A Travellerspoint blog

Murdering Creek and Flying Fish Point

aka A Few Days on the beach, chilling out!

sunny 28 °C

MURDERING CREEK AND FLYING FISH POINT
WET ZONE, NORTH TROPICAL QUEENSLAND
(Also known as the Cassowary Coast)
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Kurrimine Beach is a spectacular spot on this equally spectacular coast, overlooking some of the spectacular islands of the Barrier Reef. Interestingly, Kurrimine is an Aboriginal word meaning Rising Sun – very appropriate – and Flying Fish Point is just north of Innisfail where, guess what … flying fish are sometimes seen!

In the early settlement years some bright spark obviously murdered someone and so an equally (un)bright spark renamed it Murdering Creek. Astonishing how much value some people put on placenames … well, it isn’t that unusual really as our dear little Skippy-dog is in a happy (we hope) environment in kennels at Murdering Creek Road in Peregian Springs, just south of Noosa!

I have to admit to a fascination with placenames all over Australia – well, everywhere to be honest! We’ve been to Humpty Doo, originally "Umdidu", an Aboriginal term which meant a popular resting place (NT), Gadgagu (Kakadu), Alligator River (incorrectly named) and shortly expect to be at Moonee Beach (NSW) in the not too distant future. I love the history of these place names.

We drove about 20km up the Bruce Highway to Innisfail this morning, to top up with shopping as we expect to do a few freebies in the forthcoming trip south – and need a full cupboard and frig - and while we were there had a look at this very interesting little town on the so-called Wet Zone of the North Tropical Coast. It’s a place where the majority of cyclones make landfall – and we even visited the relatively new Cyclone Shelter – impressive; had coffee on the banks of the beautiful Johnstone River in view of some very swanky yachts and catamarans!

It’s also an international port; one doesn’t swim in the river round here, nor in the creeks as there are plenty of ‘salties’ here too.

On the way back we forced ourselves into Murdering Creek Winery, tasted a few and it seems to me that we’ve bought enough booze to last until next Easter, but then we are expecting to meet up with our caravanning friends in November – so hopefully it will last until then!!! I can promise you that there won’t be much left after Moonee Beach … !

The industry up here is sugar, sugar and more sugar, with lots of bananas too. I’m sure we all recall quite clearly that after and literally hundreds of caravanners in the dry season and fishing enthusiasts too. After Cyclone Larry (I think it was back in 2010?), this coastline was completely devastated – houses, crops, shops, boats and beaches, and the entire banana crop here was ruined. The rest of Australia was paying about $14.00 a kilo for them which worked out at about $5.00 a banana at that time. It took a year for the new crops to bear fruit again so most of Australia did without bananas till then.Today we bought 2kgs of them for $2.00!

Today the sugar cane mulchers were hard at work, and filling the sugar cane trains too. We have booked a tour for tomorrow morning to have a look at the Tully Sugar Mill – expect it will be a fascinating experience.

S’all for now folks …. Ttfn xx

PS I’m really writing all these blogs for my sake and not yours! That’s so I (hopefully) will be able to print them all out and place into an album with my 3290 photos I seem to have taken!! Goodness me …

Posted by twodubfers 22:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Great Barrier Reef

Kurrimine Beach, just south of Innisfail, Qld

sunny 27 °C

KURRIMINE BEACH – south of Cairns
Great Barrier Reef
Our Turn-around Point for “No Fixed Abode”
Monday 15 September, 2014

Kurrimine Beach which is a fabulous place just 1.5 hours south of Cairns, is the turning-round point for NFA, our home on the road and which has so far carried us safely for 8,597 km to this site. David has chosen to drive every single kilometre and has been careful every day, while putting up with both huge cattle road trains, long petrol road trains, speeding caravans (I jest not!!), oversized vehicles with mining equipment on board, for which we’ve had to both pull over and stop, - cattle, emus, kangaroos – and crazy drivers on the roads, sometimes with speed limits of 130kpm. Sitting on about 90kpm most of the time, he’s brought us safely to the end of each day, and we are grateful – that is me and the boys. (He’s about to tell me how much we’ve spent in fuel .. I’m sitting down .. he reckons it is over $3000 -------- hope we have enough $ left to buy a little flat somewhere ….!!

It’s been such a terrific trip – a geography lesson, a history lesson, a geology lesson, an economics lesson, and physical endurance lesson, a test of our own human endeavours to keep focussed especially when we don’t have a home .. or should I say a house. We thought we knew a bit about our sunburnt country – but we now realise that as couch potatoes, we really didn’t know much at all.

We left Charters Towers this morning around 8am and were in Townsville not long afterwards. Towns and cities hold little interest to us, so we decided to turn left at the Townsville lights and head NORTH and not south! That’s a bit of a surprise but we don’t have to pick Skippy up til next week sometime, and in fact we are ahead of time.
So, to finish off this Big Adventure of ours, we decided to head up here for Kurrimine Beach, 1.5 hours south of Cairns and overlooking the Great Barrier Reef – what better place to be!

The GBR extends from Cooktown, north of here, as far south as Fraser Island – it is the second of the World Heritage Sites we have been lucky enough to see on this tip (as well as Kakadu) – we’re glad to put our toes in warm water again!

We are secured in a corner of this park, at the end of which is a fabulous beach overlooking the islands, and we are surrounded by quite a few other vans and motorhomes, palm trees and a golf course!

The word is that some parks up here are closing for the summer – too much rain and cyclones and very hot weather is not too far away – and certainly they are not as full as they were a couple of weeks back.

We think we beat the Territory heat by about a week, and got out of Mt Isa before the mercury hits the 40s.

Today we are back in Sugar Cane country and actually drove off the highway into Lucinda, the site of the country’s largest sugar mill, and the longest rail-pier too. At 5.7km long it is a railway track that stretches from the sugar mill to the Deep Water Terminal where the ships dock to take away the sugar for export.

The main reason we wanted to see this amazing ‘pier’ was back in 2011 when Queensland experienced one of its largest cyclones, Yasi, which was big enough to cover the entire state of Queensland. It made landfall just 20km up the road at Innisfail and was recorded as the costliest and one of the biggest cyclones ever recorded in Qld.

At that time James was working for Marsh in Brisbane and he was involved in the risk insurance for mines, airports, stadiums and rail. Lucinda Rail-Pier was on his list and he had to insure this – however do you do that? It’s a 5.7km line out from the beachside shallows, to the deep water.
After Yasi, he came up to assess the damage and had to walk the length of the pier - a very long walk, photo attached, but no ships there this time – there was a huge amount of damage of course which took a long time to fix. It looks terrific now and very impressive.

We photographed a plaque today in the park overlooking the rail-pier and it states that the insurance damage in 2011, was estimated to be about $10million. James always told us it was closer to $70 million.

For the next few days I think we’ll be walking the beach, reading, swimming in the Reef, collecting some shells – no crown of thorns here they tell us – just large red and black starfish … ??

We’ll have to decide where to go for the next few weeks – it’s school holidays and I think we’ll be staying away from the coastal parks.

It’s such a beautiful beach and the sun is setting and I’d like to get a photo. Love from The Reef xx

Posted by twodubfers 03:16 Archived in Australia Tagged queensland reef barrier Comments (1)

From Dust to Dinosaurs

Across Central Queensland

sunny 33 °C

FROM DUST TO DINOSAURS .. on the Overlanders Way
Mt Isa to Richmond, central Queensland
Friday, 12 September 2014

Driving east shortly after 8.15 this morning, we were not sorry to leave behind dry, dusty and ‘oresome’ (David’s new word which is most appropriate I think you’ll agree!) Mt Isa. It was a beautiful rocky and very hilly drive into the hot sun, with little evidence of any human habitation. However, we have come to realise that this is not usually the case - many working families live out here as it’s cheaper than in the town, as well as huge cattle stations with their families, sometimes managing herds of 20,000 cattle or more. We’re not sure how they manage for water – anywhere really – but then Mt Isa struggles to manage with water as it hasn’t rained anywhere around these parts since 2012.

There were few if any caravans either driving our way or coming from the east today. There were many road trains and fuel road trains but we didn’t see much else. Our drive to Julia Creek was just under 300km across flat plains of yellow grassland and shallow and dried up creek beds but many herds of cattle – heaven knows how they survive as there seems precious little to eat for them.

“One Night in Julia Creek” was the title of a play back in the ‘90s written by Terry Stapleton and produced at the Eltham Theatre in Melbourne. It is about an evening at Julia Creek, the epitome of absolutely nowhere - and the Outback as seen through the eyes of a traveller. It was a popular theatre outing at the time. However, surprisingly there was no evidence or stories of this anywhere that I could see.

Today Julia Creek exists as an interesting little town .. yes, almost a town but a little one. It is a rail stop on the line from Townsville to Mt Isa, it has quite a busy little airport, and is at the junction of the road south from Longreach, which extends north from Julia Creek nearly 340km north to Karumba which is on the Gulf of Carpentaria. No wonder it has good coffee, an excellent bakery, banks, a Woollies and a Vinnies too – always good for cheap books! It’s an important junction for travellers and transport, but no mines here any more after the gold rush of last century.

Having decided to push on, we were now heading due east and it was good to get away from the dust of Mt Isa where even the water tasted dusty. Fortunately, Dave’s abscess on his back molar – and the trachoma (eye infection) I suffered on the way north were both subsiding.

We arrived here at Richmond mid afternoon and headed to the tall water tower in the middle of the township where it announced to the world “Lakeview Caravan Park”. Well, curiosity got the better of us and we had to come and see – a LAKE out here – and yes, there it is. Blue and rippling, complete with pelicans, ducks and other water birds, it is a popular kayaking, swimming and fishing spot for everyone.

Our one night’s booking secured, we found the perfect site for us on a large and very green grassy patch, overlooking and right next to the lake. Wonderful – so we had to take a look at this man-made wonder - 1.2km round the edge, 4 m deep and originally filled with pumped water from Queensland’s longest river, the Flinders,and is now topped up as required with water from the local bores. A magnificent achievement – and right on the far shore, surrounded by beautiful bougainvilleas is an Aged Care Facility – how nice is that!!

So here we are again at NFA base camp – enjoying a G & T and watching the hot sun go down.

The bird life around here is spectacular and mostly unknown to us – except for the white necked ibis, pelicans and ducks, corellas, brilliantly coloured parrots and tiny finches, with the ever-present kite.

Today the drive was a 403km drive and is exactly half way between Mt Isa and Townsville.

This lovely little town boasts a most interesting museum called Kronosaurus Korner (I know it’s a bit of an odd word) but with superb relics and all very well presented. It features all – or most – of the fantastic dinosaur remains that have been dug up mostly from local cattle stations. Dinosaur ‘country’ extends from down Winton way to north of here – and covers an area of about 26,000 sq km – I suppose if you’re a dinosaur you’d need that much space to ‘hop about” .. fascinating just the same and this area of Queensland can see dozens and dozens of archeologists, scientists and palaentologists at any time ..

Tomorrow night, right next to our perfect spot, is a green park right down to the waters edge and it is the setting for Richmond’s “Moon Festival” and there will be both music and food for “A Hot September Night” featuring Neil Diamond’s songs – we probably won’t be staying though as music and bands that play until the wee small hours (they tell us!), is not for us any more. We shall head instead for the coast but will also be avoiding the city of Townsville – at least for tomorrow night – it’s the Biggest Semi Final of the Year - Queensland Cowboys v Brisbane Broncos and it seems everyone in the state will be at the stadium.

It could be that we’ll find a caravan park way out of some town or other – maybe Charters Towers or even north on the coast somewhere.

Stay tuned …. xx

Posted by twodubfers 01:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Did I mention the sky?

Beautiful Outback

sunny 37 °C

DID I MENTION THE SKY?
About 70 years ago in England

As a child I remember my dad telling me that the sun doesn’t rise and the sun doesn’t set – and neither does the moon. In fact the sun doesn’t change it’s position at all he’d tell me, in no uncertain terms. A true Yorkshireman to his core, he was clear minded about so many things, and the universe was just another of those things which, to him was so easy to understand.

It was the earth that moves and, as I later learned from brownies, guides and even school, it turned out that he was right.

For me it was a matter of keeping up with him. He encouraged all sorts of pursuits, cycling, hiking, sports, brownies and guides – and as a teenager to ‘get about this ‘ere country and see a bit of it’. I took him at his word and began my travelling all round England as young as 13 on my own – to relatives.

I was born and raised on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and fortunate enough to spend many happy hours as a child and young person growing up, and saw for myself how important the sky is to us all.

Across the moors the rising sun would shed it’s pale light, quite often with a pinkish hue, heralding the inevitable rain or a shower at least. Scudding rain clouds were a common feature for me and Charlotte Bronte described it well in “Jane Eyre” of the ‘lashing rain and wild winds that blew across the moors’, and how it determined the moods of many people.

Equally the sun, at least in the north of England, was always an important topic of conversation. Where I lived there were always long summer sunny nights and the starlit heavens were a delight in those summer months and high up on the moors, it seemed they were so close.

The freezing cold nights of my childhood winters were also memorable – crisp and brilliantly clear, the winter sky seemed even closer and clearer to me than the summer sky had done. But what were stars .. I waited a long time to find that one out.

Fast forward to August-September 2014,
Northern Australia

On this particular adventurous trip of ours which has taken us from Coffs Harbour on the NSW mid north coast, over 7,600 km to date and as far north as the Timor Sea off Darwin, we have seen for ourselves the wonderful magic and colours of the skies above us, from the early dawn and a beautiful pinky apricot glow in the east, to the brilliantly hot sun which sears the ground beneath as it climbs each day to its position at noon; then a truly magnificent Outback Sunset which is a fantastic phenomena all of its own.

The sun is so bright out here in the Northern Territory that at times, the noonday sun seems to have all but obliterated the blue of the rest of the sky around it. Towards the far horizons it is blue, yes but a different blue to the heat of the noon day sun.

It was so hot today, nothing was moving up there – no birds, not even any aeroplanes, and the earth was baked so hard by the heat, there was very little wildlife to be seen either. The only creatures we did see were the many many herds of Brahmin cattle, that were grouped in paddock after paddock for many many hundreds of kilometres, along the Barkly Highway, waiting for export to Brunei. The cattle stations in this part of Australia are usually around a million or so acres, with cattle herds numbering up to as many as 50,000!

As the earth revolves and keeps turning to the east, the sun appears to ‘set’ in the west, and with it the colours of the red earth we have seen so much of, almost tinge the sky with orange, red, yellow, burnt colours and the contrast of the darkening sky is absolutely stunning.

Tropical and Outback sunsets are legendary and we are all familiar with beautiful sunsets … but the sunset in the desert is special with its own range of colours and magic, beauty and atmosphere. We are entranced but try as we will, we cannot truly capture with our cameras the real colours and aura of the sky – close but not quite that good.

The night sky, too, seems near enough to touch and hangs heavily above our heads, completely filled with sparkling stars and planets. The Milky Way seems only a touch away and yet, it too is another kind of vastness. What secrets does it keep, it’s always there, in the same place, the same size – and is like an old friend who we can recognise as soon as we move away from the city lights.

So my dad wasn’t wrong was he. Both the sun and the moon do indeed stay in one place. They are there in the morning and apparently coming up over the horizon, and, in the afternoon, it’s on their way to the other side of the world, disappearing from view and quickly being followed by the ‘rising’ moon. It seems to us as though it’s us that is turning.

It’s our wonderful world .. and the sky, although not actually ‘connected’ to our planet in any way – is a very special part of it.

Thanks dad – I have never forgotten.

Posted by twodubfers 04:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Renner Springs to Barkly Homestead -

South on the Stuart to Three Ways, then sharp right turn east down the Barkly Highway

RENNER SPRINGS TO BARKLY HOMESTEAD
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
323 kms - a short day

We were up with the dawn almost today and by the time we had breakfast on the go, most of the other caravans had left. One interesting guest was in a very large three wheeler motor bike which had a swag on a frame like a tall campbed 3 ft above the ground and he slept in the open air.

Despite the hot day, the night was cool and we slept well as usual! However, at one point I got up to go to the loo, and heard the distant sound of 'howling'. Whatever is that I wondered - not a bark really but a howl and I wondered if it might have been a dingo … Dave wondered if it might have been too when I told him. Certainly it's a wild part of the Territory and dingoes do live out here. . . . . ?

This is one of the longest straight legs we have travelled and we even learned how many kilometres the road ahead measured. Most of them were about 5 or 6 km long, but several – we guessed correctly – we actually 10 km long. What a huge huge road we are on – and to the right of us on the western side is the Tanami Desert. Vastness is to understate is – in a 360 degree circle, we see the horizon – who knows how far that is. We couldn’t even work it out!

However we did pass and toot very loudly, a lone cyclist on his way to somewhere … it did seem a bit crazy to us, but then we're not cyclists!

Three-Ways Roadhouse appeared fairly quickly and this is just 25 km north of Tennant Creek. A young chap in the pub at Mataranka where we stopped yesterday, told us that TC was ‘nuthin’” .. not even a Woollies, so we missed out on TC and turned at the Roadhouse and now heading east towards Mt Isa.

This is a good stopover and the temperature is now a pleasant 36 degrees, and we’re about to enjoy a glass of red!

More next time ..........

Posted by twodubfers 00:25 Comments (0)

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