All Under The Place – 11 Oct, Paronella Park, Australia

Today it was time to wave goodbye to our Holiday Inn in Cairns. I’ve been surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it here. I always imagined Cairns would be a bit rough round the edges and overly populated by backpackers, but there are a good mix of people and the seafront is great, with a long boardwalk all the way along it and a man-made saltwater lagoon (the beach is closed off so you don’t get munched by crocs).  We set off south and in no time at all we were driving through fields and fields of sugar cane, surrounded by tree covered hills. There’s so much sugar cane that light railways run next to some of the fields with tiny trains going up and down loaded up with the rolling harvest.

In a couple of hours we’d reached Paronella Park, the venue for our latest song. It’s a pleasure garden built by a Spanish guy called Jose Paronella in the 1920s. It’s had a very checkered history being constantly battered by floods and cyclones and we were singing a slightly melancholic song about it in the style of Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’, accompanied by our researcher Mark dressed in an elephant costume just like the one in the real video. Naomi and I were tenuously dressed as Spaniards. Hope it’s the last day I ever have to wear a polyester flamenco dancers costume on a hot humid day.

Hanging from the trees all around us were lots of grumpy fruit bats all bickering amongst one another about who had the best bit of branch to hang off, and on our journey that evening to our next hotel we saw a huge cloud of them setting off across the fields in search of… well, fruit I guess. Quite a sight.

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