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

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