Day 6 – Cairns to Brisbane

Out and about on the scooters today and thankfully yesterdays rain had disappeared to give us a brilliant sunny day. These little things have no guts but who cares when you are having so much fun. We took off from the house, headed down the straight flat out, leant in to the circle to get us on to the highway and we were grinning ear to ear. Our destination was Lake Placid for breakfast.
Dianne and Deb gave us a half hour head start before leaving to meet us. On the way we stopped off at a petrol station to fill up. I’m sure Pauline felt a little sheepish going in to pay for the two bikes since $2.50 is really pocket change. I waved to a bunch of school kids we passed who were doing what looked like a cross country walk. Sadly I got no response – these jaded country kids aren’t interested in bikes that are probably less powerful than the ones they ride at home.


After about 15 minutes we pulled in to Lake Placid where Pauline taught me how to correctly park a bike. You kind of drive in to the parkin a semi circle then back the rear wheel in to the curb. I felt like Marlon Brando in The Wild One when I pulled off the helmet even if I looked more like one of Barbie’s homely friends who’d borrowed her bike for the day. We cooled our heels waiting for the other two by walking around the Lake’s edge and tormenting the ducks by making us follow us. I didn’t see any crocodiles like in the Lake Placid movie.
Finally Deb and Dianne turned up shocked that we had actually made it. Dianne was convinced we’d gotten lost because they didn’t pass us on the way but the fact is that 60km is pretty quick on the highway. She kind of wished that she had gotten one too but I guess she can save that for her next guests. We all pigged out on eggs and bacon except for Dianne who had a serving of chips. I wasn’t really in the mood for chilling out and had an itchy throttle hand so I was impatient to keep going.
Since Barron Gorge was nearby along the same road as Lake Placid we headed up there. We told Dianne and Deb we’d meet them at The Rocks where they take Bonnie the dog swimming. The road to the gorge takes you along the side of the mountain up and down winding roads that luckily aren’t too steep for a couple of scooters. You feel so much more a part of the environment as you smell the air, feel the temperature changes and can stop and enjoy the view without having to spend 10 mins trying to find a park. When we reached the end of the road we turned around and stopped to check out the rafters who were going down the rapids. A few minutes later a Rav4 appeared with two familiar faces peering out. On their way to the Rocks an ambulance had passed them so Dianne decided that they had to come back and check on us. She has great confidence in our scootering abilities! Since she was so worried we agreed to follow them to the rocks so she could be there to save us if we were hit. It helps knowing that Deb is a nurse.
Even at 60km we managed to sort of keep up with the Rav and within 10 minutes we were at The Rocks. It’s a peacful place to go swimming and would be a great place to go when it’s hot. There are tables and chairs there but they are covered in green mould. There is also a bridge that is slowly wasting away. I didn’t really appreciate it as I was in revhead mode so we stopped long enough to take a few pictures then we left the two behind to get back on the bikes and continue on the road to the Crystal Cascades.
The Cascades were a bit of a disappointment after visiting Mossman Gorge. It may have also had something to do with the 2Km walk we had to do to get to the end which was a full on anti-climax. It was the same scenery we had seen at the beginning! The only interesting thing I saw was a purple life jacket in the water. I wondered how it had gotten there as it wasn’t really where anyone would have been swimming and it wasn’t downstream either. Getting back on the bikes we disrupted everyone with our little waspy bike sounds as we motored our way out of the parking lot. I had joked to Pauline that I bet Dianne and Deb came up to the cascades to see if we got there and I later discovered that they had and Dianne had left a note on my bike. I’m upset we didn’t get to see it!
Finally we took a long ride from the Cascades to Cairns which took us along the freeway again. The best bit was when we went up the hill near Whitfield to see the view of Cairns and then screamed down the mountain at top speed. I’m sure the bike got over 60 there! Pauline and I rode around Cairns checking out the waterways near the marina. We then headed back to take some photos of the huge Captain Cook out the front of the Backpackers. We were meeting Deb and Dianne at 2pm at the scooter shop but before we did I made sure we took one last ride along the esplanade so that we could take photos. Pauline did one go around the block and then I did the next one. We managed to annoy taxi and van drivers by stopping in the loading zone but isn’t that what tourists do? With regret we dropped the bikes off and went off to have lunch with our two hosts.
Once again it was a place that knew Dianne real well – the Sushi Station. They virtually had her meals out in front of her by the time she sat down. We mulled a little over our selections and Deb suggested a few that we’d never tried before. I enjoyed the octopus balls and eel. They have a pretty good view in that store but were also opening a second one the week after we left. Alas our time in Cairns was up as we were due at the airport. We spent the usual time waiting and saying our goodbyes.
Dianne and Deb really should own a B&B somewhere as they were amazing hosts. Dianne enjoys conversing with people and is incredibly sociable. Deb is a supreme cook that loves gardening and knows her way around flora and fauna. If they ever decide to give up their day jobs they should try that!
Cairns as a town is really just a big information centre. You use it as a jumping point to it’s much prettier sisters nearby but it is doing some plastic surgery with it’s esplanade and lagoon. I’d hate to see what the temperature is like in the summer but it is great in autumn. I can see why it is one of the most popular destinations in Queensland but it’s a bit like Brisbane. A pleasant place to pass through on your way to more beautiful things.

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