A lot has changed in Cairns since we visited 14 years ago. They’ve spent a bundle on developing the sea front, which is now a great esplanade walkway and swimming lagoon. We had dropped the Paj off to be serviced and walked the rest of the way into town. We explored along the esplanade before grabbing a coffee at one of the many cafes and restaurants lining the street before continuing on to the marina.
By this stage we’d walked a fair way so hopped in a cab back to the caravan park where we whiled away the afternoon by the swimming pool waiting for the mechanic to call.
We had been on tenterhooks since the mechanic in Katherine told us that we may have some serious issues. Fortunately it turned out to be nothing. Having advised the Cairns mechanic what we’d been told previously, he had ordered in the new ball joints that we might need. It turned out that the boots were cracked but as he had it all out he went ahead and replaced the whole joint anyway.
The second issue we’d been monitoring was the suspected oil leak from the sump. We hadn’t needed to top up any oil so were hopeful that it would be unfounded concern. Nevertheless we were relieved to find that the sump hadn’t even ‘sweated’ enough oil to break through the layer of dust covering the engine.
With new break pads installed we were now given the green light to take Paj to Cape York.
Although the repairs hadn’t cost as much as the worst case scenario might have, our remaining savings were drastically lower than we’d forecast at this point of our trip. We reluctantly made the call not to visit the Great Barrier Reef. This was definitely a highlight of our previous visit, but just too expensive for us this time around. We wanted to do something touristy so opted for the less expensive and visit to the Kurranda Markets.
We took the skyrail up the side of the mountains to the township of Kuranda. We spent the morning poking around the shops and market stalls before having some lunch and heading back down the mountain on the old railway. Although it was a nice day out, quite a few of the stalls were closed and the markets seemed to lack the energy that we recalled from our last visit.
At least we’d been entertained by taking the sky rail and train instead of driving ourselves.