On a sunny day off we decided to get out of the house and go for a drive. We’re very lucky to have national parks and rainforest less than half an hour from our house so we set off on a little explore.
First stop was the Wright’s lookout just outside of Kuranda, a cute little tourist village on top of a mountain.
I’d been here before but on a day not quite as sunny. On my first visit I could just see past the first fern if I squinted through the wet cloud drizzle as it was blown into my eyes.
Thankfully the dry season was in full swing and the only clouds around were sparse and fluffy.
As locals we have a Capta pass that gives us access to four different wildlife parks in the area. We’d visited three of them but hadn’t so far ventured to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. It was time to get our money’s worth!
It was also an opportunity to take lots and lots and lots of pictures.
It’s not just a place where you can walk surrounded by hundreds of excited butterflies though, they also have a lab where they grow (cultivate? incubate?) eggs and caterpillars.
^^^ These are the caterpillars for the Monarch butterfly. Looks like a lot but around 24,000 butterflies are released in to the aviary each year. That’s a LOT of caterpillars to look after before they grow wings and flutter away.
It was really interesting to see the processes behind the sanctuary. It’s not just about pretty insects, there’s a lot of science and conservation work funded by your entry fee.
It’s pretty funny to see how strange the caterpillars are. You’d think that some would have a passing resemblance to their future selves, but no! The insect world’s ugly ducklings.
But soon our shallowness won through and we abandoned the lab for taking more pretty things.
^^^ This cheeky chap is sticking his tongue out at us!
We were really surprised at how much we enjoyed ourselves! It was a great way to kill an hour, even if I did regret not wearing a colourful head piece. Others in there were and got themselves covered in little butterfly friends tricked in to thinking they were a tasty flower!
After we left the Butterflies behind (and stuffed our faces with a giant bratwurst) rather than turn the car back to Cairns we carried on to Mareeba.
When you get past the great diving range there’s an area known as the ‘dry bowl’. Surrounded by mountains it gets hardly any rain despite being surrounded on all sides by rainforest.
The view from the car changed from a deep, leafy green to sparse, dry savannah in an instant. It was like turning a page to reveal a different scene.
We were very impressed with this enormous termite mound that was sat nonchalantly on the side of the road.
I mean, I’m not that short!
On the way home we managed to stop at a lookout in between tour groups hogging the view.
It was a nice place to reflect on how lucky we are to live where we do!
Just another day off in Tropical Northern Queensland…