Saturday, April 18, 2015

Traveling North

We left Mackay heading North.  Yes we were supposed to be going to Lightning Ridge but the car did a right turn on Highway 1 instead of a left hand turn - what can I say!

Stuart averted a near disaster today, our second day on the road when he spotted hundreds of green ants marching like little green soldiers off the tree we were parked near onto the van and heading towards our windows and doors like kids after the Mr Whippy Van.

Out came the Crawly Cruncher and I have sprayed every inlet with a white milky solution which impressed Stuart no end as he washed the van beautifully 3 days ago.

What is it about us and Green ants?  We had a similar situation parked under trees at Calen just north of Mackay 6 months after we got together.  Not a good finish to a great day

 We left the van at the tourist information centre in Ingham and went to check out Wallaman Falls. 

 First time for Stuart and last time I was there Brett was a baby.  He is now 42.  Wallaman Falls is in the Girringun Natonal Park and has a drop of 268 mitres.  By the time it hits the water it seems to be just a fine mist.
Wallaman Falls

Following that black line, we passed through Tully and into Innisfail where we camped the night On our way we checked out the Big Gum Boot in Tully which represents the mighty annual rainfall they have each year which averages 4490 mm, but the most they have had in one day was 1140 mm, which in the old scale is nearly 4 ft of water. However there will be no records broken this year as they haven't had rain for a while.

Next day we made our way inland towards  the tableland and stopped off at the MaMu tropical sky walk.  That tested our energy levels with a 2 1/2 klm walk with a 100. Step climb to the top of the rainforrest tower. 

As we were leaving we were lucky enough to spot a birdwing butterfly (the largest butterfly in Australia).

The beautiful colours of the fire one night
An interesting statue at the entrance to Millaa Millaa of a farmer trying to get a stubborn cow into the bales to be milked.
coming off the land my sisters and I all have memories of this happening.

Millaa Millaa Falls

Some lovely little water falls amongst the ferns and bracken

The man on the mend climbing over rocks
We made a base at Ivanhoe and stayed for 5nights.  A great spot at $15 per night.  From there we explored a great deal of the Atherton Tablelands including a large wind farm just out of Ivanhoe.  I've said it before but even at $1 million to build each one they would have to be cheaper and more sustainable than other forms of power. There were 20 in an area of about 10 acres with cattle grazing  all around.
We still haven't seen a cassowary yet but a fellow at the park had to slow down the other night as one crossed the road with 3 chicks.
In Herberton, we visited an historic village which sat on about 15 acres.  I have never seen so much stuff and so many buildings in one place.  A credit to the owner who spent millions maintaining it.
We decided to have a couple of nights at Lake Tinaroo and apart from a few March Flies it is great.  I put in our Red Claw Trap here to see if I can catch more than some weed.  And I did.  Three attempts and got 5 fish each under 12 cms long.
We went into Mareeba where we did the usual trip to the Tourist Information Centre and incorporated in that for a gold coin donation was an amazing trip down memory lane with a glimpse of the past from Aboriginal times through the 2 wars to the '60's?  I thought it was as good or better than the historical village in Herberton.  We eventually got back to Ravenshoe after getting grocery and fish supplies and joined our new found friends at the caravan park.  Good Friday Dinner consisted of Coconut Rice and Thai seafood Curry which was beautiful.
On our way through to Charters Towers we pulled into the almost deserted town of Greenvale where about 50years ago they mined Nickel.  The mine is now closed down and the railway tracks have all been taken up and sold for scrap.  Now there is still a swimming pool, school, police station, pub and caravan park and a population of about 150.
We came across thousands of termite mounds that were no higher than about 30 cms.  Either they are different to the ones in the Northern Territory which are up to  2 mtrs tall or this is the nursery stage and they all migrate over the border when they outgrow the nursery. Lol
We also passed a herd of about 15 wild camels as well and a couple of emus.
On our way through to Clermont we stopped off at Belyando Crossing.  The servo proprietor said they hadn't had rain for over two years.
We got to Clermont just in time for lunch and had sandwiches down at the lagoon.  This lovely spot just on the entrance to Clermont is a haven for wildlife and the odd photographer.
For those interested in Australian Military facts, there is a lovely memorial in honour of a local man called Billy Sing DCM.  Billy was a sniper in WW1 accounting for over 150 Turkish troops.

Annie and Dale put on a lovely barbeque dinner and then bacon and eggs breakfast.  But unfortunately Stuart's oldest granddaughter Deanna has moved to just north of Brisbane so we missed her but did catch up with Thomas and Kimberley and Stuart's son James.
After a few days back in Mackay we headed off, and with a quick stop in Rocky, it was westward ho! for us.
The further away from the coast we travelled the dryer it looks with only the occasional green spot where someone has irrigated.
We are both very excited to be back on the road again.



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