Aussie Adventures Pt 6

Monday, Jun 11, 2018 at 17:48

Member - Muncey 72

We leave Lawnhill via Gregory Downs and stop to pump up the tyres and grab a coffee at a tiny pop up shop. Alex manages to lock herself in one of the toilets much to our amusement. There are so many cattle just roaming across the roads up here. We also saw many a dead wild pig and dead wallabies. Nearly every piece of road kill had one Eagle and five kites feeding on it, the kites would fly away as you got closer but the Eagle would just hop out the way and then return to the food as you drove passed. Got to Burketown at lunch time and everything was closed which was disappointing, even the visitors centre. But the kids did find free Wifi outside the centre so we had lunch whilst catching up on the world wide web. The drive to Normanton was approx. 140kms of gravel and 120km bitum, a pretty good road with the Burke and Wills camp 119 on it. We decide to drive through Normanton and head straight to Karumba. About 20kms out of Karumba I notice the car will not go over 2000rpm or 100km an hour which Is a little concerning. Also on the way into Karumba we see so many Brolgas alive on the side road just feeding in the marshes. Such a beautiful bird. We check into the Karumba Point Tourist Park at $42 a night and the kids hop in the pool to cool off. I pop the bonnet on the car and give the air filter and box a good clean out. After a nice hot shower we get dressed up and head out to the Sunset Tavern for tea and sunset. Its probably one of the best locations so far for a Tavern we have enjoyed, an amazing sunset is before us right on the gulf having a beer. Perfect. The food is very good too. Get talking to an older guy from Melbourne as he is watching Geelong pump the Gold Coast. We mention we are Dockers fans and he talks about how his son used to play grade football with David Mundy. Harrison continues to chat with the guy for at least 30 mins whilst we get drinks and take in the surrounds. Once the sun has gone down, on the horizon out to sea is lit up like a Christmas tree with all the channel markers for the prawn trawlers, it’s quite a sight to behold. Later in the evening the old guy drops off a pizza onto our table to say thankyou for the wonderful conversation and time Harrison had given him…..wow what a nice guy. Moments like these make you very proud of your kids and just underline the value of learning the life skills of interaction.
We leave Karumba and head back into Normanton and have a wlak around the visitors centre which is very interesting. So much information and history about the town. I am amazed at some of the photos of the 1974 floods, hard to believe the water was up to the pub roof. We get a photo of Krys the largest crocodile ever caught, at 8.64 metres its bloody huge. We also look around the Gulflander train and old station. The road from here to Georgetown 300kms of it is all sealed but sometimes only single lane, so when a vehicle comes in the other direction you slow down and both move over. Well that’s the idea unless your towing a boat and believe its your road. Many a time today we had this happen, they did not slow down or move over! I did spot my first Jabiru today, it was in one of the many Billabongs on the side of the road. Another beautiful bird found up here. Need to keep our eyes peeled now as we head East for the Cassowary. We stay the night in Georgetown and wake to a cold morning 4 degrees. We make the short drive out to Cobbald Gorge which takes approx. 90 mins, as the road closer to Cobbald is quite corrugated. We book in at a cost of $40 a night and get a load of washing going whilst the boys hit golf balls into the dam. Maz has a go and slices one right angles to the dam into a paddock filled with prickles. We have a quick swim in the infinity pool (better than Lake Argyle’s) and then go on the afternoon Gorge tour. The tour guide is very good and tells us all about the areas family history and then talks and points out all the native trees and bush tucker. The gorge is very young at only 190,000 years old and its believed that it was only 40 years ago that white Europeans actually went on the water in a boat. The cruise up the gorge in a small aluminum tinny is pretty cool, as we were the only ones on the tour is was so quiet whilst going through the narrow passages. The walls are so smooth from the water flows in the wet. The Gorge was impressive made even better by the information given by the guide.
We leave Cobbald and head to the Lava Tubes at Undara which is only 150kms east, stopping on the way to collect some firewood. We book in for one night ($42 unpowered) and also book on the tour which is tomorrow at 8am. Alex and I do one of the many walking trails here whilst the others have a chill afternoon. The walk is only 3kms but is a nice walk in the bush, the nice walk is only interrupted when a small Wallaby jumps out from the scrub in front of us. I nearly have a heart attack whilst Alex jumps in the other direction. Got a lovely fire going when we got back and had jacket potatoes in the fire with spaghetti for tea. Cold tonight and the thermals get there first run out, we may all look absolutely stupid but we are warm. Up at 7am today ready for the tour at 8am, after meeting Ross our guide we all hop on a little coaster bus and head into Undara Volcanic National Park to do the Active Explorer tour. Ross talks about the history of the area and the different vegetation here. One half is Savannah grass lands and the other half is semi rain forest. We climb down into the first Lava Tube and it’s a wow moment its huge and in such good condition. There are 69 tubes in this area but only 9 are safe to access, today we explored 3 of them. This is a must do tour, in years to come these Lava tubes will slowly collapse so if you get the chance do it.

We get back to camp to pack up and there is a Kookaburra sitting on Morgan’s chair, Morgan was pleased it did not poop on it. After finishing the pack up we head back on the highway to Innot Springs for lunch and a swim in the hot spas. The main springs are located within a caravan park and spilt into about 6 different temperature pools. Ranging from cold right up to 45 degrees. Really nice just lazing here in the hot water, the boys have different ideas and wrestle in the cooler pool. After we are totally wrinkled we make the short drive to Ravenshoe the highest town in Queensland at 922 metres. We book into the Railway Caravan Park which is only $10 a night unpowered and run by volunteers. The place is spotless and they have a fire going every night and cook up all different types of damper. We go to the top pub for tea (highest pub in Queensland) and watch the first State of Origin game which is a good night. It’s made even better as the pub has a couple of beautiful open fires going as the temp is about 3 degrees outside.
We head out today to explore a little and head out to Millaa Millaa where we drive the waterfalls loop on Theresa Creek Rd. We see Pepina, Blinjaa, Zillie and Millaa Millaa Falls, they are all breath taking with Millaa probably the best of them. We decide to join the backpackers and have a swim at the bottom of the falls and yes its cold, very cold. The roads are so narrow and elevated with the forest right to the road side it reminds me of some of the roads from England. The views from Millaa Lookout are amazing, at 1122metres high so have 360 views of the area. The lands here are so fertile they are growing everything. One guy said if you drop a pin on the ground you will grow a crow bar!
We drive into Atherton the next day and drop the car off for a service, we spend the day looking around town and do some shopping. We get the service done and they recommend that the front top ball joints need attention but they cannot do it until next Thursday. We take the car to another Mechanic in town and he is great. Does both the fronts top and bottom joints and is so helpful. Def recommend these guys (Atherton Automotive). Anyhow whilst driving back to Ravenshoe the emission light in the car came on and the car again lacked power over 100kpa…..arrrrrr. I ring up the Nissan service centre the next morning which is a Saturday and complain and they say to bring it back on Monday morning. Looks like we will be staying here a couple more days. We spend the day walking around Ravenshoe, the weather is not the best with misty rain all arvo so we retreat to the camp kitchen and fire pit. We get chatting to a couple of newly weds and we all hit it off spending the rest of the arvo and well into the night chatting and having a laugh. Maz cooked up scones and shared them all around, everyone was loving them. We give the young couple our number and hopefully they drop in and see us when they travel down the West coast.
We wake to sunny blue skies but a heavy due so hang around until the camper has dried out. We say goodbye to the camp hosts who are fantastic and Mat and Rachael and head north via the historic town of Herberton. We move onto to Atherton and treat ourselves to a couple of nights in the Big 4 caravan park at $61 a night powered. The car shows no signs of trouble and the emissions light disappears. After setting up we go for a drive to the Galo cheese and chocolate factory for lunch which is lovely. They also have many animals that you can pat, calfs, pigs, chickens, turkeys and geese. We then take the scenic drive to Yungaburra which looks very Englsih with all the hanging baskets lining the streets. We stop at the largest and oldest fig tree I have ever seen its massive and must be well over 100 years old. We stop on the way home at Eacham Lake which was created many years ago by a volcanic eruption which has produced a huge natural crater. This has filled with rainfall over the years to create the perfect blue recreational lake.
Next day myself and Alex return the car for another checkup. After running the car through diganois the summary is all good and error codes indicate maybe dirty fuel. Alex, Maz and myself do the climb behind the caravan park up to the summit of Mt Yabi which is 1123 metres above sea level, the views as you can imagine are amazing. We spend the rest of the day getting the car/camper ready for the final 900km push to the Cape.

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