Friday, October 14, 2011

Cairns Botanical Gardens

So, I'll get the exciting news out of the way first, and then the rest of it is just going to be pictures of pretty flowers, so if you don't like that, you can just read the first part.

So, after our fun time in Airlie Beach, we we driving another long day to Port Douglas.  We had just passed through Cairns and were about 40 minutes from our destination when a kangaroo jumped out in front of us.  It was so quick and really small enough that I didn't think it would do much.  I thought it would just sort of be like hitting a fat raccoon, your car bumps and you go on.  Well, I don't know if it's their height or body shape, or just how they jump up when you hit them, but kangaroos almost always hit your radiator and trash it.  We had heard this from friends, and it was the case with us.  We were fine, and the car was able to drive, but we couldn't because without the radiator the car would overheat.  Luckily, a tow truck driver was just across the highway towing someone else, so he came over to help.  He got the gross job of actually removing the kangaroo wedged into our grill.  Then he took Katy and I to the hotel we were planning to stay at the next two nights in Cairns that thankfully could take us a night early.  I also got the Port Douglas hotel refunded after a lot of arguing with a call center in India for  Daniel stayed with the car until another tow truck driver from the same company could get him, which only took about another 10 minutes.  It could have been much worse, but it did lead to a lot of paperwork, calling insurance, staying and two extra days in Cairns, switching hotels, and renting cars twice.  All told that little kangaroo probably cost us about $900.  Stupid roo.

However, it did let us go at a more leisurely pace as we were sort of stuck there while everything got sorted out.  We actually slept in a bit the next day and then went to the botanical gardens, which we hadn't planned to visit, but were glad we did.  They had beautiful flowers I had never seen before.  Plus, that night we ate some very tasty pizza on their esplande and watched a group of local teens called the Cairns Pyros do their best to set themselves on fire.  They actually even jumped rope with the whole rope on fire and hulu hooped with fire.  No protective gear or anything, and occasionally one would yelp, "Ouch, I burnt my hand again!" but then they just kept going.  Katy got a good picture:

And here are all the lovely flowers:

I haven't discovered what that one is called yet, but I believe this one is some type of African hibiscus:

These are all different varieties of wild ginger plants:

There were also these brush turkeys all over:

We've seen lots of stunning butterflies, including the Ulyssus ones that are bright blue, but they usually won't land long enough to take a picture.  I did manage to catch a different one there:

And of course, it wouldn't be Australia until there was a creepy spider about.  We saw so many of these golden orb spiders I stopped taking pictures.  This was one of the smaller ones with a beetle it had caught.

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