Part seven and final for trip North 2012

Tinaroo what can we say. We have absolutely fallen in love with the place. Birdlife is incredible, weather is perfect, we are camped right beside the water with the Kayak at the front door and we are getting crayfish.

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Most mornings we will peddle out to the pots and return with ten to twelve crays,most of which are a good size from our 8 pots. 41cm was the largest.

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We booked for a further five nights.

There was a couple camped near us. He was a professional muso on the trumpet. Every evening that they were there he would sit outside his van overlooking the dam and play three or four tunes. This bloke was great and deserved the ovations and cries for more from the whole camping area.

Birdlife is absolutely amazing. Some of our friends can be seen below.

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How good is that? The reference to the scone stealing Kookaburra above came about on Sunday the 26th Aug. We had invited out Tassie friends to come visit for the day. They were staying at Mareeba Rodeo grounds.

Rod cooked up a bunch of scones and we invited our fellow campers for morning tea. The billy was boiled on the Aus pig and we were all sitting around with our scones fully loaded with yummy jams and topped with cream when a kooka zoomed in under the awning and grabbed a scone out of Margie’s  hand, did a quick turn to escape and splattered Mavis with jam and cream on it’s way out. What a crack up!

We did tear ourselves away from the dam a couple of times to re stock the larder and cellar at Atherton and visit our friends at Mareeba. Atherton has a great display of crystal and semi precious gems at the Crystal Caves right in the heart of town http://www.crystalcaves.com.au/ it is worth a visit.

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The visit to Mareeba was to our Tassie friends at the Rodeo grounds. This place is a great base to do day trips from. $15 a night with power,  water, hot showers and toilets and a toilet dump for those that are staying. From here we did a run out to Granite Gorge for a look. http://www.australiablog.com/places-to-go/granite-gorge-nature-park.html There is camping at the Gorge and walks to be done.

Sunday the 2nd was fathers day so we invited Rod & Sue (Tassie friends) out to our camp for a roast lamb lunch, it was yummo and a great relaxing day.

Left Tinaroo reluctantly on Wednesday the 5th Sept and headed for two nights at Mareeba with Rod & Sue. They had been telling us that hot air balloons were landing just behind the van parking area every morning. With digital SLR loaded with fillum I waited patiently two mornings for the landings that did not happen. Wind direction was taking them elsewhere unfortunately. Did catch a glimpse in the distance though.

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Friday we headed off and set the nav aids for Wonga Beach to catch up with Eric a friend of ours that stays there for about three months every winter with his lovely lady Jody. Unfortunately Jody was in England enjoying their Summer so we did not see her.

The van park was exceptional, Pinnacle Village  http://www.pinnaclevillage.com/  What a paradise. Perfect temperature at this time of year and a gorgeous setting in the rainforest and a short stroll to the beach. The birdlife, awesome although they are very hard to see in the foliage of the trees but the songs can’t be missed. A tropical paradise only a short distance to the Daintree river and a ferry ride to Cape Tribulation.

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If you look carefully at the following pics you will see a little YELLOW-BELLIED SUNBIRD

 http://rainforest-australia.com/Yellow-bellied_Sunbird.html

She is tiny and you can just see the yellow neck and head peaking out of her nest

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Saturday was decreed to be market day in Mossman. Great morning in a great little town. The markets were wonderful with heaps of local produce. In the afternoon Mavis and Eric wet a line on the beach in front of the van park. Nothing was caught that could be kept.

Sunday we headed for the markets in Port Douglas. Again absolutely wonderful but a more up market display. We had lunch with Eric and a couple of his friends at the “Tin Shed” in Port Douglas. Would recommend this place to have a great lunch overlooking the water.

Have to say that we did not like Port Douglas. It was way too commercial, populated and up market for a couple of rough necks like us. The afternoon was dedicated to Mavis wetting a line again to no avail.

Monday we went to Cape Tribulation and as happens, a spur of the moment decision was made to head up the Bloomfield track to see if we could get the van up there next year on our return.

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Not a show in the world. This track was pretty steep in places and had a few water crossings. I have no doubt that the van could be hauled up this track but the Toyota would definitely not be the vehicle to pull 3.5 tons up these grades. Would need a fairly hefty truck to climb some of the hills that we encountered. Non the less a great day was had.

Tuesday was fishing day for Rod on the Daintree river with Eric in his tinny. We had the best of fresh prawns but alas no fish were interested. What a beautiful river. Did see a couple of crocs. Mavis went into Wonga beach village for a haircut.

Wednesday we left Wonga Beach had coffee with Sue & Rod at Mareeba then headed for Innot Springs where we stayed for the night and had a great soak in the pools.

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Next morning we had another soak in the pools before heading off again bound for Fletchers Creek about 40 ks North of Charters Towers.

As is always the case Fletchers Creek produced copious quantities of fish for the fisherwoman Mavis. Only tilapia, http://www.sweetwaterfishing.com.au/tilapia.htm  a ferrel introduced species but lots of fun on light gear. Most of the fish were 35cm long and very active. Around 6 on day one and 7 day two. A nice Grunter and an eel tailed catfish were also landed. The Black Kites loved them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Kite

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Lachlan our Grandson came to stay for the weekend. He is in the Army stationed in Townsville about 170kms form Fletchers Creek. A good time was had by all. We had a day in Charters Towers and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Zara Clarke Museum was a highlight.

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Sunday we are on the down hill run to Brisbane. We camped at Clermont van park to do some washing and on Monday we got to Mavis’s Nieces place at Gracemere near Rockhampton. Had a great two nights with Amy, Alfie and their two beautiful kids Ember and Naden.

Wednesday was a big one. We left Gracemere and headed for Tinana where we have a deposit on a block in the RV Home base,  http://www.rvhomebase.com.au/more-info/?sites-available    to check out the progress. All looked to be on schedule, so we let out for home.

Home again unfortunately but a huge year is on the books for next year. Only a few short runs left for this year including one to Victoria.

Stay tuned more will follow for sure party time (1)

Part six Trip North for warmth Left Townsville.

After packing up Wednesday 15th August and saying farewell to Lachlan (Grandson) we headed North checking out every destination on every road in to the coast.

Wednesday evening we pulled into Forest Beach, there was a van park behind the Pub and for $20 for the night we camped about 20 metres from the beach. Lovely. ttp://www.forrestbeachhotel.com.au/caravan.php

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A quiet night after a walk along the beach then off the next day heading North again.

As usual we travelled into all roads heading East. We came upon Lucinda which is a sugar loading facility that has to be seen to be believed. The loading jetty is 5.7kms long to allow ships to access it at any tidal condition. Nice town caravan park full of Southerners living in the warmth as usual.

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Unfortunately we did drive a little too far today Thursday and decided to stop at Bilyana rest area between Ingham and Innisfail. A lovely spot between the highway and the railway. There are definitely four trains every night travelling from Cairns south at intervals that coincide with sleep intervals and one that loves to blow his extremely loud horn as he passes the camp.Disappointed smileDid I mention the trucks.

In the morning we left Bilyana yawning madly after many broken sleeps and headed for Kurrimine Beach. The van park was full so we set up outside with a dozen other vans and tents in the overflow. $15 a night got us a good spot near the beach and good water to fill the tanks. There was another Spinifex van parked there as well. John and Milliner were on their shakedown run in Spin 061. Their van was in the June Brisbane caravan show .IMG_9593 

On the way into Kurrimine we noted that the motel had a $25 sea food buffet Friday night. We decided to have dinner there and John and Milliner joined us. What a great meal it was with great company.

Saturday we did a run to Paronella park http://www.paronellapark.com.au/. Another not to be missed attraction. the place was constructed single handed by a Spanish gentleman and includes a hydro power system that still powers the facility today.

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The fountain above is powered from the waterfall in the previous pictures and never stops. For the price of admission if you are quick enough to book,you can stay free in their caravan park. Spots are limited and you can only stay for one night. Entry tickets last for one year and allow one stay in the van park per year.

We decided on our return to have a cleansing ale at the pub for fivesies. As it does, fivesies turned into a pub meal for dinner. There is obviously a competition between the pub and motel in Kurrimine. The pub meal was excellent and much more that any human could eat.

Sunday we did a leisurely pack and took off for Babinda to see friends Greg and Judy. We gave them a bell and said that we were going to stay at the free camp at Babinda. They were most offended that we would not stay with them, so we followed their directions to their Daughter and Son-in-law’s property on the road to the Boulders from Babinda. Greg and Judy had their van there as well and we spent three wonderful days eating too much and possibly consuming too much fermented grape. Greg and Jude also welcomed two of our friends travelling through Brian and Margie. Babinda apparently has a huge annual rainfall, we experienced a small part of it grin, what a magic part of Australia.

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Monday was a rest day. Tuesday we had a quick look at the Boulders park just up the road from camp. What a treasure of a site, unfortunately the camera was left at the van so it was decided to return later. We did a run towards Cairns ending up near Yarrabah on the peninsular opposite Cairns. Quite a unique area with some equally unique houses. It is mainly an Aboriginal settlement. The house below had all mod con’s except glass, the whole place was completely open affording magnificent unrestricted water views and breezes.

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Greg and Judy took us touring on Wednesday. We had a great seafood lunch at Flying fish point after visiting a property at Miriwinni.

This place is owned by a couple that developed it to it’s current status. Larry and Robin Butler have worked miracles with their six acre property creating a tropical paradise that has been wiped out with two cyclones but they rebuild every time. It has to be seen to be believed the whole place looks to be manicured. They have built a gazebo over the permanently flowing creek and made a small dam wall to create their swimming hole.

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This place would make the ultimate B&B or wedding venue,it is an absolute paradise. Unfortunately Larry and Robin feel the need to call it quits and do some travelling. What a dilemma for them. How to sell?

Later on the day trip we went to Innisfail to have a look around first cassowary’s one on the road and another that must have been fed on the front lawn of a house. Huge birds and becoming rare.IMG_9637

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Returning to Babinda we settled into a cleansing ale and some nibbles, ain’t life grand!

Thursday we bid farewell to our hosts and headed to Yungaburra on the southern end of Tinaroo dam. Before we left we headed to the Boulders for a picture shoot that we missed out on a few days ago. Do not bypass this place if you are in the area, there is a small free camp there a short stroll from the swimming hole. Have a look at these pics it is beautiful.

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Before we did the big climb up to the tablelands we dropped in to a barra farm. We parted with $50 so Mavis could catch her first barra. The picture tells it all. It was disappointing to have to put it back.

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Yungaburra van park was $20 a night but was a fair way from the dam so it would mean dragging the kayak about 500 meters to the water. Never mind the washing got done and we settled down for the night. Next morning the kayak came off the roof and was nearly rigged and Mavis received a call from the friends that had stayed with us at Babinda saying that they were at Kauri Creek camp on the other end of the dam and it was paradise. Without much thought the kayak went back on the roof and we headed for their camp. Kauri is a Forestry camp run by National Parks so it was $10.50 per night and we grabbed a spot right on the water and dropped the kayak in. This place is wonderful we booked on line for five nights.IMG_9819 IMG_9807IMG_9795IMG_9808

More to follow.