Atherton Tablelands to Mission Beach, QLD.

After the Daintree we headed South for Atherton, eager to go to a Saturday market, only to miss each one. Our timing was out and in one case by a week as the biggest and best market was advertised as the last Saturday of the month, it was only the 4th Saturday… with 5 that month 😦

When we traveled to Cairns from inland QLD, we drove through Atherton and were looking forward to returning and exploring. It was etched in our memory as a green oasis after our 6 months in the outback. When we returned it did not disappoint, lots of fresh produce and dairy’s.

Gallo’s Dairyland:

Malanda Falls:

We stayed at the caravan park in Malanda, they had a few farm animals including these turkeys! All puffed up chasing his lady!

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Hen & Mr Gobbler! Such a laugh to watch.

Tinaroo dam:

We bought a permit to fish here at Tinaroo Dam, nice afternoon, but that’s about it…

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Mungalli Dairy:

Oh my, oh my, oh my, this was breathtaking.

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I love being able to sit in our van and look out the window at such stunning vistas. It really is the reason to travel.

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Kurrimine Beach:

Kurrimine Beach is just north of Mission Beach, a very popular tourist destination. We decided to try Kurrimine instead and loved it. WikiCamps had some great reviews of the area and I think all of the 3 caravan parks were about 100m from the beach. We managed to collect more coconuts, give a de-husked coconut away, go fishing 3 times without success, meet more really nice people, a group from Melbourne who told us of their fishing adventures the day before out on a boat catching BIG fish, who then drove home and brought us a couple of kgs of it! We are so spoilt.

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Charley’s Chocolate Factory:

They run an excellent tour, most importantly friendly, with lots to see and the focus was on the chocolate. They are in a unique position to demonstrate the chocolate making process from tree to bean to bar. The farm is owned by a couple who moved from Melbourne and decided to start a cocoa tree farm on some land they’d bought.

During the tour, we were given a history of chocolate both ancient and modern, then we were taken to the nursery to see how their cocoa plants are grown from seed, there is a very narrow window that they have to import and plant, from memorey about 10 days! Then we were walked over to where the cocoa plants are grown and harvested. The way they trellis their trees to protect them against cyclone and produce a bigger yield is really amazing.

We then returned to the shed to hear, see and taste how the cocoa beans are extracted from the pod, fermented, roasted and made into bars. I actually missed a bit of it as an older lady fainted in the humidity and was lending a hand. The tour concluded with lunch and an opportunity to purchase some bars of ‘Australian Origin’ chocolate!

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Cacao tree green house.
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This my friends, is the beginning of what you know as chocolate! The flower before the fruit.

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Esther crawling over to the Cacao fruit! She knows a good thing when she sees it.
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One of a few Australian Cacao Plantations.

From here we hopped back in the car with the caravan in tow and headed further south to follow up some job opportunities for Dan.

Daintree, QLD.

Late September, 2017. The beautiful, beautiful Daintree.

I will reiterate how nice it was to be back in our van after our time in a tent. It was luxurious and Esther was excited to be reunited with some of her toys as well as get her new birthday toy train:

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We enjoyed showering again in our own shower, having air conditioning, our lavish kitchen, block out blinds and minimal unpacking and packing in order to sleep (throw some toys, books and clothes off the bed and off to sleep, as opposed to blowing or re-inflating the air mattress).

We stayed at the Daintree Caravan Park, friendly accommodating staff and the surrounds were lush, birds all through the tree canopies singing every morning, bandicoots and friendly ants that made a nest in the arm of our camp chair, overnight!

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View at the caravan park.
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Our set up. same old.
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Female & Male Australasian Figbird.

We headed back across the ferry to check out the Daintree National Park and also some of the tourist sites. We did a hike through the rainforest and paused for any loud noises to see if it was a Cassowary, but never to see one. The only Cassowary we saw was a statue of one prior to boarding the ferry, that and a million road signs warning of their supposed presence. I’m not sure they even exist, kind of like hoop snakes and drop bears or wild Koala’s as opposed to bred in captivity! We are now in the ACT and I still haven’t seen a Koala in the wild.

One of my favourite things was visiting the Daintree Icecream Co. With a self guided tour of their amazing orchard and only one choice to purchase a 4 flavour sample of their freshest ice-cream, I think ours was coconut, wattleseed, soursop and passionfruit, all from their orchard.

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This is a rather large Jackfruit @ the Daintree Icecream Co.

Sugar Cane fields everywhere and a well advertised chocolate tour of a cocoa plantation, which turned out to be more about sugar cane, to which I was very disappointed, I’ll say no more and just rave about the one we did further south that was excellent in the next blog.

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Juicing a sugar cane.
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Vanilla Bean vine.
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Cacao Tree
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Cacao fruit

Our beautiful child:

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The trip to the tip… Cape York, QLD.

Our route:

Daintree (via CREB Track) to Lakeland – Coen – Bamaga (Umagico 4 Nights) – South Side of Sam Creek (via Old Telegraph Track) – Elliot Falls Campground – Weipa – Chuulangun Campground – Hann Crossing (National Park) – Endeavour Falls Tourist Park – Daintree via Cooktown and the Bloomfield Track.

I had no idea that the Cape York trip was a thing, being from the West Coast. Turns out some people plan this adventure down to a T, years in advance. In true Dan & Felicia style we got ourselves a good map & guide in Cairns and asked lots of questions. Although our car was already set up for camping after our trip to Cape Leveque, we’d made a few improvements to our “rig” along the way, a solar panel on the roof with dual batteries to keep the Waeco going without draining the car battery, upgraded our 2 man tiny tent to a 6 man tent and purchased a super croc spotting rechargeable spotlight.

As we have been traveling around, I have been contacting people that we know when we arrive in the state, I contacted my cousin (not knowing where he lived in QLD) when we arrived in Cairns, James kindly invited us to visit him in Airlie Beach, but not for a few weeks as they were headed on a camping trip to Cape York the following week… the very same week we were headed up there, we couldn’t have organised this if we tried, (that and I hadn’t had contact with them since they had come to dinner at my parents home 9 years prior). So we organised to meet up along the way and what a fantastic reunion it was. We have created a family friendship and Esther won the hearts of both Micah and Jazzy.

We met a few people when we got to the Daintree (we were able to store our caravan here for a small fee while we were away, great caravan park and friendly staff) and they had just come back from the ‘Tip’ via the CREB track, this has to be the best source of information, people who have up to date knowledge of the track, reassuring us it was dry and more than manageable, they also shared a book with us that a lady who each year detailed the tracks and campsites of the Cape York Region had written, which was invaluable along the way.

Traveling with an almost one year old means we drive as long as she let’s us. Our plan was to get to the top as quickly as we could as I wanted to make it there to celebrate our anniversary and Esther’s first birthday, so we took the development road up. The road was currently being graded and so much of it was smooth, it was a much easier drive than we anticipated. Although there was one section, turning off before heading to Weipa where some unpredicted “whoops” caused the car to get some serious air!

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First Photo of the trip.
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Inspecting the track ;p

After a long day of driving we try to let Esther stretch her legs and “crawl around.” The caravan park we stayed at was quiet and without many people so she was able to roam around and get filthy. While we were setting up camp a couple of backpackers brought back some fresh watermelon from the farm. It was juicy, just ask Esther.

The happy photo’s stopped after this as we entered ‘Our hilariously memorable first night…’

  • It was windy and the tent literally picked up and blew a couple of meters away while we were trying to put it up
  • The pegs wouldn’t hammer into the ground, it was full of rocks, Dan managed to even bend heavy duty tent pegs.
  • We went to use the lantern and it was broken, likely from the bumps while 4WDing.
  • We were given a large plastic box from reception to bath Esther in that was broken, but Dan didn’t know, so when he went to bath Esther he saw it and thought it was something we had done and would need to replace.
  • We inflated our mattress, then when we put Esther to bed noticed it was flat. (Again likely having occurred from rubbing whilst being folded in the drawer of the car).  No one likes a hole in their mattress while camping 😦 Lucky I’m married to Macgyver (or someone who is determined not to sleep on the floor after a long days driving) Dan cut a piece of material from our jumper lead storage bag and super-glued it over the hole and it worked!
  • By this point… do you think we have a happy Dan?
  • Then we went to use a fan with a light and the battery was dead, likely having turned itself on whilst traveling and run flat.
  • The gas cooker kept blowing out in the wind.
  • Part of dinner fell on the floor (sauteed mushrooms).

I was in fits of laughter as by this point you laugh or cry!

Then in the morning…

  • The car wouldn’t start as we had drained the dying battery opening and shutting doors for hours.
  • and we found a hole in our new sink when we went to do the dishes.

 

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Check out the stark contrast, brown dusty trees on the left and green on the right.
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Ferry crossing at the Jardine River.
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Our beachside camp @ Umagico, Bamaga.
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Makeshift camp kitchen/laundry (too hot to have afternoon naps in the tent).
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Finally asleep…

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Fresh Coconuts!!!! Best Anniversary present! Hand picked!
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Seisia Beach
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The locals (Thursday Islanders) reassured us that on Fridays it’s safe to swim as the crocs don’t come here to the jetty.
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Fishing at the jetty…

Happy 1st Birthday Esther & Happy 4th Wedding Anniversary to us.

Celebrated at Punsand Bay, Cape York.

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Our beautiful birthday girl.

Visiting the most Northern Tip of Australia:

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Our Beach @ Umagico:

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This is a picture perfect location. Warm weather, beautiful beaches and beachside camping, but no swimming = torture. When we arrived we thought every exposed rock was a crocodile. But when we went out at night with our torches we had more than one sighting of two blinking red eyes staring back at us.

There were quite a few stray dogs around, one placid dog took quite a liking to us and became protective of Esther. Poor dog must have had litters and litters of pups and was pretty worn. She got the nick name “butter” after a new 500g block of butter went missing off the table and later discovered she’d eaten all of it! All of this was great until we discovered she was covered in ticks and fleas. We noticed one day when she got up from laying down and they were crawling all over the floor.

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DC3 Aircraft from WWII Ruins:

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The Old Telegraph Track:

As mentioned before we took the Development Road up to Cape York and decided to take the Old telegraph Track South entering via Mistake Creek. The creeks were so clear and beautiful, all worth swimming in, or bathing in for that matter. We camped overnight at Canal Creek, after watching a car towing a camper trailer reverse its way down around, through and across the creek!

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It was a bit drizzly which is never fun with a tent, but we managed to stay dry and capture these special moments…

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Early morning swim.

Eliot Falls:

When no one else is around you have to go in and check the depth yourself! (Scrubby Creek Crossing)

 

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Twin Falls:

There is a national park run campsite here which requires pre-booking and you are allocated sites. James & Liz were due to meet us here and they never arrived, with no reception we just hoped they were ok! We later found out they were camping at Canal Creek, not far. They had towed their camper trailer through the same tracks and crossings we had from Mistake creek! Including Scrubby creek, but I’ll let them tell that tale.

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From here we continued south on the OTT, bypassing Gunshot crossing, we were cruising to Bramwell Junction, starving, sick of the corrugations and with a tired hungry baby when we arrived at our last crossing (everyone else’s first) Palm Creek Crossing. A dry creek crossing with a steep decent, my nerves were on edge watching Dan descend.  Wheels in the air everywhere! The car seemed to rock like a matchbox toy. But he safely got our trusty rig down. (Unbeknown’s to us there was an alternate crossing).

Whilst I was helping guide Dan down from the bottom of the creek a gentleman was recording the saga. He had come in from the Junction to have a look at people tackling this crossing. (Which no one was, they were all going the “chicken track”). I must add though when we were leaving some people were looking at heading South-North on the track and crossing where we didn’t have success. Not sure what they did in the end. The thing is, the track changes day to day, depending on weather and on how many people cross it and make changes to the track, placing logs, rocks or how the car churns it up.

So then we had a look at our “out” our very last challenge on this track, standing between us and food and a rest and relief. Half way up the exit was a huge step up. 2 foot vertical step up of hard polished clay. This was most people’s entry, turns out it would have been easier to follow the typical South-North and returned on the development road.

So said gentleman advised us that most people seem to take the alternate route. “WHAT ALTERNATE ROUTE??? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US BEFORE WE GOT OUR CAR STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSSING???”

In the end a kind soul winched us out the way we came in and we took the alternate crossing and drove into Bramwell junction. Got fuel, icecream, chips and drove our hearts out to Weipa where we left the tent in the car and stayed in a Donga (2 single beds!!) for the night. Best $70 we’ve ever spent.

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Weipa:

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Weipa @ Sunset
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Our Family Set up. Right next to the bins!!
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Catching up with a beautiful family we met at Cape Leveque 4 months earlier.

Chuulangan Aboriginal Corporation Campground:

This was a gem of a find. We were the only one’s there. A friendly ranger gave us some tips for catching cherabin. Also how to use the donkey water heater for hot showers. It was such a nice spot. With a safe place for the kids to wade in the water.

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Trying to find some gold…
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Lunch stop at the dried up Wenlock River crossing.

Camping at Hann River:

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Banks of the Hann River

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Bushman Dan teaching the kids how to make spears:

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100 Year old Mango Trees- filled with mango’s if you look closely.

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Isabella Falls Ford:

Endeavour Falls Caravan Park:

Cooktown:

The colour of the sand and the water are as you see it, blue as blue. Hot golden sand. Warm sun, everything you need to go swimming… but there’s crocs. *sigh*.

We stopped into Cooktown for lunch and a battery for the car. We said goodbye to our new found friends until Airlie Beach and I got my turn 4WD’ing as we returned to the Daintree on the Bloomfield track. I expected it to be a little more challenging, but a lot of the track was sealed, including the really steep parts, which you would struggle to tow anything up. You realise after the drive how much you were concentrating when your upper body is sore from holding tight to the steering wheel.  Driving through thick forest we had views of the stunning coast line with the occasional break in the trees.

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Cape Tribulation:

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A short stop at Cape Tribulation before taking the ferry across the Daintree River home to our caravan. Oh so nice to be in our bed after our time away.

 

Cairns, QLD

2nd September 2017

Driving from Undarra to Cairns the scenery changed dramatically, it took us through the Atherton Tablelands and after 5 months in the outback we were mesmerized by the green, so much so I took this photo, which may not be much to you, but to us it was so lush to look at, fields of green.

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All I see is green, green, green..  the only red dirt is on our car.

We stopped off at a Strawberry Farm, with the most delicious fresh strawberries and strawberry gelato! Just ask Esther, this was heaven and the freshest strawberries we’d had in months.

 

Great Barrier Reef:

This was definitely a bucket list item, to snorkel the barrier reef, the weather was good, so we did it! The boat took us out to a pontoon where there was a semi-submersible boat which Esther loved as well as an underwater viewing platform and small child friendly swimming area. Dan and I tag teamed and it was so relaxing floating over the coral, seeing all the fish and just being in the water.

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Family photo.
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A moment!
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My bearded Dan.
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Esther watching the fish in the “underwater world”.

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So cool to see a turtle this big in the wild.

Kuranda, The village in the Rainforest:

A must do when in Cairns, take the gondola from Cairns up to Kuranda. As you’ll see below it takes you high above the trees with amazing views. The sound of birds and insects echos loudly, we looked hard to find snakes up in the trees but no luck.

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One of the most Ancient Pines: The Kauri Pine.
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This is one of my favourite photos.. of me! ha ha I did my hair and even wore makeup that day!
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Barron Falls

Catching up with family:

Haven’t seen each other in years. Was lovely to reunite and spend time together!

 

Undarra Lava Caves, QLD

After leaving Karumba we headed back South then East towards Cairns, stopping at a small town called Croydon, here we found Esther’s high chair covered in ants in the back of the caravan, now spreading across the floor and up the wall… whoops, need to triple check it next time before we pack it in. A lovely park with lush grass, shade and lots of roo poo, which Esther thought she should taste test…

Next stop Mount Surprise, here we stayed at a small “caravan park” called Planet Earth Adventures for a total of $12/night (unpowered) with hot showers and clean toilets. The park owner who is also a snake handler brings around a huge black headed python and discusses safety and first aid with the kids, along with a chance to hold him. We really wanted to take a photo of Esther with the Python to scare the grandmas, but she was wiggly and more interested in the camp fire behind us so we left.

At this stage in our trip Esther was learning to climb stairs, we have two going into the caravan. Daniel happened to be 20m away foraging for wild cherry tomatoes and Esther was playing on the stairs, I was in and out of the caravan, shutting the fly screen behind me to keep the fly’s out all while trying to keep an eye on Esther. She was playing on the grass next to the van (she couldn’t move far at this stage), then lifting herself up standing by the step, then she would get up onto the step, but she would perch on the edge of the step, that’s when we would normally help her back down.

So there she was sitting on the step proud she got herself up there, without any idea how to get down, if I called out to Daniel it would startle her and she might fall off, if I opened the door I’d knock her off. So I just watched… as she tumbled off. Lucky kids are so resilient!

The next day we had a tour booked at the Undarra Lava Caves, we’ve always been so proud of how well behaved Esther is, until today. There were stairs, lots of stairs and all Esther wanted to do was climb up and down them by herself! Including when we were no where near the stairs she wanted to get down and would become quite vocal about it if she wasn’t put on the ground. The guide was sick of us by the time the tour was over, the granny’s thought Esther was cute, but the guide… he didn’t like having someone compete for his attention! That and I dropped my hat, my sunnies and my torch all at separate times. Worst behaved tour participants ever!

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How the Lava caves were formed:
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Awkward photo.

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We thought we’d found a boab tree in QLD, not so it’s a bottle tree apparently and not even related!

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Karumba, QLD

30th August 2017

Go on say it “Ay Caramba!”

A fishing town in the Gulf of Carpenteria. I caught a seagull, well he went after my bait and then flew off with it, luckily he eventually dropped it and lived to tell the tale. Dan caught a fish, but it had to be returned (just too big)! It was a gorgeous spot, but there are Eustarine crocs and it made me so nervous sitting by the beach. As Dan would say I expected a croc to jump out of the water snap him up and drag him off all in the blink of an eye. I swear becoming a mum (and having been a paramedic) has made my imagination run wild… I remember standing on a jetty in Darwin, Dan was holding Esther near the edge and I was worried he’d drop her (even though he’s never dropped her before) and I would have to jump into croc/shark infested waters to get her (5m drop), do egg beater kick to keep us both above water for who knows how long before being rescued from such a predicament.. haha. Although after spending time in Kakadu I feel a little less tense and expecting such a great feat from the crocs, meanwhile Dan get’s concerned when the fuel guage says 1/8th tank (long range tank) and 180km to go.. we’ll make it, pftt I’m no safety nanna there!

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Australian Bustard.

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I have not been eating sand…

Back at the caravan park we enjoyed watching loads of wallabies, including a joey drinking from the dripping water taps.

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Dirty tree frog that visited each night.

Lawn Hill National Park, QLD

We left Mt Isa and headed East then North, stopping at another roadside campsite rated a million stars, Dan lit a campfire and we enjoyed sharing it with one other couple.

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Without any distractions there’s plenty of time to watch the sunset.
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View from the toilets!

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Dinner here, dinner there, dinner anywhere. This little miss is quite adaptable… as long as there’s food.

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The next morning we discovered these little birds drinking water from our caravan:

 

 

Lawn Hill National Park:

This is Lawn Hill Gorge it has been carved out by Lawn Hill Creek, which flows all year and is fed by numerous freshwater springs from the limestone plateau to the west. The water is known for it’s clear blue tinge due to the lime leaching out of the limestone. There are freshwater crocs.. although all we saw was a turtle. We also swam at Indarri falls just around the bend. They run tours on a solar powered boat, Dan with his man power managed to catch up to them and we overtook them !!!

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We went canoeing… well Dan did all the work (6km in total) while I watched Esther.

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Riversleigh World Heritage Site (in Lawn Hill National Park):

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An ancient fossil of a large flightless bird, you can see a thigh bone and gizzard stones.

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A regular occurrence.
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See… Lots of wildlife out here!
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We saw a deceased crocodile on the drive through, can you see it? It must’ve been hit on the crossing and has just stayed there decaying.

 

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These two!

 

Murrays Place @ Gregory Downs

This guy lets out his lawn for free/ donation to RFDS. He has a little Coffee Shop/store, super friendly and even got to buy some freshly laid chook eggs, as you can see below they are free range! There is also free camping down at the Gregory Downs River.

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It was a short visit, but if we don’t keep moving Cape York will be washed out before we get there!

Mt Isa, QLD.

We loved Mt Isa. Not what we expected for an outback mining town. Bigger and drier than we thought, clean and plenty of shops to restock, including a well stocked baby shop (Molly’s Baby Room) one would wonder how they survived as a small business in an outback mining town, so we asked, their survival was online sales! There were also a few hairdressers and a Yoga class that was just what I needed.

We heard about a lake and decided to try our hand at fishing there one evening. So we set off early with a picnic dinner. No luck on the fishing (too many reeds), but what an awesome evening, which included meeting a family headed the other way around Australia. With only dusty dirt caravan parks in Mt Isa, this croc free grassed area was an oasis in the desert and perfect for Esther to ‘crawl wild’! Still no barra though 😦

Lake Moondarra:

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You can just see the moon, ask Esther she’ll tell you where it is.

Mt Isa Lookout:

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Overlooking the town and mine at dusk.
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The opposite view.
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I just got my hair cut.. was feeling pretty fresh!

Being inland Mt Isa was a little cooler at night, first time we’d needed blankets in a while, yet very warm days. In trying to think what else we did in Mt Isa I remember I also emptied the toilet cassette and got chatting with someone while I was there… always a great place to meet people as you stand back with the hose trying to rinse the cassette and not get splashed by any residual contents.

We have a rule, actually Dan has the rule: if you use it you empty it… Daniel will exhaust all other avenues before he uses it, for anything. I on the other hand figure it’s there to be used especially in the middle of the night and thus get lugged with having to empty it, although it doesn’t gross me out as much as it does him, I guess working in the field I have, there has been previous exposure! I do try to time emptying it with having a shower straight after and putting all my clothes in the wash, as some of the dump points aren’t that easy to pour into and you can’t always know where it may have splashed. The trade is Daniel mostly does the bin and sullage. Although there was one time he used the toilet and I didn’t so it was ALL his responsibility! #lifeinacaravan

 

Tennant Creek, NT to the QLD Border

We crossed the border!

But not after researching a Beebe family tree back to the 1500’s!

After leaving Mataranka we headed south for Tennant Creek, Dan was to check out some fossicking sights and then head to QLD, leaving Alice Springs for later on in our trip.

We dropped in to Daly Waters for lunch, one of those “iconic outback pubs” basically a tourist attraction in the middle of nowhere, where everyone leaves a piece of themselves, some a business card, a car number plate, a hat and so on… I actually thought it would be more like a cartoon pub, two storey, grand and a little wonky!

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Instead it was a little more modest..

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Iconic Daly Waters Outback Pub.

Anyway, as usual Daniel went and checked out a plaque on our 100m walk over to the pub!

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Only Dan would be interested in reading this…

Lo and behold, a park, officially opened by a Beebe!

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Roy A Beebe.

Haha, all these Beebe’s but where do they fit in the family tree and are we even related? So we asked at the Pub, turns out the owner knew of the Beebe brothers who ran Ucharonidge Station, we took some notes and used the intermittent phone reception to try google the rest. We found out a Beebe family took up the lease of this station in 1946 and that they were pioneers in introducing Brahman cattle to the Northern Territory back in 1960. The Pub owner advised he’d recently seen a Country Women’s Association article in the newspaper with one of the Beebe wives, and that she would probably be able to give us some more info.

The previous statue we found in Katherine (with the plaque JW Beebe) is engraved with the name of Roy’s brother Mick (James William Beebe).

So very unconventionally we looked up Beebe in the white pages and found a phone number. I spoke to a lovely lady, who ironically (weirdly) is also married to a Daniel William Beebe, only a few years younger than my Dan. I explained who we were, that we’d seen all these statues and plaques and was wondering if they had any family history so we might be able to see if there was a connection. She was super helpful and we are still in touch. Although when I told Dan about his possible relative with the exact same name… he felt very jipped. He has come to the conclusion that he is not unique. Poor guy. No longer one of a kind. I reassured him that he is 😉

I then spent the rest of the evening trying to research as much as I could to see how and if our family tree’s linked up. Thanks to ancestry.com and other peoples research, I have traced back their family tree to 1535 in the UK, this is apparently where the Beebe name began, then in the 1600’s one of the descendants travelled to the United States and this is where this Beebe family originate from. We are likely related to them, but back at the beginning. I will have to work on Dan’s side of the family tree to officially connect the two. If anyone reading this has any leads, please let me know.

Banka Banka Station:

After lunch at Daly Waters we headed South for Banka Banka Station to camp the night. A very family friendly place to pull up and camp, with a bonfire and music, with marshmallows for the kids. No reception here, just good old fashioned chatting with your neighbours and animals for the kids to pet.

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View from the hill over the station. It is located just off the highway, you can see a road train in the background.
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Sunset @ Banka Banka
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Resident Camel.

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These two!

 

Tennant Creek:

This is our only photo (worthy of uploading) from Tennant Creek, taken when we visited the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station, a historical site built in 1872. It was a repeater station, part of the Overland Telegraph Line which connected Darwin to Adelaide. A couple we had seen at a previous caravan park offered to take a family photo for us.

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Clearly we didn’t zip Esther’s clothes up properly 🙂

We only spent one night here after Dan went metal detecting for the day out near the old gold mine, finding an old tobacco tin, fencing wire and a nail, we decided to move on.

 

Rest Area on the road to Mt Isa:

Leaving Tennant Creek for Mt Isa required a 2 day drive. So we drove as far as we could then found the next rest area. There are hundreds of these around Australia and are great if you are set up to be self contained. We met a lovely couple who set up camp next to us, lit a fire and cooked their dinner, while we shared in the ambience of a remote setting under the stars chatting away. These are some of our favourite stops and memories.

Parked up for the night. A hazy sunset from a burn off.

Whenever we have had a big day driving we try to let Esther roam free to stretch her legs, she loves it, we have now invested in some leggings to protect her legs from all the scratches that come from outback crawling.

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Discovering her world.

The next morning we crossed the border into Queensland!

 

Mataranka/Bitter Springs, NT

It feels like a long time ago that we were here! A short but sweet visit to the Mataranka Hot Springs as well as Bitter Springs (a short drive from Mataranka).  I don’t have any photo’s of Bitter Springs, you’ll have to imagine it similar but a little more rustic, there were a few staircases to get into the water, otherwise it was as you found it, untouched. The water flows a little faster and “floating” down stream with a noodle is definitely the way to go!

We stayed at Mataranka Caravan Park, which meant a short walk to the springs, convenient for us with Esther. Although there are a few “Stockcamps” nearby that we have heard great things about. The famous whip cracking legend (Nathan Griggs) was showcasing his tricks at the Caravan Park and was very entertaining!

Although visiting a hot springs was loads of fun, you definitely don’t go in to cool down, with the weather at 32 degrees during the day while we there, the closest to ‘cooling off’ was when you got out of the water!!

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The surrounding forest.

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30.5 megalitres of water is pumped out each day at 30 degrees celcius.

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Esther loved it… we even went 3 times in one day!
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This is her waving goodbye to us as she floated away!
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Everyone just chilling out!