Friday, June 30, 2017

Continuing on in the arid northwestern Queensland

The road from Normanton to Julia Creek is long and lonely.  At one stretch of 240 kms, we had only 11 cars coming in the opposite direction.  Just as well, as Qld has the practice, to save money on laying bitumen, of having only a narrow stretch of asphalt, enough for one vehicle only and each vehicle coming towards each other has to get off into the dirt on their own side.  Not so good for flicking stones up at each other.

Here are our two vehicles side by side.

Our own version of the terracotta warriors.  These are termite mounds.  Not nearly as large as the ones in the Northern Territory but certainly numerous.

These photos were taken at the Julia Creek rest area which is one of the prettiest rest stops we have come across.  There are no facilities at all, not even a toilet and only self-contained vehicles are allowed to camp.  It is nevertheless, full of campers and the feeling is very social.

This is a cage one couple from Western Australia had for their cat called George with whom they were travelling.  When they stopped somewhere, George liked to sit in his cage which had a cat-flap into it on the side of their caravan, especially at night.

This is the well-laden bicycle one young man from Adelaide was riding.  He carried his little tent and all his food in the pannier bags.

The Julia Creek dunnart feeding.  It is a tiny marsupial, the size of a rat or a big mouse.  Very cute. The Vistors Centre charges $2.50 to show them being fed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

At the Gulf of Carpenteria

On the way to Karumba Point, where if you look at the ocean, the nearest landmass is Papua New Guinea, these are three of the many sorts of birds we saw; brolgas, a jabiru and a pelican.

Drinks at the tavern at Karumba Point, prior to watching yet another magnificent sunset and then having fish and chips, the best, at Ash's Cafe.

While on the subject of food, I give awards for the best pies as we travel around.  The bakery at Karumba, the Karumba Hot Bake in Yappar St, around the corner from the Gulf Country Caravan Park, makes the best steak and kidney pies we have ever tasted.  They also make lamb's fry and bacon pies which we intend to try tomorrow before we leave here.

The sunset at Karumba Point.

Rob and Denny went on a fishing tour and came back with these lovely king salmon and mackerel which we cooked on the barbecue.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dinner at Leichhardt Lagoon

This is at the homestead that owns the Leichhardt Lagoon camping area, 20 kms east of Normanton, where on Saturday night there is a three course dinner offered for $6.50 at the homestead - the money goes to a charity, in this case the organisation stocking the waterholes with barramundi fingerlings.

Red claw - one of the delicacies caught around here.

This is Wayne, the best fisherman at the Lagoon.  He comes her for 6 months each year to fish.  In a previous life he was a bus driver in Canberra and has moved to Eden to live, when he is not in Qld.

Two photos of the gorgeous sunset at the Lagoon.

This is a photo of a couple from Gladstone, Trevor and Ida, who twice camped next two us at different rest areas.  Upon a short conversation with Trevor we found out that he went to Orange High School, two years behind Andrew.  It is a small world.  First a former fellow Canberran and then an old boy from the same school in Orange.

Wandering around the outback in Qld

The waterhole near Einasleigh where we took a tour on the Savannahlander, a similar train to the Gulflander.

Below are photos of the lovely Copperfield Canyon.

Billy tea made by our guide on the banks of the Einasleigh River. 

We are making pizzas in the camp oven at the Gilbert River rest area.  Andrew's son Michael gave instructions to Andrew and the pizzas, on Lebanese bread as the base, were delicious and pronounced a great success.

Innot Hot Springs - a great favourite

The date on this blog post is very incorrect.  We are now in low reception areas where we are very lucky to be able to do any blog entries.  I am actually writing this up almost a week later.

Innot Hot Springs are a great favourite with us.  The lovely warm pools are very nice especially with the cold weather in the Tablelands this year.

We stayed at the same caravan park as 8 years ago.  The rates are not quite as reasonable as they were then - $40 a night but clever Andrew arranged to do a couple of hours of gardening for free accommodation.  There are six pools of various intensity of heat and it was lovely wallowing in the hot water. Pure heaven. Brought back memories of the hot baths in Budapest.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Activities around Ravenshoe

Ravenshoe, at 920m, is the highest town in Queensland.  There are two of the loveliest waterfalls right on the doorstep here.  Little Millstream Falls and Millstream Falls.  The second is one of the widest waterfalls in Australia and it is pretty impressive.  Little Millstream on the other hand is a very attractive one with a long wide waterhole at the base.

Andrew had the impulse to go in even though the temperature was not so hot.

Here we are below at the big falls.

Millstream Falls at their splendour.

We celebrated Denny's birthday by going to dinner at the Ravenshoe Hotel, commonly known as the Top Pub.  It was quite a magical evening.  There was a roaring fire in the dining room, which with the bloody cold weather we have been suffering, was a great comfort.  The meal was excellent and reasonably priced, one of the best we have had on this trip. We were very impressed.  Made us want to stay until Sunday when the Ravenshoe Hotel has a regular smorgasbord lunch for $18.99.  We were told there were 100 people there last week.  We are not surprised.  It was fine dining in a small town.

Here we are in front of the fire in the cozy part of the dining room.

We four covered up the fireplace so here is one of Rob on his own, showing it.

This is the larger room next door with the sparkling stars on the ceiling.

Monday, June 19, 2017

More wonders at the Atherton Tablelands

On this visit we are spending more time here, although on our last visit we covered the waterfall circuit a little more thoroughly.  We are seeing many waterfalls but we are also seeing some other wonderful sights.

Here is a lovely view of a typical Tablelands view, reflecting the weather which overall has been pretty ghastly.  Overcast and cold.  You can see the mist hanging over the valleys.

One of the places we visited was the Nerada Tea Plantation which was not terribly exciting but what was very exciting is that we sighted one of the Lumholtz's tree kangaroos high up in the trees.  Both Andrew and I took a shot at it and here it is.

It was very exciting as these are pretty rare to see in the wild with their very long tails and little black faces.

The artificial cow which is a must at every one of the dairies.  This one at Mungalli Creek Dairy Farm which is one of the few places that produces quark, a form of cottage cheese that is more acidic and smooth.  Referred to as turo in Hungary.

Of course the waterfalls are a speciality of the Tablelands.  Here are the three we saw today.  The Millaa Millaa Falls, the Zillie Falls and the Elinjaa Falls - all beautiful in their own way.

We are spending tonight and tomorrow night at the Heritage Steam Railway Camp, the Travellers Rest Area at Ravenshoe, together with many other campers.  The charge is $10 per vehicle and there are toilets and hot showers and a camp kitchen.  And the rest area is pretty central in the town.  As I commented previously, Qld towns are really RV friendly.  The photo is taken at the daily happy hour where the damper with apples was cooked in the camp oven on the fire.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wandering around the Atherton Tablelands

We are making our way, slowly, around the various delightful towns here.  At Tolga, we visited the marvelous Tolga Woodworks.

This lovely piece looks different from every angle.  It is made up of all the natural woods of Queensland.  The shop is a marvel of design and craftsmanship.

We next visited Mount Hypipamee National Park.  First, the Dinner Falls.

And then on to the crater which is very difficult to capture in one shot.

It is a 73m deep crater lake.  From the viewing platform high above the lake to the bottom of the lake is around 130 m which is the same as 10 buses end-to-end.  It is a long way down.

At the small town of Herberton, we did a very interesting tour of a camera museum, the Spy Camera Tour.  The collection was started by a former Australian spy who served in Korea.  The current owner is passionate about the collection.  He makes his living as a commercial photographer and the collection is his hobby which his profession finances.  He showed us the world's smallest camera as well as a number of cameras used by the military for spying purposes.

This is the buttonhole camera used by the KGB.

The mural showing the history of Herberton.

Yungaburra is another historic and welcoming town.  We did a 2 km walk around the river where platypus are regularly sighted.  We did see one but it was too quick to photograph.

Denny walking on the swing bridge across the river.

And this tranquil little pool in the middle of our walk used to be where the schoolteacher taught kids to swim.

Last is the beautifully situated cafe restaurant on Lake Barrine.  The wrap-around terrace provides views over the lake.