Aussie Adventures Pt 10

Thursday, Jul 19, 2018 at 18:17

Member - Muncey 72

We say goodbye to Cairns and head south today our destination being Mission Beach. On the way we stop at Josephine Falls for a look, which is a lovely spot. Raging waterfall down into a smaller creek which then opens into a large pool for swimming. A group of lads were having a ball sliding down the large rocks into the pool whilst filming themselves. Everyone of them was ripped and tanned….Maz and Alex did not want to leave. The drive to Mission Beach was really nice, cane fields on either side of the road only broken up by the odd banana plantation. We get a couple of photos of the cane carting wagons which sit next to the cane fields ready for the harvest. Mission beach is spilt into North and South, we have lunch out of the back of the camper and have a walk around North Mission Beach. I surprise everyone by having booked us into the Mission Beach resort for 2 nights. Its Maz Birthday tomorrow so a room with king-size bed and our own shower will be a treat. The boys are straight in the pool whilst we catch up on blogs and diaries. In the evening we drive to South Mission beach and have tea with Jarrod, Brooke and their girls. They had a Cassowary around the caravan early in the afternoon which we just missed. Good to see them again maybe the last time on this trip.
Sleep in this morning and watch the highlights of England beating Sweden in the World Cup, could they really do it? We have a relaxing day driving around the area of both the north and south parts of mission beach. Heaps of walking tracks to do as this whole area is surrounded by national park. At last we spotted a Cassowary, not a large male but a very large chick. Still had the brown mottled colour hair but was a cassowary nonetheless. The beaches around here are very nice, lovely sandy beaches lined by palm trees. Still not advisable to swim up here though. Dunk island is only 4km across the water and boats, kayaks or jet skis are available to hire if you want. We have tea at the resort to celebrate Maz birthday and relive the sighting of the Cassowary. We also enjoyed another rain free day.
We give up the comfort of the king-size bed and solid roof to head further south along the Bruce highway to Rollingstone Caravan park. We stop at a lookout along the way which looks straight across to Hinchbrook island, did not realize how close and how many islands there are up here. We stop at the beach side town of Cardwell for lunch and have a walk along the jetty. When we get back to the car there are 5 army trucks parked up, we head over and have a chat. They’re part of the 51st division reserves from Atherton and where on exercises in Townsville. Morgan was start struck for a while so Harrison and I was asking all the questions. One of the guys even let the boys hold his assault rifle and showed them all around the vehicles. They are also part of the Northern Border patrol and patrol right up until the hightide mark on Papua New Guinea. We get to Rollingstone caravan Park which is right on the beach front and set up. The cost here is the usual price for big 4 powered sites $65 a night. Lovely big park which a couple of lakes for fishing, bar and huge pool. No sooner we sit down and two Military Chinooks Helicopters fly over, so cool. We spend the arvo walking along the beach and swimming in the pool.
Up early today and we drive the 50kms to Townsville to catch the ferry across to Magnetic Island. Only just make it before the ferry leaves. It’s a lovely morning with the sun shining and a little breeze, nothing like the last time we were on the ocean! The ferry only takes 25mins and we disembark onto Magnetic island. We decide to just use the buses to get around today and purchase a day pass which is much cheaper than hiring a car. The island is blessing with numerous bays to swim, snorkel and just walk along. We go to Picnic Bay and climb up to Hawkings Point lookout which has amazing views across the bays and also across to the mainland Townsville. We also have a look at the museum at Picnic bay and learn how Captain Cook named the island, it was because the island played havoc with his compass as he sailed past. We have a swim at Alma Bay which is really nice and then spend a fair bit of time at Horeshoe Bay where we swim and have a look around the shops. There’s lots to do here and you could easily spend a few days here doing all the walking tracks and checking out every little bay. We have an awesome lunch at Bikini Tree café in Arcadia which is definitely worth a visit. A great day today with the sun out all day, we get the ferry back to Townsville and get back to Rollingstone at 7pm. On the move again tomorrow as, we need to start heading inland towards Alice Springs so Alex can fly home on the 22nd July. We have been on the road now just over 3 months and it has gone so fast, only 4 weeks left.
We leave Rollingstone not before we see humpback whales about 200metres off shore playing and then we drive to Ayr and set up in the Burkedin Caravan park, small park right in town but we get a spot right niext to a table and shelter. We get a load of washing done and diaries UpToDate before we head out to a Cane farm. We heard about a farmer who does tours on his Cane farm in the evenings when they are burning. We meet Greg the 5th Generation farmer who tells us all about the cane farming and we meet the guy who will do the “tour” Ken was his name and he was a spitting image of Russell Coight he sounded the same and had similar expressions. It was priceless. The tour was also priceless, we got all the info on the Cane growing process, walked around the Cane fields and got very close to the burning. It was really cool and the fire was very intense but as the fire got to the end of the row of cane it went out. We had driven passed the cane fields for a few weeks now and it was great to get some questions answered. i.e 5 tons of cane equals 1 ton of sugar, is grown all year round, and after burning needs to be harvested in 24hrs.
Big drive today as we left Ayr at 8:10am and arrived at Emerald at 4:50pm. Not a bad drive really plenty to see out the window as the land scape has changed now to crops and vegetables in the paddocks and not cane. Also saw a few cattle mustering happen with cattle all over the road and the drovers on horseback slowly moving them around. This is real outback Queensland now. We stay at the Emerald showgrounds for $10 a night and head to the Irish pub for tea and to watch the State Origin Game 3. Great game and a good win for Queensland and Billy Slater. Temperature is cooling now especially at night prob 5 degrees tonight.
We leave Emerald by 9am and stop to get some wood and then continue onto Carnarvon Gorge. We spot our first cotton fields and then the trucks and then notice heaps of cotton on the road side. We turn off and head out to the gorge which is approx. 30kms of the main road lovely drive with no fences and cattle everywhere. We check into the Sandstone park and pick a spot right on the ridge overlooking the gorge, stunning 360-degree views. After setting up and getting a fire ready we done a couple of small walks, one was to a rock art site and the other to a Rockpool. (only place to swim here) Nice little walks and a heart starter of a swim, to say it was cold would be an understatement. It was freezing colder than Millaa Millaa Falls. Got the fire going and had a nice beef Rogan josh curry in the camp oven, the stars tonight were probably the best we have seen. With no natural light it was amazing. We had a mild sleep in as it was very cold this morning no one wanted to get out of bed. Was up and warm enough to function we headed to the Visitors centre and started our days walking, we head up the main track which is easy walking up to the Moss garden and get some photos, lovely part of the gorge in here with water seeping through the sandstone. After here we continue up the main track crossing serval creeks to the Amphitheatre. Wow what a spot, a part of the gorge completely eaten away to create an Amphitheatre totally awesome to think this was created by nature. Alex and I continue up to Wards Canyon while the others head back to Moss garden as Harrison needs the toilet. Alex and I climb into wards canyon and get to see large tree ferns and also the amazing King Tree Ferns. We all meet back up down the track at the turn off up to Boolimba Bluff, after warming up the calf’s and a redskin lolly we head up the 2.2km track. Its an easy start and then a sign says “The next 300metres is very steep” Hmmm. Almost vertical would be a better description, by the time we got to the top no-one could breath let along talk. We continue along the plateau in silence until we are rewarded with the most amazing view of the gorge and the Queensland Highlands. Yes, it was worth it. We head back down and by the time we get back to the visitors centre we a knackered. We worked it out that we walked approx. 15-16kms today. We get the fire going and enjoy snags and mash with plenty of marshmallows. The temperature tonight is only 3 degrees so its full thermals and beanies to bed tonight. Carnarvon Gorge was definitely worth the 500km detour we took, it was all we were told it would be and more.
We head out of Carnarvon Gorge, oh nearly forgot the porta toilets in the camp ground were the cleanest toilets we have seen on this trip so far, absolutely spotless. We back track to Emerald and then fuel up at Alpha $1:57 a litre. We drive all day only stopping for lunch on the side of the road and for a number 2 toilet stop at Barcaldine. Whilst in the queue a lady tells us about the Qantas Museum at Longreach and says it’s a must. After we leave Barcaldine we count 120 road kill within 15kms mainly wallabies and kangaroos with the odd pig. We roll into Longreach at 5pm and get a spot in the caravan park in the overflow area. This area should have been called prickle point, the prickles, burrs, double gees, star jacks and whatever else you call them where everywhere. Foot wear was a nonnegotiable.
We are awoken this morning by a Brolga, yes a Brolga at our door. I am not kidding when I say it was literally on the matt asking for food. This bird would not take no or any other negative hint. Beautiful bird but a bit to friendly. We pack up and head straight to the Qantas Museum and spend the next 4 hrs here doing the museum tour and also the jet tours. We learn so much about how Qantas started and see how far it has come since 1920. To think it was started by two Australian men who were in World war one, Fysh and McGinness were their names. Awesome tour, we also got to walk through several planes that have been donated to the museum. A 747-200 series and a 707 once used by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Really great tour. We spend 4 hrs here before heading to Winton and book in the pub and stay out the back for $20. We have a roast at the pub which is really nice. The lady who owns the place has only had the camping accommodation running for 16 days and all the money goes to local clubs and charities. A tornado also hit the pub in November and its only just got going again, lovely spot and very honest lady.
Very cold night again and we are on the move early to go to the Dinosaur experience just back east of town about 20kms. We mange to get on the 9:30am tour at only $115 a family, the views just from the main building are amazing. We do the 3 tours in one and come away feeling very informed and impressed. To think all this was started back in 2002 by a local farmer who found dinosaur bones on his property. Absolutely loved it and definitely worth it. We may even come back in years to come and volunteer to help out the paleontologists in the laboratory, they are screaming out for help and have a 7yr back log in discovered bones to be exhumed from there wrapped encasement. A lot of the bones found have been dated to 95 million years ago. We leave Winton and hit the road heading west. We get to Mckinlay and set up behind the Walkabout Creek Hotel. This is where crocodile Dundee was filmed, we set up, shower and then have a look around and get some photos. There is heaps around the pub and on the walls of years gone by and photos during the filming of the movie. Unfortunately, the only copy of the movie they have is on VHS video tape! I beat Maz at pool much to her disappointment.
It was very cold last night, very cold. We pack up and zipping up the cover on the camper is tricky with numb fingers. We continue to head north west driving through Cloncurry and get to Mt Isa and have lunch at a bakery I have a curry pie which is sensational. The town is basically right next to a huge lead/copper mine absolutely huge, no buffer zone or anything literally next to each other bazaar. We fill up with fuel at $1:57 a litre and drive another 188kms and get to the free camp along a large billabong at Camooweal. Awesome spot which goes for miles heaps of campers here but we get a great spot, set up and get a fire going. The kids do some homework whilst Maz and I sit at the waters edge watching the abundance of birdlife. Its moments like these that you realize what a beautiful country we live in. The curry pie kept the whole tent entertained for a few hours when we went to bed, everyone was trying to get to sleep but the curry pie had other ideas. Morgan awoke after one such incident and said “The smell of the curry pie was in my dream” Another cold night but we have the alarm set and leave by 7:45am, we cross the border into the Northern Territory and get half an hour back on our watches. We drive right through to Barkly Homestead which was about 270kms. Bacon and egg sandwiches for morning tea which wear lovely. On the road again to 3 ways and we get fuel at 1:89 a litre. We then turn south and join the Stuart highway a mange to get a spot at the Devils Marbles. Lucky, we left early otherwise we would not have gotten a spot as its very busy here. After setting up we go for a walk around these amazing rocks. We get a good fire going in the fire pit and enjoy honey chicken with baked potatoes. Its not too cold tonight so everyone has a good sleep without beanies.
After packing up we continue to head south on the Stuart highway and stop at Ti Tree roadhouse for fuel and a cuppa, we then drive straight through to Alice Springs and check into our Cabin for 3 nights at the Big 4 MacDonnell Ranges Caravan Park. The lady tells us ensure no valuables are left lying around and always keep your car locked, hmmmm great. I may have to sit outside the cabin with a bat tonight. We are here for 3 nights and will say goodbye to Alex who will fly home on Sunday.
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