Over the easter weekend my brother had six days off before flying back out to the mines for two weeks. It was perfect weather, beaming hot sun and crickets in full force. The Tablelands is a must see place near to Cairns. It compromises of many towns in amongst beautiful green scenery, waterfalls, rainforests, farming and wineries. I had already been up to Kuranda, the little hippy town over the beautiful mountain drive, where I saw the Barron gorge waterfall and the famous Kuranda scenic railway. Rather today we took an hour and halves drive to a village called Herbeton. There was just a handful of houses and a school, and a cute historical village which we visited.
Set in amongst the hills and bush sat this little cluster of old mining houses, set out to how the towns would have been in the early 1900s. Seeing the history of Australia during WWI and two, and how the mines operated years ago was a real eye opener. Australian history is something I have never learnt about, and I feel naive not knowing. History in Australia is not like Britain, or even Europe, it lacks in the historical buildings and lands, no castles or beautiful manor houses but also it doesn’t date back that long ago, with the island only being discovered in the 1600s. The rich history and old architecture is one thing I really miss being out here, as I did when I was in South Africa. But it was a brilliant day out and worth the beautiful drive up to the Tablelands. My brother and I indulged in a delicious lunch at the tea house that was set out to its original state, using only home-grown ingredients and all home-made; I had the perfect chicken pie that was just like mums, an old mans ginger beer and a decadent chocolate muffin.
Minutes away from my brothers are all these hidden gems of beauty. One of them, Copperlode Dam/Lake Morris was just a short drive up an extremely steep mountain following a very narrow road, in amongst the rainforest. Once we reached the top, the views of the lake were breath taking. The water was so clear and still. Amazingly we spotted a family of turtles just below the bridge, along with a guana sunbathing on the rock, unfortunately my cameras not that good at long distance close-ups so I was unable to get any photos of them.
Ben and I also took a drive to the most Northern part of Queensland, without having to travel by boat, all the way to Daintree national park. On the way we stopped off at Port Douglas, another touristy town right on the beach, perfect for holidays. Full of boutiques and cafes that was very similar to Palm Cove and probably most of the towns along the coast. The drive very much reminded me of a sunny Wales. No wonder Ben loves it here! The beautiful mountains, hills and banana and cane fields. Everything so vibrant and green. Once we reached Daintree village, with just two cafes and a motel we stopped for a disgusting coffee. To me the distance to these places seem a long way, but to locals it’s no distance at all. A 12 hour drive to an Australian is perhaps a long drive, not three hours like we did today!
I feel so lucky to have Ben driving me to all these places, and it has been an amazing few weeks staying with him. But I feel now it is time to move on to my next step in Australia. I have booked a one way ticket to Melbourne for two weeks time. There I will be meeting my friend Simon, who I first met when I was travelling Africa. I feel excited to start and see something new, knowing Melbourne is very different to Cairns, but also nervous about where this path is leading to and what I am going to be doing next.