Trip Start Aug 08, 2013
25Trip End Oct 05, 2013
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Where I stayed
Pandanus Tourist Park
Bloomfield to Port Douglas.
I was going to drive that bloody track if for no other
reason but to answer whether we could have taken it yesterday.
Oh, and it is a very beautiful drive with creek crossings
and some up and downs; some very up and downs, and at least one I don’t think
the Yac would have pulled up the Flamingo.
So now that I am over that, I settle in to enjoy the drive. We cross the bone dry Bloomfield causeway (Why could not it be said that the river breaches at tides over 2m?!), turn
around and head back. Rounding a bend
and over a rise we see a tree across the road.
As we had crossed path with two vehicles not 2 minutes prior, I’m
looking for the corner in the track that I didn’t recall. No track, just a very recently fallen
tree. After I settled my mind about the
timing I set to see what could be done and the plan I came up with was to wait
for someone better equipped as my Leatherman, a small hack-saw and a load
securing strap was not going to achieve much.
the other direction. They were equally well equipped. So I got out the strap to
see if something could be achieved. Wrapped around a lesser tree, he slowly backed up the Nissan, pulled the tree free and snapped the strap. Rather predictable really. Before arriving at
the natural stop sign, we had been seeing vehicles as if it were school run
time but we managed to play around, look for an alternate route and have a good
old head scratch before a third car arrived.
This one had a winch but that wasn’t good enough; we needed an axe or a
chainsaw. We got a win with the next
traveller and between an axe and the winch the job got done. A little further on, we see a cassowary. A good morning all up.
We set up; we get into our togs and charge to the gorgeous
Port Douglas beach…. which has a wicked on-shore blowing! The waves are choppy, the water is brown, we are getting sand blasted and the enthusiasm bubble is deflating. Undeterred, Gem and El hit the ‘chops’ with their boogie boards and are having a great time of it.
It has taken a while but we have finally discovered Kate’s hobby.
This has been a periodic cause for tension, spite and angst in our relationship as I have always found ways to waste time but for Kate there has been no task that has taken her.
Here in Port Douglas, sitting outside the caravan last night, after some repetitive mutterings coming from a glazed expression, I said, “I found your hobby: it’s coming here!” And a contented
smile settles in.
(Gemma hears this conversation and makes the following note in her journal:
“Oh and Mum has found a hobby. Port Douglas is her hobby. I’m not quite sure how it works but Mum’s happy.”)
The girls did do some quick stuff the last night that they present to me this morning. These are
hanging up in the van now. Gemma has made “No Standing” signs for the van entrance in response to frequent exasperations of, “why!!!” when the girls plonk themselves in the doorway. There is now a 20c penalty.
The Sunday Market.
Lots bought. Then walk some of the town, replace worn out clothing and get food. I take the opportunity of not receiving a present for Father’s Day to get stuff not usually on the shopping list: garlic olives, salami and 2 large toblerones.
Ella tells us it is hot so we have to go to the beach. It was blind hope that took us there as the
weather is no different from yesterday. It does have such a pretty backdrop, though.
So the next best thing is the Pandanus (it is good this is pronounced the way it is) Tourist Park pool. It is not of an imaginative design but the girl’s rate it high, if not the best, which is primarily due to being excellent for playing ‘Marco Polo’.
Ella and I go for a little 10k ride about the suburbs behind the resorts.
The first 10k on the Mossman-Mount Molloy Rd is a steep windy affair and is only 15k away, so I rise early to turn the pedals. That weather system I have previously complained about bit my on my return with a mean head wind and reminded me that we will not be enjoying a Port Douglas beach. The same system is giving Melbourne great weather. How lovely.
years ago. A very nice info centre (Kate
and I are taken by the ground level rain gutter that I ponder for home) that is
every tourist’s entrance; even supplying an ‘Eco Shuttle Bus Service’ to what
was the car park prior to is becoming an Indigenous Eco Tourism
Development. The gorge is as pretty as previously seen;
even the girls concede to this. The
gorge has a great waterhole which we all experience. Kate’s experience went as far as her
toes. The girls think it is as cold as
what we experienced at Emma Gorge. Not
so but it was on the ‘refreshing’ side.
So when we return, we are in the pool.
Kate had a yearning to dine at the same restaurant as she
had done last year (Glenn & Amy Matthews wedding) Forgive me: not merely
dine but to have the same dish; the linguine with spanner crab and chilli. To be going out for dinner in Port Douglas also has Gem & El excited. The Bucci Ristorante did not let us down. “The best meat balls I have had!” Gemma claims.
Scenic Railway, was built due to increasing complaints from miners up on the
tablelands in 1880 that they were starving.
There was no reliable supply line up out from the coast and so it was
agreed that a train line should be built.
Not that it helped those miners; it wasn’t completed until 1891!
Warning: possible boring history bit.
For those unaware, this was a big deal back then and there was very little in the way of roads.
Nearly all supplies came via merchant shipping. If were not near a port, life was more
difficult. The positioning of ports by the government made and broke establishing communities. This was what my Great Grandfather did for a living; up and down the east coast.
Back to the railway; it meanders its way from Cairns, via the 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges, up to the rainforest town of Kuranda. Just as we arrived, as if to ensure we knew we were in a rainforest, it rained; very hard. We took shelter in the first eatery we came to and then ate.
As the rain eases, we wonder about the several markets of
Kuranda. In fact, that seems to be all
Kuranda is. One could be forgiven in
thinking this is all one big tourist con: up in the ‘historic’ train, get
fleeced at the markets, and back down on the conveniently positioned Skyrail
Cableway. The girls said the Skyway, “…
wasn’t bad.” It spans 7.5km over the rainforest
canopy. Two stops allow for walks into
the rainforest and views of what was probably once magnificent waterfall before
the hydro system. (There are photos if
the imagination doesn’t cut it.)
Sadly, it may not have been money well spent on the enjoyment/$ ratio but it ended well with the complementary 10min bus trip back to the rail station. Daniel, the driver, packed in a great comic routine for our journey that saved the day.
It is a nothing day with nothing weather. It rain all through the night. Kate and I go to the community centre to vote. Apparently a well-informed citizen questioned why Kevin’s name was not on her ballot paper. (And now for the team of the affirmative on compulsory voting…..)
Oh, we went to the pool again.
So exciting today was that a highlight was Kate cutting my hair. So good a job she thought she did, she then had a crack at her own.
And sadly, that was Port Douglas.