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Cairns again

Last three days before we head for home. A visit to the outback, Chillagoe Caves and Cape Tribulation.

sunny 26 °C

Best Western for the night. We wander into town making plans...at the Hilton we decide to see Sam Powers, a magician. So we make sure we are early since Mel the ticket agent says they are doing a new trick tonight and it should be exciting. As we wait at the door someone comes by...is this where the magician is? He says....then enters behind us....it's Sam Powers.

We enter and sit front and centre... A very small venue. When it starts I get asked up on stage...it is fun and silly, a little suggestive, but funny....it is a card trick. At the end he motions to kiss him on the cheek, I know he is going to turn his face, but I do it anyway and get a very wet kiss. I get a poster for my troubles and he mentions you can buy it for $5 after the show...I offer mine for $4. LOL! He also gave Roger the gears ...pretended to toss things at him and make him flinch..then after had made a bowling ball appear he managed to switch it for a plastic one and actually tossed that one at him and got a good reaction. He did the cut a girl if half and separate the parts and walk between.... Very entertaining. He also had random people in the audience give him details for a story.. then he opened a locked box and there was the story as the random people had told it. I later watched you tube clips of him on Australia's got Talent. He made the finals!

Friday we decide to do the Billie Tea trip to the Chillagoe caves. Our driver Mark picked us up just after seven and we join Joe, Joe and Belinda. We first visit Mereeba wetlands and the Jebiru Safari Lodge on the edge of the outback, there are many birds. We took a slow coast around the lagoon with a guide. We are the only ones there as this is the end of their tourist season. They had eight inches of rain over the last week, but today is great. We see ostriches with two chicks and some wallabies. One has a little Joey peeking out of her pouch. I am too slow with the camera. Further along we stop for a water break at a small town, a very small town, Dimboulah. We see very few cars on the road, maybe five over an hour and a half.

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At Chillagoe we explore the history displays before having our lunch at the hotel bar. A awesome burger and fries. We take a drive up to see the old smelter grounds. The Chillagoe Smelters site is an excellent demonstration of the technology of mineral (copper, silver, lead and gold) smelting at the turn of the 20th century. An up-to-date plant was assembled and then modified repeatedly between 1901 and 1911 to meet local conditions. The physical remains at the Chillagoe Smelters preserve important evidence of historic smelting processes that are rare today.It is very rustic and normally very hot. It was 40 degrees last week, this week it is low thirties. The rain has caused a sudden springing out of green and streams rush across the road in a couple of places. People here must be prepared for being cut off as storms flood the area. We are okay today, but I think it is cool to drive through the water.

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Some scientists believe the landscape around Chillagoe began to form about 400 million years ago, when limestone was deposited as calcareous mud and coral reefs on the bed of a shallow sea where Chillagoe is today.

We head off to meet the guide for the caves and are outfitted with battery packs and lights. Luke our guide locks us in the caves and we begin our journey. We are fortunate to have had the rain this past week as it adds some colour and character to the drama in the chambers. The bats are tiny compared to the huge fruit bats that soar over our heads back in Cairns. The Hunter spiders are cool....their eyes sparkle in the torchlight and the cockroaches are red. At one point we enter some paths that get a little low..I thought the guy ahead of me was not going to make it. But on and on we go. Caves are so amazing from tiny alcoves to majestic cathedrals. Belinda's dad joe farts...it echoes...Belonda has been laughing for ages....her dad has been farting the whole way through. We are out all too soon.

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Our drive home is broken up with water breaks, Mt Uncle distillery where we try honey vodka and marshmallow liqueur. Both great.

Next day finds us waiting for Trek North. The 4 x 4 shows up late, the driver has been looking for an elusive couple . We leave without them. One pair of young Chinese girls that stay to themselves, a Chinese mom and daughter, the daughter talks a bit, but they pretty much keep to themselves, a couple from Ireland who have been working in Brisbane since March and a young German man doing weekend trips from Perth. I thought he and the Irish couple would team up but he joins with us and is very interesting.

Some quick notes.
We see a saltie on the Daintree river cruise. He postures for us and we get some great photos. We also see a female starting to nest up a creek. Boat rules are....keep arms and heads inside the boat, the crocs can jump high. Salties are aggressive, don't stand in the water to launch you boat, they get their victims in the water or on the banks. Usually eat mud crabs, not people. They can go 12 months without eating.

Hotter and more humid that yesterday.
Stay a while vines are like barbed wire.
Delicious BBQ on the banks of the river.
Cool bug museum. See mask.
Too much to remember....many species only found here, different types of rainforest, it feels very primitive.
Road is very windy and bumpy!
We don't see a cassowary, very rare to sight one.
Most beaches unsafe...stingers.
Water in Cape Tribulation really hot
Mossman gorge is flowing, but not huge, water is cool, but not quite cold
Barramundi are all born male in fresh water. When they go to sea some become female. All the barramundi in the wetlands yesterday are male.
Salties are also called estuarine crocs.
They are found in fresh water more than salt....animals need fresh water so where better to hunt.
Tobias is the German man on the trip, he will be in Vancouver in February
In the outback the cattle are Brahmas, that are rail thin because of the long dry period. They will die if you were to drop of some fresh grass for them to eat.

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The Last hotel

Our hotwire deal is awesome. We spend the night at the Novotel oasis resort for a sweet deal. We enjoy a quick drink at happy hour and a swim. Early sleep tonight.....a very tired happy traveler.

There are hundreds of bats in the trees outside our room!
Got geocache 800 and 801.

The flight to Sydney has us coming in with an awesome view. We meet up with David and Anne and drive to a spot on Botany Bay for tea and then a walk. I kind of miss the hot humid weather, but I will cope. We collect our luggage that had been stored by Anne and David and it is only when we go to check in that we learn our flight will not be leaving until tomorrow morning. They have a holding room for us and snacks. The room slowly fills with bodies all over. They go to dim the lights at ten and one loud mouth lady protests so they turn some lights back up and bring out some masks and earplugs. Some people make little effort to be quiet, but most are considerate.

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We board and take off by 6 am.

Posted by Mari Anne 07:11 Archived in Australia Tagged sydney rain outback flight sam plane cape cairns airplane magician tribulation powers

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