157. Granite Gorge

We  made a day trip to Cairns, 62 km via a very twisty road down the mountain. We didn’t stop to visit Kuranda, that will be for another day.

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Once in Cairns, noticeably hotter and more humid than Mareeba, full of palm trees and overshadowed by the mountains, the GPSr worked overtime as we sped from one caravan spares place and/or cabinet maker and/or Jaycar electronics shop to another. By good fortune the local Jayco (caravan) dealer had just three of the cupboard drawer hanger/guides – which had been removed from their catalogue a while ago but fortunately still kept! We called in at one of my early schoolteachers’ retirement village but although she was “somewhere around” she wasn’t at home and we had to leave, but now armed with her phone number next time we can give some warning.

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Notable in Cairns, as in Mareeba, was a shop selling just cigarettes.

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The big Mareeba market was scheduled for that Saturday so off we went. It was HUGE. One thing that distinguished it from most other markets seen so far were the large number of plant stalls selling large beautiful bromeliad plants in a huge variety of colours and shapes. Lots of fruit and vegetable stalls featured all the usual stuff plus avocadoes, pineapples and sev real varieties of kale. We disgraced  ourselves with two huge twists of sweet potato (never called kumara here) dredged with salt and cheese; then finished off with ice creams! (Sorry no photos).

The annual Gold Panning competition was under way. We stopped to watch but didn’t see anyone make a big find. Some competitors swirled frantically, probably knocking most of the gold out with the initial sand mix. Dave bought a modern-style ridged plastic gold pan …. we shall see if it works when we get back to NZ.

After a morning relaxing, doing some washing and catching up with emails, Dave had cabin fever so we made an afternoon trip to nearby Granite Gorge. A highly regulated area which includes a camp, it still provided an interesting stroll along a well-marked track over huge rocks, with rock wallabies spotted every now and then.

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It is apparently a tourist coach stop which provides bags of wallaby food so that everyone is guaranteed to see a couple of wallabies within a very short time!

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I was talking to this cocky and giving it a scratch, then we went round  to the other side of the cage and a sign said to keep fingers away, they bite (!). I think he enjoyed all the attention. He shouldn’t be in a cage anyway.

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