The bus today had an early checkout, which mean I could sleep in and not worry about having to clean up the mess of breakfast. However, Natalie eventually emerged while Darius didn’t.
Turned out that once he’d come back from the night canoe, and Den Den had come back from the pub, they’d gone into his caravan to the ‘Caravan Bar’, Darius’s personal stash of alcohol and continued until dawn. He didn’t actually get to bed until he was probably meant to be up.
What did this mean? That come 11am, Natalie is ready and waiting to go to Kuranda, and Darius is still hungover to the point that him driving is actually illegal. This meant that poor Natalie had to drive the car – which is a clunky old landrover-type car with no suspension and dubious gear changes, while Darius half navigated/half slept in the front seat. They did however, ask if I wanted to come along too, so I was in the back with Chief keeping Natalie company on the way.
It was Sunday, so sadly by the time we got to Kuranda a lot of the shops were closed. I’d never been to Kuranda because I wasn’t big on the Sky Rail and the train trip was too expensive, but can’t say I missed much. Its clearly all for tourists, consisting of multiple zoos and dozens of shops. That said, a lot of the shops had some really interesting gear. Had I not been backpacking and here on an actual holiday, I could have done all my souvineer shopping here with a problem. There was also this fantastic alternative fashion store called Tantrika – could have easily bought the store, but nothing was really made for shoving in a backpack and getting washed in generic bulks so had to resist. But does have an online store…if I can’ make my way back to Cairns before I hop home I might just invest here a bit.
By the time we’d wandered around the area completely, nearly everywhere was shut, but did managed to convince a Vietnamese cafe to give us takeout. Relatively meh, really should stop buying Pho outside of Vietnam, its just not the same.
Before Natalie would head down the Sky Rail, we decided to drive along to Barron Falls, which were just a few minutes away by car. With the exception of one hiccup (sign was misread and we went the wrong way – ironically I actually had the RIGHT direction this time), got there without harm, and Darius stayed in the car to hide Chief since dogs weren’t allowed here.
Barron Falls is along a winding path through the rainforest, with 2 different viewpoints. The railway also stops here, and you can see the the Sky Rail in the distance too, The falls themselves, are a thing of beauty.
Seriously, this is Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones stunning. You half expect some kind of fortress or castle to be at the side – supposedly there was once a power plant that supplied a good chunk of cairns here, but that’s not ‘quite’ the same. Its beautiful – and wish we’d had time and the ability to get closer, but had to head back before anyone spotted Chief in the car, and Natalie had to head back.
Once we said our farewells, Darious was sadly forced to take the wheel (though not before making absolutely SURE I didn’t feel confident enough to drive – no way on earth was I taking that wheel when I hadn’t been behind one in nearly 4 years and was a sucky learner driver anyway). Thankfully, by this point he was sober and clean, just really, REALLY sorry about it, and we had to keep talking just to make sure he didn’t nod off before getting home.