Road Trip, well a little one! The Tablelands
Trip Start Jul 16, 2010
20Trip End Jan 20, 2011
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Anyhow, we went off up into the Tablelands. First driving north about on the Kennedy Highway, 20 km literally up (430m above sea level) to Kuranda, (this was where we first met the Koalas and Kangaroos) stopping only briefly to have lunch, and buy some local Macadamia honey. If the bees have been collecting from many different flowers, the honey is named after the area the hives were situated in. The colour of the honey varies from very light gold to almost as dark as Molasses, about 8 different flavors and colours. Some that I can remember, Mango, Tropical Mix, Avocado, Coffee, and others infused with spices but all still raw honey, delicious! (makes a gourmet salad dressing when mixed with mustard seed, red wine, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil)
Off then to Mareeba, 68 km from Cairns; stopped at The Coffee Works there
You approach The Coffee Works with some great anticipation....flyers in tourist info. centers proclaim great experiences exploring and learning about the processes of coffee.
Well, we decided to not do the tour as it was rather over-priced to say the least, and instead opted for an expensive cup of coffee, mocha, and 2 iced coffees. I don't think Starbucks would stand a chance in Australia as even the corner Mac's type stores serve only gourmet coffee - using those same fandangled machines as Starbucks.
'Filtered Coffee' ....the type we're more used to, served in all our restaurants as the norm, and even our dear Tim Horton's has made their millions on, is the real low-class type coffee - and barely thought of as coffee at all.
I may have said before, people here go out for beer like we go out for coffee, and go out for coffee like we go out for a drink. Expensive stuff.
The coffee was nice, quite strong, but you do get the idea that it is about as fresh from the tree as you could get.
Onwards then to Atherton, about 30 minutes drive. The soil all around is red red. Termite mounds are frequently seen and sadly the odd dead 'roo or Wallaby at the side of the road. The landscape in general seems barren, almost dead except for the occasional vegetation or crop - ie Coffee & Avocado mostly. Further in the groves it is much more lush, true tropical rainforest
Atherton, population around 11,000, is a nice looking town.
We walked around very little really as because of the season, winter, it is dark around 6 p.m. and we wanted to be out of the incredibly winding road we'd need to take home before that time.
We did however go through The Crystal Caves there and saw some of the incredible stones, rocks and crystals native and not native to the area, all were very impressive. The Crystal Caves establishment itself was not a cave at all but instead a very cleverly designed place built to best present the rocks & stones in what would be a natural environment. $55 per family and it takes approximately an hour to 2 hrs to go through.
Then onto Yungaburra, the home of the Curtain Fig Tree. Enormous! The tree stands 50 metres tall and spreads to 39 metres wide at the base and is over 800 years old. Reminded us of Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island.
As time was not on our side, it was off again, Gordonvale and then home.
The road! oh my the road. The most bends in a road I've ever seen, and although amazingly scenic in parts, and back to very green vegetation, the road forces your speed to a high of 40 km and lows of 20 km. It was nice to be down off the tablelands after that drive :-)
We'll finish the circle we wanted to drive, another day; that time we'll head coastal south and circle back up to Cairns.