A couple of days ago we decided to go on a day trip, with friends from Tassie that we have met on the road, to the Atherton Tablelands. It was a really full day after taking off at 8am and arriving home (strange to call the van home but I guess it is home for now) at around 6:30pm, we saw so much and didn't even make a dent in what is on offer up there. We started out with the Coffeeworks and chocolate factory, need I say more, I will say that it was hard to leave and I don't even drink coffee. The chocolate factory is amaaaaazing with plenty of samples to tantalise and I suspect I was more excited than the kids in fact I can't even remember their reaction. Were they there? I think I may have been in an intoxicated haze of euphoria.
Next stop was the Mount Uncle Distillery complete with farm animals, however the boys were literally left high and dry when none of the staff could find the owner with the key to the room housing the Mother Load. Tolga Woodworks Gallery was the next stop with an absolutely stunning display of craftsmanship. On we drove into Atherton to visit The Crystal Caves which wasn't what we were expecting. We knew we would see the Empress of Uraguay, which is the largest Amethyst Geode in the world, and it was absolutely stunning. However we didn't expect it to be in a shop in the main street of Atherton, between Noni B and Subway (I can't actually remember the shops but something like that). We were expecting caves, real natural caves, not man-made out of plastic or foam, underneath a shop. Even though we felt let down, Zane and Maya didn't show any signs of disappointment and had an awesome time, kids are great aren't they!
Gallo Dairyland was next on the hit list for cheese tastings and 'oops' another chocolate factory. The cheeses were divine and we all sat down to cheese platters for lunch but not before we went and watched the cows being milked. I hope the guy that has to hustle the cows onto the "merry-go round", aptly named by Maya, and then attach the suction cups to their "teeters", again named by Maya, gets paid well because we all agreed he deserves it. He has to stand slightly below the platform the cows are on and obviously, at the back end of the cows, not where you want to be. I don't know how many times he got sprayed, in every way possible, but he kept right on going, doing his job. I just hope they at least provide him with an endless supply of soap, if not for him but for his loved ones. I should have known we wouldn't get out of a trip to a dairy farm, unscathed. I wasn't present for the incident, I just saw Zane running away from the cows with poo on his face and the responsible adults with him were laughing so hard it took them a while to compose themselves enough to brief me on what went down. As it turns out, it went down and then splashed up onto my gorgeous boys face who was of course standing too close to the unsuspecting cow, bet he won't do that again, Zane, not the cow. Malanda falls were lovely and it was probably the coldest I have been up here so far, I had to put a jumper on!!
Our last stop was the enormous Curtain Fig Tree which was undeniably incredible. As I was snapping away taking photos of Zane and Maya standing in front of the tree I noticed a person, who will remain nameless, climbing up the fig. Funny as it was, it is a sacred site and should not be climbed. None of us could believe it and as we all stood there gob smacked one of the girls heard a little boy say to someone "That is so dangerous, if he falls from up there, he is DONE FOR, I tell you, DONE FOR" So, so funny coming from this little boy. Well that was our very full day in the Atherton Tablelands, a great time was had by all, with souvenirs and smiling faces we travelled back down the hill to Cairns and are now planning another trip to do more exploring of this stunning area. Hopefully the staff at the distillery have located the key when we go back.