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Monday 15 Apr 2013
Cairns, Australia

Uncle Brian's Fun, Falls and Forest

What a fantastic day out!

Uncle Brian has been running this tour for about 24 years, though it is currently in the hands of Cousin Rohan, Cousin Matty and Cousin Bob, with the faithful support of Gus the Bus and Nigel the New Bus.  Everything about the tour on paper says it shouldn't work - enforced fun and singing on the bus ought to be cringeworthy - but it was one of the best days I have had on my whole trip so far.

The day trip heads out to the Atherton tablelands, south and west of Cairns.  It visits waterfalls and rivers with swimming opportunities in four places and showcases the gorgeous Queensland scenery outside the rainforest.  Right from the start cuz Rohan introduced us to Nigel the New Bus, who joined in the tour with conversation (beeping) and dancing to the music (bunny hops) and was in his element doing loops around a turning circle at the end of a village track near our first swimming hole (we went round three times, but the record in 17!)  Very silly, but surprisingly easy to accept him as an extra character on the tour.

We walked down to the Devil's Pools near Babinda.  The story goes that a young woman was promised to a man she didn't love, so she eloped with the man she did.  They were found and brought back to their families.  Realising she had brought shame on her tribe, she threw herself into the river and drowned.  Her spirit is said to haunt the cascades in search of her true love, dragging young men down under water and releasing them only when she realises they are not the right man.  The boulder gardens look impressive with water cascading between them, but they are full of dangerous pockets and stoppers which will drag swimmers under and can hold the bodies for up to half an hour.  The area is lastered with no swimming signs, but strangely it is always the young men between 17 and 25 who ignore them and take on the river, which adds strength to the legend...

We were able to swim a little way upstream in a much milder stretch of the river, which was beautifully cool on a hot day.


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