Monday, 13 April 2009

Cairns to Port Douglas

The weather in Cairns was very rainy and humid, and we couldn't get a hire car for 24 hours due to the school holidays and Easter. The one we eventually found is the most expensive car we've ever hired, so you'd expect something a bit special. Not so – it's a Daihatsu Charade - essentially a golf cart with 75,000km on the clock. Jeremy Clarkson couldn't review it for Top Gear as he couldn't even fit inside. On top of that, it handles like a brick on an ice rink.

Power steering would've been handy, as the road to Kuranga was very winding. In fact, we both got travel sick. However, the Butterfly Sanctuary more than made up for it. Jen thought she was being tickled by someone, but it turned out to be a sky blue Ulysses landing on her back. The butterflies all thought she was a flower in her bright pink top. Andy was impressed by the Hercules Moth caterpillar – the largest in the world.

Interestingly, Cairns Birdwing butterflies take up to 26 hours to mate. During this time, the female slips the male a sedative. In this way, if a predator catches them in the act, she can carry them both away. Without the sedative, the male would fly in the opposite direction, tearing them both apart.

To reach Barron Falls, we followed a high walkway that meandered through the wet rainforest. We passed a basket fern tree that makes an ideal home for pythons. Luckily there was no-one at home. Much less frightening, we spotted an Australian brush turkey munching on seeds on the rainforest floor.

Yesterday we spent the day at Hartley's Crocodile Adventure. A little touristy but a safe environment to see some 'salties' and 'freshies'. There was also a croc farm at the back. The lucky inhabitants go on to become 15,000 GBP Hermes handbags – it takes two crocs to make one handbag. The farm apparently also does some conservation work – reducing the demand for illegal croc hunting in the wild. All we can say is that the concrete tanks for the farm crocs didn't look very natural. It's hard to understand how anyone could justify buying a croc skin bag.


Anonymous said...

Like the butterflies and caterpillar. Glad the crocs were in an enclosure though.

Dad & Mum