Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Wongaling Beach 28 July – 10 August 2015

Said goodbye to Tony and Ali and headed south past Tully for our house sitting at Wongaling Beach. We met our hosts Jeff and Helen and parked in their back yard. They live in a lovely old house facing Dunk Island, right opposite the beach and packed to the gunwales with an eclectic selection of books and souvenirs of their travels – heaven! It has been raining and overcast the past few days and when we looked at the climate records for this region, we were surprised to find that a lot of rain still falls in winter – I suppose we shouldn’t have been too shocked as we are just down the road from Tully with the highest rainfall of any Australian town! We have just spent the past few days relaxing and catching up with our reading.
Tully always gives the impression of a rather neglected town, dominated by the smoke stacks of the mill. When the mill closes in the Big Wet and the workers leave it must be a desolate place. Tully had nearly 8 metres of rain one year and I’m sure even the locals would have swam away!
On Sunday we caught the water taxi out to Dunk Island. Dunk Island was once an upmarket and lively tropical resort that unfortunately has been devastated by 2 recent cyclones. The result is that the resort and eateries have been destroyed and still shows no sign of being re-built. However the good news is that a new cafe - The Jetty Cafe has been established and is open on the weekend. You are also able to camp in your tent for a moderate fee in the National Park Camping area. The scenery on the island is outstanding and reflects everyone's idea of what a tropical island should look like, with coconut trees fringing beautiful beaches and a sheltered harbour. It is also interesting looking at the remains of the resort rooms and imagining the force of the cyclones that uprooted trees and peeled metal rooves like an orange. There are a number of energetic walks if you feel inclined or you can just relax by the beach. We did both - had a great lunch and listened to some relaxing music.
Had a drive down to Tully Heads and Hull Heads from Tully. These are similar to a lot of beaches around this area with 1 or 2 creeks flowing into them and crocodile signs everywhere. They have beautiful beaches, fringed with coconut trees, with small villages of retirees and fisherman, well of the road with limited facilities. Great for a holiday but I wouldn’t like to live there permanently.
On Tuesday Heather went out on a cruise to The Great Barrier Reef. It was a fast but choppy trip out but she enjoyed the snorkelling and saw beautiful fish and coral. An added bonus was seeing a large number of whales that were breaching right in front of the boat.
On Wednesday Tony and Ali came down for a visit and we had a lovely lunch on the veranda. We then went for a drive to South Mission Beach and walked along the beach to the creek. Another outstanding beach that leads to a beautiful reserve at the southern end.

Bramston Beach 21 – 27 July 2015

In the morning, we had a coffee at a florist and then drove up to Bramston Beach to catch up with our friends Tony and Ali.
They are staying there for a few months and it is not hard to see why. Although Bramston Beach is an isolated hamlet, it set on a beautiful beach between 2 croc infested rivers. It is very quiet and has 2 down at heel caravan parks and a general store, but this makes it a peaceful place to escape the winter blues.
On Saturday we all went up to the highlands to a large market at Yungaburra and onto see an amazing veiled fig tree. Had a few drives around the local area but we mostly relaxed around the beach. We went to Innisfail and had a walk around. This town is noted for an amazing of Art Deco buildings ‘thanks’ to a number of floods and a cyclone that wiped the earlier town. One of the few old buildings to survive is a Chinese Joss House that is still a place of worship for the large Chinese community that have descended from the early gold miners. Even though it has been very wet, the locals are complaining about the weather, saying it is too dry – they should go out west and see the brown paddocks sprinkled with patches of dead grass! Nevertheless we enjoyed Innisfail – while it is struggling economically, it is diversifying from bananas, sugar cane and fishing and people are working to keep the town going and make it a place that travellers can visit and stay awhile.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ingham 19 – 20 July 2015

We drove up the road and settled in a camp at Ingham on a pretty lagoon. It is beautiful in the early morning and afternoon when the birds come in to roost. Ingham is a small quiet town of about 5,000 that is surrounded by sugar cane farms and has a large mill right in town. It still has a strong Italian connection from the early cane cutters. While looking very green, the locals complain that they have had less rain then normal. This has affected the level of sugar in the cane, meaning many farmers are not getting sufficient return for their crops.

Jourama Falls, Paluma Range National Park 18 July 2015

We headed off the road to Paluma Range NP to stay at a camp at Jourama Falls. This is a very pretty spot set in thick bush. The last time we were up here we stayed at Crystal Waters camp and we were keen to explore other parts of this region. While there was only a small amount of water running down the creek, in summer there is so much rain that you can’t get near the creek. Peter enjoyed climbing over the enormous boulders that had fallen down the steep ravines. There was on that had landed precariously just above the creek ad you could imagine it was a scene from Gondor. It is hard to imagine the enormous amount of water that would come rushing down the mountain to form the smooth contours of the rocks.