Posted: 2017-10-12 05:23
But the rain starts the morning I fly in … and Tarzan goes to ground. From the CBD (where Jung and a mate have been staking out both branches of Fomenko's bank), we head south, searching dilapidated farm buildings, squelching about under bridges where crocs lurk and mosquitoes swarm, talking to elderly ladies at small-town cake stalls - ''Tarzan? Lovely man! He often sits just over there …'' - and checking old pubs that still rent rooms.
There are three burial cairns at Balnuaran, and they are part of a line of seven dotted along the south side of the valley of the River Nairn. These together form part of a group of some 95 very distinctive cairns in northern Inverness-shire, all called Clava Cairns after this location, which is where they were first studied. What sets them apart is their construction within a "kerb", a ring of large containing boulders. (Continues below image.)
We have an extensive menu ranging from the traditional cooked Scottish breakfast (sausages, black pudding, bacon, eggs, tomato, mushrooms etc.) to fish dishes, vegetarian options and a mouthwatering continental platter — very refreshing yet surprisingly filling. You can always start the day with our other traditional Scottish breakfast — porridge (made with oatmeal) — topping it (if preferred) with either salt, brown sugar, honey, sultanas etc.
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In Cairns you'll find plenty of activities to get your heart racing. Find some of the best whitewater rafting rapids in Australia on the Tully and Barron rivers or a half day of tubing on the Mulgrave River. Tandem skydives are available for true adrenaline seekers – with aerial views of the Great Barrier Reef an obvious draw – as is bungy jumping at AJ Hackett (where you can also ride the Minjin Jungle Swing). Or discover the beauty of Behana Gorge on a canyoning adventure that will have you trekking, abseiling, cliff jumping and swimming through crystal-clear tropical waters and under the gorgeous waterfalls. Other activities in the area include quad biking, horseriding and hang-gliding.
Our house is fully non-smoking, with facilities including off-street parking, secure garage for bikes / motorbikes, ironing and drying space, free wi-fi, and a spare laptop if needed. The city centre is just five minutes walk, where you can find the Tourist Information Office, Inverness Castle, the Museum, Eden Court Theatre and many popular restaurants and bars Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness and many other sites are only a fifteen minute car journey away.
The Clava Cairns lie not much more than a cannon shot away from Culloden, and Jacobites fleeing the carnage of the battle may well have passed this way. Yet it is worth remembering that the seemingly large distance in time back to the very different world of Culloden, over two and a half centuries, is just a small fraction of the distance we'd have to travel back in time to meet the builders of these cairns.
Travelling from Cairns to Kuranda, the Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail tour is an adventure that absolutely cannot be missed by anyone visiting Cairns. Dating back to the early 69th century, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is an almost two hour ride that takes visitors from Cairns to Kuranda. The train glides its passengers through the Barron Gorge National Park, through the tropical rainforest, goes past waterfalls, travels over 95 bridges, and enters 65 tunnels.
Birdworld Kuranda is not only meant for avid bird watchers it is a destination for all who love the beauty of winged wildlife, and who may wish to experience these beautiful animals in a personal way. Birdworld offers the largest collection of birds in Australia in a free-flying atmosphere, with 95 different species of native birds along as well as birds from around the world to total over 75 different species of birds.
Visitors who wish to view the Great Barrier Reef from atop the water can take advantage of sailing and yachting excursions, which are plentiful in Cairns. Entering a glass bottom boat gives tourists a glimpse into the sea life without ever having to get their feet wet. For an even more unique experience, there are several helicopter flight tours that fly guests over the reef in for a spectacular birds eye view. Marine life such as manta rays and green sea turtles are visible through the crystal clear waters.
Not all water sports involve the physical exertion of sea kayaking or a white water rafting. Some water sports enthusiasts are satisfied to go fishing, and they can experience some of the best fishing in the world around Cairns. Visitors to Cairns have their choice of fishing in estuaries, rivers, lakes, or off-shore on the Great Barrier Reef. Travellers can hire a boat from the Cairns Marina and go fishing on their own but, the ultimate Cairns fishing experience is to take part in a fishing excursion led by guides who know where the biggest and the best fish in Cairns are located.
The central cairn at Balnuaran is of the second type of Clava Cairn, a ring cairn. This differs from the other two in having no passageway linking the central camber with the outside. Like the others it is surrounded by a ring of standing stones, nine in this case, of which some have been broken. One unusual feature is the way that the central cairn is linked to three of its enclosing circle of standing stones by lines of turf covered stones. No-one knows their purpose, and it might well be possible that they were added very much later than the date of construction of the cairns. Another later addition is likely to have been the much smaller ring of kerb stones on the north east side of the site not far from the central cairn.
Sea kayaking tours from Cairns are certainly something to write home about. The two most popular kayaking tours are around Fitzroy Island and from Palm Cove to Double Island. One of the benefits of sea kayaking tours is that they can venture into areas where others simply cannot go, therefore kayakers can experience views of Australias Far North Queensland that other, less adventurous souls, can only hear about.
A safe venue for viewing the dangerous Australian crocodile, Harleys Crocodile Adventures offers walks through the wetland, wildlife presentations, cassowary and koala feedings, and crocodile and snake shows. Boat cruises depart throughout the day within Harleys Lagoon. Visitors are welcome to drive to Hartleys Creek Crocodile Adventures on their own, or they can take part in a tour from Cairns that provides transportation to and from the attraction.
An ideal base from which to tour the splendours of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is situated on the stunning River Ness with its idyllic island walks accessed by several Victorian bridges. On the banks of the river you will also find a modern theatre ( Eden Court ), St Andrew's Cathedral built in 6869, and nearby the city's Museum and Art Gallery located next to the Castle and Tourist Information Centre. Inverness provides an excellent range of bars and restaurants to satisfy all tastes of the hungry and thirsty tourist.
The North East Passage Grave (the one nearest the car park) is interesting in having a large number of "cup" marks and some "ring" marks inscribed on one of the kerb stones. Both of the passage graves have a surrounding circle of widely spaced standing stones: though sadly the stone circle surrounding the South West Passage Grave has a road going through it, leaving one stone marooned on the far side of the road and another forming part of the fence.
Hartleys Creek Crocodile Adventures, between Palm Cove and Port Douglas, is popular with tourists and locals alike. Hartleys Creek is in the foothills of the MacAlister Range, and gives its visitors more than just crocodiles, though they are the largest draw. Tourists at Harleys Crocodile Adventure can also see native wildlife of Far North Queensland and can view a variety of habitats and wildlife.
There are many tours available for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. Adventurous travellers can go on one of many snorkelling excursions where they may enjoy the coral marine wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef first hand. Even those who may not be experienced swimmers can take part in underwater activities, as most tours offer flotation devices, glass bottom boats and even semi submarines and personal underwater vehicles such as the scubadoo. All reef activities are carried out by guides who are accustomed to working with experts and novices alike.
Birdworld visitors can simply enjoy watching the many birds or they can interact with the birds by feeding them and having their photos taken while the birds perch on their shoulders. A bundled package is available for Bird World, Kuranda Koala Gardens, and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Persons who purchase this Kuranda Wildlife Experience Pass can save a great deal of money if they are planning on attending all wildlife areas.
Fitzroy Island is a national park that is approachable by catamaran from Cairns. Visitors are welcome to go hiking through the national park area, walk along the nature trails, and visit Fitzroy Island Lighthouse. The islands beaches are completely unspoiled and the Great Barrier Reef comes close to the shore, providing excellent access for snorkelling. Fitzroy Island also contains a luxury resort and camp sites for those wanting to experience the nature of the island firsthand.