Here we are in far north Queensland two weeks into August, unable to return home until the beginning of October, still seven weeks in the future. We were expecting to be rushing across to Western Australia. However, that not being possible, we are reluctant to hurry south … it is lovely and warm up here on these tropical beaches! “Don’t be lazy!” The phrase echoes loudly from the past. “You’re trouble is that you’re lazy!”. Oh what burdens we lay upon our young.
Maybe we should just be lazy!
The time to unwind our northwood journey is upon us and so we will slowly make our way south. From Cooktown we return to Mossman and on the way take a sidetrip to the Split Rock indigenous art site near Laura on the Cape York Peninsula. This is our first chance to see rock art in it’s original setting on Cape York.
The first notice we encounter gives us an idea of the antiquity of these paintings and of the historical span of the indigenous peoples of Australia.
We spend a couple of hours among the three galleries wondering at the remoteness of this place. I often contemplate as we cruise around Australia in our fancy modern vehicles, that the Indigenous peoples of this land only had foot transport, apart from the odd dugout canoe. No horses until 1803! It is a very big country to be walking around. Every now and then when driving along a remote road we encounter a cyclist and are amazed that they should do such a thing. Imagine having to walk!
The Atherton Tablelands and all those waterfalls
The Atherton tablelands form a plateau around 900 metres above the coast and are surrounded by the ranges at the northern end of the Great Dividing Range. Up there, it rains a lot and all that water has got to go somewhere and most finds it’s way to the ocean by dropping off the edge of the ranges.
Our journey southward takes us back to Ellis beach once more. Then on through Cairns and we stop at Fishery Falls.
Fisher Falls is on the main Bruce Highway south of Cairns, and unless it is your destination, the few houses fronted by a pub would pass by almost unnoticed. The caravan park is spacious and friendly and the only things to do are have a pizza at the pub and walk up to Fishery Falls.Oh yes … and look out for the brilliant blue of the huge, Ulysses butterflies.
The track up to Fishery Falls is well surfaced since it is part of the water supply for Cairns. It is a pleasant walk up through dense rainforest.
A little further south along the same range are the Babinda Boulders, a spectacular river gorge which must be fearsome during the monsoon. At this time of year it is more gentle but the wearing away by stronger torrents is obvious.
The town of Babinda itself owes it’s origins to sugar cane and the sugar mill which operated from 1915 until 2011. It is adjacent to Queenslands two highest mountains, Mt Bartle Frere (1622m) and Mt Bellenden Ker (1593m).
Bramstone Beach and Josephine Falls
After a couple on nights at Bramstone Beach we went to the next falls, a little south of Babinda – Josephine Falls
Mission Beach and Cardwell
We have been lucky enough to catch a cancellation at Mission Beach and so can while away two and a half weeks in our favourite spot on this coast.
The caravan parks in Far North Queensland host many visitors from the southern states in winter. Many of them will stay on one or two caravan parks for three to four months before heading south again in spring. We have noticed a much more village-like social life among these visitors, gathering at the end of each day to drink a beer or two and chat and laugh the day to a close.
On Mission beach, this also involved beach bowls every afternoon if the tide was right.
We are now almost home, and begin our journey south again tomorrow. We will spend the last week near Bundaberg and hopefully meet up with daughter Zoe and grandchildren, Bodhi and Mahli.
One of the great delights of this trip have been the birds. I leave you with a few more examples.
May you all be well and happy!