine two things we wanted to do last Saturday – visit the “Blast from the Past” motorcycle museum (another one that our friend Ashley in Mackay told us about) and catch up with Les, a motorcycling friend whom we’d hadn’t seen for quite some time. Les was more than happy to meet us there as he hadn’t visited this museum before and we spent an hour or so looking at the small but lovely collection of immaculate be old and rare motorcycles and chatting with the very interesting and informative Phil Veivers (aka Mouse) – it was well worth the visit!

On Sunday morning we went to a “Bricks” (aka Lego) exhibition and of all the great displays the one that impressed me the most was the Lego contraption that could solve a Rubik’s Cube by first analysing the cube and then turning and rotating it until it was solved – very neat! Later that day we decided to go for a drive and visit the picturesque Barron Falls and then Lake Placid and Barron Gorge.

Monday morning was spent catching up with washing and a bit of grocery shopping and on Monday afternoon we visited the nearby Crystal Cascades – fortunately, and despite the warm and humid conditions, we haven’t had to worry about leeches on any of the walks we’ve done in Cairns.

On Tuesday we visited Kuranda – we caught the Kuranda Scenic Railway at the nearby Freshwater Station and spent a few hours wandering around Kuranda which, although very tourist oriented, has a good variety of businesses offering high quality items made by local artists. We’d read that it was better to catch the SkyRail in the afternoon as the sun is behind you as you return to Cairns so this is what we did. Also we paid a bit extra to have a gondola with a glass bottom and this decision turned out to have unexpected advantages – not only did we get to go to the head of the queue of people waiting for the standard gondolas but we also ended up with a gondola to ourselves (all the other gondolas were filled to capacity with six people as so few people had paid the extra for the glass bottom gondola).

With the SkyRail journey you have to change gondolas at a station partway between the Kuranda terminal and the Smithfield terminal and on this particular day there had been a breakdown about 10-15 minutes before we arrived at the station. It took another 20-30 minutes to fix the problem by which time the queue for the standard gondolas was VERY long while there were only three groups queued for the glass bottom gondolas – we must have seemed like queue jumpers to some of the people who had arrived at the station just as the breakdown occurred and we certainly got some scowling looks from a few of them!

And finally, and apart from doing some more relaxing, we’ve spent some time over the last couple of days reviewing our trip and meal planning for the next part of our trip – Cape York here we come ready or not!

The car and the camper …

We had the 60,000km service done by Pacific Toyota and were very impressed with their professionalism (plus we also collected the windscreen trim we’d ordered).

We also got a pair of FyrLyt Driving Lights and a set of PolyAir Bags fitted as we realised about a month ago that we really needed both.

Finally, the external GPS antenna I installed outside the car almost two years ago has started to play up so I bought another one and installed it about the same location under the dash where the OEM antenna was originally installed so that if the other one fails I can (fairly) easily plug the replacement one in. We have paper maps and other electronic mapping we can use but it’s interesting how dependent we’ve become on the inbuilt GPS (plus I’ve configured it to switch on automatically and keep logs of our trip).




Lego Contraption solving Rubik’s Cube