Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fun at the Falls

After my chilled out day at Kuranda I was looking forward to a more active day with the Uncle Brians tour of the Atherton table lands. As I got on the bus I was slightly apprehensive as I was last on and the only seat available was between two guys at the front, but hey, at least I had a good view of where we were going. From the start our guide was on good form. He started by pointing out the electricity ‘trees’ and introducing us to Gus the bus. There was much silliness as we drove to our first destination for another wander through a different part of the rainforest. Our guide was still on good form but a bit more informative as he told us about the different trees and spiders. We stopped at some lookouts to see Devils Pools where the rock formations make the river deadly as many people who have tried top to swim there have been pulled under the rocks by the currents and drowned. Due to this we did not go for a swim but contented ourselves admiring the river from afar and taking photos.

Soon we were back on the bus for more waving at the road workers and interesting ‘facts’. Since I was at the front of the bus and it seemed like the right kind of company I asked to put Zack up beside Elmo who had been waving at the road workers with us that morning. Before long though we were stopping for morning tea and our first swim of the day in some very fresh water. The river was quite shallow and slow running at this point but the coolness of the water was sure to wake up anyone. After our swim it was time for morning tea of cake and juice and I knew that this was definitely the tour for me!

Our next stop was Josephine Falls where we slid down the natural rock slide into the water below. It wasn’t far from the top to the bottom of the slide but it was fun enough to make the climb up worth it again and again until we were called out of the water so we could make out way to lunch. The scenery was still amazing though there more fields than forests for a change and our two courses were a main and desert, I was definitely seeing a pleasing pattern by this point. As we let our lunch settle we were regaled with the love triangle between Gus the bus, his girlfriend and his admirer. The day was only halfway through but I had already laughed more than I had in who knows how many weeks if not months. After being informed of the love triangle we all piled back on the Gus the bus and headed to Milla Milla Falls a.k.a The place where Peter Andre recorded the video for mysterious girl or the place where the herbal essences adverts were shot. Thankfully no-one attempted to recreate Peter Andre’s video but we all had a go at the flicking our hair out of the water a la herbal essence advert. Our tour guide turned photographer was very encouraging and had us try it alone, in pairs and even in groups. No-one was exempt; in fact some of the guys were getting scarily good at it by the end of our time there. I did take a swim under the falls and got a free back massage as the water, having fallen from a great height, hit my back with some force. It felt surprisingly good though I wouldn’t want to spend a long time under the fall itself. The pool at the bottom of the falls was deep enough for some swimming but mostly we lined up to get our photos taken.  There was no cake here, instead once on the bus our guide asked if we had brought any chocolate, none of us had and he also forgot but thankfully Gus the bus saved the day and shared his with us.

Our final swimming stop for the day was at Lake Eacham, a volcanic crater lake and our warmest swimming spot of the day. As well as more swimming we also took a short walk around the lake to look for some turtles. No matter how many times I see turtles, big or small I still love to go look for them. Therefore I was delighted to spot a few swimming near the look out once I got there. Surprisingly after our final swim there was, yes you guessed it, more cake! This time it was accompanied by hot chocolate and marshmallows. It would have been the perfect end to a fabulous day out but there was one more stop to make before we headed home.

We stopped at a dam for some platypus spotting. There was another group already there and the two guides went in opposite directions to see if they could spot one for us. While they went searching we waited at the lookout and before too long we saw one. In fact we saw him a few times as he took a swim around. I got a few blurry photos with my powershot but it was no match for my SLR. It was the first time I really missed my good camera but it wasn’t enough to ruin my joy at finally seeing a wild platypus!! Then it really was time to head back to Cairns. On the way there was singing and dancing on the bus and much more silliness. I went back into the hostel grinning like an idiot, I am sure I threw myself in to the day with more enthusiasm than anyone expected but it was worth it. I enjoyed every second of my day round the tablelands despite my adrenalin/sugar high I did manage to calm down enough to get a decent night sleep for my next adventure, a trip to see where the rainforest really meets the reef.

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