COOOEE : A long, loud call used to attract attention when at a distance, mainly done in the Australian bush
OZ : Australia!

29 July 2011

And Back Again

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

We are home! Sorry about the lack of postings! Once the word “Home” came into the conversation we were off and running! We actually did the drive from Cairns to Coffs in 3 days! And I even did some of the driving! We had planned to stay at Agnes Waters but decided that it as going to bee too cold to snorkel anyway (at least without a wetsuit and that is just tooo scary a visual!). And we had planned to stay at Poona near Hervey Bay ... And we had planned to stay at Byron Bay (but when we turned up they said there was a mistake in the caravan info book and they no longer took pets .... So it was home!
We left the lovely Malanda Caravan Park without spotting a tree kangaroo but having seen plenty of birdlife. We spent the first night in Bowen in a caravan park that was the icing on the cake as far as our attitude to caravan parks goes! But then the next night we stayed at a very small park at Bororen and wished “if only there could be more like this!”
So the decision has been made :
Caravanning is NOT FOR US! We will be taking it up to Byron Bay next weekend for the Writers Festival but then we are selling it. There are many and varied reasons (ask me if you are interested). We still want to travel so we are researching our options!

22 July 2011

Atherton Tableland 2

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

The picture of the cow just about says it all about this area ... a little bit of this ... a little bit of that ... a little bit funky ... a little bit country ... a little bit arty ...a little bit agricultural.
Today we changed caravan parks. We have moved about 15km from Lake Tinaroo to Malanda. The van park at Tinaroo was really well situated .... right next to the lake (very enormous! great for any boating activity). There was a very dog friendly park just across the road. BUT our van site totally lacked privacy and we would have had to change sites today anyway to make way for a previous booking.
This caravan park is right next to Malanda Falls and is surrounded by rainforest. Tree Kangaroos abound ... it would be great to get a pic!

17 July 2011

Atherton Tableland

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

This is just a quick update on our location. We haven’t even downloaded any photos yet! It is not that we are “photoed” out ... I think it is just that the Daintree rainforest is sooooo visually stunning that we need to take a deep breath and change our focus (unintentional camera pun!).
This area is very interesting. We are a little over an hour from Cairns and not much more to the Daintree but we are now inland.
It is a fertile area with volcanic soil and an interesting mix of crops .... from tropical (bananas, mangoes, pineapples) to cool climate (citrus) with potatoes, peanuts, zucchini, etc etc. And coffee. And tea. And dairy. And barra fishing.
Boutique produce shopping abounds (Coffee World - “Disneyland for coffee lovers”) with artisan cheese, or ice cream, or roasted peanuts, or tropical wines and spirits.
As well as the varied produce there is a great variety of scenery .... so I will have to start taking pics again to show it.
Was a bit gobsmacked by this statue in Milla Milla. It is part of a series around the area on the “pioneering spirit”. It is actually a man pushing his cow out of a bog but it looked more like something from “All Creatures Great And Small” with his arm disappearing inside the cow. It is all in the angle of viewing .... but the picture shows how it looks as you approach it down the main street. Charming!
The area was used for basic training of the Australian forces in WW2. Dad was in camp near here before being shipped out to New Guinea. It would be his birthday tomorrow so we are going in search of the memorial to the First Aus Corp. There were also bases for the US Air Force and Army so there are many memorials and museums in the small towns.
So ... artisan farming, fishing, wineries, distilleries, history, scenery, .... hmmmm, this could be our Triffid Refuge

13 July 2011

Be Wary Of The Cassowary

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

OK ... hidden in the picture is a cassowary who was beside the road with its baby, well, youngster really. Cool.
We went to Mossman Gorge yesterday. Basically “nice” but that’s about it ... maybe it suffices for Port Douglas holidaymakers who don’t want to venture further into the Daintree. Not in the same box as the rainforest we have been living in for the past two weeks.
Our time here is about to come to an end so we crammed a lot into today. We started with a repeat visit to the Discovery Centre where Alphie was determined to go to the top of the Observation Tower. After that we went to check out Noah Beach before lunch.
We had lunch at Whet .... excellent ... cauliflower and scallop soup, seared tuna, crab tagliatelle, lime-and-coconut cake, a crisp bottle of Capel Vale verdello,a charming Scottish backpacker waitress ... all in a rainforest setting. No wonder it is highly recommended by Lonely Planet.
We then picked up Mac and went for another beach walk at Cow Bay. Tomorrow we start packing up camp ready to head out on Friday to the Atherton Tableland.

12 July 2011


The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

To anyone still reading this blog you will need to click on “Go to Archive” to check out all the recent entries. With very limited internet access I had a whole lot loaded and ready to post and so some are already “archived”.

10 July 2011

This and That

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

This morning we drove into Port Douglas. We had breakfast at the Mecure Resort ...beautiful surroundings and a rather nice buffet breakfast. Then on to the Port Douglas Beachfront Markets. OMG ... I think we have been out of civilisation too long. It was a chaotic confusion of stalls with ambling tyre kickers and mobile chicanes ... gentle push-and-shove and duck-and-weave. And really, for the most part, the merchandise for sale was not “special” to Port Douglas.
We consoled ourselves on the way home with yet another stop at Daintree Ice Cream (gosh ... sooooo regular that the other day the girl gave us the “local’s discount”). They make their own ice cream from fruits that they grow on their orchard. You don’t get a choice ... it comes as four scoops of four different flavours that change each day ... such as, banana, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, soursop, wattleseed, blueberry, black sapote, coconut. Yum ... not too creamy and great natural fruity flavours. All this and a wonderful view of Thornton’s Peak.

09 July 2011

D'Arcy of Daintree

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

We booked a tour with “D’Arcy of Daintree 4WD Tours” to go up the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown. There is an inland Highway but this is a 4-wheel-drive dirt road that follows the coast for much of the way. There were a few river/creek crossings, some bumpy bits but nothing too bone shaking.
Alphie & I were the only two booked on the tour so we had very personal (and personable) attention from Mike D’Arcy. While we could probably have done this on our own, it was great to have an informed guide who knew the road and the area. Mike knew all the best photo op stops and made it a most interesting trip.
There were many “favourites” for the day ... the beach stop, Black Mountain, Grassy Hill Lookout, the croc-on-the rock, the Bloomfield (Wujal Wujal) Falls, ... but, kitsch-loving lush that I am ... I think the winner was : the Lion’s Den Hotel (quaint & quirky).
Big plus was having a cassowary cross the road in front of us.
Big minus was that the replica “Endeavour” had been in port and left just as we arrived.

08 July 2011


The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

I’ve always wanted to be a fan dancer!
I think I have become addicted to taking photos of these palms ... they are so striking.
This boardwalk was a little drier than the Marrja Boardwalk but its groves of Fan Palms were a photographers delight.
Alphie had been going really well using his “Canadian” crutches. He is so much more confident and therefore so much more active. This boardwalk wasn’t particularly long (1.2km) but it took us about 2 hours because we take so many photos (sorry all you power-walking fanatics). One of the big payoffs at the end of the walk (or I guess at the beginning if you went the other way) was Myall Beach. And today the Coral Sea was a stunning tropical blue fringing a long palm fronded stretch of golden sand.
Ahhhh ... where the rainforest meets the reef. Just idyllic.

07 July 2011

Daintree Discovery Centre

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

Awesome! This was a great informative and educational centre. It is also great value as your entry fee covers you for 7 days ... and I know we will be back again before we leave
We did the Aerial Walkway to the Interpretive Display Centre and will go back and do the Cassowary Circuit and the Bush Tucker Trail ... and Alphie is determined to do the Canopy Tower.
There was an audio guide as well as an interpretive booklet and many bright, informative information posters. The Interpretive Display Centre was very well done - for both adults and children (I couldn’t get Alphie out of there!)
So now as we do our boardwalks, bushwalks and beachwalks we will know what to look out for (but we still haven’t seen a cassowary!)

06 July 2011

Ocean Safari ~ NOT

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

Today we had booked to go out onto the reef from Cape Tribulation.
Made our booking and paid our deposit with a booking agent on Monday for a morning reef trip on Wednesday.
Turned up for our tour this morning ... and they had screwed up the booking. I’m standing there with the paperwork and receipt saying WEDNESDAY and they said we should have come on Tuesday ... if fact, the @*$#@!* at the counter actually said “You were a NO SHOW, We should charge you!”. And I have the paperwork in my hand saying Wednesday!!!
We just wanted to rebook but they were flipping out about whose fault it was (and sure wasn’t ours) ... we weren’t looking to blame or complain ... just rebook for another morning. They were aggressive and obnoxious and just kept saying that they were tour operators and didn’t make mistakes.
Have to say if they can’t even take responsibility for a paperwork error then I am not sure of their level of responsibility looking after people on the reef.
Have since learnt that they are a newcomer business who put the local operators out of work ... shame ... as there is now no competition.
So a curse on OCEAN SAFARI (TripAdvisor report coming up!)

04 July 2011

Cooper Creek Wilderness tour

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

This tour was excellent.

It wasn't expensive. It only went for an hour. It wasn't tourist-hyped. It had just the right amount of information. AND ... there were CROCS!!! Crocs in the wild ... not in an enclosure, not in a zoo, not performing tricks.

There were two VERY large, old males, three females and a cute (?) baby.


The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

I am blogging this on the ferry across the Daintree River. We have no mobile access (curse you Optus) and no WiFi access at the van park where we are staying. We are doing a quick trip across the river into the village of Daintee (checking out next van park, and getting some WiFi access).
Daintree rainforest is just awesome. I should have had this blog entry done in advance so that it was ready to post. It is too beautiful to rush the description.
So many photos to sort through. Booked in till next Friday but may stay longer. It has been drizzle, showers and rain. And this is the dry season.
Hoping we get some sunshine. Booked to go out on a crocodile safari river cruise this afternoon, the reef on Wednesday and a sea kayak planned for when the weather improves.

03 July 2011

Marrja Boardwalk

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

Don't you love this picture of Alphie in the rainforest! He looks like a little Lego Man in a giant forest!!!

This boardwalk was absolutely stunning.

The boardwalk covered mostly rainforest area with a mangrove section at the end. My favourites were the wonderful Fan Palms and the amazing Strangler Figs. The Daintree is among the oldest rainforest sections in the world.

I can't understand why people come here and stay in Luxury Lodges and have expensive spa treatments ... I feel TOTALLY cleansed ... physically, spiritually and mentally ... just walking and breathing in this green utopia.

Caravan Travel ~ 1 Month Anniversary

The There & Back Again Tour to FNQ

OK ... we have just had our “One Month Anniversary.
I had initially planned to take a photo at every stop but that proved to be too difficult. Basically it would have looked like I was a Misery Guts determined not to have a good time .... after all everyone said “You will love it”.
In hindsight I SHOULD have taken those photos ... because there are (like it or not you Van Dwellers) negative aspects of Life On The Road.
  • You give up a lot of your privacy -shoulder to shoulder with the next van.
  • You have to like the smell of shit-and-shampoo in the morning (sorry for those delicate readers ... I am just telling it like it is)
  • You have to like being a contortionist to enjoy showering in most of the amenities block cubicles.
You are maybe wondering about the picture??? As someone who like to “name” their car (ahhhh ... I miss you Scarlet O’Cara) I told Alphie that we should call the van “The Brunswick” (after my favourite brand of sardines) and the car “King Oscar” after another brand.
I still have that feeling of confinement ... not necessarily from being enclosed in the van but from the proximity of neighbours in the van park. And more than once our scenic view has been of the ablutions block!