I was determined to check out the Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda, so all ten of us headed back up there after breakfast. It was still raining, a fair bit heavier than the last time we came up, but most of Kuranda is undercover so I figured it would be ok ... once we got from the car to the undercover part!
We went to the Butterfly Sanctuary and were the first ones there so we managed to get a tour guide pretty much to ourselves. She was lovely and took the time to talk to the kids, instead of just talking at them. She took us on a tour of the laboratory where they 'grow' more butterflies and moths, then took us to each of the different feeding stations. Each station had a different kind of food so there were different butterflies at each one.
Kathryn was wearing a rainbow coloured outfit (rather bright) and managed to take the fancy of one of the beautiful blue Ulysses butterflies. He didn't want to leave so she just stood there with him on her arm and let all the other tourists take photos. Such a good sport about it all!
I got some lovely photos of all different sorts but will have to play with them a bit to actually find the butterflies in them. They all moved so quickly, it was hard to get decent shots of them!
Once we were finished there, we headed down to check out the Heritage Markets where the boys bought some 'stress heads' (stress balls in the shape of a face with woolly hair) then, after dragging me away from yet another opal store (he's still not getting the hint!), I found the ultimate touristy thing ... a kangaroo fur bikini! Nope, I'm not kidding .. here's the photo to prove it: Who would wear this?? On second thoughts, don't answer that. I really don't want to know!
We did manage to buy all five of us a new hat, Akubra style but a lot cheaper, before having lunch at the fabulous bakery again, after which we all piled into the cars to go to Atherton for some more headstone hunting.
Stopped at a lovely little shop called The Humpy and bought some warm roasted cashews and honey roasted peanuts ... very yummy! Peter bought himself another travel mug (I know .. sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise! Excuse me .. just channelling Gomer Pyle for a minute there!)
Asked at the tourist bureau for directions to the cemetery and had to laugh at the look on the guy's face. Bet that's a question he doesn't get very often! Found out that there's actually three cemeteries but we managed to rule one of them out as the grave we were looking was classed as 'modern' not 'pioneer' .. that is, Aunty Veta died after 1950.
We wandered the cemetery for a while, not having much luck but after checking with the staff at the crematorium, we managed to find her headstone, clean it up and get photos of it for the family tree research.
It had started raining again by then, so we headed back into Atherton for some undercover entertainment at The Crystal Caves. The guy who owns this gemstone shop has built a 'cavern' underneath it and placed all sorts of gemstones and fossils into the walls and ceiling. It's supposed to look like an underground mine, so of course the two big boys didn't want to go .. "It's fake! We'll have coffee and pick you up later!" .. and that's exactly what they did.
Bec and I took the six kids down, with our ultra-sexy hard hats on, to look at all the, to quote Andrew, 'rocks and stuff'. There was a huge amethyst thingy down there so, being the horrible mother I am, I made the boys stand next to it for the obligatory tourist photo. Don't they look impressed??
Once I had
dragged them kicking and screaming finished taking the children on the very enjoyable tour, we bought some souvenirs, collected the big boys and then parted ways with the other Hawkins family.
We headed off towards Cairns via the Gillies Highway with a quick detour to the Curtain Fig Tree. Hasn't changed much in five years but I managed to get some photos of the boys. I really like this one of Alex:
And introducing 'Andyinna Jones' (Indiana Jones) and 'Crocodile Bradley' (Crocodile Dundee) in their new hats:
After that nice little stop, it was off to brave the winding, often scary, Gillies Highway back down to the south side of Cairns. Last time we came down that highway, it was pitch black, raining heavily and full of little hazards caused by, and being fixed by, roadworks. Luckily this time we only had to contend with the road and the way it winds back on itself almost constantly. I swear, if not for the fact that you spend most of the time going downhill, sometimes you'd think you were going back the way you came!
A quick stop off at KFC for dinner then 'home' for a quiet night .. what was left of it anyway!