Friday, 16 November 2012

Eclipse 2012 - Day 5 - Cairns Highlands

More wildlife hunting for us!  Mostly birds though :)  We made our way back to Mareeba via Mt Molloy and headed out to Lake Mitchell.  It looked like it was something highly illegal because we had to open a chained gate to get in there... but it looked like lots of people do it (maybe it's a cattle drove area).

Here are some of the highlights from this area:

 Jabiru and Magpie Geese

 Large Billed scrubwren and white necked heron

 Grey browed babbler and Black Swans, Australasian Grebe and Blue billed ducks

There were also green pygmy-geese, lots of cormorants and pacific black ducks there too.

Then we went on to Mareeba wetlands, and saw figbirds and blue faced honey eaters on the way in.  Boy was I excited when I got there to see comb crested Jacanas!  There were a lot of birds out there to photograph.
 Comb crested Jacana and Darter

 Dollarbird and Emu

Green pygmy-goose and Little Pied Cormorant

Then onto the famous Skyrail from Cairns to Kuranda.  We were hoping to catch the cable car up and the steam train down, but it was too late in the day for that.  We started opposite to everyone else - we did a return from Kuranda, whereas most of the other tourists were doing it from Cairns return.  It was packed and one of the guys working there told us to take the cablecar all the way down, and then get off at the two stops on the way back.  It was good advice.

J was scared as we approached the cable cars - he had the wide eyed anxious look, and kept saying "No, No" as we approached the front of the line.  He wouldn't even walk into the area, we carried him in.  E was enjoying it, as she had done one before with grandpa in Taiwan.  However, once he got in, he loved it, and he wailed when we had to get off at the stops, wanting to go back to the cable cars.  It was a good experience of the rainforest but creature poor - no butterflies, birds or animals to be seen!  The only exciting thing we did see from our cable car was a black shouldered kite carrying a fish in its claws flying up to the forest.

The whole skyrail one way without stopping takes 35 minutes!  That's one hell of a cable car ride!  We stopped on the way back to do the quick boardwalks and by the time we got back to Kuranda the markets were closed.  What a shame!  Would have liked to check out the arts stores.  We had a quick walk by the Cairns esplanade before dinner.

 Masked dotterel and white faced heron

 I'm hopeless at identifying stilts, sandpipers - they all look the same!
We had dinner at Ochre - which was featured on the plane as an interesting place to eat.  They had typical tourist fare there with an Australian game menu, so we tried that.  The food was interesting, but unfortunately service was slow even though we booked for 5:30 (it didn't help that I didn't realise that the restaurant was 4 blocks from where we parked our cars) and the kids got really tired.  We didn't get to finish our mains, but they looked really fantastic on the plate!

Damper and Dukka

Spicy Prawn and Crocodile

 Crocodile Wontons and salmon mousse cones

 Kangaroo terrine and Emu carpaccio

Sliced Kangaroo on Bokchoy, Sliced Wallaby on Potato, and sweet potato fritters

Wattleseed Pavlova and Berry sorbet

We remembered late at night we forgot to buy the paper!  So we were driving around looking for the newspaper and finally found one at the BP petrol station.  Phew, a souvenir of the trip!

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