They did a direct in-and-outgoing swap-over at Cairns airport, including car keys for Heather's car and the same plane seat - 4A.
As you might have expected, this period was land-based despite the encouragement of nearby boat owners to ``take 'er out while the weather's good.''
Err, no thanks. Ditto for Heather.
We had our `no plan' flexi-plan and our Suzuki Swift hire car that proved perfect for our needs.
The six days turned into a bit of a food-fest as we discovered delicious eateries around Cairns and out in the sticks.
This wasn't deliberate but, God it was good.
|Cairns Botanic Gardens boasts some unique plants including this flowering creeper from Java.|
Then there's the cafe adjacent to the Cairns Arts Centre in town. We tried their entree serves for two separate lunches (sharing four different dishes overall). As well as the presentation being awesome, the flavours were fabulous. I highly recommend the prawns, avocado and chargrilled capsicum with lemon mayonnaise, and the arrancini balls with that spicy beef surprise in the centre. and the ...
Enough already. This is sounding like a Mog Blog.
We also discovered little treasures like the Cairns Museum which is run solely by volunteers and located above a shop in Cairns Square. For $5 we had a beaut couple of hours in the hands of a volunteer (whose name escapes me) whose tactile tour had us playing and working just about everything that moved in the place. It may not appeal to everyone but for the time and our mood it was perfect.
Our furthest day trip was to the Atherton Tablelands. It's a beaut drive winding up through the mountains to Kuranda, across to Mareeba then on to Atherton and through patches of rainforest (on the highest road in Queensland) to Millaa Millaa (our turn around point).
|Millaa Millaa has some interesting sculptures including this one of The Reluctant Cow. The expressions on the faces of the farmer, the cow and the dog in this piece are brilliant.|
Millaa Millaa is a tiny, picturesque and well-kept town, but easily missed as it is off the main road. It has the most amazing cafe. Set up in an old shop, the place is beautifully laid out and the coffee and freshly made food delicious. It was a morning tea must.
|Millaa Millaa Falls|
Comparing what we saw with a postcard from the museum, I suspect that the landscaping around the pool may have been washed away during the last Wet or maybe the one before that (Yasi?) so maybe it's just a matter of time before the local council pays the area some attention.
|Nerada tea rooms with Mt Bartle Frere in the background.|
What a surprise - a pleasant one. The history of dairying on the Atherton Tablelands is laid out around the restaurant - and the food was fabulous.
Again we ordered entree sized meals. Heather's dish had a dozen prawns. My calamari with mango dressing was mouth-wateringly delicious as well as generous. This would all have been OK had we not ordered a mango smoothie each (where one between us would have sufficed).
We wobbled out of there and set off for the Rocky Creek War Memorial Park to the south. We had passed this on the way up and were curious about the rows of stone blocks across a couple of acres of land while adjacent was a huge paddock for free camping which was being well utilised. The site, complete with around 100 granite obelisks and plaques bearing the names of serving units, is the former WW2 Army Hospital, evidently the largest Army hospital in the southern hemisphere.
|Rocky Creek War Memorial Park between Malanda and Atherton.|
It was a fabulous concert with an hilarious artist who has the voice of a (raunchy) angel.
|The wire sculptures are full of aluminium cans. In Cairns. Get it?|
The next day, the airport swapover was reversed with hellos, goodbyes and hugs all round, and our week with Mog and Kal on board began (see last two blog posts).