This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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1998 Travels August 30

SUNDAY 30 AUGUST     WONGA BEACH

I am feeling much better, though still with some tooth pangs. I think I am reacting somewhat to the codeine  and have a bit of a gut ache during the day.

It was a lovely day, today. The sea looked all silvery and beautiful. This is so idyllic – sitting outside, watching the sea through the palms, listening to the sound of the waves at night (at least, when the tide is in). There is a cooling sea breeze most of the time. The sea water is warm – but only for walking in the very shallow edge of the sea! Too many nasties are possible, further out.

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Snapper Island on a hazy, silvery day at Wonga Beach

John did some ironing in the morning – yes, we are being neat and civilized tidy again! He then went off to bowls again in the afternoon.

I cleaned up the van and repacked the books and maps, that we keep in a crate in Truck, to put away the Cape material, and keep out what might be relevant to the Cairns and Tablelands areas.

John phoned daughter R at lunch time – she is interested in flying up and joining us and seeing some “outback”. She is pleased to hear that we are thinking about getting a mobile phone! So, while John was at bowls, I roughed out some possible travel plans, in case she does join us: options for one, two or three weeks.

The federal election has been declared for 3 October. We will have to investigate our options for casting our votes.

John enjoyed his bowls, but the triples team is not now going to eventuate. Good – one less reason to go to Cairns!

John’s 58th birthday is coming up soon. I am still considering buying him a flight with the mail plane, up the Cape.

Some new people who have come in and are camped near us say they were at Mission Beach three days ago – they got 18 inches of rain, IN ONE NIGHT!. The water around their campervan was knee deep. I wonder if they ever have issues with floating vans there!

I still do not have much of an appetite. Tea was french toast and bacon.


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1998 Travels May 28

THURSDAY 28 MAY   TOWNSVILLE TO MISSION BEACH   262kms

Pack up and departure went quite well, although John got rather tense when trying to move the jockey wheel when it was in the wrong position.

We refuelled at the roadhouse in front of the park – 68cpl.

Finding our way out of Townsville was easy enough.

The first part of the trip was through similar country to that south of Townsville – grassland with trees, and with the ranges to our left. In places there were crops growing, such as pineapples and bananas. About 60kms north of Townsville, cropland began to predominate, with a lot of sugar cane.

For some variety from driving, nearly 100kms north of Townsville, we turned off onto the Jourama Falls Road. Followed this for 6kms – unsealed road, two shallow creek fords. Our off road van has now travelled “off road”!

This is part of the Mt Spec National Park. At the end of the road was a very pleasant camp and picnic area; we could have camped there in the van, had we wished, and if we had solar power. But there were a lot of mozzies.

We followed the walking track to the Falls. It was about a 4km return walk. There were some rock steps up an incline, which John managed quite well. Had to cross a small, knee-deep, rocky, slippery, fast flowing creek section, where there was a chain set on stanchions, for support. This part was hard for John. In places, the route was up fairly steeply sloping large rock slabs.

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The walking track to Jourama Falls – John carefully managing the uneven steps

There was a lookout over the Falls and the rocky pools below them. It was worth the scramble to get here. The views were great – several long drops of falls and quite a lot of water coming over. An interesting place. It was easy to spend an hour or so there, just looking and listening to the falling water noise, and enjoying being in the bush.

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Two frames that show the scale of the multiple drops of Jourama Falls

On the walk back, John slipped when crossing the creek. I was steadying the chain for him and the sudden weight jammed my middle finger in the chain holder and took a great chunk out of it. Much blood! It was important that John didn’t fall in the water, though – apart from potential damage to his hip, he was wearing his binoculars (which I had offered to carry,  in my backpack over the creek). Had some bandaids in the little first aid kit I carry in the backpack, so was able to dress the finger wound.

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Coming down – John style

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A beautiful calm pool amidst the rocks below the Falls

We had lunch at the van before leaving the Falls area.

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The rig parked at the Jourama Falls picnic and camp areain the forest

It was a pleasant drive, after this, despite the throbbing finger. We drove straight through Ingham, which looks a standard sort of small town. By now we were well and truly into sugar cane country. Just out of Ingham, crossed the Herbert River – a fair size. Then we were out of the cane country and climbing quite steeply up a forested range. There was a good view across to Hinchinbrook Island, which seems large and high. It is very close to the mainland at this point. The forests now are much thicker and more lush and “tropical”.

What goes up, usually comes down, and we did – but it was not too bad. John used lower gears to slow us down. I get tense in these situations still, but he is managing better.

We passed the controversial Port Hinchinbrook Marina development, which is clearly being quickly built. At Cardwell, the road was briefly alongside the ocean, before cutting back inland. We drove through Tully township, where there was a huge sugar mill – but there was no sign of it working. I guess it is seasonal – only going when the cane is being harvested.

Just north of Tully, we turned onto the road to Mission Beach. We saw a road sign warning that cassowary birds cross the road!

Mission Beach is very spread out. It is really two villages that hug the sea front. We travelled first past Wongaling and South Mission Beach and then after a few kms, came into Mission Beach proper.

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We are booked into the Big 4 Hideaway Holiday Village, which is very nice. Our site cost $16.20 a night, with a 7th free night. Paid $2 extra to have a cable to hook into the van’s TV, to give better reception. We were directed to drive through the site behind ours, to get onto our site, so there was no backing! Nice. The atmosphere in this park seems very positive and it is very “tropical”. As one would expect. All lush gardens and greenery and vivid colours. There seem to be a lot of Victorian cars on sites here. We are in Mission Beach proper. Across the road is a council run caravan park, and then the beach.

We were able to get fully set up just before the heavens opened and the rain came. This area around Tully is supposed to be the wettest in Australia, but I really wasn’t expecting rain.

Tea was cold roast chook, with salads.

It rained continuously and heavily through the night. In the occasional spells when the rain lessened, could hear the sea waves breaking. Very nice.