We had a wander round the town the next day and although it was cooler than Alice it certainly wasn't Kilkenny. The Northern part of the East coast is plagued with jellyfish and crocs so the only safe place to swim during parts of the year are in lagoons by the sea front. Cairns has a nice one
. We spent three days there in all before picking up our campervan and spent most of the time wandering through the shopping centre or down at the lagoon. We got free meals courtesy of the hostel in the local pub, the Woolshed. Although they were paupers portions you could upgrade to a decent meal for $5 - bargain. It was on our way back from the Woolshed (a good twenty minute walk) that we realised what people meant when they had warned us we were visiting during rainy season. The heavens absolutely opened up. As we had no idea how long it was going to last we decided to make a dash for it. That was the funniest trip home ever. Within two minutes (literally) we were soaked through to the skin, which wasn't hard as we were only wearing t-shirts and shorts or trousers. At that point I give up on the idea of running in between the verandahs - what was the point. As Sarah tried to dash across the road she lost a flip flop in the flash flood on the side of the road. I had to rescue it for her. By the time we got back to the hostel the water in the flood drains by the side of the road were knee deep and had quite a strong current. There was nothing for it but to have water fights. At least it was warm rain.
From Cairns we decided to head North to Cape Tribulation. It's a rainforest which runs all the way into the sea. It was quite cool to drive through and when we got to the ferry crossing and looked over, it looked like we were about to drive into Jurassic Park - see my photo
. It wasn't so nice to try and sleep in. It was our first night in the campervan. It was cosy to say the least, the heat must have been over 30 degrees and the humidity was something else. We tried to sleep without opening windows but it wasn't working so we opted for the "get some air but get eaten alive by mosquitos" option. I woke up the next morning and I counted nearly thirty bites. (Have I mentioned the fact that the girls aren't bitten? They were that night but not as badly as me.... ) Despite this and helped by a cooked breakfast (sausages scorched on the gas stove!) we managed to get through the day driving through the rainforest and wandering out onto the beaches where the rainforest ran into it, creating croc infested mangroves. No, we never did get to see any wild crocs :( but we did see two wild Cassowaries crossing the road which was retty special. That evening we headed back down towards Cairns and kept going south via Tully, where we got a mosquito net, the Mossman Gorge, the Wannaman Falls (where we saw wild kangaroos), Sydney here we come!
Well, we arrived into Cairns and was quite surprised by how small it was really. The town centre is maybe the size of Kilkenny and is really pretty, a bit like Alice Springs with all the verandahs out front of the buildings etc. We arrived into the hostel and settled in that night, getting to know some of the other people staying. We met Arthur and Seth, two young guys who'd set up a couple of weeks earlier in Cairns from Sydney. I'm still not sure what brought them up there from Sydney, they insisted Sydney was a fantastic place, so we can only imagine they were running from the law. They denied it obviously.