If you haven’t watched our final vlog by now (last plug we promise) you would have missed out on the footage of our final tour in Australia.
We booked a 1-day tour way back in Queenstown when we booked our trips to Fraser Island and Whitsunday Islands. The tour we booked, as you probably gathered from the title, was Uncle Brian’s Fun, Falls & Forest tour and we booked it solely on the recommendation of the chap in Nomads since he didn’t really let on what happened on the tour.
Gus the Wonder Bus and our tour guide Linzi collected us from our motel bright and early before we headed off to the other hostels and hotels in the area for the rest of our group.
Once everyone was collected we made our way towards the Atherton Tablelands and our first stop, Babinda Boulders. The Tablelands contain small pockets of rainforest, which are now protected national parks, and offers opportunities to not only see some really unique animals and birds but also natural landscapes.
We took the bushwalk alongside the tropical creek to the lookout point where we were able to see the enormous boulders. The area holds great significance for the local aboriginal people. According to legend a beautiful girl named Oolana, from the Yidinji people, married a respected elder from her tribe named Waroonoo. Shortly after their union another tribe moved into the area and a handsome young man came into her life. His name was Dyga and the pair soon fell in love. Realising the adulterous crime they were committing, the young lovers escaped their tribes and fled into the valleys. The elders captured them, but Oolana broke free from her captors and threw herself into the still waters, calling for Dyga to follow her. As Dyga hit the waters, her anguished cries for her lost lover turned the still waters into a rushing torrent and the land shook with sorrow. Huge boulders were scattered around the creek and the crying Oolana disappeared among them. Aboriginal legend says her spirit still guards the boulders and that her calls for her lost lover can still be heard.
The area is also popular for people wanting to escape the afternoon heat. Even though it was absolutely chucking it down, we went for a swim in the creek. The clear, fresh water comes from Mount Bartle Frere, the largest mountain in Queensland, and when we say fresh we mean freezing!
After our refreshing splash about we were given a morning snack and drink before we headed to our second stop, Josephine Falls. We followed the bushwalk to the falls and were then given our instructions of what we had to do. First you had to climb down the bank before diving into the water in an area affectionately known as the Washing Machine. Once across to the other side you had to flop onto the rocks like an enormous walrus and drag yourself out of the water. If you could manage that you then had to climb up, or slide up backwards on your bum, the super slippery boulder before sitting in the water again to ride down the other side of the rock like a waterslide. Kelly managed to do one full circuit before finding it too exhausting doing the walrus flop. Anthony, sadly, didn’t even make it once round. He kept slipping on the rock and so sat out for fear of hurting his back further.
All the other little youngsters managed multiple circuits with varying different sliding positions, much to the amusement of us older, less agile onlookers!!
After this we were all really hungry which was handy because our next stop was for lunch. Lunch is included in the price of the tour and included warm and cold options as well as hot and cold drinks. They were able to cater for a variety of different dietary needs, gluten free, vegan etc., with no hassle at all.
After we were all fed and watered we made our way to Millaa Millaa Falls. These falls are famous for being the waterfall in the Peter Andre Mysterious Girl video and for the Herbal Essences ad where the model wears a skimpy bikini and does a fabulous hair flick to showcase how awesome the shampoo is.
All the ladies, and gents if they could manage it, lined up to have their photos taken doing the infamous hair flick. We also took the opportunity to have a swim underneath the falls but the water was so cold that Kelly’s lips and even her knees went blue. It was one of those rare opportunities where it was warmer standing out of the water in the rain than it was standing in the water!
Our final stop before heading back to Cairns was for a swim in Lake Eacham. Cue underwater selfie… You’re welcome!
Lake Eacham was formed by volcanic activity. Basically the underground lava caused a big explosion that caused a crater to form and then it rained to form a lake. Despite being an isolated water source, it does contain fish and turtles. The water is crystal clear so you can see them swimming around with you, which is easy if you’re able to open your eyes underwater but sadly Kelly isn’t.
The average depth of the lake is 215 feet (65.5metres) so if you jump in off the pontoon, like we did, do not expect to be able to touch the bottom. In fact, it’s not even that shallow by the lake steps so if you aren’t a confident swimmer, it might be worthwhile giving this a miss. On the plus side, if you are, you get to enjoy what is effectively a massive bath. The water is so toasty warm you’ll be reluctant to get out.
After our final swim, we used the parks changing facilities and got changed into our warm clothes and the guides provided us all with snacks and drinks. Once we were all packed away we headed back to Cairns.
We really enjoyed our day out on Gus the Wonder Bus. The tour definitely has some elements of 18-30s organised events such as playing silly games and things on the bus between locations. Having said that provided you’re up for a laugh and are more than willing to spend a day in your swimming costume prancing about with a bunch of strangers, then we’re sure you’ll love it!