Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Henrietta Creek Camp Ground

We left the coast and headed inland on The Palmerston Highway. The weather changed quickly and dramatically on top of The Great Dividing Range where we camped at Henrietta Creek in The Wooroonooran National Park. This is The Wet Tropics and believe me it is wet! There wasn't any rain as such but the atmosphere was laden with very heavy mist that wet anything exposed for a short time. We arranged our camp and then set off on the Waterfall Walk, a distance of about 4.5 km. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete the circuit.

Jude walking along the trail that is completely covered by the tree canopy. Along with all the things women carry, Jude had a bottle of salt in her pocket to remove any wayward leeches she encountered.

The usual find in a rain forest, trees with a Buttress Root system.

Another example of the complex Buttress Root system.

The first falls we encountered was the Silver Falls, Jude is already at The Falls base.

The Silver Falls from the base pool.

Further along the circuit we came to the main falls of the walk, The Nandroya Falls.

Further along the circuit there are several other minor falls, such as this one and several areas of cataracts.

The last of the falls along the circuit. It was a very interesting and fairly challenging walk including a couple of creek crossings.

Our camp site in the National Park with another camper leaving after a three day stay-over. I think Jude got me to go too high on the levelling ramps, the van is on a distinct lean and the water would not drain from the shower!

The Rain Forest view from our caravan door. We did not see any sun the entire stay but still managed 1.4 amps of charge from the solar panels.

Etty Bay

Many travellers that we met along the trail suggested that we should visit Etty Bay as it is a beautiful secluded beach camp. We were also told that as the caravan park is rather small and very popular, one must book in advance to be guaranteed a space to camp. We followed that advice and pre-booked for a week long stay. On our arrival we indeed found a beautiful secluded beach camp but we also found a camp area of very small sites with very tight access that was half vacant. The non-powered site that we booked and paid for was a larger site but not remotely near level. It took us three times as long as usual to get a reasonable set up and even then we were sleeping on a slope, at least the gas 'fridge worked OK. Most campers near us were not happy at all, one couple left with days still paid for. Management would not come at any refunds for any reason. There was a No Pets Policy at the CP but friends of management had a dog with them, they also had two cars on the site, another infringement of CP Policy. As you can detect we were not very happy campers, three days would have been plenty long enough and we will not be returning. I guess one has to strike a blank once in a while and we have not found too many so far.

On the side of the road into Etty Bay we found our first Cassowary. It was feeding on fallen fruit from the trees along the road side.

The Cassowary got tired of my attention and strolled off along the road.

It is 'Low Tide' at Etty Bay, this allows a lot more beach area to walk on, otherwise the beach is very small. Looking back towards the camp area and The Life Savers Pavillion.

Further away from camp and looking back along the coast.

We went for a short drive through Innisfail to Flying Fish Point. The beach foreshore here is still to recover from storm damage, like many other areas.

Another Cassowary walking through our camp late one afternoon. It had already raided the fruit bowl of our neighbour's Camper Trailer Awning.

Checking out these campers now. The Cassowary scored two bananas at this camp the previous visit.

The view of the beach area from our awning. Tandem Sky Diving on this beach as well.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Tully Beaches

While we were in the area we went for a drive along the North Tully Coast. The most northerly beach is Garners Beach, then travelling back southwards there is Brookes Beach, we did not find beach access here. Bingil Bay was next, a beautiful beach with a very small camp area with about six small sites directly on the beach, we wouldn't be able to get our van into the sites there. Narragon Beach was next, no access here either, due to extensive earth works the entire area was barricaded off. We then arrived back at Mission Beach. We had been through 'Mission' about sixteen years ago and we recall a vibrant holiday place with packed caravan parks, we could not find a vacancy anywhere so travelled on. This year the parks are only half filled and there are parking spaces galore along the main road. Shops have been closed, the entire town looks un-cared for and depressing. Wongaling Beach is 4 km south of 'Mission' and is alive with people walking the beach. Woolworths built their "Mission Beach Store" at Wongaling! That sort of tells a story! Further south is South Mission Beach, which in reality is really just an extension of Wongaling Beach but the two are divided by the outflow of Wheatleys Creek.

Another day we took a short drive north of Innisfail and turned off at Silkwood heading for Kurrimine Beach. Seems every house at Kurrimine has a fishing boat in the yard and an old tractor to launch the boat.

Jude on Garners Beach, there is only a small parking/picnic area here but it looked like a 'Whizz-Bang' was there for an overnight stay.

Bingil Bay with the very small camp park behind the row of Coconut Palms.

An abandoned building on the Mission Beach foreshore.

Mission Beach with only one person walking.

The foreshore camp ground at Mission Beach, almost empty. The previous time we were here this camp ground was packed tight.

The 'Hub' of Mission Beach, barely a sole here as well. I think I recall the only people in the Bar were the Bar Staff.

Kurrimine Beach Boat Ramp, tractor and trailer parked.

Another two tractors with trailers at the Boat Ramp. Must be a good market for retired tractors.

The beautiful beach at Kurrimine.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tully Gorge National Park

The day dawned perfect and we decided to back track a little way and visit Tully Gorge. Most days the range is cloaked in a cloud of mist but today looked clear. The enjoyable drive was under 80 km through sugar cane and banana plantations of immense size. At the base of the range is a wide strip of forest that is still recovering from Cyclone Yasi of 2011. All the tall trees are either stripped of foliage or broken off at mid height. The scene looks like a giant brush cutter went through the forest.

The Tully River runs through the gorge and is renowned internationally for White Water Rafting. Championship Events are held here as the river flow can be modified by the release of water as required through the Hydro Power Station.

There are many entry points to the river for the Rafters along the gorge but they all exit the river at The Tully Gorge National Park Picnic and Camp Ground. The Camp Ground is quite open and capable of taking moderate sized caravans or motorhomes.

The Power Sub Station below the Hydro Generator.

First sight of the Tully River below the Power Sub Station.

This is the upper most rafting entry to the river.

Rafts are lowered from the road above via a Flying Fox apparatus to this receival table. As we were following the walking track back to the road Jude was leading the way until a large Python fell from a tree onto the path immediately in front of her. I don't know who was startled the most, Jude or the Python.

Ulysses Butterflies abound in the Wet Tropics of this area. This was the best photo I could get as they were constantly on the wing and you only see the blue as they are flying. This one was nearly 100 mm across. We also saw a Bird Wing Butterfly that was about 200 mm across.

The very quiet exit point from the Tully River at the Gorge Camp Ground.

A couple of rafts almost at the end of their experience. The exit point is about 100 m from this point.

Wongaling Beach

After taking on board several recommendations of Wongaling Beach and Bali Hai Caravan Park as a great stop-over we decided to give it a try and booked in for a week long stay.

Bali Hai CP is fairly small in area but has a very friendly atmosphere about it. Happy Hour each evening at 5:00 PM in the camp kitchen was always a babble of voices as campers related their days adventures. On two evenings a camper with a large boat had come back to camp from the Reef with an Esky full of fish from the day's fishing. Apparently he didn't eat fish so he gave it to everyone in the camp for a community sea-food dinner - fantastic.

Bai Hai CP is also the 'Mecca' for Sky Divers, we were constantly entertained by the colourful "Chutes" zooming into the beach opposite the caravan park with Dunk Island as a back drop - a beautiful piece of Australia

Across the road from the caravan park is Wongaling Beach with Dunk Island in the back ground.

A view south along the beach towards South Mission Beach.

A view north along the beach towards Mission Beach.

The 'Chutes' have just opened after a lengthy "Free Fall".

The first 'chute' to land on the beach.

Then another.

Several down now and still more coming. Nine Parachutes was the maximum load for the aeroplane, some solos but most were tandems.

On another day, you can make out the parachutes in the sky looking from our camp site.

Because Bali Hai is the Sky Dive Centre all the sky drops land on the beach opposite the camp area.

Our camp site with Sky Dive Centre in the background. Every Tandem participant has to go through a pre-jump course here before leaving to board the plane at Tully Airport. All the parachutes are packed here at the centre as well.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tully, Tully Heads and Hull Heads

After 'The Maroons' lost Origin 1 we had to leave The Beachcomber at Cardwell as it was a'Blues' nest. We were out numbered about 6 to 1. We edged a little further north to the Tully Area. Other travellers had told us of the camp at Hull Heads so we decided to look there first. Only one other camp set up when we arrived, we found a great spot with an outlook over The Hull River and could follow all 'the goings on' in the camp. Terry and June, people we had met on another trip, live at Tully, we contacted them and they drove out to Hull Heads for a chat along with their Chihuahua, Dolly. We stayed at Hull Heads for three days until rain made the decision to move on an easy one. Our visit to The Wet Tropics is living up to it's name, seems to be raining every day since we arrived around Tully. Other travellers are saying we have arrived too early, the better weather will be next month. I don't know whether they are having us 'ON' or not.

Tully is known for it's high rainfall, therefore they have the BIG GUMBOOT. The low mist on the range behind Tully is very evident, but at least it wasn't raining at this moment.

Some of the Tully township as viewed from the top of The Gumboot.

Also viewed from the top of The Gumboot is The Tully Sugar Mill, which is right in the town area.

If you can enlarge this photo you will be able to read all the statistics of Tully.

While we were camped at Hull Heads we rode our bikes the 5.5 km to Tully Heads. This is Carron Esplanade on the way into town. We were facing a SE breeze on the way in but the return trip was easy.

Looking northwards along the beach with The Tully River at my back.

As you will remember this area of Queensland bore the brunt of Cyclone Yasi, February 2011. Many homes are still vacant and unrepaired. The upper level from the front of this house has disappeared. Many homes have been completely destroyed with only the plumbing remaining on the property.

Another deserted home, it is really depressing to see the damage inflicted on these communities. Many families have moved away for good. The Caravan Park that was here has closed down as well.

On our way out of Tully Heads now, on Carron Esplanade from the south end.

This is The Coast Guard Station at Hull Heads, the camp area is behind the building and extends along The Hull River.

The Hull River at near high tide looking towards the river outlet. Colin is trying his luck at a bit of fishing. No one was very successful at this time.

Looking upstream along The Hull River towards the Boat Ramp. The ramp is fairly difficult to see as the tree line obscures plain view.

On the beach at the river outlet looking back towards the homes of the Hull Heads Community. Many of the homes here have been restored to liveable status but some have been demolished and vacant blocks is all that remains.