I’ve noticed that on some of my trips I have included a bit of a relaxation component, mostly subconsciously, and sometimes during an earlier part of the trip, which I have decided is not necessarily the best way to go about it. On South American trips this component often coincides with family time. During the Japan trip it was our days in Kinosakionsen. During our Tasmania trip it was our Cradle Mountain cabin stay. The first time we visited China, we had two days to chill after our tour ended in Beijing.
On our recent return trip to Far North Queensland, we did have some family time, but were actually fairly active during those days. Our main retreat was during our last days in FNQ, staying in Mirriwinni, a town in the Cassowary Coast Region. (Coincidentally, we did not see a single Cassowary throughout our entire holiday.)
We rented a cottage on AirBnb, which sat on a hill, and was surrounded by a massive property with a lake in the backyard. There had been a fair bit of rainfall in previous days, so our host told us that snorkelling in the lake would be pointless as there was no visibility. We went for a walk around there regardless and took some photos. We were surrounded by such beauty.
There is a nearby town called Babinda, primarily known for Babinda Boulders, a local swimming spot. Quite picturesque, it was where we decided that you can’t say you’ve been to a creek unless you’ve been in for a dip. I can proudly confirm that I have been to Babinda Boulders and the water is freezing! There was a tour in the creek the second time we visited and, almost like a rite of passage, the kids were jumping off one of the big boulders one by one, egged on by their tour guide. It was quite funny to see.
Another of Babinda’s claims to fame is in the form of a bakery that everybody raves about on Tripadvisor. With a 4.9 rating on both Google and Facebook, and a 4.5 on Tripadvisor, Babinda Bakery do make some really good pies, and we even went there for both breakfast and lunch one day. There are a couple of places to eat on Babinda’s main street, as well as a SPAR supermarket that had everything we needed for our stay.
We drove to Bramston Beach to have a quick look around and then briefly to nearby Innisfail one afternoon. The latter is a bigger town with a few tourist attractions of its own, although we just went to take some photos and buy ingredients for dinner. We also drove to Wooroonooran National Park to see the nearby Josephine Falls, and were caught in a surprise downpour, one of many we experienced whilst in the area.
The other nice town we visited during our stay in Mirriwinni was Yungaburra, a 90-minute drive inland. We did a clockwise round-trip from our cottage, making our way there via the Palmerston Highway and stopping at the Crater Lakes National Park. We visited Lake Eacham in the national park on the way there. There were group having picnics, whilst others went for a swim. Around the corner there was a walking track where one could spot fish and turtles in their natural habitats.
Once in Yungaburra we found that there were plenty of places to eat, and a pleasant walking trail. We didn’t have much luck at the platypus viewing area, but we did see lots of lovely creatures on the walking trail including a turtle, out for some sun. There’s a cool suspension bridge towards the end of the walk.
We drove to Tinaroo Reserve after lunch. It seems like a great weekend spot, with plenty of spaces for picnics, lots of people participating in watersports or walking their dogs. We soaked up some sun and reflected on our holiday, almost at its end. We returned to the town centre, and sat down at a little cafe that had caught our eye earlier, when we did the grand tour. ‘Mad Hatterz’ is an Alice in Wonderland themed cafe run by a hilarious lady with so much energy. I was very keen to try the cheesecake brownie and ordered a ginger snap tea to wash it down. Yum!
Keen to get back home before the sun set, we began our journey via the supermarket, followed by a return visit to Crater Lakes National Park. Having already visited Lake Eacham, it felt only fair to offer the same courtesy to Lake Barrine, and when we arrived we encountered some of the biggest pine trees we ever did see. At over 45 metres tall, they were almost vertigo-inducing.
As I mentioned earlier, we decided to do a clockwise round-trip to Yungaburra using two highways, but as it turns out the navigator (yours truly) failed to realise how curvy Gillies Range Road back would be as we traversed what felt like a mountain of Kosciusko proportions.
The following morning we returned to Cairns for the day, our flight back home leaving that afternoon, but before that we returned to Babinda Bakery, for one final pie.