A Travellerspoint blog

Daintree/ Cape Tribulation

6th April - 8th April 2013

rain 26 °C

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Daintree forrest

Daintree

We arrived at the ferry to take us across the Daintree river after a short drive from port Douglas. Its still fairly quiet up here at the moment so there was no horror lines we had been warned about. The ferry only cost $31 return for the car and van which we thought was great.

We planned to stay at Daintree forest village, which was about half way up to Cape tribulation. The first range that we had to drive over was fairly nerve racking and a real test for the car, but all went well. The rainforest is absolutely stunning. The weather was rainy and and towing the bushtracker around the tight corners on the road high up in the mountains was definately slow as there was no railing keeping us from sliding 100's of metres down.

The caravan park was great, with a massive lawn area, coconut trees and a backdrop of tropical rainforest, however the mosquitos were crazy, there was huge swarms of them everywhere in the caravan park.

We drove up to explore Cape tribulation and the Bloomfeild track the next day. The weather was a little wet, but nothing to bad. It really brought out the best of the rainforest. The Bloomfeild track is truly amazing. Thick thick rainforest, with several creek crossings that are like a screensaver they are so perfect. Round rocky creek crossings, with crystal clear water, brilliant!!!

The Bloomfeild track is roughly 120km long, and winds up over the ranges with some extremely steep sections. We did contemplate towing the van up and over, but due to the rain we decided not to. We made it all the way to the small town of Ayton, where we visited the amazing Wugal Wugal Falls. The roar of the falls could be felt thru your whole body, making it truly breath taking.

We continued on and dropped into Weary bay, a local fella, had recommended it to us. Weary Bay is a long stretch of beach, with the opening to the Bloomfeild river to the south. It was nice but like all the beaches and rivers in tihis area you cant swim in them due to the crocodiles.

After completing this half of the track, we decided to do the other half from Cooktown and headed off home, we managed to spot a huge Salty croc swimming in the Bloomfield river. For such a big fella (approx 3.5metres) he swam so gracefully thru the water.

We were extremely lucky also to see a Cassowary and her 2 babies crossing the road. We heard its quite rare to see them, and we were stoked we got the chance to see them in the wild. The rainforest truly is amazing here, and Jenna was in her absolute element. She would have stayed a month if it was up to her!!!

After staying for a couple of days we crossed back over the ferry and stopped in at the Daintree town centre and had a lovely breakfast.

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Daintree ferry crossing
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Daintree ferry crossing
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Caravan park we stayed at
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Mum Cassowary and 2 babies
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Caravan park out the back of service station.
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Cape Tribulation Crossing
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Crossing on Bloomfield Track
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Bloomfield track
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Wujal Wujal Falls
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Wugal Wugal falls
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Weary Bay
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Weary Bay
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Weary Bay
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Bloomfield River Croc
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Bloomfield Track
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Daintree Town Centre
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Tyson on the ferry to Daintree

Posted by Jenaben 03:28 Archived in Australia Tagged rain cape_tribulation daintree cassowary bloomfield_track rainforrest Comments (1)

Port Douglas

2nd April-6th April 2013

overcast 30 °C

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Bump Track

Port Douglas

We departed Cairns having had a blast and planned on staying in Kuranda for a few nights however after a lady accidentally drove into our caravan, it kinda lost its appeal and we continued on through the tablelands to Port Douglas. There was no damage done to our van as she hit the Bushtrackers back Bumper but it smashed her cars back window all over her baby. Luckily no-one was injured, the driver was just a little shaken.

While we were in Kuranda we did the tourist street which we had done before but it was definately worth a second wander. We stopped at the German sausage van which Carly had recommended to us and had a bite to eat, we got Cedar an Ice-cream, Dad a coffee and Jenna some Natural handmade lollies. All full up we pushed on

The last time we were in Port Douglas was about 5 years ago, and we were looking forward to being there again. We checked into the Tropic Breeze Caravan Park, which is only a 200m walk to the main St of port Douglas. Its really well kept, super clean and pretty small, which I don’t mind in a van park.

We went for a great walk that afternoon, down along 4 Mile beach. Cedar was into everything, the sand, the sticks and the shells. She loved it. It was quite windy but it didn’t matter at all, because it was still quite warm. As we strolled along the coconut tree lined beach, looking out to the cruise ship moored of the coast, I really had a moment to realize how lucky we are to be living this dream!!! Of course when I say there were coconut trees lining the beach do you think Jenna was going to let me escape without filling the pram full of coconuts. So there we were throwing sticks up at the trees to knock the coconuts down. 6 coconuts later we were happy campers.

We had the customary walk down the main St, but to be honest, since the last time we were there, the town has gone even more built up and touristy than ever. Its good for what it is, but quite expensive. We drove up to the look out, and admired the million dollar houses right up on the hill with incredible views.

We rang Carly, and said we had found a good walk to go on, so we arranged to meet on the Thursday and tackle the beast! It was called the bump track, and it goes back a long way to the war days. It was the only way in and out up on to the tablelands from Port Douglas. There were signs all the way up explaining how the horse and carts took days to drag the massive loads up these incredibly steep hills. I mean, they were a struggle to walk up, let alone dragging any weight. At the end of the track, there was a nice little creek cascading over the rocks, amid the rainforest. Really really nice.

Dave and Carly also came up and met us for a night out in port Douglas. We started out at the Courthouse pub for a few afternoon beers, so we sat out under the verandah and watched the world go by. We then went home for a shower and got Cedar ready, and headed out to The Zinc Restaurant. The food and service was top notch, and I would highly recommend this place. Cedar fell asleep in the pram, so we tucked her away near us in the corner and she slept the night away, while we sipped Expresso Martinis, Wine, Spirits and beer.

The next morning, extremely hung over, we said our goodbyes to Dave and Carley, who stayed up the Rd, and we packed the van up and headed for the Bakery. The famous Mockas Pies lived up to their reputation and really hit the spot. Not quite as good as Denmark pies, but I may be a little biased there.

We departed Port Douglas nice and relaxed, and defiantly a little lighter in the hip pocket!!!

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Kuranda Main Street, German food van.
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Bump Track Walk
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Zinc Restaurant
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Zinc Restaurant toilets
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Zinc Restaraunt
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Courthouse Bar
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Courthouse

Posted by Jenaben 04:46 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist kuranda port_douglas zinc_restaurant court_house_hotel Comments (0)

Cairns

12th March - 2nd April 2013

all seasons in one day 30 °C

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Cairns

We departed Karumba and just thought we would drive till we were tired, We stopped off at Millstream Waterfalls which is the widest single drop waterfall in Australia, it was quite spectacular. From here we set up camp at Ravenshoe. Jenna and I instantly fell in love with this little old logging town, it reminded us so much of Denmark. It boasts Queensland’s highest pub, so we felt obliged to drop in and have a beer. To our delight, it was happy hour where the beers were $2 a pot!!!! I have never in my life had a beer that cheap from a pub. We pulled into the local roadhouse/caravan park, and went for a stroll to the creek where we saw 2 platypus! Very lucky.

We departed Ravenshoe, and headed the most direct route we thought into Cairns. That just so happens it was the Giles HWY, which snakes down from the tablelands into the plains. Well, what a test for the van brakes and my nerves. I’ve never driven on a road like that let alone with the van on, but I was very impressed with how they both performed. We just took it easy, as was everyone else.

We checked in to Cairns Holiday Park, which we were very happy with. The management was lovely, and they let us have Tyson in which they don’t normally allow. The park was the first we’ve seen with quite a few kids running around, which was great for Cedar to have a bit of a play.

We had mum and Trevor arriving late that night, so we set up the camp, went for a walk and had a bit of a rest. Mum and Trevor arrived, and we had a few beers that night with them ready for the next day.

We headed up to Mareeba and the tablelands for the day with mum and Trev. We stopped at the Marreba Coffee Works, which the museum was really good, but the coffee was kind of average. Not the best for a specialist coffee roaster. Still a nice drive and the Marreba visitor center was really good too. We then headed over towards Atherton, where we stopped at a local distillery, a local nut roaster and the curtain fig tree, which was stunning.

The following day we went up to Port Douglas Markets and Mossman Gorge. The markets were a bit quieter than 5 years ago when we were here, but they were still good. I treated Jenna to a massage, and Mum Trev and I went up for a bite to eat. I’m quite fond of Port Douglass and I am looking forward to coming back with the van.

We then headed up to Mossman Gorge. Jenna and I fell in love with this place 5 years ago so we couldn’t wait. But to our disappointment, the gorge is now a major tourism point with locked gate and visitor center. I understand its good for the Aboriginals and for some tourists, but 5 years ago, we fell in love with the fact it was just a small rd. to a piece of paradise. Now you pay $5 for an electric bus from the visitor center, which was great but it just wasn’t the same. Very very commercialized. Needless to say, there is still something special when you dive into the crystal clear refreshing waters of the gorge. It was a bit chilly for Cedar been fresh water, but she still enjoyed the walk and dipping her feet in with granny and Gramps.

While we had Mum and Trevor around, Jenna and I went out for a hot date night. It was great; we dropped into a local pub called the Jack, where they had 2 for 1 drinks. So we sat and reminisced on the trip so far. We then went out to a local Vietnamese restaurant (First house) and ate far far to much. The food was amazing and we went back there 3 more times. We were home by 9pm, a far cry from our previous hot date nights.

The week we had with Mum and Trevor came and went all to fast, and before we knew it it was time to drop them back to the airport. Tears fell, goodbyes were said, and off they went back to Perth.

The following day, we packed up and headed up to stay with our friends Carly and Dave. They have moved to Cairns, as Dave was offered a job at a local solar company, so it was great to see them and catch up. We planned on staying with them for 2 or 3 days, and low and behold, we stayed for 12 days!! It was filled with activity’s including waterfalls, long mountain hikes, drinking at the local Yorkeys Knob Yaught Club and eating way to much good food.

Jenna, Carly, Cedar and myself embarked on heaps of mountain hikes including, the blue arrow botanical walk, Earl Hill, Babinda Boulders walk, Crystal Cascades hike up to lake Morris. All of these walks were absolutely amazing, and involved extremely steep terrain with incredible views and refreshing dips at the end.

We also went on a day out with Dave and Carly on the Sunday, where we visited Mila Mila Falls, Zilie and Elinja. The day was great, and Jenna and I were treated, by been chauffer driven by Dave. The icy cold water at Mila Mila was so refreshing, but the highlight for Jenna and I was the small waterfall called Elinja. It was only a short stroll down the steps, and we could hear the roar of the waterfall. It was just stunning. Jenna, Carly and Dave jumped in, and swam straight up to the waterfall, while cedar and I threw rocks into the water. Magic!

The next day we went out to Babinda boulders, we undertook a nice walk thru the rainforest which wasnt very well used. We came across quite a few large spider webs across the track with man eating spiders the size of your fist. I think they were golden Orbs, Harmless enough but definately wouldnt want one sitting on my face. We just moved them across with a stick and continued walking. We also came out with leeches on our legs and it was quite a site to see us all laughing picking leeches off each other. At the end of the walk we swam in the water and spoke to some locals who told us that 13 people had drowned in the water.

We also visited Josephine Falls. Josephine Falls took the mantle for my favorite waterfall of the many we saw. It is a nice walk thru the rainforest then down the boardwalk, and it’s just the most picture perfect rock pool with a natural slide into the cool refreshing water.

The day we visited Crystal cascades, we discovered with a bit of research, you could walk the 7km up the mountain all the way to lake Morris, which is actually Cairns water supply. This was the hardest track we did by far, it was so steep, Cedar was on my back, and by the end she felt like she was about 90 kilograms!!! But it is all worth it, and the top of the mountain, you reach the lake, where we met the ranger who looks after the entire area. There is a large deck, with a canteen, but sadly its not operating any more. The ranger was great with heaps of local info about the dam and surrounding area.

Another of our favourite walks was the Douglas track. This starts from a local swimming hole called stony creek. This was another long walk of about 7.5 km’s, and again, it has very challenging parts, but an absolutely spectacular view of Cairns Township and Yorkey’s Knob as well. We actually tackled this walk late one afternoon, but didn’t make it all the way due to time, so we returned and tackled the beast and we completed the track all the way to Glacier lookout. We took my old mate Tyson on this walk, but I think that will be his last massive walk, as he struggled a fair bit towards the end. But, he was first in at the bottom for a refreshing dip in stony creek. The locals really are lucky to have this on their doorstep. No photos can justify just how truly beautiful the rainforest here is.

The next weekend that Dave had off, with the help of Carly, we organized our very first Baby sitter so we could have a night out on the town with our hosts. We put Cedar to bed, and took off to a Japanese BBQ Restaurant, where you cook all your own food on a BBQ in the middle of the table. One of Dave and Carly’s mates, Robin joined us on the night and it was great. We topped the night off with some espresso martinis at a local bar, a nice finish!!

Cairns is a great place with so much to do and so much infrastructure aimed at both locals and tourists. The entire foreshore has so many activities to do. With a huge infinity pool, kids playgrounds, free aerobics classes, Skate Park and much more. We definitely fell in love with Cairns and will stop there here on our way back down.

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Millstream waterfalls, the widest single drop waterfall in Australia.
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Millstream Waterfalls
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Local Kookaburra at Millstream Fals
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Ravenshoe service Station Camp grounds
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$2 Beers at Queenslands Highest pub in Ravenshoe
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Cheesy Photo for Cedar with her Name
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Windmill farm outside of Ravenshoe
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Haircut with Granny
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Mareeba Visitors Centre great piece of history
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Mareeba Visitor Centre
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Curtain Fig tree Atherton
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Curtain Fig Tree Atherton
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Mossman Shuttle Bus to the gorges
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Mossman gorge walk
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Mossman Gorge
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Infinity pool at Cairns Esplanade
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Skate Park with Dad
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Esplanade Beach Cairns
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Camping On Dave and Carlys front Lawn
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Baby Cedar
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Swimming at Mila Mila Falls
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Mila MIla Falls
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Zillie Falls Walk track and falls
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Zillie falls
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Elinja Falls
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Elinja Falls
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Stoney Creek Walk
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Stoney Creek
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Stoney Creek Bridge
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Douglas Track Walk
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Douglas Track Walk
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Bambinda Falls WalkIMG_3049.jpgIMG_3047.jpg
Babinda Falls
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Babinda
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Babinda Walk
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Carly and I at Babinda falls.
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Babinda Swimming Hole
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Josephine Falls
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Our Fabulous Hosts Carly and Dave
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Crystal Cascades
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Lake Morris
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Lake Morris Walk
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Easter egg Hunt
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Douglas Walking Track to Glacier Lookout
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Family Photo Glacier Lookout
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Shopping Jenna Style

Posted by Jenaben 20:16 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfall swimming tourists cairns mosman douglas_track crystal_cascades mila_mila_falls lake_morris Comments (1)

Normanton/Karumba

25th February 13th March 2013

sunny 33 °C

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Beautiful sunset from Karumba pub

Karumba

We actually left Mount Isa at five o’clock in the afternoon, as we were waiting on our car, and also we were that keen to leave Mount Isa. We made it to the Burke and Wills roadhouse where we just camped over the road for the night. It was stinking hot that night, and I really should have fired up the genny to get the air con going, but instead we just flannelled down and opened all the windows.

Karumba is a small fishing town, which came highly recommended by my brother. It is a cute little town, and we checked in straight away to the Sunset Point Caravan Park. It’s a beautiful caravan park with palm trees, a nice pool, and really nice managers who funnily enough met in Exmouth about two years ago!

The caravan park is right near the opening of the Norman River, which was handy for me as I was determined to catch a Barra. As luck would have it for me, the fishing hadn’t been all that good due to the extremely bad wet season that was happening. Basically they were telling me, no rain, no fish.

I was still determined but. The first day, I was flicking lures from the banks and I met Darren who lived in the town. Darren has caught an amazing amount of Barramundi in the Norman River, which he showed me photos of. Some were landed right where we were fishing! I swear I must have flicked my lure 1000 times while in Karumba!

Anyway, I finally caught one a few mornings later, a beautiful 680mm Barra. Tick that one of the list.

We also met heaps of really nice people in the park, who really made our time in Karumba great. We met Steve and Mary-Anne, Tom across from us, and we also met Trev who has been going to Karumba for 40 odd years. Trev was a real salt of the earth guy, who was fantastic to listen to and hear his old stories. Trev’s health hasn’t been to good lately, but you would never know it from his attitude to life. A lot of us could learn from his attitude to tough times.

We also met a group of guys we named the Bribie Boys. These guys were Barry, Bob, Jim, Wally and Grant. These guys were absolute legends in my book. They were all Vietnam Veterans who live on Bribie Island and are best mates. They came to karumba on there annual fishing trip, or I should say ONE of there annual fishing trips. As Wally said, since he retired, his so busy he might have to employ someone!!!

I met these guys at the fish cleaning table, and we hit it off straight away. They ended up taking me out in their boats 4 days, which was really nice of them. Many jokes and stories were told, most by Wally, and they all fell in love with Cedar. I miss these guys, but we will defiantly catch up with them at Bribie Island. It really is amazing that even with such a difference in our ages, we all shared good times, jokes and plenty of stories over 3 or 10 beers!!!

I was telling the Bribie boys about learning to throw the cast net, and they recruited me straight away. My technique was to jump onto the mud bank and chase the pop eye mullet along then throw the net. all fun and games till a 3 meter salty decided to pop his head up and say hello about 25m from where i was sitting on the bow of the boat washing my feet!!!! to say it opened my eyes up was an understatement. So we nosed the boat towards the croc, and to all of our surprise, he was sitting only a meter from the water line. Really scary stuff!!! So Wally and Barry made the joint executive decision not to worry about getting any live bait anymore...

As well as fishing, fishing and more fishing, we also went on bike rides into town, down along the cycle path which follows the banks of the Norman River.

We also had a few amazing evenings at the Karumba Tavern, which possibly has the best view of any Beer garden I have ever been to!!! The sunset was amazing, even better with an ice cold schooner in your hand!!! We enjoyed the Sunday night roast with our new found friends, Steve and Mary-anne, Trev and Tom and Darren and Chris. Great company and a great time.

The caravan park put on a sausage sizzle night, which was really great as all the caravan park came together and socialized and mingled, it was a great way to meet everyone and get together for a few drinks.

Sadly our time at Karumba came to an en

d, we were due to meet our parents in Cairns. But you know the old saying…. All good things come to an end.

===

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A wonderful resident Trev feeding Cedars baby with Beer
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Arfternoon drinks in the caravan park
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Local wildlife crossing
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Big Barra Head left on a steak at the Normanton River
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Normanton River
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Bribie Island Boys, fantastic bunch of guys
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Cedar ready for the pub
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Benny with his Barra (Finally)
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Fishng with the Bribie boys
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Pub
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Another Sunset at the pub
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Sausage Sizzle night at the caravan park
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Crocodile while catching bait on the banks
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Croc Watching
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Fishing out the front of the Caravan Park
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Iconic Normanton Croc
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Trev at the pub and Benny and Cedar on the beach
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Another beautiful Sunset

Posted by Jenaben 18:56 Archived in Australia Tagged fishing crocodiles karumba barramundi Comments (1)

Mataranka/Mount Isa

17th February-24th February 2013

sunny 37 °C

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Mount Isa lookout over dam

Mataranka and Mount Isa

Mataranka Bitter Springs is in the Elsey National Park, and we decided to stay at the old homestead station right on the border of the park and only a short stroll to the swimming hole. We arrived late in the afternoon, set the van up and went for a quick dip in the pool.

The weather was amazing for us, we were lucky enough to finally have a decent thunderstorm over us while we went for a big walk through the Natonal park along the river at the homestead, to finish off we relaxed in the spring water with the rain pouring down on us.. The water temp was down a bit, which was a relief due to the rain, and it was just stunning.

The pool itself is really well done, its quite deep and lined with concrete steps and a few ladders down. This was a great example of the benefits of travelling during the off season, as we had the entire pool to ourselves! We had seen photos and heard stories that it can be so busy, people are lined up to go for a dip.

We also went and had a look at the bitter springs at the entrance to town. This was also well done, with a bit longer swim down the spring to another ladder. Although there was no crocs there it was a little scary as when you were swimming in the water you were surrounded by reeds and it did feel a little scary. We also went and explored a bit of the roper river.

At night we went to the pub at the caravan park, we had a few quiet drinks and a barramundi burger which wasnt bad, we met another couple our age and had a few more drinks with them, before we retired for the night.

Our next major stop was to be Mount Isa, and we had planned on taking our time stopping one or two night. Unfortunately my sick old dog Tyso developed an ulcer on his neck which came up within 2 days and it looked pretty bad, so we decided to get to Mount Isa as fast as possible. It’s the first time since we left Perth that we’ve driven more than 400 Km in one day, but he is worth it. We stopped at the Barkley Road House overnight, which was a great stop, powered site and nice clean toilets. We didnt spend any time looking around and departed the morning after heading straight for Mount Isa.

We got straight into the vet, and sadly we were thinking the worst for my old mate, but the vet was really great and we tried him on a course of antibiotics to treat the neck ulcer. Amazingly, in two days the ulcer completely cleared up which we were just so happy about.

I also had a full service on my transmission, so we were forced to wait around a couple of days while waiting on filter parts. Mount Isa is a working town, where the large majority of people are there to earn the big bucks. It defiantly is NOT on one of favorite places to visit!! We stocked up on all essentials and got out of there as fast as we could!

It weird coz as a kid my (Jennas) aunty used to live in Mount Isa and I have fond memories of travelling to the area, playing with the kids in the street, visiting the shops and creeks and the town people being friendly. However 20 years on the town seems so dirty from the dust from the mines, the people seem cranky and I didnt enjoy my stay. Im sure its probably the same town it always was, just the fact that you see things differently being an adult.

Our mates from Derby, Kingy, Kev and Leathal dropped in for a quick beer on their way thru to picking up Kingy's new boat, drinking was a pretty good option for entire stay in Mt Isa since there isnt much else to do. We drove out to the dam and lookout which was a nice change from the red dirt and celebrated Cedars birthday by making a cake and wrapping a few presents but that was pretty much it for this stop, we were glad to move on.

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The thermal springs at Mataranka
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Cedar ready for her swim in the springs
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The Caravan park camp grounds
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The Roper River
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Tyson doing abit of Croc Spotting on the Roper River
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Bitter Springs
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Bitter Springs
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Bitter springs
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Cedar enjoying making and eating her 2nd Birthday cake
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Mount Isa look out over the dam
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Lookout over Mount Isa Dam
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Sharing is Caring
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Tyson after his vet visit in Mount Isa
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Cedar Play and bath time.
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On the road again
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Best bit of Mount Isa, the road out of town.

Posted by Jenaben 05:29 Archived in Australia Tagged thermal_springs mataranka mount_isa hot_pools mining_town Comments (0)

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