My oh my what a week this has been!
Our big holiday is now well and truly under way, and so far going extremely well.
This week was our ‘rainforest week’, and also the week I have been looking forward to the most.
I needed some peace, some space to relax. To surround myself with nature. I needed trees. It’s amazing how much I miss proper trees living in the dry Pilbara.
So my wonderful husband got tired of listening to me talk about rainforest, and booked a flight to Cairns!
He booked us a week in a private ‘couples retreat’ (although we took the boy with us too) nestled in the rainforest. Called Platypus Springs Rainforest Retreat, it is a lovely private house with the most magical veiw. Featuring a spa bath set into the veranda, overlooking the lush forest that just drops off right at your feet, it is hard not to relax! It also has it’s own icy cold plunge pool with a little waterfall.
The house is magnificent, with wooden planked ceilings, raw wooden bench tops (even the bathroom vanity), pure white linen and fluffy robes. It has every mod con you might want in the kitchen, as well as a hidden laundry. The only downer is the terrible internet and TV reception, which has been driving my husband crazy!
I love it here, surrounded by greenery. Beautiful lush trees, with ferns and vines growing all through them. There is an amazing amount of wildlife about too (nothing scary though). So many different types of birds to watch and listen too. Their songs seem to be never-ending. We also spotted a few Northern Brown Bandicoots scurrying about in our garden in the evenings. Very cute and timid, and lots of fun to try to spot with a torch 🙂
The only bad animals we have encountered are ants, big March Flys (they bite), and of course the hideous Cane Toad. Being from the west I have heard about them, but never seen them before. The ugly buggers seem to be everywhere after dark!
We are just outside of a cute little tourist town called Kuranda. It is small, cute, artsy, and made up almost totally of markets! Even outside the markets most shops are selling art or handicrafts. There is a lolly shop that hand makes boiled lollies, and a place selling the most amazing fruit liquors. Mango port, mango cello and lemon cello are just a few! Yumm!
Whist exploring the markets we brought a lovely Kalimba (thumb piano) made from a gourd, and drank fresh coconut water straight from the coconut. My son and I also really like watching the Brush Turkeys that scratch about the place, as well as Curlews with their really long legs.
We took a small little ferry up the river. Welcome Swallows were nesting in the roof and life jackets. We saw lots of fish, as well as some tortoises. Even one small lazy crocodile sunning himself on a log.
Kuranda is also home to Bird World, a Koala Park, and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. That was a magical place to visit. Thousands of butterflies, of all different species, flitting about amongst beautiful lush gardens. They don’t seem to mind people too much, and land on your head, hands, all over. So cool. My son said they looked like little fairies 🙂
We haven’t only been lazing around though, and have spent a day exploring Cairns, which I think is a beautiful city. Lush green and vibrant red foliage, and bright flowers everywhere. It has a really fit, outdoorsy vibe. Early morning is full of people jogging, walking their dogs, using the exercise parks, all types of activness. We even saw someone doing Thai Chi on the beach. A really relaxed and happy feeling place.
We have also spent a day exploring the Atherton Tablelands. There is so much there. We hardly even scratched the surface, you would need a week to see and do it all. So we picked the things we really wanted to see (by we I mean me) and stuck to them.
So we drove through the countryside, which is totally different to what I am used to. It changes so fast. One minute it is lush green forest, the next it is grassland complete with cows! So many hills and valleys, which make for some awesome scenery.
We stopped and had lunch in a tea room that stood on the edge of a peaceful lake, formed by a volcanic eruption. We then went swimming in another. Jared was stoked to be swimming in a volcano! The water was really crisp and cold, but so refreshing. I’m so glad I went in. A beautiful spot.
Next was a stop at Mamu Tropical Skywalk which features an elevated walkway through the rainforest canopy, plus a really tall observation tower. It also incorporates a walk along the forest floor. One word…. AMAZING! To be able to see the canopy from so close, and such a different angle was just awe-inspiring. The walk takes you through a section of the rainforest that has been severely damaged by two cyclones in the last decade, and I found it really interesting to see how quickly and totally the forest recovers. It was so peaceful just wandering along, taking it all in. One of the highlights so far for me.
We have two more days in this rain-forest paradise before we head back down the mountains for some beach R&R. So far, this is bliss 🙂