page two - the atherton tableland and far north queensland

North Queensland journey

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- A diary - mostly written as a diversion of the sort required by a lone traveller during the long hours of evening. Notes in brackets [] denote thoughts inserted during the writing process.

Garden Seat at Lake Barrine17th February 2008 - Continued

As always I am thirsty during the flight so I start on the water bought at the terminal and am halfway through my mini cinamon muffin by the time the flight attendents begin proferring snacks for sale. I snooze a bit and on waking notice there is a dark band of cloud above us. This must be the monsoon rain that's pummeling the north Queensland coast.

We fly midway between the cumulus clouds below and the dark rain clouds above us all the way to Cairns. As we begin the descent into Cairns we break through the cumulus clouds; and spread below in all its emerald glory is a peacock-coloured lagoon at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Gorgeous. Next Green Island, Palm Cove and in to land at Cairns airport. Fantastic!

I always feel a surge of joy as I grab my suitcase and head for the exit door into a new, or long unseen place. It is 7 months since we were last in Cairns. This time I am to have hire car at my disposal. Yippee!


The hire car lady must've been confused because the key she has given me opens the (better) model of car next to the numbered park I was told to collect my Getz from. The carpark attendent confirms that this nifty white Accent is my alloted car so I whip out of there post haste with my snazzy little car.]

I head NORTH! toward Kuranda but decide to check my "Budget" map to see if I've take the correct route but now cannot find the map. Drat. I pull over and extricate the Navman (or Nav Sav as Lucy calls it, he he). I hook 'er up, plug 'er in and it directs me back to the airport! I pull over again wanting to go via The Barron Gorge and Kuranda but am not sure how to force the Navman to go that way and in the end decide that discretion is the better part of valour. Let's face it you can argue with a machine but you're not going to win so in compliance I drive via Cairns city and Gordonvale.

I have every intention of making the most of this trip. It's Sunday afternoon and I want to have fun on my driving adventure.

Now I'm getting pretty hungry because it's lunchtime and I've only had one and a half mini muffins and a shortbread biscuit all day. Trev packed me a selection of biscuits but by now they've become one glutenous chocolatey mass, from which I've already managed to extricate the shortbread, but the rest is left as is.

[I've just now returned from dinner so perhaps my writing will be less food orientated now, perhaps.]

So, where were we, oh yes...Through Cairns...[I just took a peek at the TV to see if anything interesting is on but no, it's just as crappy as ever]... Through Cairns and to Gordonvale then turn right and head for them thar hills. Part way up and the landscape opens out into a gorgeous green plain rimmed with tall mountains. I stop to take a couple of photos.

[Austar - a movie coming on - Amblin - The Legend of Zorro - oh well it can play quietly on the side.]

Take a couple of photos. The little white Accent doesn't like it when you get out of the car while the motor's running. Bippitta bippitta! Yes, yes. Here we go again.

[Stupid Zorro. I've turned it off.]


The road begins to become steep. I come into the rainforest. The views below are spectacular! There are waterfalls coming right off the rock face on the right and running under the road. Real waterfalls.

I stop again and take more photos.

The rock formations are unusual here; big chunky clumps of rock jutting out at odd angles.

Further along and I'm getting really hungry now but the drive is so fascinating that I'm not so aware of my growling stomach.

Whenever cars come up from behind I pull over as soon as possible to let them pass. I want to enjoy the tremendous views.

Now I'm famished and a spectacular lookout beckons but I continue on up through rainforest now and I see a vaguely familiar sign. "Lake Barrine Tea House." Yip Yah!

An earlier discovery was that my little white Accent does not seem to go into reverse so I find a "sort-of" parking spot that will allow me to swing around to exit the carpark in forward motion.

Teddy (St Valentine avatar from Trev), who has been offering advice from the front passenger seat, now kindly offers to mind my sunglasses while I go in search of ah ... food.

I snap off a shot or two on the way into the cafe. I decide to eat frugally and choose a toasted bacon and egg sandwich accompanied by a mugfull of flat white coffee. The girl asks me if I want the coffee to wait until the food is ready but, "No way!", "Feed me now!" "Whatever you've got is good. Coffee will be a good starting point."

I was not so rude as to say that, but rather a polite "Oh I'll take the coffee first, thanks."

With a number "2" on a metal stand in hand I head for the tables. Serendipitously a couple who were seated at the best table get up to leave. I saw a woman at a dodgy table grab her bag as if to pounce on the good spot but she had second thoughts and sat back down. Just as well. I swanned gracefully past and slid into the best seat in the house.

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip report...

If you just can't bear to wait send me a reminder to get on with it!

If you have any other questions please fire away and I'll keep an eye on the postings to answer you asap.

Be well all.
Enjoy your travels.

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