Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 10th September 2006 to Tuesday 12th September 2006

Sunday 10th September 2006

We have to keep a low profile today whenever we see any South Australians or New South Wales AFL supporters in the vicinity as not only did the dockers fall short of the target when they played Adelaide yesterday, the Eagles also fumbled the ball (a lot) and went down to Sydney Swans by one point. The only bright spot in the AFL for WA supporters is the fact that they both have a second chance and I guess the WA teams won't have to play each other unless they both get through to the Grand Final.....

It was easy to forget yesterdays AFL results when the morning sun rose up into a beautiful clear blue sky, accompanied by the warmth we have come to expect each day. As this was our last full day in Atherton, we decided to drive out to Herberton and take the loop road which would bring us back onto the Kennedy Highway about 20 kilometres from Ravenshoe.

We drove out of the caravan park at about 9:55am and started out on the road toward Herberton through some extremely picturesque forest covered hills (or mountains maybe) with everything very green and lush. On arrival in Herberton (named after the first Premier of Queensland) we drove slowly through the town which appears to be spread along the road and onto the side of the surrounding hills. Herberton was first established as a mining town when large deposits of tin were discovered there near 'Wild Creek' in 1880 and it was the first town established in the Atherton Tablelands.

There was a newsagents open and a Sunday paper (with TV guide) was a requirement so we stopped in the main street and attended to that purchase before walking around a few of the old buildings, and located the local War Memorial dedicated to the World War I soldiers. This memorial is listed on the heritage listings as it is one of the best remaining examples of this kind of memorial from that era. There was also a mural on the wall of a building which depicted the early days of this settlement, including the appalling treatment of the original inhabitants of which it is believed there are no descendents of the Nganyaji people left.

From Herberton we continued around the loop road and came out on the Kennedy Highway where we turned right and drove the 20 or so kilometres up to Ravenshoe (pronounced Ravens -hoe) for another look at this little town. Our first stop here was at a small park where the Millstream historic steam train, Capella, runs on a heritage listed railway from Ravenshoe to Tumoulin and back through forest and farmlands. The steam train is a 1925 D 17 steam locomotive and it hauls vintage carriages. It is said to run on weekends and public holidays, however there did not appear to be any action today so we took some photographs of it then moved on to the local Information Centre.

This Information Centre proved to be an interesting little place that was designed to give the visitors a bit of an insight into the rainforest environment and surrounding district. 'One of Us' found something to purchase in an effort to assist the local economy before we left the centre and set off in the Patrol once more. This time we found our way back onto the Kennedy Highway and headed back to Atherton without finding the need to stop again as we had passed this way on two previous occasions since we arrived in Atherton last Sunday.

We arrived back at the caravan park at about 12:25pm, in time for lunch and an afternoon of relaxation (for 'One of Us' anyway) before packing up a few items that we didn't need to use again before our departure from Atherton on our way to Cairns in the morning, and looking forward to Happy Hour under the palm trees and roast pork with all the trimmings for dinner.

WWI War Memorial - Herderton
WWI War Memorial - Herberton

Steam Train - Rovenshoe
Steam Train - Ravenshoe

Monday 11th September 2006

Our last morning in Atherton started out like most of the others, a clear blue sky and warm sun making a very pleasant start to the day. Our first task was to roll up the awning and pack up the rest of the caravan bits and pieces before hooking up and pulling out of the caravan park by about 8:30am.

Our first stop was about 20 metres down the road where we pulled into a vehicle washing area that belonged to the caravan park and out came the washing brush, detergent and elbow grease. There was a hose supplied and the job of removing layers of dust and mud from the caravan commenced. Closely supervised by 'One of Us' the 'Other One' rubbed, scrubbed and hosed until the caravan looked a little more respectable, although it may have been stretching it a little to say it was really clean.

At about 9:25am we were on our way again, out onto the highway and through Atherton before turning toward Yungaburra where 'One of Us' wanted to stop off and get a friend for Chelsea (The grumpy bear) but unfortunately the 'Other One' has a hearing problem and didn't realise that was what was required until we were too far past it to stop.... (Trust me... it might be true!!).

A few kilometres passed Yungaburra we came to Gillies Range which was about 17 kilometres of mountain over which the road wound it's way up for a short distance then wound down out of the ranges onto the coastal plains at Gordonville, south of Cairns. Along the way we pulled over to the side of the road on numerous times to let faster vehicles get by and there were even more places that we would have liked to stop to take photographs, unfortunately that was not possible as the roads had steep cliff faces on one side and almost sheer drops on the other side. Most of this drive was made at about 40 to 60 kilometres per hour as the downhill run was done using engine breaking to save the constant use of the Patrol and caravan brakes. 'One of Us' admired some of the magnificent views out the window but would not let the 'Other One' look anywhere but straight ahead on the road, Not sure why....

Once we reached the plains at the bottom of the mountain road, we had a scenic drive between more mountains until we reached Gordonville and the Bruce Highway where we turned north for another 15 kilometres until we traveled through Edmonton and reached Woree, a suburb of Cairns where the Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort is located. We could not book into the caravan park until 11:am but fortunately our arrival was at 11:03am and we were welcomed like old friends and given a powered site with a concrete pad that is nestled between palm trees and was surrounded by lush green grass. Once in the caravan park we took our time to set up completely, including the BBQ, satellite TV, chairs and table and all we need for the next seven days that we will be staying here.

After lunch there was an urgent need to drive into Cairns Central where a hair cut was the first thing to be done. No need to guess who it was that had the hair cut as only 'One of Us' has any hair worth cutting. Then there was a visit to Coles where the need for one item stretched to several necessities that cost us about $63, that was before Target, Crazy Clarks, Priceline and then House.... Not bad for 'just need a haircut'! However she ensured we were home in time for Happy Hour at 5:pm.

Tomorrow the Patrol goes in for a service and may be there all day so we don't expect to do anything 'Touristy' at all and will most likely spend the day relaxing among the palm trees in the caravan park.

Washing the caravan at Atherton
Washing the caravan at Atherton

On the way to Cairns from Atherton
On the way to Cairns from Atherton

Tuesday 12th September 2006

Entry waterfall in the Cairns Coconut Caravan Park
Entry waterfall - Cairns Coconut Caravan Park
Sun Lagoon Pools and Playground
Sun Lagoon Pools and Playground
Settled in on a powered caravan site
Settled in on a powered caravan site

This morning we woke to the rustle of palm trees in a gentle breeze and the forecast maximum of 27 degrees and another clear blue sky, Yawn.... again... Life is really tough.

The first task for the day was for 'One of Us' to put her feet up (she said she was scrubbing the shower) whilst the 'Other One' had to get the Patrol ready and head off into Cairns to the Nissan Service Department and leave it there before 8:am. Who starts work that early???? Not us very often these days! On arrival the Patrol was duly deposited outside the service centre and keys handed over just as the courtesy bus was leaving on it's first round of Cairns to return the owners to their respective destinations and the first stop was the Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort. That was a tough half hours work so the rest of the day will have to be spent relaxing around the caravan park.

At about 12:30 we received a phone call to say the Patrol was finished and ready to collect and as we would have to have caught a bus in to their workshop, they sent a courtesy vehicle out to get us. It was only about ten minutes before it picked us up but then it was diverted to pick up three others, so the trip included a good look around Cairns City Centre and numerous other places as well. On arrival at the service centre the keys were handed back to us after paying the service fee of... Wait for it... $390.65, then the Patrol set off back to the caravan park, arriving there about 1:20pm. Included with the service was a check of the electronic engine control system which revealed the fuel filter was clogged up with 'debre' which would have been the cause of the engine control light coming on intermittently for a couple of days before I drained it in Atherton. Consequently this meant that the filter was replaced at a cost of $51.21 and labour $51 (Included in the full service charge). The standard service charge for labour was $144.00 and the remainder of the account was made up of filters, oil and misc service supplies. Ouch!!! but it is good to know that it is still in good order and ready for the return trip to Western Australia which is likely to be around another 10,000 kilometres towing the caravan that weighs almost 2.5 tonne.

After lunch we took the Patrol out again just for a short drive into Cairns City Centre and along the Esplanade, however there is a lot of work being carried out along that part of the foreshore. Our assumption is that the beaches must have been damaged by the cyclone when it came through and that they are currently being repaired.

On the way back to the caravan, 'One of Us' (No prizes for guessing which one) wanted to call in to a Coles store and just happened to see a KMart there as well, so after wandering around that shopping centre for a while we left it with us being over $60 worse off.... Not bad for "just a look".

We arrived back at the caravan at about 4:15pm and settled in for the rest of the day. Tomorrow will also be a quiet day as we do not intend to do too much other than some more cleaning up before we head out to the airport just before 6:pm to collect cousin Judy when she flies in from Perth. Unlike last time she flew in to join us, we will be there to meet her this time, we promise....

The Frog 'N' Nemo
The Frog 'N' Nemo

Kids Adventureland in the Caravan Park
Kids Adventureland in the Caravan Park

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