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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Australia – Cairns

 

 

Map picture

 

With Great Barrier Reef excitement, I wake up about twenty minutes later than planned. Fortunately, love her but Gloria is not working this morning so a speedy exit is made from Caravella.

 

dive-boat-to-great-barrier-reef The “Compass Boat” leaves in less than half an hour as I make my way to the booking office where I am confronted with disappointment.

 

 

 

skipcapt Apparently, “The Skipper” has ran off with Ginger, Mary Ann and maybe the professor too ….. as he is no where to be found. My 9 hour tour for today has been canceled.


“No worries, mate” within the hour I am headed south on Highway 1 to Yungaburra. Exiting at Highway 52, I spot my favorite fruit dangling from huge trees along the roadside. My mind starts racing with the possibilities.

 

DSCN0233 The calm road soon turns into a tempest of hair pin curves and switchbacks as it ascends a mountainous terrain.

 

 

 

 

The landscape shows signs of new life as evidence remains from a recent forest fire.

Yungaburra approaches and at the local grocery store I purchase a “Coke & Pie” special (AU$5).

 

DSCN0236 A short drive and I am enjoying lunch as I watch a family tubing on nearby Lake Tinaroo.

 

 

 

 

Returning to Yungaburra there is a ”Platypus” viewing platform but it is the wrong time of the day for a possible sighting. However, not far from there guaranteed sightings of Curtain Fig Tree are assured.

 

DSCN0240Standing about one hundred feet tall with a huge trunk and root structure this tree began it's life as a seedling on another that it has since conquered and destroyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my minor introduction to the rain forest.

 


DSCN0244 Leaving Curtain Fig Tree, I start a waterfall tour with my first stop at Malanda Falls. This time of the year the waterfall flow is low but it is still worth a stop.

 

There is a brief walking trail nearby that offers another opportunity to explore the local rain forest.

 


Bouncer Most bouncers I know are huge, mean, tough and far less talkative than the bloke I meet at Malanda Dairy Museum.

 

 

 

 

“That’s  right four stomachs”, I am told that cows have by “Bouncer”,  a cute kangaroo spokesman for the Australian Dairy Board.  He continues, “Do you know all the wonderful things that are made from milk?”

An informative video narrated by you guess who, gives a good and sometimes comical presentation of Australia's dairy life.

I am dairy dairy enlighten!


DSCN0258 Continuing my waterfall tour, next it is Millaa Millaa then Dinner Falls where I take a refreshing plunge.

 

 

 

The water is a bit cold but the air is warm and I am not shaking as I exit.

 

DSCN0251
If Jimmy Hoffa was Australian, I would have a good idea of where to start looking for him.

 

DSCN0250 If you have a bad dinner recipe or other questionable evidence that you want to conceal, “The Crater” might be a good place to start.

 

 

From a platform above “The Crater”, it takes a tree branch about ten seconds to crack the green duck weed surface of the water below.

 

DSCN0251 Beneath the surface the water follows a curved passage of uncertain length and depth from this volcano created chasm.

What mysteries it holds may be only known by Jimmy and a few of his mates.

 

 

 

 

Having escape the fate of one Mr. Jimmy Hoffa, I am on the road again.  Through Wongabel State Forest I am headed towards Atherton.

 

DSCN0248 Warning signs alert me to the presence of Tree Kangaroos which I did not know existed.

They are sorely in need of a better marketing  agency.

 

 

 

 

At 80kmh, a glimpse of white headstones catches my eyes and I do a quick u-turn.

 

atherton_war_cem I am at Atherton War Memorial Cemetery where I pay honor and respect to some of Australia's finest who served their homeland in World War II.

 

 

A visitor's log is available in which I record my thoughts as others have before me.


Map picture

 

In Atherton, I get a sense of small town mid-west America complimented by a Super IGA. For me, grocery stores are a must stop because there I get the flavor and a sense of the local community.

 

rooster Community post boards are common with one posting offering a free rooster to a good home.

 

 

 

 


Today, I am in for two surprises with one of them being potentially dangerous. The deli offers an apple crusted (I think) enchilada for only AU$3.

A tooth-pick tasting is delicious and I have to remind myself that I am not in East LA ( Home of Best Mexican Food On The Planet).

Although these are meant to be taken home and cooked, I am given one from the sampling table hot and ready.

A little “Aussie” hospitality.


Peanut Slab Turning down an aisle my second surprise, a dangerous encounter.

OMG, Beside PEANUT, Whittaker also makes an ALMOND and COCONUT SLAB!

 

This requires a secret emergency maneuver but I am having a sinking feeling that being “Down Under” much longer, I might become an illegal immigrant or have to leave as freight.

Filled and refreshed, I continue my road tour for a peek of “The Outback” hoping to spot a kangaroo or some other Australian wildlife. Along the road there are unfortunate sightings of wildlife that have not met a kind fate.

 

outback_sunsetAs dusk approaches somewhere along Highway 27, a few wallabies are spotted in an open field. Sensing the dangers of a digital camera they frantically hop away.

 

Taking a side road a small group is found in a mango grove less aware of an intruder. Rounding a curve, I finally capture a wallaby up close but only in my headlights.

With night falling, I am again along the edges of the rain forest and take the sounds of it to my dreams.

 

nicole-kidman Nicole where are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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