In & around Cairns

Dimbulah, Yorkey’s Knob, Mission Beach, Qld

We had fun visiting Jen & Al near Cairns, checking out the Tyrconnell historic gold mine, the magical Paronella Park and Dave did an impromptu skydive at Mission beach!

Tyrconnell gold mine

A very cool old-school gold mine in country Qld, that is privately owned and open to visitors to set up camp and look around. It was once home to 10,000 people scrambling for gold in the 1870’s at the height of a rush to the new Hodgkinson goldfield. Many buildings and machines are still much as they were when the miners eventually up and left for gold elsewhere.
Tyrconnell Goldmine On a smaller scale it was still operating up until the 2nd World War, but soon after it was abandoned and remained largely untouched and forgotten about until the 1970’s. So much cool history here! It was an insight into the life and times of our 19th century gold fields and it was like taking a step back in time.

We spent hours walking around the buildings that were apart of a thriving little community, checking out the memorabilia and the actual mine itself. Machines, machines…Dave loved figuring out how it all worked and we loved getting a bit of Oz history into our trip (and it’s about time too).

Tyrconnell Goldmine Tyrconnell Goldmine Tyrconnell Goldmine Tyrconnell Goldmine Tyrconnell Goldmine
Tyrconnell Goldmine
Tyrconnell Goldmine Tyrconnell Goldmine
Tyrconnell Goldmine

Jen & Al

Al and the Barra he caughtWhile in Cairns we stopped in to see our new friends Jenny and Allan who we had met on our travels about 2 months ago. You might remember, within our Eungella NP we spoke about a couple that took Dave fishing one night at Kinchant Dam on their fishing kayaks. Well they live in a wonderful area called Yorkey’s Knob, just north of Cairns and we stayed with them for a few days. How could we not when Al sends us emails and photos like this: “WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THEY WERE BITING?”

As to be expected Dave and Al went fishing every morning and night. With Al’s lifetime of experience in fishing he was able to spend a solid amount of time teaching Dave his winning techniques. He also helped him buy the most appropriate fishing gear (oh yes just ask Dave, they had fun at the fishing store!). What ever they did it was working – they brought back plenty of fish each time and Dave refined his filleting technique too (because YouTube videos will only get you so far).

Jen & Al's backyard Jen & Al's backyardWe spent many lovely home cooked meals with Jen & Al, on their porch overlooking their amazing backyard, as they welcomed us into their home. The four of us get along so well that we talk non-stop and we were always wondering where the time has gone.

P1020028They have a very well done homemade wood fire burner, made by Al, in their backyard so we would sit around it at night with a glass of wine…now there’s something we’re stuck on wanting to re-create at home! Well, maybe not in Darwin since it’s so hot, but back in Sydney for sure.

To my delight they had a garden section just for rocks that had been collected from around the world by Jen’s parents.They have mounds of them outside and cupboards full of them. From rare to common, rough cut and polished, they have a huge range gemstones and fossils to look at and learn about…needless to say I was in heaven. I was surprised when Al grabbed a bucket and said “comon’ let’s go out back and fossick”, sure thing I was happy too. I was wondering what the bucket was for though! 


Well I soon found out. Just about everything that I asked about Al had the answer and I loved learning about the rocks. Little did I know that as soon as I showed an interest in one, Al would insist that it had to go into the bucket. He wanted me to have them. Furthermore, when he learned that my sister was into rocks, he insisted that I take more…and then Dave joined us for the fossicking and you know what happened then. Jen and Al were excited to be passing on some of the rocks that they have acquired through family, onto others who would enjoy them as much as they did – how generous! We were so stoked to leave with a treasure trove of insanely fascinating and gorgeous rocks that had been collected from all around Australia. Basically we condensed our Oz trip work of fossicking into one afternoon! Yahoo, I can’t wait to get home and learn about and catalogue these amazing rocks, as an addition to my rock collection in Darwin.

It was just awesome hanging out with Jen and Al. The time I had with Al fishing everyday was priceless. He has a wealth of knowledge from having fished his whole life and I soaked up as much as I could during our visit! We’re already talking about a heading back one day to go on a camping/fishing trip. Jen and Al are also thinking about a trip to Darwin! Nothing beats meeting great people while you’re on the road, especially when they become great friends.

Jen & Al's backyard Jen & Al's backyard P1020031

Paronella Park

We stopped in at the popular Paronella Park for a look see and it was pretty cool!
It’s a park that was built from 1929 onwards with castles, gardens, waterfalls, walkways and entertainment areas, all now crumbled and covered in moss.


Oh and one more thing – Dave went for a Sky dive over Mission beach! 14,000 feet. Check out the photo album by clicking on this photo!Dave0036

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