Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Day 79 - 30th June


Distance Travelled - 23 km

Woke up early to the sounds of Keri getting ready to leave but managed to roll over and go back to sleep. Got up around 7.45 am and got ready to head into town for another look at some shops. Did a fair bit of wandering and then came back to drop stuff off and then head out again, this time in the car.

Drove to the Southern Cross Uni and had a look at the book shop there in regards to some texts about work stuff I have been pondering lately and then drove off to find the NSW fire station that is close by. Found that and had a quick talk to one of the guys there before heading out to Point Danger to photograph the lighthouse there and have a look from the lookout there. The view was most pleasant and being the first real cloud free day since I have been here it gave a different perspective to the beach life here with the added fact that school holidays in Qld started yesterday.

Came back from there and had lunch and spent the afternoon reading, dozing and packing things up ready to leave tomorrow. Tonight Keri and I are going to the local surf club for tea and then I will finish the packing and be ready to drop Keri at the airport in the morning and be on my way.

                                                             Point Danger Lighthouse

                                                            View from Point Danger

Monday, 29 June 2015

Day 76 - 27th June


Distance Travelled - 30 km

Woke up at a few times during the night to rainfall but only got up around 7 am. Had a shower and then breakfast on the balcony looking at a fabulous full rainbow that was really bright allowing all the colours to be seen (or so I was told).

After breakfast bummed around for a while then while Keri was off at appointments etc I went for a bit of a drive around the place then came back and went for a walk through town, primarily to get a few things I needed for cooking tea tonight.

Went to one of the antique shops nearby and lost myself in there for a while looking at all manner of things. Luckily I have no room in the car so could not be tempted to buy anything, also most of it was way out of my price league bit it certainly didn't stop me from enjoying the look through the shop.
Came back, walking through light rain and not long after had lunch. Read for a while and watched a movie before having an afternoon nap. Got up and chatted for a while before cooking tea and then the evening was spent reminiscing over the Antarctic trip as we perused photos from the voyage. After photos it was time to go to bed.

Tomorrow we have a stupid o'clock start, getting up at 4.30 am to be leaving here by 4.45 am to drive into NSW to the Cape Byron Lighthouse for sunrise and then meander back through some markets, Fingal Point Lighthouse and possibly Point Danger Lighthouse here in Coolangatta. After that it will probably be home and back to bed. Will have to wait and see what the rest of the day brings.

                                                           Rainbow from balcony

                                                                  Rainbow closeup

                                                          Where is the pot of gold?

Day 77 - 28th June

Coolangatta to Byron Bay and return

Distance Travelled - 0 km (in my car)

Woke just before the alarm went off at 4.30 am and had left by 4.40 am. Drove about 80 km to Byron Bay lighthouse, stopping for a coffee on the way, and arrived just after first light but well before sunrise. Walked the short distance from car park to lighthouse and saw a very nice looking structure.
Byron Bay is the most easterly point of Australia and according to informtion I could glean off the Internet while doing research a while ago, the lighthouse has over 500,000 visitors a year visit it. Looking at the sunrise and lighthouse surrounds, I can see why.

Spent some time doing photography, almost as a reconnaissance mission for my later forays along the NSW coast after I leave Coolangatta, before heading into the town proper to get breakfast at 7.30 am. After devouring a crossiant and coffee we headed back towards Coolangatta, stopping at Fingal Head lighthouse. Fingal Head lighthouse is a very short lighthouse and although the associated buildings and quarters have been removed it still looks very nice. Unfortuately it was undergoing a repaint, with men working on and around it so not much available in regards to peopleless photography. Managed 1 shot and then we headed back to Keri's place in Coolangatta.

Keri had a bit of a snooze while I read for about an hour before we had lunch and then went to the local aquatic centre for a swim. I swam about 400 m and then just lounged around while Keri finished swimming her km and then we went back home. Keri headed off to catch up with another one of her friends for a while and I spent the time filing stuff on the computer, making backups, reorganizing pictures and downloading the pictures from the trip this morning.

After Keri came back she wanted to look at photos I had taken on the trip so I set that up and during the viewing we ate tea and then started watching a movie. I left partway through the movie to make some phone calls and then went to bed, deciding to watch the rest tomorrow as I was starting to feel rather exhausted from the days activities.

Tomorrow I will do some more computer work, do a bit of car organisation, get some clothes washed, charge camera batteries and walk through town for a while to occupy myself while Keri is at work. Not sure about Tuesday but at the moment am leaning towards leaving here Wednesday to start the trek into NSW.

                                                              Byron Bay lighthouse

                                                              Byron Bay lighthouse

                                                               Bug at Byron Bay

                                                                Fingal Head lighthouse

Day 78 - 29th June


Distance Travelled - 5 km

Woke about 7 am and got up and ate breakfast as Keri was getting ready to go to work. After she left I did a series of things in preparation for leaving on Wednesday. Did the washing, started charging batteries, worked on the computer and looked at stuff in the car thinking about ways of better setting it up.

After the washing was done I drove downtown due to the incessant rain and walked about looking through bookshops, Woolies, op shops, gift shops and the like. Got what I needed to cook tea and came back to do some reading, eat lunch and prepare some stuff for tea.

Not much later Keri came home from work and we went to Bunnings to get a few things so I can make a few simple repairs for her. We chatted for a bit and then she got stuck into work stuff whilst I read and listened to music.

Had tea and looked at a few more photos before getting ready for bed. Keri has to leave about 5.30 am tomorrow to go to Brisbane for a work conference so an early night for her and a quiet night for me is in store. Tomorrow I have a few places in town I want to look at and I will repack the car ready to leave on Wednesday morning after I drop Keri at the airport for her work trip to Cairns.
Almost no photography today except for one from the balcony looking out over Coolangatta at night.

                                                  Coolangatta at night from the balcony

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Day 74 - 25th June
Point Cleveland to Coolangatta
Distance Travelled - 110 km
Woke early after a not terribly comfortable night sleeping in the car and was somewhat disappointed to discover a very cloudy sky eliminating the possibility of morning sunrise photography. Took another shot of the lighthouse and then spent time reading while I waited for the car to dry out from the condensation developed during the night.

The drive to Coolangatta was leisurely, although not particularly stunning, and relatively straight forward. I listened to a very interesting talk on the ABC radio about nature play and discovered that there is a nature play symposium happening here on the gold coast this weekend.
Found the university where Keri works and went in and found her to let her know Ihad arrived. She came and met me and we had a quick talk before she had to be off but she would be finished by half two and we organised for me to be back by then. I drove off just down the road to one of the nearby beaches and sat overlooking the surf as I listened to another hour of nature play related talks on the ABC. After that spent some time reading before going back to the uni.
Keri came out and we went back to her flat which has an amazing view over the beaches and around over the mountains. We chatted for a while before going and doing some shopping for tea. Came back and had a drink on the veranda watching a very nice sunset before having having a delicious roast chicken dinner. During that time I researched the nature play symposium and decided to go to the Friday session.
After tea we sat and chatted for a while about a whole range of things and then it was time for me to crash in bed, very grateful for the luxury of a real bed tonight. Tomorrow I will go to the symposium and then see what else leads on from there.
                                               Point Cleaveland lighthouse, morning shot

Day 75 - 26th June
Distance Travelled 23 km
Woke up to the sound of steady rain falling and was very glad to be inside the house, not outside in my tent. Rolled over and went back to sleep for another 2 hours before waking again at 6.30 am. Stayed in bed until just after 7 am and got up to a cooked breakfast. Thank you Keri! Ate breakfast and left for the Natureplay symposium.
Spent the day listening to various speakers and engaging in meaningful dialogue with other Natureplay advocates which was good to do. Learnt a bit and was reaffirmed that the play based education model and nature play experience is not dead in the water and stills holds a lot of educational value.
Left the conference just before 5 pm with a fantastic full rainbow on display with light drizzle falling as it had for most of the day and headed back to Keri's. Chatted about the day's activities, had tea and then we headed off in search of some nearby lighthouses. Found 2, one here in Qld the other just over the border in NSW. Lucky the border is only like 5 km away from where Keri lives. It was a bit too dark and rainy to do too much so we decided to head back home and go looking again another time over the weekend.
Back home settled into the couch and lounge chairs and watched Robin Hood, starring Kevin Costner before it was time for Keri to go to bed. I stayed up and typed up my notes from the conference, wrote my blog and sorted photos. Tomorrow will be a relaxing day, pottering and seeing what comes up. 
                                 Rainbow from the car park at the Natureplay symposium

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Day 73 - 24th June

Mooloolaba to Point Cleveland via Caloundra

Distance Travelled - 147.2 km

Woke early and got ready to see if there would be much of a sunrise. The night had been cloudy and rainy preventing much in the way of night photography but thus held the possibility of a nice sunrise. Wandered the short distance to the lighthouse from where I had slept in the car in the car park at Point Cartwright and discovered how popular this place is early in the morning. There were lots of people walking dogs, riding, running, walking or doing stretches in and around the reserve where the lighthouse is situated.

I set up and took some photos of the lighthouse in the early morning light and then as the sunrise evolved started taking some of that. It was quite an enjoyable time watching the sun come up and spread it's light over the lighthouse and reserve.

Finished my photography there and headed off to Caloundra, about 20 km away for the next lighthouse. Found the reserve where the old one was situated and discovered that the 'new' lighthouse was built right alongside of the old one. The new one is no longer in operation either as the development of high rise buildings in the vicinity has reduced the effectiveness of the light so it was deactivated and now stands next to the old one as a testament to the development and technological advances in marine navigational aids.

After leaving the lighthouses I went past a book exchange and decided to call in and finally found the Bourne Imperative book I have been hunting for since leaving Southern Cross. Happy with that I went to Maccas and posted my blog and then set of for Brisbane and the Maritime Museum where the next lighthouse is stored.

Access to the lighthouse at the Maritime Museum was done via a bridge that overlooked the museum so I had no need to go through the museum. The lighthouse was apparently in the process of having some maintenance done it as there were men in harnesses on it and cars below with equipment. Didn't make for the nicest photos but was able to record it anyway.

After leaving Brisbane City I headed out to Point Cleveland. The trip was rather boring, the majority of it being on highways and roads through suburbia. Got to the lighthouse which is inactive but a nice example of the old school type lighthouses. It is one of only 3 hexagonal shaped lighthouses built in Queensland.

Spent the day taking photos of the lighthouse in various weather conditions, cloudy with rain, clearing skies and sun as well as photographing a small group of pelicans nearby. Went for a walk for an hour back towards town looking for the local art and wood gallery I saw on the way to the lighthouse. Upon finding it I was disappointed to read that it is only open Friday to Sunday. Was able to look through some of the windows and some work, but not very clearly or satisfactorily.

Came back to the car park and did some reading and watching of people fishing and using remote controlled helicopters and waiting for the sunset. Got a few nice photos of the sunset and then did some more reading and music listening before sorting photos and getting ready to settle down for the night. Tomorrow I will try for some more sunrise photography and then head through to Coolangatta and meet up with Keri.
                                                           Point Cartwright sunrise

                                                            Point Cartwright sunrise

                                                     Point Cartwright lighthouse at sunrise

                                                 The old and new lighthouse at Caloundra

                                Bulwer Island lighthouse at the Qld Maritime Museum

                                                Point Cleveland lighthouse late morning

                                                             Pelican at Point Cleveland

                                                             Pelican at Point Cleveland

                                                           Pelican at Point Cleveland

                                                  Point Cleveland lighthouse, late afternoon

                                                             Sunset at Point Cleveland

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Day 72 - 23rd June

Avonvale to Mooloolaba

Distance Travelled - 371.6 km

Woke up at 4 am to the sound of a lot of traffic using the nearby road but managed to roll over and get back to sleep before 5 am. Eventually got out of bed around 7 am and went for a short walk to look at the nearby waterhole which was half covered in water lillies but other than that fairly non-descript.

Spent the next couple of hours reading, listening to music, eating breakfast, writing the blog and sorting out photos as I had been too tired to do it the night before. Eventually everything was dry enough to pack away and I left the campsite shortly after 9 am.

Drove into Bundaberg and went to Schmeider's Coopery complex where they had some local wood work on display. There were some nice pieces on display [no photography please :( ] and a video on how they make the smaller 5 L barrels which was very interesting to watch and learn from. Looking through the display of wood work I did get some ideas for when and if I teach wood work back at school next year.

After leaving the coopery I went to the The Bundaberg Barrel which is where they make Bundaberg Ginger Beer and other related 'brewed' soft drinks. Looked through the displays and headed off to find the local Maccas and post the blog.

Leaving Bundaberg I went to Burnett Heads which was only about 20 km away and hunted out the 2 lighthouses there and managed to not only find, but photograph both of them. I must admit that I find the older style of lighthouse much more appealing than the newer styles but I guess that is progress for you.

Leaving Burnett Heads I set off for Mooloolaba where the next lighthouse is. After several hours and nearly 300 km of driving I arrived in Mooloolaba around sunset. Got directions from some people at the skate park near a beach and continued on, finding Point Cartwright Lighthouse when it was just getting dark. Set up and took some photos and then headed back to the car to check them on the computer and see how they went. I will go back later and take some more when some of the cloud cover disappears (hopefully).

Tomorrow I will mosey down to Caloundra after maybe doing some early morning shots at Point Cartwright. There should be 2 lighthouses around there to photograph and then I will need to research where the last 5 on my map are. After seeing if any are feasible for photography I will then head towards Brisbane proper and seek out the lighthouses on the way.  

                                                     Burnett Heads Historic Lighthouse

                                                       Burnett Heads modern lighthouse

                                                 Point Cartwright Lighthouse, night shot

Monday, 22 June 2015

Day 71 - 22nd June

35 km N of Rockhampton to Avonvale campsite via 1770

Distance Travelled - 390 km

It seems that there are too many inconsiderate people in this world to shoot all at once (and get away with it). A group of three backpackers last night decided to stay up and talk very loudly whilst everyone else was trying to get to sleep. Half an hour after midnight I got up and asked them to quieten down, particularly as the group behind them they had packed so close to, squeezing in between them and me, had 3 little children (6 and under) that probably shouldn't be woken up. They said they would. They did - 2 hours later.

There does seem to be a little bit of natural justice though because as soon as the mum of 2 of the kids saw that I was awake at 6.15 am she came and asked if I was planning to go back to sleep. I chuckled and said no which she was pleased with. She went and got the three kids and told them to play only in this section where she could keep an eye on them, which just happened to be right where the backpackers were camping. We discussed how rude they had been the night before and how close her husband had got to getting up and having a go at them but apparently just as he was about to they heard me get up and decided not to unless something happened and he was ready to come out and help me.

It was with some smug smiles of self satisfaction that we watched these three guys stumble out of bed soon after, looking none too happy about being woken up so early. One of them must have given a glare to one of the kids because the mum went over and tore strips off them about it and said if they hadn't been so inconsiderate the night before maybe the kids would be playing somewhere else.
 After waiting for things to dry and get packed I eventually left camp about 9 am and headed into Rockhampton. Posted my blog at Maccas and then headed to the nearest shopping centre to find a jeweller to replace the battery in my watch that had stopped working the day before. The first three jewellers all said they didn't do it. The 4th said they did change batteries but not on ones like mine that are water resistant but they would be happy to send it off to get done and I could collect it in a week. They did however suggest that the Mr Minute guy did batteries and was able to do the pressure testing required for water resistant watches. I found him and left it while he worked on it and I went for a look around the other shops, collecting the watch 40 mins later when it was ready.

From Rockhampton I went through Gladstone, not a very pretty town with the coal industry and port requiring a lot of ugly infrastructure to operate, and then on to 1770 to look at the lighthouse. 1770 was not the original name of this town but they changed it some time ago to reflect that it was in 1770 that Captain James Cook made his second landing in Australia there. as you would suspect there is significant amounts of Captain Cook related naming around the place - Captain Cook Drive, Endeavour Place etc. It was quite disappointing though to find out the information I had gleaned earlier was not quite correct and this lighthouse too was on an island only accessible by boat. I enquired at the caravan park and they gave me information on tours of the island. They only run Monday, Wednesday and Saturday leaving at 9 am and returning at 4 pm. Cost $155. I had missed the Monday one and staying at teh caravan park was going to cost me $35 per night (off peak price). I didn't think it was probably worth $260 to take a picture of the lighthouse so decided to move on.

Drove as far as Avonvale, about 25 km before Bundaberg and stayed at the free campsite next to the pub. Rang Keri who I met on my Antarctic trip to organise to catch up with her and she seems quite happy to have me stay at her place for a few nights. We teed up times and I should catch up with her Thursday sometime. Set up the tent,had tea and pretty much went to bed feeling somewhat tired after two nights of limited sleep. Tomorrow I will look through Bundaberg and then go to Burnett Heads for lighthouse photography (hopefully) and maybe as far as Mooloolaba or Caloundra to do more and then into the Coolangatta area on Thursday.

                                         An anchor from a ship wrecked not far from 1770

                                                       The view from the 1770 lookout

                  Trees is afternoon sun near 1770 (looked much more awesome in person)

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Day 70 - 21st June

Boulder Creek campsite to campsite (35 km N of Rockhampton)

Distance Travelled - 380.4 km

English backacking tourists should be sent home after doing 1000 hrs hard labour community service! Even that is probably too good for them. As you might have guessed last night was not such a good night. Even though pretty much everyone else had lights out and quietened down by 9 pm this group of noisy Poms decided to keep going until someone beat me to it and told them to shut up, none too politely, around 11 pm. Then this morning at around 5 am there was loud clattering as they got up and looked for things and then someone started singing loudly at 5.30 am. When the majority of us surfaced around 7 am they did not hang around long and were gone before 7.30 am. I think they were aware they had not pleased people and may be on the receiving end of some not too courteous chats so chose to vanish before being accosted.

There was a very heavy dew last night and the campground is surprisingly well shaded so it was just after 10 am this morning before I managed to get away with everything packed away dryly. While I was waiting for things to dry I chatted to a few people and wandered off to take a few shots of the creek in the early morning light. I drove a meandering route to Mackay and posted my blog at Maccas before heading on towards Rockhampton.

The drive was not particularly stunning, mostly being down the Bruce Highway but there were patches where the bushland or canefields and occasional macadamia plantations looked nice. The most interesting aspect of the drive was the road signage. If nothing else I will remember Queensland for their road signs. I missed taking shots of the first few but hopefully there should be repeats of them tomorrow and I will get shots of them then. The first one says, "Are we there yet, Dad?" The next one some distance on says, "How long to go, Mum?" and the last one in the set says, "Still 3 hours to Rockhampton, kids" This set is then repeated later with the 3 hours being substituted for 2 hours. There are numerous signs about driving tired but the best ones I think were the trivia ones. The first sign says, "Trivia games help you stay alert" and then a bit further on comes the sign with a trivia question on it. A short distance later (1 or 2 km) they have a sign with the answer.  Unfortunately they only have one question in each direction on the road, I was hoping for a series of questions to ponder as I drove.

After refueling at Marlborough, I drove another 50 km or so before pulling into a camping bay already 3/4 filled with about 30 cars and vans. I found a spot for the car and my tent and watched in amazement as about another 20 cars and vans pulled in to find spots almost on top of each other.
The campsite is under the flight path of the Shoalwater Bay Army training base and I was able to watch several very large helicopters carrying large crates in slings underneath them fly into the base. The thud of their engines and rotors was very impressive.

Spent some time reading and then set up the tent, cooked and ate tea, made some phone calls, wrote my blog, sorted photos and then got ready to go to bed and listen to some music. Tomorrow I plan to get to a place called 1770 which is close to the Bustard Head lighthouse and hopefully I will be there in time to get some sunset shots

                                                  Boulder Creek campsite, early morning

                                                  Boulder Creek campsite, early morning

                                                      Trivia sign along Bruce Highway

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Day 69 - 20th June

Townsville to Boulder Creek campsite (approx 50 km north of Mackay)

Distance Travelled - 451.7 km

Slept in a little today, not getting out of bed until 7.15 am. Spent some time finishing my book and then packed before spending a few minutes talking to the others at the campsite about some of the places I had been up the coast that they might be interested in going to see given some of our previous discussions before I left for Cairns.

After chatting and being asked to show a few photos and check some school work, I headed off towards Mackay. Went into Ayr to post my blog at Maccas and looked through the town for a little while before heading towards Bowen.

Got to Bowen and had a bit of a look through the town. I guess their main claim to fame is that the movie "Australia" with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman was shot there. The town was transformed to looked like Darwin and apparently it is the largest outdoor shooting set to be used in movies ever. After looking through the town and grabbing a sausage sizzle to support the local cricket club I headed off towards Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach looked seriously touristy so not a lot of time was spent there and whilst the scenery was nice it was certainly no better than some of the beaches we have in W.A. The markets along the beachfront were just packing up when I got there but a man doing a sand sculpture had just finished and was lighting his dragon just as I got ready to take photos. It was quite impressive.

After Airlie Beach I headed towards Mackay and decided to stay just out of town at a free camping spot which was fairly full when I got there. Luckily I don't need a lot of space so managed to find a spot next to a couple from Dunsborough WA who have been on the road for about 18 months. Chatted to him for a while before heading off to the little creek that runs through the campsite. It is quite picturesque and I spent some time taking a few photos and wandering along the creek appreciating the beauty that is here.

Came back to camp and spent some time looking through the map book making some tentative plans for tomorrow and then cooked tea and sat down to sort photos and write the blog, read, listen to music and eventually get ready for bed.

Tomorrow I will head for Rockhampton and then start to do some shorter distances as I come across some of the land based lighthouses I can photograph.

                                                        Sand sculpture at Airlie Beach

                                                       Sand sculpture at Airlie Beach

                                                  Scenery at Boulder Creek campsite

Scenery at Boulder Creek campsite

Friday, 19 June 2015

Day 68 - 19th June

Goronvale to Townsville

Distance Travelled - 422.8 km

Awoke with the sun trying to squeeze into the car and managed to ignore the desire to get up for a little while but finally succumbed at about 7.15 am. Repacked the car after sleeping in it and set off by just after 7.30 am. Wrote my blog last night but was too tired to concentrate on photos, even though I didn't fall asleep until just after midnight.

Drove to Innisfail, via the Babina Rotary Park rest area for a shower, and posted my blog at the Maccas there after sorting the photos. Spent the rest of the day meandering down to Townsville, not really stopping to look at anything as nothing caught my eye, but not exactly hurrying either. Got to Townsville and went for a walk through Woolies to see if anything jumped out at me that needed purchasing for the next few days and then headed over to the tourist information centre in the city CBD.

After waiting some time for the lady to  finish helping the couple in front of me she turned her attention to me and gave me as much attention to detail as she had the couple before me. Over an hour later I came out of the centre with significant amounts of information in relation to the whereabouts of some of the lighthouses further down the east coast and a lot more insignificant information about all sorts of things from why Townsville weather is better than Perth's, why lighthouses should still be manned, the best shops to buy groceries at in Sydney 45 years ago and what type of work her husband had been involved with when working on the Snowy Mountains Water Scheme.

I left the centre and went to the Maritime museum to try and see when it would be open tomorrow as I wanted to get a photo of the Bay Rock Lighthouse that was transferred there some time ago. I assumed it would be out the back or partially hidden but alas it was out the front waiting to be photographed. I took a couple of shots and then headed back to the camping area out of Townsville towards Ayr that I stayed at before my trip to Cairns.

Bought some fish and chips for an early tea and found when I got to the campsite the family that was there before were still there. Apparently the repairs on the car have taken longer than expected and the car wont be ready until Monday. I chatted to them for a while and then sat to do photo and blog work before settling down to read and listen to music before going to bed.

Having emailed Lesley, the doctor from my Antarctic trip, a few times lately it appears she will be away when I am going through but hopefully I will have better luck catching up with Keri and Wendy, passengers from the same trip, as I go past their areas.

Tomorrow I will start the journey towards Brisbane, hoping maybe to get to Mackay. Unfortunately a lot of the Queensland lighthouses are out on islands somewhat offshore making photography of them difficult but I will do the mainland based ones that I can access and be happy with that.

                                                                 Bay Rock Lighthouse

                                                                Bay Rock Lighthouse

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Day 67 - 18th June

Tolga (Rocky Creek War Memorial Campsite) to Gordonvale  via Mossman and Cairns

Distance Travelled - 307.5 km

It was a very slow start this morning. I awoke to see the last half of sunrise from where Iwas laying in my tent and despite my best efforts I could not get back to sleep. I lay and listened to music for a while before getting up and making a coffee at 7.30 am. There had been a heavy dew during the night and the fly of then tent was quite wet. I wiped it dry as best I could with the tea towel and waited for the sun to finish the job. Unfortunately, in some ways but not in others, the sky was very cloudy with only the occasional glimpse of sun so it was 10 am before I was finally happy with the dryness of the tent and packed away and ready to leave.

I drove to Mareeba, about 35 km away and spent some time looking at shops, doing some banking and then looking through a very impressive historical museum at the visitor centre. They have put in a lot of effort and the displays are very informative and worthwhile looking through.

After leaving the Visitor Centre I headed to Emerald Creek Falls which were very pleasant and had reasonable water despite the man at the Visitor Centre being concerned there might not be much due to lack of recent rain. It was a2 km round trip from the carpark to the falls and back and I did some extra scrambling over rocks to get a photo I wanted so by the time I got back I was well and truly wet through from sweat in the humid 28 degree heat. I can see why the army based it's jungle warfare training camps up here to help soldiers acclimatise to the tropical conditions they would face in PNG, Burma and the like.

Leaving the falls I went to the Jacques coffee farm to look through their plantation and I had thought I would go on the tour. Having purchased a very nice citrus tart, I was told htere was a 45 minute wait for the next tour but I was welcome to go for a little walk around. Off I trundled to take a few photos  when I was spoken to, somewhat rudely in my opinion, about not being able to access a particular path I was about to venture down. So I promptly walked back to the car and headed off, deciding they could forget me taking the tour.

On from the coffee farm I went to Davies Falls, and whilst quite spectacular, it was very difficult to get a good photo of the entire falls because of the way the lookout was situated. Access to the bottom of the falls would have made an amazing shot but there was no feasible way of getting down, let alone being able to get back up again so I had to leave it be.

Moving on from there I headed into Cairns and straight up to Mossman, about an hour out of Cairns towards Cooktown given the very winding roads and multiple roadworks. I went to the Mossman Gorge, the only reason I had to go there, and found that I had less than an hour before it closed. I promptly went up on the shuttle bus and spent as much time as I could taking photos of the gorge, running water and rain forest as I could in the time I had as well as trying to look and read without it all being through a lens. It was a very picturesque spot and I hope the photos I took do justice to it.

I headed back into Cairns and found a laundromat to do some much needed washing and ate some tea while waiting for things to wash and dry. There are no real spots in Cairns to free camp for the night so I drove about 20 km back towards Innisfail and pulled in to a camp spot there in Gordonvale.  

Tomorrow I will continue the drive back to Townsville and hunt out more information on some of the lighthouses I want to visit before heading off down the coast towards Brisbane on Saturday.

                                                    Emerald Creek Falls from the lookout

                                                  Emerald Creek Falls from the base

                                                                        Davies Falls

                                                          Mossman Gorge rain forest

                                                Water running through Mossman Gorge

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Day 66 - 17th June

Diggers Creek rest site to Tolga

Distance Travelled - 219.8 km

There was a dreary sky with a little rain welcoming me this morning although I could have done without the 3.30 am wake up call from a truckie going past who decided to blast his air horn about 8 times. Glad I slept in the car because the ground was quite wet this morning  which would have meant packing gear away wet, never a pleasant task, then or when you get it out again.

Drove the 35 km into Innisfail stopping for a quick photo of a banana plantation on the way and got some fuel before hitting the town proper. Posted the blog and wandered the streets for a while looking through a few shops. Headed off about 9 am to start a day of waterfalls.

Heading up the Palmerston Highway there was a little waterfall right next to the edge of the road but I could not locate a name for it. The first official waterfall of the day was Ellinjaa Falls and this was quite pretty. The walk down to the base was through some nice rain forest and was warm and humid. The walk was well worth it though with very pleasing view from the base.

The second waterfall was Zillie Falls and this too was pretty. The walk here was more difficult, mainly because it was over some muddy sections of a down hill track. Got down without stacking it and had a reasonable view of the falls, much better than the one from the top.

The third waterfall was Millaa Milla Falls. This was the easiest walk to the bottom, down a couple of sets of steps and into an open area set up for picnicing and swimming. Whilst not cold, it was not quite warm enough to swim today. The falls were very nice to sit and listen to as they thundered down into the pool below.

After these waterfalls I went to the Nerada tea factory where you can see the tea plants growing and look inside the factory where they process the leaves ready to be sent to Brisbane for packing. Whilst there I was able to see, but unfortunately not photograph - it was gone too quickly - a rare tree kangaroo.

After the tea factory I went to Malanda Falls, not as impressive as the rest but still nice to see. Who would have guessed but in talking to one of the volunteers at the Malanda they told me they are related to the Eifflers in Southern Cross.

After the Malanda Falls I headed through Tolga and stopped at a wood gallery where I drooled over some very nice pieces of woodwork. Luckily they were so expensive I did not have to worry about trying to find room in the car for anything.

Just out of Tolga is a camping spot. It is next to the war memorial which was very well set up. It has over 100 large rocks with plaques on them, each one dedicated to battalions, squadrons, corps or such that trained or worked in the Atherton area in which Tolga is situated.

Tomorrow I head off to see Emerald Falls, a coffee farm and who knows what  else before getting to Cairns and maybe Mossman. After Mossman it will be back down towards Townsville and further down the east coast, I guess in some ways it will be the start of the trip home.
                                                       Banana plantation

                                              Unnamed waterfall on Palmerston Highway

                                                                        Ellinjaa Falls

                                                                        Zillie Falls

                                                                 Millaa Millaa Falls

                                                                       Malanda Falls

                                         Stones and plaques at Rocky Creek war memorial