We arrived at the marina in Cairns just before the weekend so no actual work can get done for a few days. We joined up with the crew of Erie Spirit and rented a car for a day to drive in search of two of the most elusive of Australia’s unusual wildlife. We picked the brains of locals and searched for likely locations and set off on an beautiful day to explore the coast we just sailed past and the tablelands inland.
Our first destination was a camping park that boasts resident cassowaries. Sure enough, right near the amenities building we spied a small male strutting his stuff. He didn’t seem to mind being stalked by tourists and campers and often seemed to be posing as we clicked away.
Call me crazy but I think that hat is just bizarre.
In the tablelands we stopped for a waterfall and a “curtain fig tree” that gave us a chance to stretch our legs a bit during a day spent driving.
Our final mission was the most elusive of creatures, the platypus. We know plenty of Aussies who’ve never seen one in the wild but still, we were hopeful. There was a recommended “viewing platform” over a muddy creek and once there our hopes fell. The water was so murky there’s no way you could see below the surface. My research advised watching for concentric circles in the water and sure enough, after we got the hang of it we could almost anticipate where the resident monotreme would come up for air. It was only visible to a second each time so getting a photo was a challenge but I finally lucked out.
What a strange animal! We called the day a success and for Jack and me that leaves only a crocodile on our list of must-sees before we depart the land Down Under.