Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31st..DAY 45

Black headed Python (NB John's shadow) 
Yes, the highlight of our day was the sighting of a Black headed Python. I was able to identify it quite easily as the description was perfect...stripes on body with a black head,  1.5 metres long (or longer). Luckily non venomous. The body was as thick as my forearm. It was crossing the road so John was able to photograph it easily.

Our drive through very dry country was uninspiring. The area is suffering from drought with little feed or water for the few cattle we saw. The roads were quite 'boney' as well..both bitumen and gravel are rough.
Unfortunately we were unable to get into the Goodedeulla National Park from the western side. We gave up when we found an attractive camping spot mid afternoon. The sandy beaches of the Mackenzie River are proving very suitable for a fire so we will have a camp oven meal this evening.

June sitting on a root of a huge old Melaleuca tree

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30th...DAY  44

Bridge over the dam wall of Fairburn Dam

We slept well beside the noise of the running water of the Nogoa River. The quiet bush camp was very enjoyable.

The Fairburn Dam  formed when the Nogoa River was dammed. We went out to see this huge expanse of water and drove over the spectacular bridge.
I had made arrangements to visit a school friend of Cynthia's from Melbourne Grammar days. Tanya came home with Cynthia for a weekend break in about 1985. Her home was in Darwin. I had only met Tanya once, she lives in Emerald now, with her husband Daniel and 2 children. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting them as they are a lovely young couple. Tanya and I did wish Cynthia was with us today to catch - up some of the years.

June with Cynthia's school friend..Tanya
We lunched in Emerald and drove north east to this historic reserve. It is the site where the township of Lilyvale was set up in 1862. It is a wide bare area with picnic facilities and a large pond which is home to several tortoises we saw in the murky waters.

It has actually been a very short driving day but tomorrow will be different I expect as we head toward Rockhampton.

Sorghum crops and Mandarin orchards are two of the main  pursuits around Emerald except for the huge The Crinum and Gregory coal mines are quite near here. We can hear the machinery constantly in the will certainly operate all night.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29th...DAY 43

Another bright morning of clear skies. Peter and Di left Theresa Creek dam about 7.30 am on the  final leg to Airlie Beach.
After having a walk around this large dry camping area we headed south through barren undulating country. The cattle we saw were, sadly, in a very poor condition.

Points of most interest were Rubyvale and then Sapphire which are a little way north of Emerald. From the names of these settlements you will guess we are in the middle of 'gem stone' country. John and I would not have the interest or patience to look for gems. Living conditions overall are poor with shanties, sheds and old caravans a common sight.

The line of the Tropic of Capricorn

We lunched very near the Tropic of Capricorn sign which is actually runs between Rubyvale and Sapphire.

Tonight we have camped on the banks of the Nogoa River.. where it runs through a camping property called 'Higher Ground'. It is a lovely bush aspect and makes a change from the busy camps we have been in.

Nogoa River goes on to flow through Emerald
July 28th...DAY 42

Before Sunrise at Mt Elphinstone
Fish for breakfast 
Lake Elphinstone was really beautiful this morning with quite a frenzy of birds enjoying breakfast in fact.

We continued south through very dry country and eventually came through  some very busy mining areas.
Everything was big...mullock heaps, trucks, earth movers, trains transporting coal and even the accommodation villages. Broadlea Coal mine, Millinium mine, Coppabella mine, Peak Downs and Blair Athol to name a few of the coal mines we drove passed.

We had made an arrangement to meet Peter & Di Smith on their way north as we travel south. We met at Cleremont. What a fun night the 4 of us had camping at Theresa Creek Dam where there were many other people camping ..probably over 150 rigs
Sausages were cooked and eaten as well as some wine enjoyed. The evening became quite chilly so a late night at 9.30 pm!

Rainbow Lorikeet

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27th...DAY 41

Yes we are moving south, in fact we drove over 300 km today and the weather has been very warm 30 deg. We will notice the winter cold when we reach Victoria. Here where we are camped this evening it is much cooler though. Lake Elphinstone appears to be a man made lake and the camping area is extensive. We have a spot near the shore where we can see the birds..pelicans, swans and ducks..even some domestic ducks which are annoying some campers.

We travelled south to Bowen where a Navy boat was in the port. The market gardens around the Bowen area are extensive..tomatoes, capsicums, chilies, strawberries and corn to mention a few.
The country was very dry SW of Bowen with few cattle and dry creeks. At one point a dingo dived out of the grass to cross the road. He looked to be a healthy fellow and quickly turned back.

There are extensive coal mines with huge mullock heaps. We noted heavy trucks on the road and a double rail line which no doubt carries coal. We went by the Sonoma Coal Mine and the Newlands Coal Mine. Glenden is a typical mining town with many houses the same....Little boxes..little boxes as in the song of years ago!!

Foreshore of Lake Elphinstone

One of many swans!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26th... DAY ..40

 I was more than pleased to leave Cocoa Creek with so many sand flies and mosquitoes. Some bites have become very swollen and very itchy. The tide was in but no sign of crocodiles.

Travelling took us through many sugar plantations. ..another processing mill and more train carriages loaded with harvested sugar. Where is all the sugar sold? There seems so much produced.

A beautiful hibiscus flower
We stopped to buy fish from a wayside shop and the owner told us about the Burdekin Show which was on in Ayre. John spent 1.5 hours there looking at old engines which seemed to be the highlight of the day.
I spent quiet time under the shade of a tree.

We have come off the Bruce Highway south of Ayre into a fishing camp Molongle Creek. It is the point of access for Upstart National Park. This park can only be accessed by boat. Needless to say we are on the mainland tonight. Molongle Creek is tidal and there are many fishing enthusiasts camped. In fact we joined in with a
 pre dinner 'sing song' for an hour. The leader was a clever musician and vocalist who sang all the 'old' songs, many of which John and I danced to in the 1960s.

Mangroves along Molongle Creek

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25th....DAY 39

White trunks of the Poplar Gum as we walked along Alligator Creek

The morning dawned fine, thankfully and still very warm. We walked along Alligator Creek for an hour, then slowly tidied the rig ready for a short move to another site in the Bowling Green NP.
Cocoa Creek is quite wild as we drove in to the camp sites.  There are eucalypt trees and palms as well as long dry grass. In fact I find Cocoa Creek itself quite 'ominous' looking. It has steep muddy banks and the water is lined with mangrove trees. My imagination runs wild when I walk close to edge..every shape is a 'crocodile shape'. There are sand flies and mosquitoes so it is not the best place we have chosen to camp at.

Cocoa creek lined with Mangroves
I have had a new experience today and that is taping a cut with 'steri strips'. John slipped on rocks this morning and  cut his elbow.
July 24th…DAY  38

Last night I arranged to visit Barry Desailly in Townsville.  We arrived at his home before 11 am. What a friendly chap Barry is and so like his brother Roly whom we visited in Hay 5 weeks ago. 

Barry’s Great Grandfather and my Great Grandfather were brothers. Barry is eight year older than I am but we both belong to the same generation of the large Desailly family. He is an interested historian and has kept all contact letters that he has received as well as some that were written to his parents. He was delighted to find that I am Lurline’s (Desailly) daughter..the ice was immediately broken. Barry shared many stories and printed matter with me and copied anything that I was slightly interested in. Unfortunately we did not meet Barry’s wife but he, unexpectedly organised lunch for us. He knows much more about the history of the Desailly families than I do but it takes years of collecting, talking and remembering. It is amazing how many of the men of the family have a similar appearance. Sadly I forgot to take a photo of the two of us.
The Poplar Gum shows an unusual way of shedding bark

Hop Bush along Alligator Creek

Prior to leaving Townsville we called at a shopping centre to stock up with food, than drove out to the Bowling Green National Park and camped in the Alligator Creek Camping Ground. For the first time in 5.5 weeks the evening is wet but not cold thankfully. I need the door of the rig open to let cool air in. The sky is starry so we hope for a fine day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23rd...DAY 37

Paluma Dam from Camping Grounds
This morning our camp was surrounded by Brush Turkeys. They like to scratch around looking for food I expect. We explored the camp at the Paluma Dam which is really attractive,  walked over the dam wall  and inspected all 25 camping sites. We decided to travel down  the western side of the Paluma Range. At one point we could see the mountains toward Charters Towers. The road took a much less steep course and was much easier driving. However we soon left the rain forest and plunged into very dry cattle station properties with no water in most creeks. I think it must be in a rain shadow of eastern coastal rains. One property was called the 'ZigZag' Station. I am pleased I do not have the responsibility of operating this very dry property. The ZigZag Creek runs through it!

We lunched on a water hole in Running Creek. It was an oasis in the dryness. The road had now turned to bitumen and it did not take long to reach the coastal areas. Wattle trees lined the road way in many places.

Luncheon stop by Running Creek 

Finding a place to camp was the challenge. We finally found that The BIG4 camp north of Townsville had room for a price of course!

July 22nd….DAY 36

Water lines as the tide comes in

Despite the number of people camped at Hull Heads it was a peaceful bush camp. The noise of the distant waves was good to sleep with. The only disturbance we had was the mournful cry of the curlew. I have never seen or heard so many in one area.

On the way back to the Bruce Highway we called in to Tully heads and walked for 40 minutes on the beautiful beach. No camping is allowed here and from signs along the water front the ‘Welcome Mat’ is not out for visitors.

The mountains are a wonderful background..some are very steep with a cone like top. Hinchinbrook Island appeared the same. It is possible to go to there by commercial boat,  but there are no facilities to take a vehicle.

Pelicans with off coast islands 

Lunch was enjoyed at Ingham which is a pretty well cared for town with Hinchinbrook Island a dominant background feature.

Sugar cane is the main industry with acres of it under production. The local mill processes 3 million tons per year. Sugar cane harvesters and sugar trains were very much in evidence.

I had arranged to call at Paluma to visit Anneshka's friend whom she has known from Darwin days. Colwyn is a lovely lady who welcomed us into her home. The trip up the very steep mountains to Paluma was quite an incredible drive through forest which varied from open treed bush to thick rain forest. Late in the afternoon we went further on to camp at the Paluma Dam which supplies Townsville with water. The temperature is quite cold up here so we have re-instated the doona on our bed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21st...DAY 35

We drove out to the highway quite slowly so we could enjoy all the rainforest at close hand. John even found a tree snake beside the road., Wooroonooran National Park had been a great place to stay...a grassed area with the Johnstone River nearby

Zamia Fern
Very soon after the Highway intersection we stopped to walk  600 metres to the Tehupala Falls on the North Johnstone River. It was a beautiful walk with amazing Falls at the end. Walking gave us the opportunity to see the Rainforest plants very close at hand. I feel quite in awe at the huge plants and how they grow together in such steep country.

Flying Buttress trunk of a Fig Tree
Driving on to Innisfail gave us a great change of scenery as we travelled through the rich, red volcanic soil of the agricultural lands.. bananas, sugar cane and cattle grazing were the main farming pursuits. The overall country is very hilly and steep. We chose to drive on the old Bruce Highway where the traffic is not so busy. Following the cane train was rather fun. Sugar cane is being harvested and taken to the North Johnstone Sugar Mill which was puffing out great plumes of steam. A strong smell  of heavy treacle came from the mill as we drove by.

We have had a great drive again today and are camped at Hull Heads which is near Tully . The area averages over 4 metres of rain per year..maybe we are lucky that it is warm and dry this evening. Our rig is across the road from a long beach so an evening walk was refreshing before we cooked Barramundi for tea..we did not catch the fish ourselves like some clever people but we purchased it at a Fish Farm.

Footsteps in the sand
July 20th…DAY 34
Garden Plant..unknown variety
 The day has been quite cool after an unexpected 4 deg morning. Again the country through which we have driven has been interesting, varied and beautiful. Rainforests turned into a patchwork of farm lands and now this evening we are camped deep into a rain forest again. Ferns, huge and small trees and vines all compete for sunlight. The forest is very tall and dense. A tree near our rig this evening must be 35 metres tall and fronds of the King Ferns can be 4 or 5 metres long. 
Mt Bartle Frere..Queensland's Highest Mountain
The Johnstone River is fast running with a swift flow of clear water.
Throughout the  Atherton Tablelands agricultural lands look healthy, growing on beautiful red volcanic soil…sugar cane, maize and an unidentified grass like crop as well as acres of tea bushes grown by Nerada. We visited this operation and viewed the production area.
I purchased packets of three types of, green and camomile. These are readily available in Super markets of course. Last year when John and I visited Malaysia we went up to Cameron Heights where tea is grown. We called at one plantation called BOH and enjoyed cups of tea with our friends. Strangely BOH tea is owned by the same company as Nerada Tea. I did enjoy the green tea made by BOH.

Nerada Tea Plantation

Another strangler Fig tree was an amazing site today…the Curtain Fig Tree is huge and, I felt, was more attractive than the Cathedral Tree.
We do find interest in a variety of birds. Yesterday we learned the call of an Oriole and  photographed a pair of curlews. Today we saw another pair of curlews and about 20 brolgas feeding on a freshly ploughed field of red soil.

Whip birds have ‘cracked their  whip’ at a number of sites. We have seen Cattle Egrets many times..feeding with cattle in the field. We have now seen Egrets following a sugar harvester as well as feeding in the freshly harvested sugar cane field. They have been in flocks of 20 to 100. An Egret is a  common site!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19th..DAY 33

 After finding our way through the maze of Cairns streets and stocking up with food we eventually we left this 'buzzing' city of 175, 000 people.
We travelled south on the Bruce Highway and turned south west along the Gillies Highway which took us through a very steep range up to the Atherton Tableland. The Heritage Rainforest was tall and wild. We turned off at the sign post to ‘Tinaroo Lake’ . After our luncheon stop we walked a very short distance to see the Cathedral Tree. It was an absolutely huge old strangler fig tree which is estimated to be 500 years old. It measures 44 metres around the extensive trunk .  There are over 10 varieties of ferns growing in the huge spreading branches.
Further on we walked in from the road on a circuit walk of 600metres to see
Mobo Creek and the crater into which it flows..mysteriously it also flows out of the crater. Again the track took us through dense rainforest.

Lake Tinaroo is a 'man made' dam surrounded by pine forest. The Lake area has several camping sites which are very well cared for and cater for 400 campers. This evening feels much cooler than in Cairns where it was comfortable to sit outside till quite late. We are camped at 683 metres above sea level...yes it was a steep climb this morning!

Branches of the Cathedral Tree

June in the Cathedral Tree

Mobo Creek running into the Mobo Crater

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 17th & 18th ..DAYS 31 & 32

The first focus for the day was to have the front tyres of EC attended to. They had become badly out of balance making driving much more challenging. Luckily we found a garage which specialised in truck tyres. The guys attended to it immediately. Very Lucky as it is Cairns Show this weekend and most places are closed tomorrow.

Botanical gardens around cafe where we enjoyed lunch
Flowere in botanical Gardens
We did a few shopping items , then drove through heavy traffic on the Esplanade and eventually ended up at the  Botanical Gardens. We lunched in the Cafe first, then enjoyed a lovely walk through the wonderful gardens. We especially enjoyed the beautiful tropical plants with coloured leaves and exotic flowers.

Dinner was 'fish & chips' on the foreshore, then a long walk to see the night time activities of cafes and shops. The Night Market was open so we walked though there. It was amazing the number of people about
just enjoying the night air. There is a lovely swimming pool on the fore shore, for public use and free of charge. What an asset on a hot day.

The 2nd day was hot again but  very pleasant. Tony, our 'Navy Man'  in fact the Commanding Officer of the Port of Cairns, took us out to the Port to see the newly  berthed Parramatta Frigate. He arranged for us to have a half hour tour with Jesse Kelly, a young Officer who is learning the operations of  'the bridge'. She is a knowledgeable young female sailor who will be able to take control of the frigate, after about 18 months of training . We saw over the 4 or 5 decks which covered the bridge, the fore deck with guns, living quarters including bunk cabins, bathrooms, the mess and the well equipped galley.  Customs were on board with a lovely golden coloured 'sniffer dog' inspecting all decks. As we were leaving we saw a human chain of sailors loading supplies. It was a very interesting half hour.

We enjoyed lunch with Tony, Brenda & Greig..a lunch of cold meat, fresh bread and fruit. We are really enjoying the tropical fruits..banana, pineapples, papayas, dragon fruit, chocolate fruit and passionfruit.This evening a BBQ will be enjoyed with everyone including Lauren who has been out to the reef on the boat 'Reef Magic'. It will have been a lovely day on the Barrier Reef which is about 60 km out.

Fore deck of the Parramatta Frigate

Sailors loading supplies

Thursday, July 17, 2014

 July 16th DAY.. 30

Beach at Port Douglas

 A noisy night in Mossman parked very near a busy road. The day dawned bright again but there are always clouds about, ready to darken and produce a shower of rain. Port Douglas was next on the list. What a beautiful beach. We walked a long way amongst lots of people who were walking, reading, playing with kids or swimming in the cool surf. The township itself is beautifully cared for with all lawns and gardens well kept. It is a very popular and busy tourist centre with many many resorts providing accommodation. The golf links don't interest us but they looked magnificent.

Sugar harvesting is in full swing with trains and trucks carting the harvested cane to the mill in Mossman. The
cane fields are really attractive with their tall fronds swaying in the breeze.

Instead of following the coast we decided to go inland again where the roads are not so frantic. Once we went through the hills the country became much drier. We were still meeting trucks carrying harvested cane. From where? We remembered seeing sugar growing near Dimbulah. It is a long way to take the cane for processing. Dimboolah once had a very strong tobacco industry..but it is nowhere to be seen today. Probably all being grown in China...near the area where John a & Anneshka lived

Cairns seemed to be a maze of roads and traffic but we eventually we found the park where we were booked for three nights. Not a lot of space to park our rig but plenty of shade to sit in.

 We had been in contact with Tony Powell who lives here, in Cairns, at present. Lauren is also working up here working on a boat which takes tours out to the reef.
Brenda and Grieg Pollock also arrived in Cairns today. Tony invited us all for dinner.  Lauren cooked us a lovely smoked salmon pasta meal. It was good to see everyone.

Sugar train being loaded with harvested cane

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15th...DAY 29

Koala Camp, Kimberley Point
A relaxed morning while the camp washing machine did some work for us! Koala Camp was a very pretty camp to leave. We crossed the Daintree River by ferry which was surprisingly quick.  The traffic on the roads is heavy as the area has become a mecca for Tourists from all parts of the world.

A quick decision saw us on a cruise boat  for a 1.5 hour tip on the Daintree River. Our guide was a soccer enthusiast so had comments for all overseas visitors. To our amazement he could speak several languages but most importantly he was a very knowledgeable guide when it came to telling us about rain forest climates and the flora and fauna that lives within. He knew all the haunts where large and small estaurine  crocodiles might be sunning themselves. We saw quite a number from one  '3 plus metre' female to a 30 cm baby. It was a very enjoyable cruise. Growth in the rain forest is amazing. Ferns, vines and so much thick entwining green and lush growth. I took the photo, below, in a garden but there are many many ferns high in the forest.

We continued south to Mossman  where John was keen to walk up the famous gorge there..however much different from what was expected. It was a highly organised Tourist precinct with restaurant, shop and ferry cars to see the gorge at a price. We stayed a short time but did not see the Mossman Gorge. There was a lovely display of artwork by some modern aboriginal artists.

The the fun find a place to park EC for the night. After several unsuccessful attempts we have settled in a busy caravan park. John spent about an hour looking for somewhere in or near Cairns for the next couple of nights...yes we have booked, again, in a formal park..not quite what we were looking for. All National Parks are booked ahead and 'free' camping spots are not available.

Sugar Cane Train taking harvest to the mill at Mossman
Garden ferns

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14th..Day 28

What a day! It was full of action! We travelled south through the Daintree NP to Cape Tribulation and are camped in quite a remote park on Cape Kimberley. The sea is wild with wind and grey skies. We have enjoyed two beach walks today.

New bridge being built and the old concrete ford which we used

In 1990 when we were up here the crossing of the Bloomfield River was exciting and memorable. It is quite a wide river where crocodiles live. We were in a convoy of five vehicles. When we arrived at the crossing point there was an army truck part way across. It had run over the edge of the shallow stone ford..nose into the water doing considerable damage  to its engine. There was an army guy on the bank with a gun ready for any crocodile attack. A grader driver drove in from the other side offering to pull them out for a 'slab of beer'. But, no, there was to be no payment of beer so the grader reversed out of the river and left them in the water. Our five vehicles were able to carefully cross. I think the army truck eventually got through when the tide went out. Today was very different.
The guy at the new bridge warned us that the road through to Cape Tribulation was very slippery. We came through OK but, in some patches, it was BIG TIME slippery. After one down hill section I said 'I felt as if I was going sideways' the reply came very swiftly  'You were'. Yes it was very slippery. One hill we came down at 2 km per hour it was just so bad...slippery and rutted. People we met told us about a couple of cars off the road. The next 'event' was a queue of vehicles which were waiting to go up a long steep section. The Donovan Range hill. We took our turn and after John inspecting the road on foot and lowering the air pressure in our tyres we drove up without a hitch. What will be the challenge tomorrow as we proceed south to Mosman.
 The walks we had in the Cape Tribulation Rainforest were fascinating. Everything is so green and tall with vines growing and twisting where they wish .The growth is incredible and very dense. Note the twisted branches behind John.

John in the rain forest

Mangrove trees showing their wonderful roots.

July 13th... DAY 27

A Drawing by Tulo Gordon  about the Endeavour River

Sunday morning was quiet in the camp..only the Brush Turkey to be seen. This property usually
produces Red Endeavour Passion-fruit at this time of the year. Unfortunately the crop was damaged
by the cyclone in unseasonable cyclone. All agriculture up the coast is suffering.
We spent about 3 hours in Cooktown grabbing the opportunity of Internet access as well as a visit
 to IGA to stock up on food supplies.

We lunched on top of Grassy Hill at the Lighthouse and Lookout. What a view of the sea. This is
the bay that Captain James Cook sailed his ship 'The Endeavour' into ... awhile ago now...1770.  They were suffering damage to the famous ship at the time so were pleased to find a safe harbour at the mouth of a river which Sir James named the Endeavour River.

Mouth of Endeavour River
This afternoon we came south for a few hours through some wonderful rain-forest country. The trees
are tall and everything is covered with vines and is incredibly green.

John & I came through here in 1990 on our way to Cape York. Elaine, Del, Margaret and Heather were
in the party. What do you all remember? Black  Mountain seemed clear in my mind but I think the road
has been relocated and upgraded and much of it is now bitumen. We called at the old 'Lions Den Hotel..
Just for a look again. The Bar and Dining Room have remained much the same. I do remember eating
a pie and sauce there in the bar.

John & June at the Entrance to the old Pub near the Black Mountains

Tonight our camp is at Haley's camping resort. It is well organised and very clean. It is not easy to
find a roadside camp any more and National Parks are booked out for several nights.

During dinner we heard a radio report about some debris coming off a Russian satellite and landing
somewhere near Cobar. Immediately we realised that we had seen this phenomenon while sitting outside
a couple of nights ago. It appeared like a shooting star but much brighter and more distinct ..not
like anything we had seen before. We consider ourselves lucky to have seen it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 12th DAY 26

An early morning sunny spot attracted the crocodile again..on a log in the middle of the river though!
The bush around our camp is dense with eucalypts, other big and small trees, creepers, vines and palms. There is an obvious mud mark where flood waters have reached about 2 metres up the tree trunks across the woodland.
We did enjoy a slow trip out watching the birds and identifying those we could.. Green Pygmy Geese as well as a pair of Squatter Pigeons which are both new to us.
The Battle Camp road was gravel but quite good travelling apart from the dusty traffic. Battle Camp Station
 was named because of a battle between whites and natives during the late 1800s.
As we neared the coast the road through the ranges became steep but really beautiful. It was interesting and significant to cross the historic Endeavour River as we came closer to Cooktown.

Again we had to alter our plans because roads to the Cedar Bay National Park were closed because of the
recent cyclone. It was only accessible by boat

We have settled in this evening in the Endeavour River Escape which is a property steeped in aboriginal history. The boundary of one side of the park area is formed by the Endeavour river..crocodiles and eels and mosquitoes as well. The river is tidal here as we are close to the mouth. There are a couple of Brush Turkeys scratching around in the bush near our rig. They are a strange looking bird with their tail is vertical rather then horizontal.  The park green and pretty with excellent amenities.

Looking down the Endeavour River

Someone will have eel for dinner!

Brush Turkey

Saturday, July 12, 2014

 July 11th  DAY 25

 Prior to arriving at our camping spot we drove by a series of lagoons which were part of Horseshoe Lagoon. They were really beautiful with lillies and birds. Sadly the scene was marred by the diggings of wild pigs.
We saw our first crocodile sunning himself on a log in Welcome Waterhole  which is part of the Normanby River. This is where we are camped this evening. A narrow snouted fellow which indicates he is a fresh water creature. The area is lovely with lagoons, water lillies and huge palm trees. We are camped high above the water's edge.
Birds are very interesting as we travel. They flit in front of us or we see them feeding in and around the water.
Brolgas birds were plentiful today with several flocks on view. They are a graceful bird both in flight and
feeding in the grassy shallows. Sacred Ibis are distinctive with black and white plumage. A pair of Glossy
Ibis showed us their dark irridecant green/red feathers. Even a couple of snakes have shown themselves swimming and another on the road.

The road is busy with traffic with vehicles rushing along leaving a huge trail of dust to mix with the smoke
of burning off.

Tomorrow we will head for Cooktown. Our plan has changed a little as we had hoped to go up to Cape Melville
but the road is still too wet from cyclones and recent rains. We met a chap this evening who had foolishly
driven along a 'closed' road up toward Princess Charlotte Bay. He became very badly bogged, had to sleep in
the vehicle with his two teenage children and then walk a long way for help. Very foolish!

John with tall termite nest

Pretty Lagoon near Normanby River