Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mission Beach and then Josephine Falls

This is a sunrise view from the corner of South Mission Beach where we free camped and a view of Dunk Island.

Mission Beach with its incredibly wide beach. Very spectacular to look at and walk along. Not too many people in the water although the stinger season is over now in late May. There is a slight danger of salt water crocodiles.

This photo is taken at Josephine Falls in the Wooroonooran National Park at the foot of Bartle Frere, which at 1622 metres, the highest mountain in Queensland. Andrew was all set to climb it but the weather changed, with rain, so he had to give up the idea. We moved along and he made do with climbing Walshs Pyramid 922 metres and supposedly the tallest free standing pyramid in the world. In August there is a race held starting from Gordonsvale up the mountain and back down. There were people today practising for that so he had company.

Same pool as above but looking back at Josephine Falls. You can see that we rather like waterfalls and rock pools.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spectacular Wallaman Falls, Qld

Stony Creek tumbles 70m off the Seaview Range before plunging 268m in a clear single fall to the pool below which is 20 m in depth. This forms Wallaman, Falls, the highest permanent, single drop waterfall in Australia. It is a spectacular sight. And one does not need to walk to it as it is accessible by car some 39 km from Ingham. It is a steep drive. but well worth it

The walk down to the pool below the falls is 2 km. You can’t swim in it as it has a fence around it. I suppose there are too many silly people around. Andrew walked down to it (photo above of him at the pool below) but I stayed behind. I had had my walk for the day by then. We had previously walked to see the far less spectacular Jourama Fall but we enjoyed that very much in an active way. The many rockpools below Jourama Falls were so inviting that we took a dip on the way down from the 1.5km walk up to the waterfall.

The Wallaman falls are located in the Girringun National Park which is still part of the Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The national park provides 110kms of walking opportunities and it forms a diverse landscape where open forest transforms into rainforest within a few metres. The creeks and rivers are home to a range of creatures, platypus, eastern water dragons, saw shelled turtles – none of which we saw by the way but we had seen them elsewhere. Birds in the NP include the southern cassovary and the reclusive musky rat kangaroo also abides here. The roads warn that “cassovaries may cross” but I am afraid only the oft sighted bush turkeys did that for us.
This photo shows the Herbert River into which the water from the falls runs. Plus the majestic peaks of the NP.

This is a photo of the lower part of the Jourama Falls ane one of the rockpools where we swam. Only modesty prevents me from showing my naked self at the very pleasant waterhole. The water was surprisingly warm.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Free camping areas in Queensland

I have waxed eloquent at the hospitality of Queensland municipal councils and their camping friendliness for which we are very grateful. This lovely fresh water creek swimming pool is at Bushy Creek free camping about 45 kms north of Townsville. The creek being fresh water is crocodile free.

This is a photo of the camping area. Most campers have left for the day moving on to other pastures. The area has clean toilets, free gas barbecues and an outside cold shower as well as drinking water taps. We had our first campfire of our own on this trip as some people had left some spare logs. It is against the law to collect firewood so people need to bring their own but we are restricted in space. We had joined others sitting around a fire upon invitation on previous evenings but this was our very own campfire with potatoes and onions in foil cooked in the ashes.

There are numerous other free camping nearby north of Townsville including Saunders Beach, Bushland Beach, Balgal Beach and Toomulla. We spent one night at Balgal Beach but found the midges too bothersome. But it is a nice free camping area too. We did not visit Toomulla but somone rated it as the best fo the beach camps - next time.

Having moved on from Bushy Camp we went to Paluma and to visit Crystal Creek climbing some 1,000 metres. Little Crystal Creek is the southern gateway into the wet tropics of the Queensland World Heritage Area in the Paluma National Park. We took a walk in a rainforest and we visited one of the lookouts but unfortunately the mist prevented much viewing of scenery. We have descended and are currently free camping at a spot we were told about, near Mutarnee on the banks of the Crystal Creek. We are the only creatures here and there are no facilities of any sort.
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Magnetic Island

We were very fortunate in finding three koalas on our day visit to Magnetic Island and we show one of them on this blog to share with all our friends. Koalas are shy and not easy to spot so we felt very lucky seeing three on the one day. This one was, as you can see, quite close up and not at all worried.

As animals seem to be very popular with our followers, here is also a photo of two of the many rock wallabies which are fed at a particular spot we visited.

Yet another lovely beach - Arthur's Beach. We actually swam at Alma Beach which is the one recommended the safest beach on the island. Stingers are a great problem but the currents are such at Alma Beach that they are generally swept out there.

This photo is for the boys. It is one of a set of fortifications built during WWII after Darwin and Townsville were bombed by the Japanese including a command post, signal box and gun emplacements. There is a nice walk up to the fortifications, taking in the views on the way.
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This is salt water enclosed pool (stinger protected) on the Strand in Townsville. Townsville is a very pleasant tropical city with a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, beautifully preserved historical buildings, cafes, theatres and a university. It holds an annual, widely regarded chamber music festival in July. The city's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef has allowed it to become a centre for research into marine life.

Townsville has a healthy rivalry with Cairns, for us yet to visit. Watch this space for an opinion comparing the two. So far Townsville has impressed us both as a liveable and lovely city.

This is just one of the beautiful buildings in the centre of the city, built sometime around 1902. The former Queens Hotel.

An amusing pair of sculptures in the street, Bazza and Shazza by a local artist.

A bytterfly fish among coral taken at the Aquirium. We happily spent 3 hours gazing at colourful fish, watching predator feeding and listening to educational talks on a variety of fishy topics.
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Bowen continued - the town's historical murals

The town of Bowen was established in 1861, the first settlement in north Queensland. Around the town streets and buildings are 25 murals by local and national artists, each illustrating an aspect of the region's history. A new mural is commissioned every two years.

These murals creep up on one in around the streets of this very pleasant little town. Here are 4 murals that may capture the flavour of the concept.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bowen, Qld - wonderful

Another beach you say? No, this is paradise. It is Horseshoe Bay in Bowen, Queensland and Bowen is our favourite place so far. It is a lovely, small relaxed town in north Queensland where we found THE perfect beach and no crocodiles. There are No Camping signs all over the town so we were forced to go to a caravan park at the Horseshoe Resort which has a swimming pool and is opposite the beach. We liked it so much that we have stayed on just to have another opportunity to bathe in the serene waters of this perfect little beach.

Bowen even has a bridge club but they only meet on Monday and Thursday, neither which we could fit into our busy schedule.

This is Horseshoe Beach at sundown. Andrew tried to capture the sun setting on the rocks and the magical colours but perfection does not come easy and colours eluded him.

This is Rose Beach, two along from Horseshoe Beach. Next is Murrays Beach and then Rose Bay. Also lovely, with gas barbecues just next to the beach, a Queensland speciality at tourist hospitality.

We leave Bowen with much regret. It is a lovely spot. There is a fish shop right on the harbour with the catch of the day available too.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Finch Hatton Gorge - Eungella National Park

Three shots of two different waterholes at the Finch Hatton Gorge. The first two shots are of the Araluen Cascades. We swam at the last one - for some reason it was called the Wheels of Fire. The photo is of Andrew in there. The water was icy cold but it was a wonderful feeling to know there were no prospect of any crocodiles.
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Eungella National Park

This is the launch of the hang gliding at Eungella National Park.

Two photos of the platypus we managed to capture on camera. The Broken River at the Eungella National Park is their natural habitat. For non-Australian readers of this blog, the platypus, along with the kangaroo and the koala is one of the uniquely Australian creatures.

Us having coffee at the Eungella Chalet with the swimming pool, the hang gliding launch and fabulous valley as the backdrop.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Carmilla Beach Qld

These photos are taken at Carmilla Beach approximately 80 kms south of Mackay. We are now officially in corocodile territory!

The variation in the heights between high and low tides increases as one goes further north. The first photo shows the distance from where the sea begins at low tide and our camp site where the bushline is. These photos were taken at 5.00pm and by 2.30am the next morning we were startled awake by the sound of water, as waves were lapping very loudly within a couple of metres from the bushline next to the camp.

The mudflats caused by the low tide is shown in the third photo. The last photo is of the estuary which flows into the sea where presumably crocodiles may swim up towards the sea. Advice is swim only in fairly clear water where you can see what is around and below you. The alterantive is not to swim at all - not easy as we go into warmer climes.

Carmilla Beach is very nice and was recommended to us by a number of people on the way. It is yet another camping area, free of charge. We continue to be impressed with Queensland camping areas and the generosity of local municipalities in making these areas available for camping.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yeppoon, Qld

The first photo is of a lovely bay beyond Rosslyn Harbour with Yeppoon in the far left background. There is a fish co-op right on the harbour front where the catch of the day is sold, other fish are avaialbe frozen. We are currently staying at Yappoon with the intention of having a game of bridge the day after tomorrow. Water taxis leave from here to go to the Keppel Islands. This brought back memories for Nikki of a wonderful family holiday some 30 years ago at the Great Keppel Island resort.

The second photo presented itself at the caravan park, just after a friend, Kati Gorgenyi, expressed a wish for more animal photos on this blog! The 6 months old wallaby joey, an endangered species of black tailed wallaby, was found in it's mother's pouch after she was hit by a car. The caravan park owners are rearing him and he has just been weaned and is now eating grass. They keep the joeys for 2 years and then release them.
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