Monthly Archives: May 2017

Wallaman Falls

30/5/2017

As soon as I realised we were so close to Australia’s longest drop waterfall I knew I couldn’t resist checking it out. Even the 52 Kilometre drive from Ingham is interesting as we wind in and out of sugar cane farms and then through Brahman cattle, who are clearly not worried about traffic at all, making all vehicles go around them with a lazy kind of “I was here first’ look in there eye.
The final 18km is what you would expect going up a into the Seaview Ranges, sharp corners, steep but with fabulous views over the coastline. Happily the road is relatively wide, compared to the Puluma Road.
The lookouts on the way are fantastic and you can see clear across to the beaches, the ocean, Hinchinbrook Island and over Girringun National Park.
I think I may have used up all my descriptive words for waterfalls but this one is sensationally spectacular and I’m so happy we made the effort to see it. Stoney Creek spills dramatically over the escarpment and cascades down almost 270 metres into a pool which is 20 metres deep. It sure has the WOW factor.

Wallaman Falls


There is a very challenging walk to the bottom of the falls, 2km long and dropping almost 270m is not for the faint hearted – according to the sign anyway. (Shane took one look at it and said see you in a couple of hours.)

Shane decides reading a book would be best for him.


I loved this zigzagging trail, rainforest all around, butterflies, glimpses of the falls through the ferns and then a rainbow at the end – aahh.

Due to some dawdling I took about 40 minutes to get to the bottom so it could be done in 30 or less and about an hour to get back up which leaves you plenty of time to appreciate the surroundings – savour the journey. The track does get more treacherous towards the end and getting over to the pool is quite a dangerous undertaking so I decided to just sit and enjoy.
It is also worth driving down to the camping area, would love to actually camp here one day, and enjoy a stroll along the creek, maybe even swim in one of the beautiful pools.

Cairns

22/5/2017 – 29/5/2017

Cairns has been a real treat for us, luxury accommodation in the absolutely best caravan park we have ever stayed in for a bargain price, beautiful weather, amazing scenery, challenging walks and fabulous seafood – underline the fabulous seafood!!! (Wendy’s Seafood Woree – fantastic service, yummy seafood for reasonable prices.)
We are advised to check out the Cairns Botanical Gardens and it is truly an excellent place to start, easy walking, shading from the harsh tropical sun and lovely garden settings.


The botanical gardens are a very important hub to the area with markets on the last Sunday of every month and some serious walking tracks starting and finishing here.
After my reef expedition we decide a hike into the hills will be a good follow up activity. There are three walking tracks, creatively (tongue in cheek) named Red Arrow Track, Blue Arrow Track and Green Arrow Track. Come on guys couldn’t we have gone with – Rainforest Ramble, Treefern Track and Pademelon Path! Anyway Shane and I take the Red Arrow with Blue Arrow and if feeling energetic the Green Arrow option – they all run off each other so we can decide at each intersections depending on how we feel. The walks are definitely not easy and after reaching the red/blue intersection, after climbing up too many steps to count, we are still happy to go on. (By the way it was an excellent decision to take the Blue Arrow trail leading off to the left – not so much climbing we discovered than that of the right.) By the time we reach the blue/green intersection, the top of Mount Whitfield, we opt out of the green and continue with the blue – just no energy to do the extra long walk. It is hot, humid and the track takes a lot of concentration not to trip on roots of trees and rocks.

The bay of Cairns


The rainforest is beautiful to walk in, little creeks gurgling through ferns, the amazing trees spreading out their roots to hold firm to the steep slopes, the sounds of birds calling all around us and the mottled sunlight streaming through the dense tree branches high over our heads.
We meet some locals out walking who happily talk about the area, sadly we wont see any Casawaries here as local dogs have seen to their demise but we do glimpse a cute Pademelon out and about looking for tasty nibbles and the bush turkeys are out in abundance. (Not an easy walk at all, be prepared, plenty of water, good shoes and take time to enjoy, rest and breath in the air of nature.)
Our final activity is a drive out to Ellis Beach via Palm Cove – where the rainforest meets the sea.

The Great Barrier Reef

25/5/2017

Australia’s Great Natural Wonder

I am so excited to be going out on the reef today, the weather looks lovely, just a bit of a sea breeze which is causing a bit of a swell. The trip out to the reef takes around 2 hours and thankfully the seas calm down on our arrival – naturally due to having the ‘barrier of the reef’!
The water is clear and relatively warm but a little bit choppy from the windy conditions. I think I am swallowing way too much water but after a while I get better at using the snorkel and no longer feel like I’m drowning. It is a magical world under the sea where everything is calm with fish of every colour against a background of coral of every colour.


Soft coral shimmers in the sunlight, swaying gently back and forth with the movement of the sea. I also get to see black and white tipped reef sharks, a Humphead Maori Wrasse, Parrot Fish and so many more unique and crazy looking fish.

I spend about 4 hours swimming around in the water just enjoying the wonderland before me – watching the fish, chasing each other through the coral, looking for food and following the smooth moves of the sharks. Sadly I didn’t find any ‘Nemo’s’ but plenty of other fish in the sea!
A lunch break in the middle gives me time to dry off and replenish before the afternoon session.
The only downside was that on the way back to shore with the heavier, rolling, afternoon swell, a stomach full of salt water and after looking through heaps photos, I do get more than a little ‘captain crook’ – next time I will take the travel calm tablets.
A wonderful day and I am happily exhausted after a truly memorable experience.

Paluma National Park

Our caravan park is at a place called Mutarnee and is an absolute gem, spotlessly clean, beautiful gardens, palm trees, well kept green lawns to camp on all for the bargain price of $30. It seems strange but we are the only ones staying here in this massive park, its even a little eerie – did something happen here that we don’t know about?
Its time for a day of walking and we are excited to be heading up to the tablelands to the small village of Puluma to walk around the rainforest. The road up is described as unsuitable for caravans and so begins our first adventure – just driving up there. The road is ridiculously narrow in some sections and cars coming towards us are going ridiculously fast – obviously locals who know the road. Shane is in the passenger side and keeps pushing his foot down hard on the floor of the car – so I lean over and ask “so how are those brakes working for you”? Thankful the walks are the perfect way to release the stress and we manage to complete all that we set out to do. Witts Lookout (used in WW2 to keep an eye out for Japanese planes), Cloudy Creek Walk, Rainforest Boardwalk and the H walk.


All were relatively easy with only the last 100metres of the Cloudy Creek walk being a little more challenging. The brochures say ‘take a walk in the clouds’ and in the morning that description is perfectly accurate, the warm, misty air seems to cling to us as we make our way along the various paths. In the afternoon the clouds lift so we can glimpse the coast – spectacular.
With fear and loathing Shane heads back to the car but the trip down goes quite smoothly – only had to back up once.
We stop at the Little Crystal Creek waterfalls which is approximately half way and, when we reach the end of the road from hell, we take the short drive into Big Crystal Creek to the Paradise Waterhole.

There really is nothing like getting out for a good walk surrounded by beautiful forests and waterfalls – we are tired but rejuvenated at the same time.

Richmond Qld

17/5/2017 – 18/5/2017

Big news life-long Collingwood supporter, Shane, is now a big fan of Richmond.
It is always a fantastic surprise to stumble across a place that is extremely welcoming and makes your stay a very memorable one. Surat and Galagargambone are at the top of my list and now Richmond will make an entry.
The Lake View Caravan is situated on Lake Fred Tritton, it is well set out, clean and best of all we are welcomed with a smile.

Lake Fred Tritton


It is a very warm day so we rest for a bit before heading to Kronosaurus Korner where we buy a ticket to see the incredible fossil display. Little did we know we were about to be taken into another world. After a brief film we are met by Dr Patrick Smith, who just exudes enthusiasm as the resident palaeontologist, and he takes us through the intricacies of preserving fossils, finding fossils, extracting fossils, cleaning fossils and why they are here. We spent so much time with him we had to get a pass to come back tomorrow so we can finish looking at the displays.
The display of fossils is very well set out making the whole experience interesting – I love the voice on the recordings he sounds so excited about the whole thing. Farmers are turning into fossickers with some great discoveries.

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‘Penny the Plesiosaur’


Shane and I try our hand at fossicking in the afternoon but sad to say no noteworthy finds but at least we were able to recognise bones, scales, fish bits and have some souvenirs to bring home. A very strange intriguing thing happens when you are digging in the dirt, as it turns out it is quite addictive – you really want to find something.
Its ‘the locals cook dinner night’ tonight and while I’ll admit they are not the biggest of serves it is a very tasty meal. Shane is laughing at me having a nice drop of McGuigan Red and I’m calling it Mcgoogan wine – definitely not how it is pronounced but it is very nice and thats the main thing.

Mount Isa

13/5/2107 – 16/5/2017

We have been doing a lot of stay and dash camping since leaving Jabiru so Mount Isa seems a good place to have a few days rest, catching up with washing, shopping and a bit of a clean up.
The Information Centre has a really wonderful display of photographic art by Alan Mathieson, some very remarkable photos – he must have incredible patience and a very imaginative mind.
On Sunday church is held in a renovated house from the Mary Kathleen uranium mine and we meet a lady who has lived in Mount Isa since 1950. She remembers lots of young families living in houses where there are now piles of dirt. She tells us that she had to move three times as the mine claimed more and more land until their final move over the river to the ‘town’ side where they were able to live a more settled life.

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The hills surrounding Mount Isa are lovely to look at and have a very bumpity, bumpy appearance – no other way to describe them.


Lake Moondarra, meaning plenty of rain and thunder, is our first sight seeing venture and we spend the later part of the afternoon wondering around the foreshore. It is surprisingly big, huge even and is the water supply for Mount Isa as well as being very popular for fishing, skiing and picnics. As we walk over the dam wall Shane can see fish swimming about and wishes he had a boat handy.

The other side of the dam, without the water, is interesting too. You can follow the riverbed over the flats and the whole area looks like something flattened it, maybe a meteorite, pushing up the ground to form the hills around the edge.
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Looking over the dam


Looking at the Leichhardt River, which flows only spasmodically, it is difficult to envisage that it fills the dam during the wet season, sometimes to the point of overflowing, if it’s a good one.
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The Leichhardt River currently a series of pools


Our last outing in Isa is up to the look out to watch the sun set over the mine and the mine light up for the night. Quite a steep walk but, as always, the view is worth the climb.

The Caravan of Ants

14/5/2017

Be warned those that set up camp in Mount Isa.

Fellow travellers have mentioned being troubled by ants with lots of helpful tips being bandied about on how to avoid them but we have been free of the little pests, well, until now that is.
Shane is always up before me and while I’m still stumbling out of bed he has his cereal, milk and yoghurt ready to go, happily munching away watching me get organized. I pop my weet-bix into the bowl and immediately notice ants, lots of them, happily crawling in, over and all around my favourite breakfast. The box is full of ants and Shane keeps eating, telling me not to worry it doesn’t taste any different. Thankfully the box was almost empty and we have other cereal. My whole morning is spent cleaning out the cupboard, spraying the little pests and checking other food.
In the afternoon Shane is feeling a little peckish so heads for a packet of nuts, opens them up and tips them straight down his neck, happily munching on them. Then he notices the ants all over his hands, his book and so I check the packet, yep, the whole inside of the bag is a moving mass of ants. Doesn’t worry Shane though, he still doesn’t stop chewing!
Apparently in some countries they are considered a delicacy although he is a bit concerned later on that they might still be alive climbing around in his stomach. Tomorrow morning he could have real ‘ants in his pants’. (Couldn’t resist the mum joke there.)