This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2009 Travels July 26 to July 30

SUNDAY 26 JULY TO THURSDAY 30 JULY     FORREST BEACH

SUNDAY  was a cloudy day.

After an early lunch, John went off to bowls.

I had a lovely, relaxed sort of day. Read, sewed, spent time on the computer, walked to the shops to get milk and some broccoli.

John returned, pleased with the way he’d played at bowls. The crocs had been christened!

The old and the new

Tea was steak and vegies.

MONDAY  we noted that it was five weeks until we had to be home. Our housesitters were flying out that day, to do an overseas house sit. The new pennant bowls season would be close, too, for John.

It was another cloudy day.

I was able to extend our stay here, effectively for as long as we wanted, just deciding week by week.

John had a fish from the beach this morning, but did not catch anything. He then drove across to Halifax to get some fishing gear from the shop there, but it was shut. He came back with three library books for me, having joined the Ingham Library at their Halifax branch. All free, too. I was really pleased – would be great to have access to books, since we would be here a while.

I sewed. We walked on the beach in the late afternoon.

Tea was eggs and bacon, fries and cob corn.

TUESDAY  was partly cloudy.

In the morning, before John got up. I walked on the beach. In the afternoon, we both walked as far as the little Cassady Beach settlement, to the south. It was an ocean-front row of maybe six or eight houses. A couple seemed to be currently occupied. They had superb views, but must feel awfully vulnerable in a big storm. This area does get cyclones too, with the  attendant storm surges, and they are not very high at all, above high tide level here. But perhaps, there is some protection from the very worst of the elements, from the close offshore Palm Islands?

The long beach south

Just across from us was a WA registered rig. The family – a young-ish couple and two children, maybe eight and six or thereabouts – have been on the road for two years. He was a cook, who picked up casual work wherever they stopped for any time. She was, supposedly, teaching the children. She said she did not believe in schools, or any sort of formal educational plan. Children would learn what they needed, from their general experiences, was her view. A cop-out, as far as I was concerned. But she did say that she tried to make sure they got in a bit of work, most days, on literacy and numeracy. As far as I had seen, to date, the kids mostly free ranged around the park and played on the beach, while she sat with her feet up, in the shade of the awning and read. I wondered how they were able to escape some sort of check on the children’s education?

I was not opposed to home schooling, as such, but believed there was a huge difference between educating children properly, at home, and her kind of laissez faire, do nothing attitude. Proper home schooling required clear planning, resources, and a lot of consistent effort by all concerned.

WEDNESDAY was less cloudy.

We drove into Ingham and did the full 3km circuit walk at the Tyto Wetlands. At last!

There was a surprising amount of bird activity, considering it was the middle of the day. A special bird here was the Eastern Grass Owl – for which the place was named. Barn owls – the ones with masked faces – are Tyto genus. Logic dictated that we wouldn’t see one in the middle of the day – and we didn’t, but the hope was there, as we walked. It took us two hours to do the walk, because of the amount of time spent looking at wildlife and the very pretty wetlands scenery. The area was really well set out.

In the Visitor Centre there, looked at an art exhibition, featuring Tyto birds. I was not particularly impressed with the quality of the works.

We had a Subway lunch. Went to the main library in Ingham, for more books. I had actually previously read two of the ones John had borrowed for me the other day. A quick supermarket visit, for groceries, and that was the day.

Forrest Beach Caravan Park

THURSDAY saw what I was starting to regard as the usual weather here at this time of year: some cloud, some sun.

I did a morning beach walk.

We left about 3pm to go into Ingham. Firstly, to the bank to sort out a credit card limit glitch.

Then we drove out towards the ranges and onto the Abergowrie road, for a way, through cane country along the really fertile Herbert River valley. It was an attractive short drive.

It was notable that the houses on the cane farms were two storeyed, with the ground level floor usually being mostly open breeze block. We worked out that there could be quite big floods in these parts, and that put the main part of the house above the water level – hopefully.

The Herbert River valley

We returned to the Ingham bowls club, where John went in for a practice, while I sat in Truck and read.

We’d planned to buy and enjoy a pizza tea, but it was too late by the time John finished practicing, so we grabbed a quick Subway instead.

The sunset sky was really pretty as we lined up to start bowls.

Through the duration of the game, there was lots of passing cane train activity. The empty, clanking wagons were being taken out to be ready for tomorrow’s harvest work.

The night-time bowls were of a reasonable standard. I found it really hard to judge the pace, under the lights, and John did not play well, either. So the triples team we were in lost soundly.

We had the obligatory social drink and were back at the van by 9pm. Hopefully, that would end my bowls participation for a while!


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2009 Travels July 1

WEDNESDAY 1 JULY     TAYLORS BEACH

In the morning, John got involved in trying to use his Access program to make bowls records.

I wrote up the diary, read, sewed, walked around the caravan park – that did not take long. Disappointingly, from this park, the only walking options seem to involve walking around the streets of the settlement – and not on footpaths either, just on the road edge or on nature strips.

Had an early lunch and then set off for some serious tourist adventures – hopefully.

As we got to Halifax, John decided we must stop at a fishing tackle shop he saw, so he could have a browse in same. I waited in Truck. He came back with a prawn peeling device that looked like it might just work.

Just out of Halifax, saw a cane train pulling “different” carriages, like small vats, instead of the usual wire sided containers of cane. Realized they were carrying processed sugar from a mill to the bulk ship-loading facility at Lucinda. We could see raw sugar around the top opening on some of the vats, where it had spilt over in loading.

The front of the sugar train……

We got ahead of the train at one point, so I got the chance to get out of Truck to take some photos. The driver waved and hooted at me – I guess it was some variety in his slow, tootly journey. 

….and the rear

It had already become evident to us, firstly, that there were heaps of cane railway crossings on these district roads, and secondly, that often these did not have a great line of sight. Cane trains travelled fairly slowly, but I wondered how many crossing collisions with cars there were, in an average cane season?

From Halifax, took the Lucinda road, and as we came into that village, turned left to go out to Dungeness to have a look. Here, on a tidal  inlet connected to the Herbert River, there was a large resort-type development, a small number of houses, and a boat launch ramp.

The channel and boat mooring at Dungeness

The channel between Dungeness and Hinchinbrook Island was fairly narrow and the island loomed large across it.

With some cloud down over the mountainous top of Hinchinbrook Island, it looked brooding and mysterious.

Hinchinbrook Island, from Dungeness

Dungeness was an attractive spot – pity it had no caravan or camping facilities.

We walked around the boat ramp area and took photos and just generally admired the place.

Then drove the few kms back to Lucinda. The good-sized caravan park there looked totally full. Lots of boats there too, but the internal roads were a lot wider than at Taylors Beach, so it was not so much of an obstacle course. It was, clearly, also a winter destination for lots of “fishy” people. The blurb in my tourist brochure described it as an oceanfront caravan park, but this ignored the existence of a large park between it and the sea!

Any views of Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda – which would have been spectacular – were obscured by the 5.6km long sugar loading conveyor pier and the associated train unloading and sugar storage facilities. It was all quite industrial.

Lucinda sugar storage and shipping facility, from fishing jetty

There was no public access along the jetty structure that carried the sugar way out to where the ocean was deep enough for ships to dock. The structure was so long we couldn’t see its end.

The 5.6km long bulk sugar loading jetty

There was a staircase and walkway across the sugar terminal installations, that gave foot access to a landing and fishing jetty beyond. It might have been the village’s main jetty before the sugar facility was built but there was no vehicle access to it now. We did the trek across to the jetty. There were great views from that, of the Island and the opening of the Hinchinbrook Channel.

Opening to the Hinchinbrook Channel

The afternoon light on the water made it very photogenic.

Swimming enclosure, sugar jetty with fishing jetty behind that

There was also a walking path along the Lucinda foreshore, but we didn’t do that.

The Lucinda area and sugar jetty (Google )

Had to drive back to Ingham. I needed to shop for some of the ingredients needed for the pineapple  salad that John fancied for tea – chillies, cashews, fish sauce  and coriander. He also bought a couple of casks of wine.

Decided to go for a walk at the Tyto Wetlands. It was almost 5pm by then, though, so too late to do the full circuit and dawdle to spot birds. We walked to the first viewing point, past some indigenous boys – about 10-12 years old – who were swimming in one of the ponds. They were also using stakes – that had been nearby young tree supports – to dig up mussels and try to “spear” some little wallabies grazing nearby. I could not imagine that the wetlands staff were happy about such activities, but maybe they could not do anything to prevent same.

John was not walking well. Maybe another day we would be able to do more, here.

Refuelled Truck and went back to camp.

It took me until almost 7pm to get the salads made for tea – pineapple and potato ones. Late meal for us. There was a definite smell of cooking fish around the caravan park!

After tea, John spent time on the computer, I read.