Monthly Archives: September 2021

Walsh’s Pyramid, Gordonvale to Cairns, QLD

Wednesday 29th September 2021
Well , it has rained throughout the night and we are not sure whether we should do the hike up Walsh’s Pyramid summit as the track notes from hikers indicate it can be tricky, slippery and difficult in the wet. Our plan was to head off early around 7ish but we have decided to wait a bit to see if the fog lifts, the clouds dissipate and the ground dries out a bit. We teetered betwenn yes and no a dozen times and in the end at about 9am we decided to go and have a look.

On arrival at the Wooroonooran National Park we had a chat with some ranges there doing some maintenance who indicated it should be fine and that the cloud may burn off throughout the morning. So I made a quick couple of sandwiches, we packed our bags and off we went. Starting at about 9.45am.

Onward and upward, the hike was a consistent uphill climb for 3.5km. Up 900m in elevation, with rock scrambles, hand and foot crawls and lots of rocky steps. Up up, up and up some more. I had a couple of birthday calls as well as many chats with other hikers on their way back down and an extended chat with a hiker and his 10 year old son at the 1/2 way mark. After a tough climb for almost 3 hours we made it to the top, unfortunately the view was impeded by the low clouds and mist rolling in and out. We were grateful for the lower temperature, only about 29° and the cloud cover as we were both wet through by the time we reached the top

We enjoyed a gourmet birthday lunch of peanut butter and vegemite wraps, a couple of cookies and some hydralite. After lunch we spent some time out on the rocky cliffs and then started the descent. This was trickier on the way down, a continuous down, down, down for the next 1 hour 40 minutes. We made it to the bottom at about 3.15pm. So it took us the specified time 5.5 hours including stops and time at the top. I can now eat all I want for dinner tonight. I think I earned it.

We decided to head back to Cairns to stay in a hotel tonight, then head to dinner at the Marina. We enjoyed a beautiful Italian meal at an authentic Italiaan Restaurant called Vitalia. I have had a very lovely birthday.

Walsh’s Pyramid. Situated at the northern end of Wooroonooran National Park, within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Walsh’s Pyramid is a granite core left standing in the form of a pointed hill when older, less resistant metamorphic rocks were eroded away. Eucalypt woodlands cover the lower slopes while towards the summit, as soil becomes shallower, trees are more stunted and shrubs dominate along with grasses and rock ferns.


Cairns to Fishery Falls, QLD

Tuesday 28th September 2021
Today we are moving on from Cairns, not too far but a little bit south. About 48km to be exact but a little progress none the less.

Firstly, we went for a quick drive up the road from us to see Barron Gorge. It was so wide but so empty except for a little trickle done the waterfall as we had some rain last night.

Next, time for a swim at the Tobruk Memorial Swimming Pool – such an amazing facility. Then some lunch at the Botanical Gardens and followed by some shopping – some new shorts and a belt for DB.

Then the little drive south to Fishery Falls and a walk to the waterhole. Hopefully we manage an early night as we are hoping to do a big hike tomorrow if we feel up for it and the weather plays ball, we will try to conquer Walsh’s Pyramid.

Cairns, QLD – Day 8

Monday 27th September 2021
Today we will have another recovery day, a little washing, a swim, some grocery shopping and a visit to the Botanic Gardens.

We arrived at the Botanic Gardens just in time for lunch, so we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary and enjoyed a café lunch. It was very nice indeed. Then we walked around the Botanic Gardens for the next few hours. There were many different plants with very vibrant mostly red flowers. We then walked through the butterfly enclosure which also had some beautiful flowers, in particular some gorgeous orchids. We then headed to the rainforest, walked passed the fresh water and salt water lakes, some some egrets but no crocodiles. We also visited the Tank Art Gallery No 4. It had a variety of artworks and was quite interesting, also a great idea for utilising what we think were the old water tanks in the city.

Tanks Arts Centre art gallery is a distinctive and unique backdrop for presenting works. With its oil-stained concrete walls and interior poles, Tank 4 is far from a conventional, white-walled gallery and plays host to a variety of local and touring exhibitions, artists residencies and studio activity.

The gallery space is a multi-functional exhibition and performance space catering for all art forms. This space is available for hire to individual artists and art organisations and possess a unique setting, size, and shape to accommodate exhibitions and performances.”

We are thinking we will move on tomorrow but not sure of the destination yet.

Cairns, QLD – Day 6 & 7

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September 2021
After a really big day yesterday on Green Island we had a quiet day at home in the caravan park. Just resting, a little housekeeping and resting ssome more.

Then on Sunday we had another early start as we headed to Fitzroy Island. A 45min ferry ride from Cairns Marina at 9am and then a whole day on the Island departing at 4pm. We were a little luckier today, the sky was blue with only a little cloud. It was windy again but we think Fitzroy Island will be a little bit more protected than Green Island.

On arrival at Fitzroy Island we decided to do the bush walk first. This was a 4km loop train via the summit and lighthouse with an elevation gain of 267m. So a pretty good walk. The first section to the summit was all uphill but along the way you enjoyed some beautiful views of Welcome Bay and the mainland. When we reached the summit you had 360° views which were quite spectacular. Looking out to sea and back to the mainland. The sea was a beautiful blue and quite still today, a little windier out to sea but reasonably calm. We enjoyed a chat with 2 families who live on their yachts and home school their 5 children. It sounds like quite an amazing life. They have been living on their yachts for over a year with another couple to go. The kids age range was between 5 and 14. We then headed to the lighthouse and then back to Welcome Bay. It was a pleasant walk.

We decided to snorkel at Nudey Beach first as this was the windier section and furthest from our return boat. It was very beautiful and we managed to find a section of beautiful coral and many many fish or varying sizes and colour. The clams were very vibrant in colour and so were the fish. We saw butterfly fish, many different varieties of parrotfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, a common reef  octopus which was very shy, white-banded triggerfish, bird wrasse, crown unicornfish, and many more. We lasted about an hour or so before David got too cold. So we then walked back to Welcome Bay where we spent another hour or so snorkelling. This time we got to swim with a sea turtle gain. It was unperturbed by our presence and just went about its business eating, swimming and surfacing for a gulp of air periodically. It was another wonderful time for me, I love swimming beside the turtles and am totally absorbed in the experience. I would have swum with the turtle for about half an hour. We saw many more fish at Welcome Bay as well but the coral seemed a little insipid and dirty. We think this may just be caused by the continual boat traffic. Anyway, we had another enjoyable day snorkelling, with much better weather today.

We headed back to the mainland at about 4pm. A pleasant boat ride with less wind than Friday. It was another long exhausting day.


Cairns, QLD – Day 5

Friday 24th September 2021
Hi everyone, we are still enjoying our freedom in Far North Queensland. Love and big hugs to all our family and friends in lockdown. Hope you are trying to stay sane and keeping safe.

We had an amazing day today even though the weather wasn’t particularly kind for our big day. We chose the best forecast over this week to book our trip to Green Island and unfortunately the weather Gods didn’t read the memo. They changed their mind and threw us a curve ball of wet, wild and wooly (well almost). It was very windy, overcast with a few sunny glimpses and showers for about an hour. This unfortunately put a dampener on our snorkelling activities as the water was choppy, cloudy and cool.

We left Cairns Marina at 9am with about another 100 or so people, not quite sure of the number. It was very windy on the way to the island, the water started out grey and dirty but cleared as we got closer to the Island which is about 27km from the mainland. On arrival at Green Island just for good measure it started raining so we decided first activity would be a walk through the rainforest in the centre of the island and then a walk around its circumference. This was a pleasant walk and the time for our first wildlife encounter. We were walking along the edge of the beach and about a metre from us about a 2m black-tip reef shark, we think, came right to the edge to check us out. It was an amazing moment, we watched and followed it along the shoreline for about 10 minutes and then it swam away. Not a good thing for me to see before we head out snorkelling in the same ocean. Oh well, I am sure there are more than one shark out in the ocean everyday, so fingers crossed no nasties around. By the time we finished our walk the rain had stopped and there was the occasional glimpses of sun, although momentary it did show the island in a different light for the short minutes it was out.

We decided to have a snorkel at the flagged area on the beach which had a very small reef. It was quite foggy but we were able to see a variety of fish including the parrotfish. After about 30 minutes here we decided to head to the left side of the main wharf before David got too cold (water temp about 24°C) as the water isn’t quite warm enough. David was wearing a stinger suit and I had my long-john and a thermal log sleeve rash vest. So I was definitely going to last longer. We headed out near the piers of the jetty where we saw a few fish and then a 1.5-2m black-tipped reef shark swam right past me within about a metre. It was a magnificent creature with another long thin fish nibbling near its gills. It was a fleeting moment but one that will be an amazing highlight for me. Both David and I were amazed at how lucky that was and can also see how you don’t always see what is coming near you until it is there as I wouldn’t have even seen it if David didn’t get my attention. It was soooooo cool. Our next awesome moment was as we headed back in towards the shore as DB was shivering and very cold and we couldn’t stay in the small arm pockets of water. David had just got out of the water and was huddled by the wall protected by the wind when I saw a big sea turtle just on the shore’s edge. I called David and swam towards it, it was not at all perturbed by my presence and we swam with it for about 10 minutes. It was the most amazing experience. I just flippered beside it backwards and forwards between the wharf and the windbreak wall. Wow was I lucky. Another awesome time snorkelling, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – a black-tipped reef shark and a green sea turtle. Woohoo!!

We then went back to the flagged area to sit in the not sunny beach to warm up. David got dressed but I was able to stay warm in my wetsuit and rashee. After a little while whilst DB was having a snooze, I headed back out t snorkel some more. I saw many more fish this time – Angelfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, longnose unicornfish, triggerfish, leopardfish, and many many more. It was another great time in the water that I am so thankful for my not so new learned comfort. What a great day. Imagine how cool it would have been with the sun shining warmly on our backs as we snorkelled the magnificent blue waters of Green Island. Lucky I have rose-coloured glasses. as I am still smiling now as I write this blog. David snuck in for a quick 10 minute snorkel to see the new fish to the area before we rushed back to the boat at 3.30pm. We then had a very windy trip back to Cairns as both times we sat upstairs in the open air to be Covid safer just in case.

We Arrived back at the Marina at 5pm, exhausted and happy. Thanks again to my gorgeous husband for planning another great adventure on this extended tour of a lifetime.

Take care and stay safe everyone. Love Fiona and David xxx

Cairns, QLD – Day 4

Thursday 23rd September 2021
We are doing a little sightseeing today.

First stop – Kuranda Birdworld ($20 each). This could have been a 15-30 minute whirlwind if we didn’t try to get some good photos. As always DB doesn’t count these photos or sightings as they are served on a platter (in an aviary) so to speak. We enjoyed ourselves all the same. We saw many birds – macaw, egrets, parrots of many kinds, black cockatoo, mandarin ducks, cassowary, and many more. Hopefully you enjoy the pictures,

We then headed to the Crystal Cascades which we had been trying to get to for a couple of days. A rock scramble, a waterfall (Fairy Falls) but the water was a little too cold to swim, we then walked to the Crystal Cascades waterfall. Along the path we saw a black snake.

Then home for a rest as we have a big day tomorrow,

Cairns, QLD – Day 3

Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Today we are having a rest day. After a slow start we headed in to town for a swim. Apparently they had the price wrong the other day as it was $6.10 for just me today. The day was warm but very very windy. After my swim we headed to the foreshore for lunch. On our arrival David saw three jabiru in the distance in the muddy foreshore, so we headed to enjoy their presence as they are not a common sight to see. They were a long way in the distance but we managed to enjoy watching them and got a couple of okay pictures. It would be great to see them again up close but at least we have seen them. We then headed to the shops to try and get DB some flippers for our trip to Green Island on Friday. We went in at one end and found part of the shopping centre barricaded off. We were concerned that someone had been there with Covid and they were deep-cleaning it but the sales guy at Rebel told us there had been a murder there at 8am this morning. That seemed quite surreal and the guy said it was difficult for all the staff to continue at work today but they only cordoned one section of the centre off for forensic stuff. The guy was been apprehended this morning.  We then headed out of the city and did a little more shopping out of town.

Not much else to report. Hope you are all keeping safe and sound. Love Fiona and David.

A little bit of information as to why the jabiru is now called the black-necked stork.
“The Black-necked Stork is the only stork found in Australia. With black and white body plumage, glossy dark green and purple neck and massive black bill, it is easily identified from all other Australian birds. The legs are long and coral-red in colour. The female is distinguished by its yellow eye. Immature birds resemble adults, but the black plumage is replaced by brown and the white plumage is duskier. This species has also been called the Jabiru but was renamed because a bird in Central and South America had a prior claim to the name. At two metres tall it is an impressive sight on land and in the air.”

Cairns, QLD – Day 2

Tuesday 21st September 2021
Yet again, sleeping is an issue which in turn makes for a slow start to the day.

Today we went for a hike in the Barron Gorge National Park. A little 8km return hike up 453m in elevation to Glacier Rock Lookout. It was an easy enough hike terrain wise but was a continuous up, up, up. We enjoyed a nice rest at the top for lunch and then headed down, down, down. Most of the walk was in the shade except for about 15 mins each way. We saw a few lace monitors, a few birds, brush turkeys, scrub hens and a couple of cassowary scats.

After our hike we headed in to Cairns to buy a few things for our next few days adventures, this included mask, snorkel and flippers, a box to store them in the car, an ice-pack for David’s shoulder as it is a mess after yesterdays swim, then the groceries.

We will stay in this area for the rest of the week.

Cairns, QLD – Day 1

Monday 20th September 2021
Lake Placid Rainforest Retreat which is really just another caravan park with a fancy name was so peaceful and quiet last night except for the Curlews. It was one of my best night’s sleep in ages. We decided we would stay for an extra 2 nights as we have never been to Cairns and we have put the brakes on a little. Just learning to take it easy a bit instead of going 100mph all day every day. Yay!

We had a lovely swim in the Tobruk Memorial Pool at Cairns, which was a lovely facility. It had an outdoor heated 25 and 50m pool, and indoor heated 25m pool, a wave rider pool and trampolines. It was amazing and it only cost $3.05 each for entry. Wow!

We then enjoyed a nice lunch in the park and then walked the foreshore to the Marina and then back through the town centre. The foreshore was beautifully appointed parks/playgrounds along the way, beautiful green grass, a boardwalk and a cycle/walking track, a free unfenced swimming pool and recreation area, sand volleyball courts, skate park and many, many restaurants. There is a few people about walking the foreshore but the town centre is terribly quiet considering it is school holidays. Many of the shops have closed down and are for lease and many of the restaurants were empty. They are really feeling the effects of the pandemic lockdowns and border closures. It is very sad to see.

We enjoyed a lovely quiet day in Cairns which was a very clean and tidy town


Port Douglas to Lake Placid – Cairns, QLD

Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 2021
Well I woke on Saturday, the day after my snorkel tour still feeling a little ordinary, so we decided to have a rest day. We extended our stay at the Big 4 just 9km south of Port Douglas for another day and just rested and rested.

Then today (Sunday) we headed off on our way further south and managed to travel 50km south. Woohoo us! We just went for a drive down the coast which is a very scenic drive right along the waters edge with the mountains very close to the coastline. We  stopped at Rex Lookout again, then in to Palm Cove where there was a surf carnival on today and then on to Trinity Beach. We gave our friend Nikki a tour of the area as she spent a few years here when she was younger. We then drove to Yorkey’s Knob which is another beach a little further south. As you will see in the pictures the water isn’t very enticing even without stingers and crocs.

We then drove on to Cattana Wetlands where we went for a walk in search of the elusive jabiru. Unfortunately not to be today, we only saw some green pigmy geese, egrets and a comb-crested jacanas with 2 chicks. Then on to our home at Lake Placid in a caravan park.