This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2013 Travels August 29


I was up at 7am and in the laundry when it opened at 7.30. Washed two loads. There was some cloud about, but I convinced myself that it was more likely to stay fine than rain.

We drove into Innisfail, then took a back road past/through the Eubenangee Swamp National Park. This was a small park, seemingly around where a small creek crossed the road, The surrounding area was a mix of farmland and scrub. We have found, before, that sometimes in Qld, it is hard to discern why an area was declared a National Park. There seems to be a lot of these small, unpublicized reserves around the State.

Turned off on the road to Bramston Beach. We’d known people who had camped there, several years ago. I was rather expecting something like the unwelcoming Etty Bay, but this was a bigger village than I’d thought.

As we neared the end of the road, at the beach, what looked at first to be well patronized free camp area turned out to be an unpowered Council campground. Its location, right beside the beach, was brilliant, but the place itself looked quite grotty.

Turned along the road that ran parallel to the coast, with houses each side, and came eventually to the Plantation Caravan Park. That looked interesting. It was originally a coconut plantation, then a caravan park owned by show biz and TV personalities Bob and Dolly Dyer. Sadly, now, there was a sale board out the front seeking tenders for purchase and/or a resort development.We drove into the park a little way. The place looked very unloved, but there were a few vans there. The location, with beach frontage, was wonderful.

Bramston Beach

Found a walking track that led to the beach and went for a wander. Gave dog a run on the deserted beach.

Looking north, Bramston Beach

So Bramston Beach was a very attractive area; it was just a pity about the limited accommodation options.

Retraced our way in for some kms, then onto the Bruce Highway at the hamlet of Mirriwinni and north to Babinda, in order to visit the Babinda Boulders, which we hadn’t seen before.

The drive there was really scenic, looking towards Mt Bartle Frere  (Qld’s highest mountain) as we approached the base of the range. There was some cloud over the summit.

Towards Mt Bartle Frere

Babinda Boulders is an area where large granite boulders occur where the Babinda Creek flows through a gorge. The jumble of hug rocks has created large pools interspersed with fast flowing water. At this time of year, the pools were calm, but a number of drownings have occurred here, as they can be treacherous after rains. Right now, the swimming area in the creek looked very tempting.

Babinda Creek

The whole Boulders area was very attractive, with a Day Visitor area, and a separate National Park campground.

Babinda Boulders swimming area

We could not stay here long. I hadn’t realized the area was a National Park, and we had the dog in the car, where she had to stay – with it parked in a shady spot – while we quickly explored.

We managed the 750 metre walk to the Gorge lookout. This was a paved track, but had some small areas of ups and downs. It was easy going for me, but John found it hard, which was a measure of how much his health and fitness and deteriorated in recent years.

The creek and the gorge were beautiful, so green and lush, plenty of contrasts.

I was so pleased to have finally seen this place.

On our way out, had a quick drive through the campground, where we spotted a couple of bush thick knees – curlews – trying to look invisible.

Bush thick knee

In our pre-dog, caravanning days, this was a campground that would have tempted us to stay.

In Babinda, visited a bakery to get some lunch. John bought a beef and pepper pie. As it was close to their closing time and the options for filled rolls – any rolls – were non-existent, I bought a vegetarian quiche.

A quick drive took us to the sports park, where we ate under shade there. My quiche was very runny in the middle, seemingly undercooked, which made me uneasy about finishing it.

Couey was rewarded for having been good and quiet in the car whilst we’d been walking, by having an extended ball fetch session at the park.

Then it was back to Bus, via the Bruce Highway, after a great day out.

My washing was dry, too, to make the day almost perfect.

John mentioned that, after the walk and the humidity at the Boulders, his lungs felt really “tight”. This was not a good sign.

I poached some chicken thighs to go with our pineapple salad, coleslaw  and Greek salad.

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2013 Travels August 28


Today was grey and cloudy to begin, with light showers.

I should have done the washing today, but thought it wouldn’t get dry. Anyway, John had decreed we should have a drive/sightsee day, and I enjoy that much more than washing.

We drove into Innisfail. During our sojourns of the past few weeks, the federal election date had been confirmed as September 7. It seemed wise to try to vote early, rather than leave it till the day and hope that wherever we were could handle interstate voters. I’d previously checked out early voting on the internet and found there was a centre in town. So we drove there – and found it was the wrong place. The AEC stuffs it up, yet again. We were redirected to the Court House. Right in the centre of town, limited parking. A really logical place to have a pre-poll centre for people who are from out of town – not!

Anyway, did our civic duty. The poll officials were pleasant and efficient. The Senate ballot paper was so huge, these days, with so many ridiculous individuals and small groups putting up candidates. This lunatic fringe really perverts the way the system should work. In my view, either the deposit required from candidates should be raised to a significant amount – say $25,000 – or the percentage of first preferences received in order for the deposit refund should be raised from the current 4% to something like 10%. That might deter the distraction element.

We were then aiming for Mourilyan Harbour, but my navigational abilities came to grief where there was a newish flyover highway section, and we reached Wongan before I realized we were on the Japoonvale road, heading inland. Had to back track, and eventually got to Mourilyan Harbour – a sheltered bay and large estuary, where the Moresby River reaches the sea.

Sheltered moorings in Mourilyan Harbour

The inlet was much larger than I’d been expecting, and very picturesque. It looked as though there would be good fishing in its waters.

Looking up the inlet that is the Moresby River

There was a ship in, loading sugar, but it was a much lower-key operation than I had expected. It did appear that there once was a narrow gauge railway going out there, but this was overgrown, so we guessed the sugar now came to the Harbour by road. The entrance to the harbor looked quite narrow. There didn’t seem to be much room for error for a ship coming in and having to turn around to dock at the  sugar loading facility.

Loading sugar

There was a large damaged catamaran yacht up on dry ground. It appeared to have been pushed side-on onto rocks – there were significant holes in the side. It did not look to have happened recently, so we speculated  it was maybe a cyclone casualty. There had been a couple of large cyclones cross the coast in these parts in recent years, most recently Cyclone Yasi in 2011.


It seemed surprising that the damaged boat had just been left there. I would have thought that there would be some onus on the owners, or their insurance company, to remove it whilst it was still in once piece? But our ignorance of matters nautical is total, so maybe it is accepted practice to just leave wrecks?

Next destination was the nearby Etty Bay, a place that travel friends had recommended to us, years ago, as being a great place to camp. The road in was hilly and it was a very pretty drive. But there was a sign by the road, on the way down to the settlement, saying No Dogs. So we turned around before even getting to the bottom of the hill and the beach. This was not a place that would receive our patronage, or recommendation, ever.

Back to Innisfail. John wanted a Subway lunch, so I went in to buy those for us. The serving girl was not at all tuned to me. She only had eyes – and, unfortunately, ears – for a friend who was chatting to her, and the good-looking young man behind me in the queue. She totally ignored the second part of my order, which was my sub. Absolutely rubbish service. So I went and bought myself a roll from the bakery over the road. Even that wasn’t nice. I was feeling hard done by, but John enjoyed his sub.

We bought some fruit and vegies at one of the stalls along the Esplanade.

Drove out to Coquette Point, on the southern side of the Johnstone River mouth. It was a pretty drive out there, but not the great views I’d hoped for, at the end of the road.

On the way back, through Innisfail, we got in some ball chasing for Couey, in a nice big park. Her exercise had been pretty limited over the past few days.

Tea was ham steaks, with pineapple and zucchini.

John pointed out that that he had no more clean undies. I really must wash tomorrow!

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2013 Travels August 27


Today was another routine, quiet sort of day. John was just resting his leg.

There were occasional showers through the day, and a pleasant, coolish breeze, so it was comfortable to sit outside. I did wonder if we’d wandered into a really early start to the Wet season, or if this was normal weather at this time of year, up here.

Flying Fish Point and Innisfail (Zoom)

I’d had several recent attempts to download library e-books onto my e-reader, with frustrating lack of success. John spent some time fiddling about on my laptop, and figured out how to do it. Seemed that some of the programs needed had been uninstalled – had to have been done by our “helpful” Telstra guy. I do like it when these technological hiccups turn out not to be something I am doing wrong! So, I now had abundant reading matter again.

John played his WOW game for several hours, sitting at the table, ignoring the fact that he was supposed to be keeping his leg up.

We did walk as far as the cafe/takeaway shop at the point, with the dog. Later, John drove up there for our tea: fish and chips for him, squid and chips for me. It was adequate – neither the best nor the worst we’d had in recent times.

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2013 Travels August 26


During the night, it rained – heavily at times – which made for a comfortable, cool night.

In the early hours, I tied up the curtains by my bed, in order to better smell and hear the rain through the open window. I had the advantage of sleeping on the awning side, so could open my sliding windows. The ones on John’s side were not able to be opened at all. I thought that might have something to do with the venting of the gas hot water service being on that side?

The morning was cloudy, but looked as if it would clear. Everything smelt fresh.

I got up before 8am. John slept much later. Couey opted to keep him company, all curled up on top of the covers on my bed – which experience had taught me to cover with an old sheet, as soon as I was out of the bed.

Morning in Bus

I had my breakfast, sewed, listened to my little portable radio, sitting out under the awning – a usual sort of morning.

John had been having some problems with the leg that had impaired circulation (due to blood clot residue from a few years ago). The skin gets very dry and cracks; one of these had turned into a sore that looked, this morning, to be infected. He said it had been really painful through the night. He asked at the office and they gave him details for a doctor in Innisfail. He phoned, and got an appointment for 4pm.

We sat around for the rest of the day as John did not feel like doing anything, due to the sore leg. He spent the time on his laptop. I sat outside and sewed, every so often taking Couey for a walk around the block.

John went off to the doctor and came back with antibiotics and a therma skin ankle support that would be an alternative to the pressure stocking he was supposed to wear, but didn’t. The ankle support would allow him to wear thongs but still help the leg circulation.

I made a potato salad for tea, and an Asian style pineapple one too. John had the remaining maryland,too.

Cloud had built up again in the afternoon, and there was heavy rain at tea time. I went out to drop one side of the awning a bit lower, to allow the rain to run off. A lot of water builds up really quickly on that sort of roof. John accused me of fussing too much as I went out, but went quiet when he heard the water pour off!

John played his computer game after tea. I started a letter to friend M.

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2013 Travels August 25


It was a comfortable day – not too hot, and with a cooling breeze under the awning.

Later in the afternoon, there was a heavy cloud build up and maybe some thunder in the distance – a bit hard to tell. It felt very “tropical” here – very green and lush.

Under the influence of this environment, John decided that he would definitely like to continue on to Cairns, after here. I would enjoy that, seeing how it had changed since 1998. It was not too steamy yet, in these parts, and I was enjoying the environment.

I phoned Lake Placid Caravan Park, in Cairns, and booked us in for 4-7 nights, exact length to be determined after we arrive. We had stayed there before and found it pleasant and well sited.

Before lunch, drove into Innisfail, through the several small villages strung out between Flying Fish Point and town. It was a very pretty drive, and only 7kms. I mostly needed to get mince for the dog, but got some “people” food too. Because this trip was being longer than originally planned, I was running low on dog’s dried Eukanuba food. It is not stocked in supermarkets, only pet shops, and did not seem to be available in Qld. So I was eking it out by replacing some with mince, which dog seemed quite happy with. The food I bought for us included a pack of three chicken marylands, and two pieces of good ham, which I would cut up to make ham steaks to cook.

South Johnstone River at Innisfail

After lunch back at Bus, I sat outside and sewed. John spent time on the laptop.

A passing lady stopped for a chat. She was a widow; every year she towed her 16 foot van up here, from her home in NSW, for the winter. She’d just had rotavirus for a week and said it had been going around the area. Of course, I immediately started to wonder if I was feeling totally well!

I roasted the chicken marylands, for tea. There turned out to be four of them in the 2kg pack I’d bought this morning. Roasted some vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin) to go with them – all in the electric frypan. Boiled some green beans too, and made gravy. I intended then to keep two of the cooked marylands for tomorrow night’s tea, but John was hungry and ate a second one. Oh well, tinned fish for me tomorrow.

After tea I read, John watched TV.

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2013 Travels August 24


Although it had been hot here, yesterday, the temperature through the night was very pleasant.

When we’d booked in here yesterday, I’d been able to order Saturday papers, so walked the short distance to Reception/shop/office and collected those for the day’s reading.

After John’s brunch, we put the front shade onto the awning, to keep the afternoon sun off out sitting area, and to give us a bit more privacy from passing traffic. There was a slot along the awning roller that the shade edging just slid into, and along. Easy.

Another view of our site

John went off to bowls in Innisfail, taking the Terios.

I walked Coeuy around some of the streets, on her lead. There was no beach here to speak of, just narrow areas of rocks and stones, probably erosion protection. So beach walking was not an option and others were limited, unfortunately. The attractive looking oval and grassed area behind the caravan park was part of the school, and no dogs were allowed, sadly.

I spent some time on the laptop, playing around with possible schedules for the rest of our trip up here and the travel home.

From about 2pm onwards, I could smell the pork for tonight’s dinner roasting at the nearby dining area – very tantalizing and I regretted not being able to partake.

John didn’t return until after 6pm – well after the pork diners had begun eating. He had not enjoyed his day. He couldn’t “get” the way the green ran, and so bowled poorly. He also clashed with a lady on the other team! However, he did buy a club shirt – short sleeved, which he usually doesn’t wear – in a cool fabric, purely because it had a great print of a cassowary on the back. Cost him $50, but worth it for the bird. He reckoned that should evoke some comments when he wore it back at home. Wonder if our home club could be persuaded to put a powerful owl print on their bowls shirts? (The powerful owl is a threatened species, and there are some found in our local home area.)

Our tea was pasta with a bottled sauce.

John watched football on TV, after tea. He got very cross with the performance of “his” team, Carlton, who lost. Don’t think he’d rate this as one of his better days, overall.

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2013 Travels August 23


Considering we hadn’t done a pack up for a month, we were pretty good at it, and departed at 9.15. Dog let us know she wasn’t happy that the kennel was mobile again.

Overall, the drive north was enjoyable. Certainly, the weather was varied. Blue sky, with some white fluffy clouds when we left….not to last.

The scenery was likewise varied, at times quite dramatic, with mountains often quite close to the highway.

Great Dividing Range near Ingham

We trundled past our old friend, the Victoria Mill, for the last time on this trip. Stopped at the fruit stall on the northern outskirts of Ingham, to buy a couple of pineapples. 

Farewell, Victoria Mill…

There were several stops for roadworks, between Ingham and Cardwell, but none was for too long. There were major roadworks happening on the Cardwell Range, where there was also a noticeable smell of hot brakes – not ours!

A scene repeated many times along the Bruce Highway

The impacts of cyclones on Cardwell, since last we were here, were huge. We stayed here in 2009, but the town was hardly recognizable as the same place. The rainforest vegetation that existed, between the road and the beach, had gone, and the view out to sea was open in a way that it wasn’t before. Actually, it looked like most of the beach had gone too. The centre of the township looked very bare.

The bare waterfront at Cardwell

Around Tully, we ran into heavy rain, and the skies remained grey and looming. As Tully is reputedly the wettest town in Australia, this should not have been surprising. Average annual rainfall here exceeds 4 metres, with its rainfall record being nearly 8 metres. That’s a lot of rain in a year. Something like twelve times as wet as Melbourne.

Near Tully

Refuelled Bus at a BP servo just south of Innisfail. $1.599cpl. Cost us $86.65. Around the 6kms to a litre of fuel seemed to be a fairly consistent performance, now we were towing the car. Slightly more or less, depending on terrain and general driving conditions.

We had no problems navigating through Innisfail and out to Flying Fish Point. The GPS and I agreed to leave the Bruce Highway south of town and take the Mourilyan road. This was a tad hilly, but avoided the centre of town and took us across the South Johnstone River, straight onto the Esplanade and along to the bridge over the North Johnstone River and the road we wanted. Nice and easy.

Back in cassowary country – roadside signs warned about taking care and watching for wandering birds on the roads.

Flying Fish Point beside the Coral Sea, is a little enclave of houses by the wide inlet that is the mouth of the Johnstone River, a few kms from Innisfail. This far north, the Dividing Range never seems far from the coast, and this little township is on a narrow coastal strip, with forested hills rising behind it. Really very scenic.

At the Flying Fish Point Tourist Park, we were given a site with a slab. It was parallel to the central roadway through the park, though, and close to it. So we heard all the passing traffic. Found that there was also regular passing foot traffic, too, that cut around the back of us to go to the shop/office, and the park’s general gathering area.

There was a place to park the car, and an area in front of Bus where Couey could be safely tethered.

Site at Flying Fish Point

We paid $198 for our booked week – $33 a day with one day free. This seemed very reasonable, considering the quality of the park, with its formal gardens and sites. It was sooo  good to have modern, spacious and clean amenities again! The pool looked inviting too, but somehow, I didn’t get around to sampling it in the time we were here.

Most of the sites were amongst tropical gardens and trees, but maybe seemed a bit on the narrow side. Ours seemed like an afterthought, tucked in where it would fit. But we were fortunate to get in at all, so there was nothing to be gained by being envious of others.

Found out that it had rained quite heavily here, last night, but there was no sign of it by the time we arrived – great drainage. It was quite hot and rather humid.

After setting up, we had to drive back into Innisfail, so John could check out the local bowls scene. My trade-off was a visit to the Information Centre, to collect material about the area. We had never before stayed  anywhere on the coast between Mission Beach and Cairns, so it was new to us.

We stopped by a farm stall on the Esplanade and bought some bananas. Had seen a number of banana farms by the highway, as we travelled today.

Innisfail looked to be an interesting town, but we were there at school get-out time, so it was a bit too busy to be tootling around unfamiliar streets, trying to look around.

Did see, though that the Johnstone River, formed by the junction here in town, of the North and South branches, was huge. It drains from the high ranges of these parts, and, of course, the annual rainfall is high.

Back at Flying Fish Point, John decided to follow the road past the park, along the coastal strip, and see where it ended up. It became a narrow, winding, gravel road that followed the contours of the coast and hills for a way, through rainforest. Then we were stopped by a gate at a small turn around area. Just back from that was a small parking area, so we pulled in there and walked down a short track through the coastal forest, to a very pretty beach – Ella Bay.

Ella Bay

Because I thought we were in National Park, we didn’t linger here for very long, having the dog with us.

Ella Bay, looking north

Another vehicle had pulled into the little parking area, when we got back, and a couple of Asian-appearing men appeared to be looking for a place to set up a tent camp. I was not sure this was actually allowed, as there were no amenities of any sort here, nor signs indicating it was for camping.

The fellow campers at the park were very friendly. We were told about happy hour by one, so I went along, to gain more of a sense of the place, and mixed with the ten or so who were also there. John eventually arrived, too. There were regular organized “events” here, like a roast pork dinner tomorrow night, for $10 a head. We would not sign up for that, because John already knew that he would be bowling in town, and may be late back.

It was obviously another fishing oriented place – many of the sites had boats parked.

I made hamburgers for tea, with the lot. They were yummy, but impossible to get one’s mouth around, and very messy to eat. Worth it, though.