Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 257, Innisfail to Paronella Park

A fantasy wonderland in the rainforest!

Yep you guessed it, we woke to the sound of rain again! Will it ever stop?
I was up early, and quietly woke Scarlett, as we had a date with a Cassowary. Well we hoped so anyway! We were out the door and on the road by 6am, which really wasn't as hard as I thought as when I went to wake Scarlett (who at first didn't move), all I had to say was "Cassowary" and she immediately climbed out of bed and dressed herself.

We left Bec behind who we hoped was still sound asleep, and ventured back to Etty Bay - the place we had 'First Contact' with a Cassowary yesterday. We were hoping that by getting up at the crack of dawn, our chances of running into another Cassowary might be improved.

As we came down the range into Etty bay itself, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a Cassowary disappearing into the 'jungle' beside the road. I immediately stopped the car and with Scarlett in tow, climbed out of the Pajero and went in search of our elusive quarry. No sooner had we climbed out of the car, a Cassowary stuck its head out of the thick undergrowth of the rainforest to see what all the fuss was about! It came straight out of the 'jungle', but only for a few seconds before returning to the safety of its wild domain. I was lucky enough to get a few shots off on the camera, but it all happened so fast I wasn't sure if they worked out or not. We tried to follow it, but it was a hopeless cause as the 'jungle' was just too overgrown. For such a large bird, I'm surprised the Cassowary can move so quickly and silently through this tangle of vines and greenery. It truly is a fascinating bird - and I feel so lucky to of found one in it's natural environment, considering it's on the 'Endangered List'. I will always remember this place for this magical encounter that Scarlett and I experienced today!

We looked around for more sign's of Cassowaries, but the only thing we saw were fresh tracks along the beach once again. The trip back to the van was in pouring rain, but Scarlett and I were still 'buzzing' from the encounter we had just had! Bec was already up by the time we returned, and had already started packing; as we found the bed already tucked back inside the van. Again, Scarlett and I retold our story, ensuring that we didn't miss any detail. Bec couldn't believe that we had experienced two Cassowaries sightings in just two days, but any doubt she had was soon brushed aside as we finally had real photographic proof!

We packed the van between showers, and were on the road just after 10am. Mind you we only had a short drive, as we heading back up to Paronella Park to spend the rest of the day, the evening, and tomorrow morning in a beautiful rainforest setting.

After setting up camp, we enjoyed lunch (thanks honey), and played with Scarlett (Barbie Dolls! I'm glad Bec didn't take any photo's of me playing and brushing the dolls hair with Scarlett - That would be so embarrassing!). Scarlett then wanted to watch a movie, so Bec and I took turns sitting with her and enjoying the serenity. When I took over from Bec, she took the opportunity to go for a walk by herself (with camera) around the grounds that are Paronella Park. She was gone for ages - so much so that the movie we were watching finished, and Scarlett wanted to go exploring herself.

We hid some keys so Bec could get back in the van when she returned, and Scarlett and I went exploring. First we went and crossed the rope bridge (Scarlett initially had fear, but this soon turned to squeals of delight), then the museum, and finally down to the waters edge where Scarlett wanted to check out the fish, eels and turtles again! The rain then started to bucket down, so we found some shelter down at 'The Tunnel of Love'. A tour group went past, so we joined it as it was about to visit the micro-bats. These critters are truly amazing!

We returned to the van, to find Bec once again working (slaving) away preparing dinner. Thanks Martha Stewart, I don't know how I would of survived this trip without my very own chef.

This evening we did the 'Darkness Falls Tour'; where we got to see Paronella Park by torchlight. What a wonderful experience! It's one thing to see this place during the day, but to see the transformation into a magical fantasy land during the night, it's spectacular! One particular thing we loved was how the shadows play tricks with your mind, but the highlight was something special that you might not get a chance to see anywhere else - Fire Flies! Bec and Scarlett were amazed to see real 'Fire Flies', as they both thought they were fantasy creatures. To watch these insects flying around and 'lighting up' the night time jungle is truly an experience that makes you believe in fairies!

What a fantastic day in the tropics! To wake up and see a Cassowary at the beach first thing in the morning, and finish the day exploring the wonders of one man's dream become reality in the rain forest. It's a life enhancing experience that we all enjoyed thoroughly.

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