Tags: Travel. Australia. Queensland. Tourist destinations. Palm Cove. Cairns. North Queensland.
Palm Cove, Cairns EPISODE 7
We decided to settle in Palm Cove just North of Cairns as my father Herbert, arrived the next morning at 9 am at the Cairns airport. Still in his thermal long Johns ‘Opa’, being the Austrian expression for granddad, was pretty knackered after 21 hours flying and an 8-hour stopover in Singapore. Nevertheless, he found his first big trip from Austria at age 80, less stressful than expected, especially as he had a good snooze at Singapore airport and nearly missed his connecting flight.
After some breakfast and a short nap, he was all good for the day, joining into Ginger’s birthday celebrations and having some beers with Richard by lunchtime. There he demonstrated ‘the bottle top in eyeball idea, which was the inspiration for this logo painting. Once again the yellow kangaroo found its way into the design as ‘Genie out of the bottle’ (just visible with the tails end) epitomising my full anticipation of what my dad will be up to in the next 4 weeks!
The jet lag, however, did catch up with him eventually, and he was a regular day napper between action and play, disappearing into his orange tent. He full heartedly accepted the temperature change from snowy Austria to the Cairns heat and promptly returned to me the fan I hooked up in his tent. For the first outing, we took him to Cairns, making sure he got a Crocodile Dundee hat and lots more beer before returning home safely to Palm Cove with the Ford wagon.
However the following day we took the Dodge for a drive to the station of the Kuranda sky rail, while Richard drove his favourite work car, the white Ford wagon, to see a client. The ride in the glass bottom cable car was amazing, leaving us feeling like birds gliding over the top of ancient rainforest trees, taking in the breathtaking views of the distant coast. I just touched the ground at our destination at Kuranda when I received a call from Richard! It turned out he was up on the mountain in Kuranda as well, or should I say he was stuck on the mountain without a return ticket and without a car as the wagon had died again!
It must have been a cat in its former life Ginger piped up and she was convinced it was the 9 th time the wagon died… The mechanic, however, didn’t think so and told us that the wagon just needed a clean out of the transmission and a couple of new tyres. Nevertheless, we decided to take the Dodge Ram on our next trip up to Cape Tribulation where the oldest rainforest in the world meets the sea.
Opa loved the day at Cape Trib and to top it off we found a bar with some exotic stick insects and a pool to cool down before we made our way back to Palm Cove. After another outing, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, we were ready to head off to Mission beach. This presented my dad with his first challenge of taking down his orange tent and squeezing all his widespread belongings, the bedding and the mattress into the boot of the wagon, which had to be propped up by a wooden pole as the hydraulic arms were gone. However before the loading up could start, Richard was off trying to get gas for the wagon, while I grabbed the Dodge to get some diesel and do some last minute food shopping.
The packing up routine always went like that… Richard would usually start with the 3 tables, 4 chairs, floor mats, Christmas lights and bikes followed by rolling up the annexe, retracting the supporting legs, rolling up the hoses and power cords, moving my large computer onto the bed, storing the TV and lower the TV antenna and programming the Navman for both cars, etc…
I usually would start on the inside of the van early in the morning with putting anything movable away in draws and cupboards, followed by making lunch boxes for everyone, doing the dishes, giving the van an overall clean and vacuum, get the washing and towels off the line, remove and roll up rugs and help Ginger with her toys.
Last but not least Ginger would close and secure all doors, pack her travel toys and books, and deliver everyones’ drink bottle and lunchbox to the right car. We usually would start around 6 am and by 10.30 we were late for check out but ready for hitching up, with Opa watching in amazement how the large rig would slim down as the room slides retract back into the van. This was followed by Richard backing up the Dodge to the rig, while I was standing between the van and the oncoming truck directing him via mobile, hoping there was no active life insurance on me waiting to be cashed in once I got squashed between the rig and car boot!
The aim was and still is to thread the pin of the van into the hitch on the car, with only a 12 cm allowance to spare and being this time on an extreme angle we needed to wiggle forward and backwards a bit to get enough weight onto the pin for it to snap into place! Finally, around 11 am we pleaded with the park manager to set us free and open the gate for us.
All this, of course, had to be repeated on arrival and meanwhile, we still had to stopover at a useable dump point to get rid of the waste by which time Opa was fast asleep in the car. You might be exhausted and fast asleep by now as well after reading about this packing up routine, however, I hope you will join us again at our next edition of ‘The Bribie Islander’ on ‘The Long Way Round to Bribie!!!!