Saturday, May 13, 2017

Time out in Cairns

We arrived in Cairns on Monday afternoon, May 8th, with enough time to take a walk along the Esplanade and explore our surroundings a little. We found Cairns to be a beautiful city, with lots of trees, a great waterfront area, and of course, lots of restaurants and beachy shops, catering to the tourists who come here to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns Esplande at sunset (and low tide!)

The kids had a blast at "Muddy's" - a kids play area that also had water fountains

Climbing to new heights!

Having booked into the Marlin Marina for 3 nights, we spent Tuesday on boat tasks, with Dave spending 3 hours up the mast! He fully inspected the rigging, and “end-for-ended” the main halyard, which is the rope that pulls up the mainsail. Basically he exchanged ends, so the rope that was at the top, is now at the bottom, and it is almost as if a new rope is pulling the sail up now, since the bottom end is never under any strain. We also checked all the bilge pumps and did more research on Indonesia, and plotted out our next passages….basically getting ready for our next big legs.

A view of part of Cairns from up the mast

Clinging on like a koala bear...!!  3 hours up the mast!

On Wednesday, we took some time out to enjoy what Cairns had to offer. Since we spend so much time on the water, we decided to hire a car, and we drove inland, through the rain forest, to a town called Kuranda. We made some unintended stops on the way, one being at the Australian Armor and Artillery Museum, that Benjamin spotted along the way. He was so thrilled when Dave stopped the car, and Granny paid the entrance fee for us all to have a look around. While tanks and armored vehicles are not really mine or Gaby’s “thing”, our little military buff was beside himself, identifying tanks and searching amongst the over 130 vehicles for the ones he really wanted to see. He did find his favorite tank…a Sherman…and honestly, it was pretty impressive to see the sheer size and strength of these brutes!

Ben and Gaby try on some of the helmets

Dave takes it all in

Ben found his Sherman tank, and explains it all to Gaby
Our drive to Kuranda took us along an, at times, windy, mountainous road through the rainforest, until we reached our destination.  Kuranda, known as “The Village in the Rainforest”, is a picturesque little village, with a number of tourist attractions, but what we liked the best was the markets, where local artists have little stalls and sell anything from hand-made clothes, to jewelry and arts and crafts to fresh fruit and produce. As an example, I bought a dress and some avocados…both for what I thought was a great deal!!  We had a delicious lunch and meandered through the markets.

Waiting for lunch

One of the alley ways...loved the painting of the VW bus!  Love, peace and happiness!

The stalls amongst the trees

Perusing the goods...
 After lunch and some successful shopping, we drove a little further to the Barron Falls. This is where the Barron river descends from the Atherton Tableland (the plateau) to the Cairns coastal plain in a pretty spectacular fashion. Since we are currently in the dry season, the falls did not have a much water cascading over the rocks, but it was still pretty remarkable to see, and the walk through the rainforest to the falls lookout was beautiful!

The walk down to the lookout

Through the rainforest - Ben and Gaby are on the bridge opposite in the middle of the picture!

Amazing vines

The somewhat dry Barron Falls

Still pretty spectacular
Our drive back took us through the “tablelands”, through the towns of Mareeba, Atherton and a charming little place called Yungaburra, and it was interesting to see how the landscape changed from the lush rainforest to dry, flat farmland. One little statistic that I thought was pretty amazing was that the area produces 70% of Australia’s coffee!! We also saw lots of banana, mango and avocado plantations. Since we’d come up and over the mountains, we had to, of course, go back down them to get back to Cairns. The road that took us there had a 40km stretch of zig-zags, and we counted 200 curves in the road!!! We were almost seasick from the constant motion of going back and forth around the hairpin bends!!

Beautiful flowers all over Yungaburra
After a full day on the road, we were exhausted by the time we got back to the boat, but it was a great day on dry land, and we were glad to have been able to explore a little of what this beautiful area has to offer!

The following morning, Thursday, May 11th, we left Cairns behind us, and made the relatively short trip (36 miles) further up the coast to Port Douglas.
A view down onto the Cairns floodplain from the windy mountain road


  1. Our old neighbors from Palm Harbor posted yesterday, 5/14, about scuba diving the barrier reef and being in Cairns which made me think of you guys and where you were. Such an incredible family adventure and I enjoy reading the updates and seeing the pictures - So beautiful. Safe travels

  2. Thank you for my thrilling armchair adventure. Rosemary is my new hero.
    Mary Osterbrock

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you for continuing to follow us on our journey! :) I will let Rosemary know...!!