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Walking up Mt Whitfield, Cairns

Mt Whitfiled, CairnsThere is something freeing about sprinting down a main road in a race against time (and a bus), backpack bouncing, arms flailing, hoping and praying now is not the time your ankle decides to give way. It truly is a good way to start an adventure.

Now this particular adventure sprung from indecision about what to do in the unpredictable tropical weather of Cairns. I learnt a few things along the way, and as always adventure is what you make of whatever experience life throws your way.

On a recent trip to Cairns with Discovering New Skies, we had one free day to take in the city and explore what it has to offer without leaving its limits. However, even in one of the driest wet seasons Cairns has been experiencing, the rain decided to dampen our plans.

The plans were really not much after finding out that Cairns was built on a swamp and while it is on the coast, there is no real beach and basically all you will find is just mud and crocs. So onto the next plan, to be like the locals and head to Mt Whitfield, the Cairns equivalent of Brisbane’s Mt Coot-tha, which is a popular mountain track for walkers and joggers – all sorts of crazy fitness people. I decided I wanted to give it a go, however with the rain I began to second guess this decision.

After the mad dash to catch the bus – we had to run from the ATM to the bus stop in 4 minutes or wait another hour for the next one – we headed out to the Botanical Gardens and the entrance to the Mt Whitfield Regional Park. After a spectacular walk around the Gardens and surrounding lake areas and a bit of lunch down the road, we still had plenty of day left before our late night flight, so the why nots came out and towards the entrance to the mountain we went.

Mt Whitfiled, CairnsMt Whitfield has 2 main tracks, the red arrow and the blue arrow. Both are described as steep with many stairs…I was starting to think that with the high percentage of humidity and the overcast conditions it was going to be a repeat of Mt Beerburrum! At least this time I was in my active wear with appropriate shoes!

Mt Whitfiled, CairnsWe decided to just stick to the red arrow, a 1.5km circuit up what feels like endless stairs and steep paths with a large amount of chairs along the way for some much needed breathers! Once we reached the top and saw the views spanning out along the coastline, giving a bird’s eye view of Cairns, the adrenaline kicked in and I decided one lookout wasn’t enough. The second lookout was a short climb up the turnoff to the blue arrow walk which we had specifically discussed not turning down…oh well! If you are feeling adventurous give the blue arrow walk a go, it is 5.4km long and should take you a good few hours, but the scenery will surely take your mind of the muscle burn!

Mt Whitfiled, Cairns 7Our little detour was enough, and back down we came. Going down really puts it into perspective how far up you did climb! As we walked back down into the rainforest I began to be thankful that we eventually tackled the walk despite the miserable weather.

The red arrow walk should take you around an hour depending on how many rest stops you take on the way up (we took all of them) and how long you spend at the top taking photos of the view (I took sooo many).

Mt Whitfiled, Cairns Mt Whitfiled, Cairns Mt Whitfiled, Cairns 1Don’t be scared off by the many steps sign, take it slow and you will be rewarded with a stunning walk through some of the beautiful natural landscape of Cairns.

What is your favourite nature walk? Have you let the weather spoil your travel plans? Or do you persevere?

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