The City, the Tablelands, and the Cassowary Coastline
03.27.2017 - 05.31.2017
We camped in Cairns for four nights, managing to stay dry and to not have our tent blow away. Cyclone Debbie really had little effect here other than stirring up the water. We had plenty of time to check out Cairns.
A few things about Cairns:
🔹It is located on the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range
🔹The population is about 150,000.
🔹It is AU's 4th ranked international tourist sight behind Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane
🔹It is where most tourists come to go out on the Great Barrier Reef.
The center of activity in Cairns is on the Esplanade that runs along the foreshore. The area in front of the Esplanade that was once a sandy beach, has for more years than locals can remember, been a muddy tidal swamp. It is believed that when a channel was dredged for shipping purposes, it resulted in the mud completely covering the old beach. Evidently the sediment was dumped offshore, and it quickly swept back, covering the esplanade beach. Developers would like to cover it with sand, and they claim that it is an artificial ecosystem that is not important to the mangrove forests. Environmentalists disagree, they feel that the area has been in it's current form too long to disturb all the mud-dwelling creatures that make their homes here. To the north of town there are several nice beaches, so it seems unlikely that these mudflats will be disturbed.
From morning to night, there is a lot of activity here.
🌴 On our travels both north and south between Townsville and Cairns, we detoured to see some of the following:
Cardwell is a small coastal town that was devasted by Cyclone Yadira in 2011. It sits about 125 miles south of Cairns and it is considered to be the gateway to Hinchinbrook Island, and the Cassowary Coastline. It was our first and last stop as we travelled both directions between Townsville and Cairns.
The Atherton Tablelands
The Atherton Tablelands, is really just another name for the highlands region that is located about 55 miles SW of Cairns. It is known for its dairy farms, waterfall circuit, volcanic lakes, and for being cooler, and less humid than the coast. After climbing up through the mountains, we stopped at small village of Millaa Millaa which sits nestled in the rolling hills of the Southern Tablelands. This was the start of our the Waterfall Circuit, which included: Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls. These 3 waterfalls are within a 10 mile radius, and the only ones we stopped at, but there are several others a little further away.
Mission Beach is about nine miles long; it is made up of four villages that grew together and essentially, are considered to be one town. The area is part of what is called the Cassowary Coastline. Like the Daintree area, the cassowaries here are also endangered. Here, they run a greater risk of being killed, than up north, because the area is more populated. They can be seen not only in the rainforest, but also out in the numerous banana and cane plantations that surround the Mission Beach area. Or so I'm told, we did not see one here!