Sparky Travels

February 6, 2010


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On the 4th we checked into a hostel and reluctantly handed back our spaceship. It was a trusty steed and home all the way through Queensland but it was certainly nice to have aircon, headspace and a spacious hostel kitchen to use.

On the 5th we went to the Centre of Contemporary Arts which had a photographic exhibition of artists studios. That evening I went out on the piss with some of the people from the hostel. We visited upmarket-ish but empty Heritage and busy backpacker pub/club Gilligans. I managed to stay sober enough to avoid a hangover for the flight back to Sydney the next day.

Cairns didn’t really have a lot going for it and it was surprising to meet so many people who’d been there for months. It was admittedly low season but there doesn’t seem to be much to do there.

We arrived back in Sydney at 6pm and me and Helen went back to our respective lodgings. Chris and Amanda had graciously agreed to put up with me for a few more days. Money is running out so the next task is to get a job.

Boo hiss.

February 3, 2010

Atherton Tablelands

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Pinch, punch, first of the month.  We got up bright and early and headed to the Wallaman falls, Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall. It was a 100km detour but given the heavy rain that the area had been experiencing it was well worth it. The waterfall looked better than any of the promo shots we’d seen.

On the track towards the waterfall there were warnings to watch out for Cassowaries, a bird native to the region. We saw little birds landing on the road and initially thought this might be them. On the way back we learnt that we were very wrong. A Cassowary was standing in the middle of the track. It was as tall as a man with legs like big-bird from sesame street and a blue neck. I didn’t even know such a beast existed so it was great to see one in the flesh.

We were even luckier to see a Cassowary with his (Cassowary males are the caregivers) chick crossing the road on the way to mission beach. Looking back, I wish we’d stopped to try and get a picture but we heeded the signs saying not to. Mission beach was pretty quiet, I believe due to the season, but seemed like a pleasant beach retreat at the right time of year. We had a walk on the beach and grabbed lunch there. We attempted to go to another watering hole near the uninteresting town of Tully but it was inaccesible due to flood waters. We slept at a rest stop North of Tully where we were woken by lots of traffic from 6am onwards. It turned out that the rest stop was host to a hotdog van that serviced the truckers of the area.

This early start on the 2nd allowed us ample time to view a few more sights of this area, the Atherton Tablelands. We’d been recommended the Milla Milla waterfall route, a 20km tourist road visiting three waterfalls. In the order we visited them they are:

Ellinjaa Falls

Zillie Falls

Milla Milla Falls

A few kilometres further on was the Curtain Fig Tree. A large parasitic fig tree which grew in its unique way when its host tree fell against another trunk. It is apparently a popular attraction in the tablelands and this proved to be the case. When we arrived the was a tour bus of Chinese tourists going through the extensive photographic motions that such groups do. Finally we had our chance to look at its 50ft high aerial roots.

At the nearby war memorial which is also a free campsite we met a curmudgeonly old caretaker and a couple of grey nomads. The grey nomads invited us over for a glass of wine and then spent the next 6 hours telling us all about their travels around Australia including an 800 photo DVD show.  We finally managed to get away at 1am with the gift of a couple of mangoes.  They were a nice old couple though.

On the grey nomads’ advice we headed to The Crater ( AKA Mount Hypipamee Crater) the next day. Though not quite as impressive as the name suggests it was still a grand sight. The Crater is an 80m deep volcanic pipe now filled with debris and green-algae filled water. Its width and the position of the viewpoint made it difficult to photograph thus I haven’t put one up.

We attempted - without success - to see platypus in the aptly named platypus creek and then went shopping in Cairns before spending our last night at a free rest stop in Babinda. While there we watched one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. The Hitcher with Sean Bean. It really is a horror film, but not in a good way.

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