Day 64 - 15th June
Townsville to Wallaman Falls
Distance Travelled - 229.8 km
Woke up at about 6.30 am this morning but was able to stay in 'bed' until about 7.30 am. Got up and slowly started to pack up as things dried out from condensation. Listened to bit of music over coffee as all my books are finished at the moment, I will have to visit some op shops on the way today and see if I can find anything.
After packing away I went and fueled up and then headed off to Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park on the outskirts of Townsville. In the park is the old quarantine station and fortifications from WW2.
The quarantine station had some interesting history written up and displayed in what I assume was the initial quarantine section itself - rooms / areas for showering and fumigating and rail tracks for bringing luggage from the jetty. There are about 15 or so buildings there which included the hospital, dorms for various passengers (separated out as 1st class, 2nd class and cattle class basically), administration etc but unfortunately, whilst numbered, there is nothing that I could see that actually tells you what buildings were used for what. Some are presently being used for Conservation work offices but a simple sign on the building would suffice and give people a lot better idea of what happened there. The Albany based Quaranup quarantine station we have used over the last 5 years or so for the HAY camp in Southern Cross has that set up. Whilst the area is a Department of Sport and Recreation camp, all the buildings are labelled with their initial use when it was a Quarantine Station.
Further up from the station is a series of gun embankments and searchlight towers. Searchlights here were used to scan the ocean rather than the sky as their was fear of a boat invasion by the Japanese during the war. The ruins are substantial and one can definitely get the feel of what it might have been like being stationed there during the war.
Leaving the fortifications walk I also did the graves walk which meanders about 2 km through the bush to the cemetery associated with the quarantine station. There are 13 graves in the cemetery - all Vietnamese off the same boat in 1920 - who died of meningitis. These are apparently the only people who died at the quarantine station during it's service.
After leaving Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park I continued on towards Ingham and then out to Wallaman Falls, about 51 km SW of Ingham. Wallaman Falls is the largest single drop water fall in Australia with the water falling 268 metres. The pool depth (although not really shown in the photos below) is 20 m and the falls are 540 m above sea level. There was an exceptional amount of mist being generated by the falling water and made the falls look somewhat eerie in the late afternoon light.
Tonight I am camped about 15 km from the main falls. Tomorrow I will head back and do the 2 km walk that takes you towards the base of the falls and see what the photography is like there before heading on towards Innisfail and some more waterfalls in that direction.
A few little stats for the trip so far up until last night:
Distance travelled - 15,420 km (approx)
Number of litres of diesel used - 1,112 (approx)
Money spent on fuel - $1,598 (approx)
Cheapest fuel - $1.259 / L at Littlehampton SA (not far Aunty Jan and Uncle John's house)
Dearest fuel ( I have paid for) - $1.993 at Uluru (another tourist rip off)