8th May 2018–More Hughenden

Distance: 213 km
Fuel: 47 L

Today was a visit to Porcupine Gorge so I set off about 8.30am. After driving 20km I realised I had not brought my camera! Then after retracing 10km of that 20km I remembered the Olympus camera I carry in the glove box just for such eventualities. In the event I decided to return to the caravan park because I had also forgotten to clean the windscreen which was a mass of bug smears.

Jobs done I set off for a second time. The Tourist Information place had given me a sheet with information about interesting stops on the way so the journey of about 67km was broken up by many stops.

The first stop was Mt Beckford Sandalwood Hill where sandalwood was harvested for the Asian market. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell a Sandalwood tree from a metal post so that was that.

The Dingo Fence

My next stop was far more interesting – The Dingo Fence – or rather the remains of it. Sheep are no longer run in this area so the fence has fallen into disuse but the old wooden posts and wire have been incorporated into the newer property line.

180508 081 Dingo Fence Near Hughenden180508 082 Dingo Fence Near Hughenden180508 084 Dingo Fence Near Hughenden

Eaglehawk Gorge

This is actually the start of the Porcupine Gorge.

180508 004 Eaglehawk Gorge Near Hughenden180508 005 Eaglehawk Gorge Near Hughenden180508 006 Eaglehawk Gorge Near Hughenden180508 008 Eaglehawk Gorge Near Hughenden

Unmarked Grave

Near the Eaglehawk Gorge  was an unmarked grave the occupant is either a Chinaman making his way to or from the goldfields and who was run over by a dray OR is is an aboriginal girl called Minnie Waite who was either murdered or died of exposure trying to walk into Hughenden.

180508 009 Unnamed Grave Near Hughenden180508 011 Unnamed Grave Near Hughenden

Mailman’s Grave and Bottle Ridge Lookout

I climbed this ridge. What a bugger! the track was hardly visible and rock strewn; and ideal place to break or twist an ankle. The ridge itself was no better a plateau of rocky ground but the view was pretty good.

180508 013 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden180508 015 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden180508 016 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden180508 019 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden180508 023 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden180508 024 Bottle Tree Ridge Near Hughenden

The Mailman’s grave was a cross and a pile of rocks, he was murdered by the local Aboriginals and buried where he died.

180508 029 Mailman Corbetts Grave Near Hughenden180508 030 Mailman Corbetts Grave Near Hughenden

The Whistling Bore

It didn’t whistle while I was there merely hummed at me. You can imagine the people who drilled it must have been annoyed when it didn’t produce water and merely whistled at them.

180508 060 Whistling Bore Near Hughenden180508 062 Whistling Bore Near Hughenden

Porcupine Gorge

There were a couple of lookouts, the first overlooked the steepest walls.

180508 033 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 035 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 036 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 037 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 038 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 039 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 043 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 049 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden180508 057 Porcupine Gorge Near Hughenden

The second overlooked the Pyramid and there was a rim walk plus a 1.1km walk down into the gorge itself. As it was nearly midday and the path looked rough I decided against going down, I think I might have done if it had gone down into the first part of the gorge but I decided against it.

180508 066 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 068 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 069 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 072 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 073 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 074 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 077 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden180508 078 Porcupine Gorge Pyramid Lookout Near Hughenden

Back in Hughenden

It was about 2pm by the time I returned to the town I bought fuel ($1.59/L) and I had thought of driving to Richmond but the price of fuel decided me against it.

I had a burger at FJ Holden’s Café, it was a very good burger (once I removed the inevitable beetroot)

180508 090 F J Holden Cafe Hughenden Near Hughenden180508 087 F J Holden Cafe Hughenden Near Hughenden

Surveyors Stake and Coolabah Tree

Frederick Walker and Sir William Landsborough blazed this tree when they were searching for Burke and Wills. The surveyors peg marks the original point from which the area was surveyed.

180508 096 Coolabah Tree and Surveyors Stake Hughenden180508 095 Coolabah Tree and Surveyors Stake Hughenden180508 103 Coolabah Tree and Surveyors Stake Hughenden180508 092 Coolabah Tree and Surveyors Stake Hughenden

7th May 2018–Hughenden

Distance:  284 km

Only about 250km to travel today so no rush to set off. Nowhere to stop on the way because today is a Queensland Labour Day public holiday so everything is shut. It was a pleasant drive under a cloudless sky

Stopped at White Mountain NP Lookout for the view and to stretch my legs.

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Arrived in Hughenden at about midday, found the caravan park and checked in for a couple of nights. Because it was so early thought I might as well take the opportunity to wash my dirty clothes – didn’t need to but good opportunity.

Afterwards I went for a drive to look round the town.

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Doing the Time Warp…

180507 032 Hughenden180507 034 Hughenden

Big surprise – the Tourist Info and Dinosaur Museum is open. Hughenden was the site of the second discovery of a fossilised Muttaburrasaurus. The Museum was only $5 entry and the girl was most helpful – giving me brochures about the Gorge I want to visit tomorrow.

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After the museum there is still plenty of daylight left so I took a drive to Mount Walker which is supposed to have 360’ views over the area. Once at the top you could believe that once the area was beneath the Eromanga Sea which stretched from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Lake Eyre in SA. The surrounding land is very flat. The sea existed during the Cretaceous Period when Australia was about to separate from Antarctica; a few years before Cook arrived.

180507 074 Mount Walker Hughenden180507 077 Mount Walker Hughenden180507 078 Mount Walker Hughenden180507 082 Mount Walker Hughenden180507 092 Mount Walker HughendenCar Mount Walker180507 098 Mount Walker Hughenden180507 099 Mount Walker Hughenden

On the return from the lookout came across a razorback that must have been run over by the local drunks.

180507 102 Razorback Hughenden

Now it was nearly sunset so took a drive to a local Chinese Restaurant which seemed to be the only other place open in town. Bought a Chilli Squid and fried rice meal back to the caravan park to have with a beer. A nice end to an interesting day.

180507 108 Hughenden Caravan Park180507 109 Hughenden Caravan Park

6th May 2018–Charters Towers (again)

Distance: 525 km
Fuel: 58 L

I had seriously thought about returning south via the coast ie Innisfail to Townsville but the combination of possible rain and the coastal traffic on a public holiday made me rethink the idea.

At the moment I am several days ahead of my schedule because I had allowed two stops between Charters Towers and Atherton in each direction. On previous journeys I have stopped at Undara Lava Tubes but on this occasion, while I did take a break at Mt Garnet on the way north and Greenvale on the way south, neither places have any great interest or reason to stop overnight.

Today’s trip was a long drive but I was listening to an audio book “The Handmaids Tale” which passed the time pleasantly enough and I always enjoy the bush winding passed.

Ravenshoe and its wind farm was its usual windy, soggy self:

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…but the weather improved no end past Mt Garnet.

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There are probably less than 10km of single lane road now on the whole of the Great Inland Way.

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5th May 2018–To Herberton and Beyond…

Distance: 147 Km
Fuel: 47 L

Hou Wang Temple

At 9am arrived at the Old Atherton Post Office Art Gallery.

180505 051 Old Atherton Post Office180505 003 Hou Wang Temple

Visited the Chinatown exhibition first before being taken out to the Temple (built in 1903). It is made of wood clad in corrugated iron – the temple’s internal walls are Red Cedar as are the meeting rooms walls, the remaining walls are unlined  iron walls so it must have boiled in summer especially the kitchen.

180505 002 Hou Wang Temple180505 005 Hou Wang Temple180505 006 Hou Wang Temple180505 008 Hou Wang Temple180505 039 Hou Wang Temple180505 010 Hou Wang Temple180505 012 Hou Wang Temple180505 043 Hou Wang Temple180505 013 Hou Wang Temple180505 015 Hou Wang Temple180505 021 Hou Wang Temple180505 022 Hou Wang Temple180505 025 Hou Wang Temple180505 026 Hou Wang Temple180505 028 Hou Wang Temple180505 030 Hou Wang Temple180505 032 Hou Wang Temple180505 033 Hou Wang Temple180505 038 Pig Roasting Oven180505 046 Hou Wang Temple

Interesting to compare the Fong On Rd as it was in 1912 and as it is now.

180505 047 Hou Wang Temple180505 048 Hou Wang Temple

Herberton

Herberton was originally the major town in the area because of the mining activities, Atherton was just a staging post on the way.

Herberton has an historic village which I presume is like Old Sydney Town (as was). I didn’t go. I went to the Spy and Camera Museum which was very interesting. A collection originally started by a local who was a cold war spy now taken over by the local photographer.

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Millaa Millaa

I had intended to have lunch at Millaa Millaa but instead when on the “Millaa Millaa Falls Drive’ which took in three of the local waterfalls – I didn’t go swimming.

180505 081 Millaa Millaa180505 080 Millaa Millaa

Millaa Millaa Falls

180505 085 Millaa Millaa Falls180505 087 Millaa Millaa Falls

Zillie Falls

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Ellinjaa Falls

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Nerada Tea Shop and Visitor Centre

I saw the sign as I neared Malanda so turned off and followed the back roads to the plantation. The tea looked very healthy but the Visitor Centre? Closed Saturday and Sunday… I shall be buying Bushells from now on.

180505 117 Nerada Tea Plantation180505 118 Nerada Tea Plantation180505 122 Nerada Tea Plantation180505 142 On the Road to Nerada Tea Plantation

Malanda

I had a late lunch in Malanda at the ‘Original’ Cafe. The coffee was fine, the chips were fine, the hamburger ordinary (and I had to pick the beetroot out).

Malanda Falls

180505 125 Malanda Falls180505 128 Malanda Falls180505 132 Malanda Falls180505 130 Malanda Falls

These falls have been turned into the local swimming pool as well as a tourist attraction and they were very close to town.

Back in Atherton I filled up with fuel ready for tomorrow and returned late afternoon to the caravan park. On the way I came across the Atherton War Cemetery.

180505 137 Atherton War Cemetery180505 139 Atherton War Cemetery

Yes, it did rain for about 5 minutes around midday today but after a cloudy morning it turned out to be a very enjoyable day.

180505 143 On the Road to Nerada Tea Plantation

Don’t forget that by clicking on an image you get to see that image full size.

4th May 2018–Atherton

Distance: 317 Km

Set off at about my usual time of 8.30am for a reasonably steady drive to Atherton – certainly no rush.

Stopped on the way to look at Black Mountain a rather odd old volcanic mountain of what appears to be a pile of rocks with little or nothing growing on it.

180504 008 Black Mountain180504 001 Black Mountain180504 007 Black Mountain180504 009 Black Mountain

Also stopped once more at Coffee Works in Mareeba for their equivalent of a Strawberry Sundae (Strawberry Chilla). i also bought some of their mint chocolate. It was OK, as with coffee chocolate is not a particular favourite of mine so to me Cadbury chocolate tastes much the same at a fraction of the price.

180504 018 On The Road to Atherton

Found the caravan park I selected, it was about 4km outside Atherton and I was tempted to have a look at the other ones. They charged $35 for a night which I think is getting excessive. The grounds were fine but the facilities need an upgrade, they are OK but that is all.

180504 015 Atherton Holiday Park180504 013 Atherton Holiday Park

Drove into Atherton to have a look at the town; quite a busy but commonplace shopping centre. I went to have a look at an historic Chinese Temple but it closed at 1pm which seems a bit early to me. Will try to fit it in tomorrow.

At just after 5pm it started to get a bit chilly must be the altitude it was still over 21’ at the time but once the sun went down the temperature dropped noticeably and rapidly.

3rd May 2018–Around Cooktown

Distance:12 km
Fuel: 31 L

Went to the information office at the Cooktown Botanical Gardens before 9am  basically to see when they were open. They weren’t open until 10am so went for a short drive down to Finch Bay for a stroll along the sands of this nearby bay.

180503 002 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 004 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 006 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 007 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 011 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 013 Cooktown Finch Bay

Next stop the James Cook Museum to see the recovered anchor and a cannon (one of six) jettisoned when the HMB Endeavour ran aground on a reef in June 1770. They were only discovered in the 1970s.

180503 040 James Cook Museum Cooktown

The museum is housed in the original convent of The Sisters of Mercy who were evacuated inland during WWII and never returned.

180503 014 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Cannon180503 037 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 015 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor180503 018 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor180503 020 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 030 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 023 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 027 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 021 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 024 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 026 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 031 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 033 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 036 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor

Back to the Botanic Gardens information bureau to find out about boat or plane trips. Bad news! a cruise ship is arriving off the coast today and all the local boats are booked for that. They took my phone number in case of cancellation but I heard nothing back. Similar story with the helicopter flights I put my name down for any party that needed a single to make up the numbers, the organiser told me that they have few flights this early in the season but if they had one they would call.

Very disappointing but I want to go back to Atherton tomorrow because it is the best chance of good weather in that area.

Had the local fish and chips at the Captain Cook’s Landing Place Kiosk; to be honest the chips were fine but the fish was only so so. Actually I remember when I first came to northern Queensland in the mid/late 1960s I stopped buying fish because it seemed to be a different colour depending on where you bought it – anything from yellow to red to grey and many shades in between.

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The weather was lovely today – sunshine most of the day, it rained for a few minutes early in the morning but then the clouds just vanished and soon the temperature was about 29’C. The humidity was pretty good too, higher than I am used to but with the sea breeze it very bearable – I would guess 60 to 70% perhaps? I enjoyed walking about the town.

180503 066 Cooktown Caravan Park180503 062 Cooktown Brush Turkey

The sunset was magnificent – the photo doesn’t even begin to cover it.

180503 068 Cooktown Sunset


2nd May 2018–Cooktown

Distance: 285 kim

Mareeba

It must have rained during the night, the car and camper were quite wet. It can’t have been heavy rain because the top vent was fairly wide open and during heavy rain some water “bounces’” in but the bedding was completely dry.

The sky however was clear as the sun rose. When I went for a shower I noticed several hot air balloons floating nearby.

180502 002 Mareeba180502 004 Mareeba

Didn’t leave until nearly 9am so I could go to Coffee Works for breakfast. Not exactly what I expected but the food was nice if expensive.

180502 011 Mareeba Coffee Works180502 008 Mareeba Coffee Works

On the Road

The drive to Cooktown was through some interesting and varied scenery much hillier than previous Queensland landscapes with some very steep climbs and descents.

180502 004 On the Road to Cooktown180502 005 On the Road to Cooktown180502 006 On the Road to Cooktown180502 011 On the Road to Cooktown

Early in the trip it actually rained a couple of times, not for long and not much, but the sky cleared and clouded over several times during the trip.

180502 017 Bobs Lookout180502 018 Bobs Lookout180502 019 Bobs Lookout180502 021 Bobs Lookout180502 025 Bobs Lookout180502 029 On the Road to Cooktown180502 031 On the Road to Cooktown180502 036 On the Road to Cooktown

Cooktown

Arrived in Cooktown about 1pm so, after unhitching the camper and having a coffee, I set off to explore Cooktown.

Most of its attractions are near the water front (the Endeavour River). There was the wharf built for the Queen’s visit, the place where Captain Cook actually landed and repaired his ship after he ran into the Great Barrier Reef plus various statues and monuments.

180502 038 Cooktown180502 039 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 040 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 041 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 043 Cooktown180502 046 Cooktown180502 045 Cooktown180502 051 Cooktown Capt Cook Statue180502 054 Cooktown180502 059 Cooktown Capt Cook Memorial180502 060 Cooktown Capt Cook Memorial180502 066 Cooktown180502 068 Cooktown180502 070 Cooktown180502 072 Cooktown180502 074 Cooktown

Grassy Hill was a pretty spectacular lookout overlooking the town, the river and the Coral Sea.

180502 082 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 090 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 091 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 094 Cooktown Grassy Hill

Back in the Caravan Park I was watching  a Kookaburra catch its food in the creek when it came and perched close by.

180502 129 Cooktown Kookaburra180502 131 Cooktown Kookaburra

1st May 2918–Mareeba

Distance: 561 km
Fuel: 60 L

Today was to be a long drive. There are really no stops until Mt Garnet unless you go to the Undara Lava Tubes but I have visited them twice in the last 5 years, including last year  so that was not practical. ,There are virtually no rest areas on this road either – the only place.s are left over sites from past roadbuilding/repair.

>>>Click Here to Revisit Lava Tubes<<< 

The drive from Charters Towers was fairly uneventful except for occasional encounters with the local wild life.

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When I first visited the Undara Lava Tubes over five years ago the road north of Charters Towers was mostly single lane.

180501 101 Road to Atherton

Now there are only a few km of single lane road left.

180501 102 Road to Atherton180501 100 Road to Atherton

The weather was beautiful until I reached Mt Garnet where I stopped for fuel – ironically the cheapest since leaving home – from then on it was getting noticeably cloudier as I drove.

By the time I arrived at Ravenshoe it was pouring with rain, I stopped and had a look at the forecast; not good! This is almost exactly what happened when I drove from Undara to Cairns five years ago – the weather was appalling all the way to Atherton where it continued raining.

BTW I think Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland.

Decided to push on to Mareeba where the forecast was not so bad. Arrived at the Tropical (?) Tableland Caravan Park at 3pm. It had been a long drive and the skies where still threatening.

In the event it did rain for a while when I was getting fuel but as sunset approached small patches of blue sky appeared – I hope this is an omen for tomorrow and my drive to Cooktown.

30th April 2018–Charters Towers

Distance: 393 km
Fuel: 39 L

Went for a walk after breakfast to the main street of Clermont and bought bread  at the local bakery .

180430 002 Clermont180430 003 ClermontIMG_4732

No rush to leave because there are no stops on this journey except Belyando Crossing roadhouse if I get a sudden urge for expensive food or fuel (it is the middle of nowhere – approximately 170km north of Clermont and 220km south of Charters Towers). The only other land marks are turn offs to stations (farms) and mines.

On the Road to Charters Towers

Pretty easy drive – one hard application of brakes to allow two kangaroos cross the road. I tried to save the video  of the dopey things but ended up ejecting the memory card by mistake.

Sad smileBumpy road!

I did stop at Belyando Crossing and I did pay $6 for a packet of chicken nuggets. It is the least interesting roadhouse in Australia that I have been to; small selection of food, a caravan park and some picnic tables. Unfortunately there was a parked road train with a load of cattle and the picnic tables were down wind of it.

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Arrived at Charters Towers after 1pm, set up and went for drive round town.   Took the inevitable drive up Tower Hill , went past the Stock Exchange and other historic buildings but only spent an hour looking about before returning to the caravan park. I was only here last June so there was little that was new – except for a concrete walking track up Tower Hill perhaps; I don’t remember it being there before.

Really only needed fuel.

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To see more of Charters Towers  >>>Click Here<<< and >>>Here<<<  for lots of pictures and notes about  my last visit.

29th April 2018–Clermont

Distance: 258 km
Fuel: 57 L

Was woken up at 1.40am by some of the park residents returning from their Saturday night frolic, not a problem, it was Saturday night and I went straight back to sleep.

Set off at about 8.30am which seems to be my ‘usual’ time. Only 250km today, because Charters Towers or even the roadhouse at Belyando Crossing is just too much driving to do comfortably in one day.

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Stopped at one lookout on the way to view the Staircase Ranges – could see why they are so named but frankly it is not particularly spectacular.

180429 007 Staircase Range Lookout180429 003 Staircase Range Lookout

Next stop was Springsure and the Virgin Rock. Have actually stopped here several times before.

180429 008 Virgin Rock Springsure180429 009 Virgin Rock Springsure

Called into Emerald for fuel.

I have been to Clermont a few times but previously stayed at a local motel, there seems to be only one caravan park but there appeared to be plenty of space though it filled up more as the afternoon went on.

180429 036 Clermont Caravan Park

After setting up the camper (I had to reverse into place for the first time this trip) went for a drive to see what Clermont has to offer.  Apart from mining the town is famous for the 1916 flood when many people were killed and the whole town was subsequently relocated to higher ground.

180429 012 Clermont180429 017 Clermont The Lagoon180429 019 Clermont The Lagoon

Reminders of the 1916 flood are well signposted.

180429 021 Clermont The Lagoon180429 023 Clermont The Lagoon180429 024 Clermont180429 027 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree180429 028 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree180429 029 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree