The idea for this camp started because of my frequent visits to Cairns over the last 9 years.
46 members attended the Camp and all attended the Camp Dinner.
The majority of the walkers stayed at Crystal Cascades Tourist Park. Our A Walkers did a combined walk with the Cairns Bushwalkers Club. We invited the President of CBC, Arthur Aebischer, to be a Guest Speaker at our second Happy Hour and to be our guest at our Camp Dinner. We also had another guest speaker – the Manager of Northern Outlook – which is heavily involved in outdoor activities for young people.
The expected walk to Bartle Freer was cancelled due to bad weather. On the lay day, people went to Fitzroy Island, Karunda by rail and cable car, or into Cairns.
The Cairns camp in June (7-15th) attracted 46 ARPA bushwalkers, who headed for the tropical north by various modes, leaving wintry Adelaide behind..
Most of us were accommodated at the Big 4 Crystal Cascades caravan park, situated in the beautiful Redlynch valley, surrounded by rainforest covered mountains, with a daily weather pattern of cool nights and warm to rather more warm humid days, with a day or two of rain.
Our adventure began at our first happy hour, where Phil informed the group of some changes due to unexpected cancellations. With Phil’s gentle guidance and delegation others came to the fore to assist, and a program evolved for the next day’s walks accommodating all levels.
Each evening’s happy hour followed a similar pattern; the days walks were reported on and the following days walks organized. On 2 occasions guest speakers were invited to address the group.
The President of the Cairns Bushwalking Club spoke of the clubs origins, his involvement with it, and information on walks in the area.
The A graders attempted some challenging walks including Walsh’s pyramid, a striking singular peak of 922 metres, (possibly the only walk that was not shaded), and Kahlpahlin Ridge 1000 metres with its rocky outcrops which were also summited with some effort. Their last walk they claimed was a relaxing day. Hard to believe!
The B graders had their own mountains to climb. Mt Whitfield (365 metres), within a conservation park attached to the botanical gardens; Copperdale dam and Lake Morris where the climb to the top was rewarded with free tea and coffee courtesy of the local council, to have while taking in the spectacular view of Lake Morris and the surrounding mountains. Walks to Barron Falls, Wrights Lookout, Glacier Rock, Behana Gorge were also enjoyed.
The C & Ds had their adventures walking along the banks of Lake Placcid, keeping an eye out for the elusive crocodile that possibly resides there although no-one seems to have seen it; viewed the hydroelectricity power station; visited the botanical gardens to experience an entertaining and informative talk given by Colin, one of the renowned guides of the gardens; walks along the beautiful Cairns esplanade, stopping to utilize the gym equipment, admire the sculptures, observe the manoeuvres of the rescue helicopter and stop at coffee shops; walks along the beautiful palm fringed northern beaches of Palm Cove and Trinity Beach.
Cairns, being surrounded by mountains, meant a lot of ups and downs for many of the walks, but the rewards were, spectacular views, running rivers, waterfalls and cascades. The rainforests provided shade and an intimate experience with the flora and fauna; nasty insects left us alone except for the occasional leach that latched on, and once in a while the “wait a while” vine would grab someone, but the instruction was to stand still for a while and it would let you go.
Toward the end of the camp we all mustered at the Red Beret Hotel for a delicious meal and thankyou presentation to those that lead the groups and others who contributed to the success of the camp.
A special thanks to Phil and the leaders. A great camp.