Monday, December 9, 2019

Day 8 - Turkey Trot, Lagoon, Night Hike

Thanksgiving, kind of. On the calendar, it was the last Thursday in November, which means Ariel and I needed to do our annual turkey trot! (I kinda like that for the last few years we have just run on our own instead of paying to run in a race!).

It was HOT AF. Supposedly the air temp was only in the mid 70's, but I tell you what, after leaving cold Colorado and having fairly chilly temperatures in Melbourne, this felt EXTRA hot. Having the blazing sun didn't help. 

I had done some research and found a boardwalk/beach path that wasn't terribly far from our hotel. Ariel and I definitely took our time with this one, taking lots of pictures.

Suffered through sweaty miles and went back to the hotel for breakfast. We took the girls to the Lagoon (a free pool!) that was just down the street for a few hours.

Don't I look relaxed leaning up against the wall?
We then attempted more shopping to find matching Australian fair isle pajamas. (Sadly, we never did find anything, womp womp). On our way back to the hotel we stopped and got burgers. GIANT BURGERS THAT WERE DELICIOUS.
Up next was one of the tours I was most excited about. An afternoon/evening hike in the mountains and jungle! Our pick up was outside our hotel at 1:30 - and our guide with Wait a While Tours was right on time. We first looked at a mob if wallabies that live right in the city. (Not sure why I don't have pics of them). We learned that for people who don't mind if they live on your property that you don't have fence. We then drove up the Gillies Range (with something like 200+ hairpin turns) toward the Atherton Tablelands. We stopped at the Heales Outlook for amazing scenic views - and another wildlife sighting. Red-backed spiders (commonly known as Black Widows here in the United States).

We stopped in the Danbulla State Forest to check out the Cathedral Fig Tree - 800 years old!!!

We saw a few dragons - apparently they hang out in roughly the same place, although our guide definitely had an eye for spotting wildlife.
We then headed to Lake Barrine, where we had tea and Tim Tam's (a delicious chocolate cookie, if you haven't heard of those) before walking around on a cool nature hike.

We got to swing on a cool vine!

Saw a beautiful butterfly:

The next stop was stopping to see... TREE KANGAROOS!! It's hard to tell in these pictures, but this is a momma that actually had a baby in her pouch!

Next stop was seeing platypus! It was tough to get a good picture, but we spent a good 20 minutes chasing this guy (quietly) along the river!

We stopped at a restaurant in Yungaburra - pasta, bread and hot chocolate!
It seemed like we were going to have a good evening for a night walk - the starts were really bright! The picture below is the moon, Venus & Jupiter (once outside we could also see Saturn!)
The night hike was more of a walk along a rural road. We had to watch for cars and wear reflective vests, but we saw possum, an echindna (the only mammal other than a platypus that lays eggs) and watched a spider spin a web.

We viewed the Curtain Fig tree (and our guide turned off his bright light so we could tell what it might feel like to be in the dark woods at night).
On our way back to Cairns, our guide suddenly pulled over after seeing a python slither across the road - he didn't want it to get run over. He picked it up and we all had a chance to touch it if we wanted to - and I did! It was just a baby - "only" 6' long. We tossed him down the hill and headed on our way.
This was a very cool tour - we got to see everything we hoped we would! If you are in Cairns, look him up, definitely worth the money!

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