This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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1998 Travels November 6

FRIDAY 6 NOVEMBER     ATHERTON

I was feeling much better, but still had a slight headache, and the neck was still a bit stiff.

We went driving again today. There is so much to see in this region. Got diesel in Atherton – 68cpl.

Drove to Malanda and then on to Topaz, where we were amongst the Nerada company’s tea plantations. I hadn’t known that we grew tea in Australia but apparently the crop has been established here for some time.

11-06-1998 01 Nerada tea plantation near Topaz.jpg

The Nerada tea plantation near Topaz – in fog

Cruised fairly slowly around the Topaz area. We came out here to have a look at the area because John’s sister M had lived here for a while, farming. Superb country for it, with the rich soils.

Took some back roads to go to the old Big Red Cedar Tree, near Lake Eacham. Admired the ancient tree which is surrounded by rainforest. The girth of the buttress at its base is metres around. In the nearby forest, beside the track to the old tree, there is a fallen red cedar branch that has been sawn up, showing the intense red interior colour, one of the qualities that made it such a prized timber.

11-06-1998 02 old red cedar tree near Lake Eacham.jpg

The Big Red Cedar Tree in its rainforest setting

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John at the base of the Big Red Cedar Tree – shows the size of its girth

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Cut up sections of a red cedar tree branch, showing its colour

We spent quite some time walking around this area and watching birds.

Then drove to Gillies Lookout, on the Gillies Range Road, that goes down the range to Gordonvale. At the Lookout, we could see across to Bellenden Ker and Mt Bartle Frere – really spectacular outlook.

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Looking down the Mulgrave valley from Gillies Lookout

On the track to the lookout, I had to open a gate. There was a pheasant coucal on the track by the gate – he flew up into a tree by the track and scolded me the whole time I was there. When we came back, he had moved on.

The Tablelands is not a really large area, but there is this great mingling of the “civilized” with the wilderness. Such beautiful country.

By the time we finished admiring the outlook it was time to head back to camp. I did a little shopping in Atherton, and put in a film for processing, that I’d finished today.

We bought fish and chips for tea.

We drove 164 kms today.

A postscript: we heard, in 2006, that the huge Cyclone Larry destroyed the Big Red Cedar Tree, so that ancient giant is no more.