Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 7th September 2006 to Saturday 9th September 2006

Thursday 7th September 2006

We woke to a fine morning that was very pleasant to rise and get into, but this was not done with any great speed or rush attached to it. Whilst 'One of Us' was making herself beautiful, the 'Other One' made some toast and set the Fire Alarm in the caravan off (again!) but the toast wasn't that bad and the caravan didn't burn down, even it it smelled like toast for a while!

Around 10:15 we left the caravan park and called in at the local BP service station where we filled the Patrol up with diesel before heading out of town toward Mareeba. Along the way we traveled through Tolga and Walkaman before we called in to have a look at the Warbird Adventures aircraft at the Mareeba airport. After watching one of the old fighter planes take off over us, we had a brief look at a couple of the other aircraft around the building and took a photograph or two before moving on.

On arrival at Mareeba we drove through the main part of the town, then under the instructions of 'One of Us' we continued north for a few kilometres and then off the highway a short distance until we drove into a Mango Winery. Now although she stated she doesn't really like mangoes, she was keen to try some of the mango wine so in we went and the 'One of Us' sampled their wares, the 'Other One' (as the driver) stood by making sure she didn't get to the point of needing support. Finally we departed that winery with a bottle of Mango Sparkling wine in tow at a cost of $26.

On the way back toward Mareeba we took a diversion out Wheelbarrow Drive and passed by a couple of coffee plantations but didn't call in to any of them as neither of us are big coffee drinkers and 'One of Us' was making some pretty loud 'hungry' noises at the time. We headed back into Mareeba again and drove around the town for a look, stopping to take a photo of the Historic Marker dedicated to Atherton who discovered the area.

From here we headed out of town back toward Atherton, until we came to 'War Memorial Park', where there was actually a Field Hospita sitel during the 2nd World War, there were a large number of granite stones set out with plaques on them commemorating the different Service Units that served during the war. This was a very interesting stop and also provided a few more photograph opportunities.

There was no doubt about the directions when we were back in the Patrol so it was onto the highway again and foot down to the boards as we made our way back to the caravan park at about 1:20pm for lunch. Once back in the caravan park all needs were met with a salad sandwich or two, then it was time to put our feet up to rebuild the energy reserves.

The rest of the afternoon was occupied catching up on some minor jobs that needed to be done and sorting ourselves out a little, whatever that means!

Warbird Adventures - Mareeba
Warbird Adventures - Mareeba

The Barron River - Mareeba
The Barron River - Mareeba

War Memorial Park - Atherton
War Memorial Park - Atherton

Friday 8th September 2006

McHugh Lookout - Milla Milla
McHugh Lookout - Millaa Millaa

Premier Peter Beatie on the campaign trail (on TV) this morning was raving about the weather in his state of Queensland. Well that should have put an end to good weather as we know how honest politicians are, but I have to say he was speaking the truth this morning. Yes, blue sky, shorts and T shirt weather which is even better knowing that back in Perth it has been wet. cold and miserable. Maybe it is time to visit another waterfall to give us an idea that water does fall to the ground in some locations.

We managed to get ourselves organised and out of the caravan park by about 9:10am and had a quick drive around the town before heading out towards Malanda, approximately 20 kilometres from Atherton. On arrival in Malanda we stopped at the Malanda Wet Tropics Visitors Centre and called in to see if there was anything in the area that we should particularly see and were given some information, however it appears we have seen most of the 'Must See' attractions in the area.

From the visitors centre it was only about 100 metres to Malanda Falls which is quite a pretty little spot that has grassed areas around it and would be ideal for a picnic on a warm summer day, or any day that wasn't wet I would think.

From Malanda we continued out the road to Millaa Millaa where we drove out the Innisfail road for a few kilometres until we came to the turn off to Mungalli Falls, about three kilometres down a single lane sealed roadway. These falls are the only privately owned heritage area falls in Queensland and there is a camp there that was being used by a primary school group at the time. There was no doubt the students were having fun in the water around the rapids and also in a dam nearby that had tubes and other floating objects in it. We took a few photographs of the rapids section of the falls (kids and all) before walking down a track to the bottom to the actual falls themselves. This would have been about an 800 metres steep downhill walk to get to the bottom but the falls were quite impressive from this angle. Unfortunately the light was not in the best direction and the photographs taken did not show the water fall off very well, nevertheless it was well worth the walk down there to view them from the bottom. The problem was then the fact that we were at the bottom of the track and the Patrol was at the top, but unlike the fairytale, neither of us fell down and broke our crown, we just took it easy and eventually made it without too much trouble, just a bit of huffing and puffing.

After another photo of the rapids, the students were at lunch by this time, and a look at the top of the falls, we drove back out to the highway and made our way back to Millaa Millaa before turning off the road and heading up to McHugh Lookout at the top of a range a short distance away. Once we had admired the view from here and taken a few photographs, we headed back down the hill and made our way back to Atherton via Malanda and a short deviation to check out a roadside vegetable store near Tolga. (without seeing anything that would satisfy the appetite of 'One of Us')

We arrived back at the caravan at about 2pm and decided to call it a day for today. Our plans for tomorrow are to stay around Atherton town centre and just do a little food shopping, however this may be a dangerous move as there are also other shops there that the 'One of Us' will have to walk past and we all know how much 'will power' she has, or more to the point, how little 'won't power' she can exercise!

Malanda Falls - Malanda
Malanda Falls - Malanda

Mungalli Rapids - Millaa Millaa
Mungalli Rapids - Millaa Millaa

Saturday 9th September 2006

Last night just after 5pm we paid a visit to a local pond only a few hundred metres from the caravan park as we had been told that there were platypus there and we would be able to see them sometime between 5 and 6 pm. The pond water was a bit muddy and it wasn't possible to see the bottom, but we strained our eyes for ages just to see bits of flotsam and jetsam floating bye, the occasional small turtle, geese paddling around and sulphur crested white cockatoos squawking in the trees.... but no platypuses.

After around three quarters of an hour, we decided we would call it a day and head back to the caravan park after one last look from the viewing platform and then they must have felt sorry for us so up popped a little platypus to the surface. However they like playing games and they would surface in different locations each time and every time the camera was focused and the button was pressed, they would crash dive below the surface before the digital camera clicked over and there we had a great photograph of the surface of the water, but no platypus This went on for a while and our photography seemed to have the same results each time, consequently we do not have any good still images to show or remind us of these fascinating little creatures in the future but we fooled them and they turned out ok on the video footage we took of them. It is great to see these creatures in their own environment in the wild, not caged up and on show for the profit of individuals. We returned to the caravan park by about 6:10pm and settled down for the night after a dinner of chicken and salad.

The evening was a little cooler than we had experienced here for a while but this morning we woke to another one of those beautiful clear blue skies and a bright sun shining down warming us quite quickly. It was too good to rush so we took our time getting organised (as usual) and eventually drove into town at about 10:15am. The first stop was at a Home Hardware store where it was necessary to pick up a short length of timber for a minor repair to a wooden seat strut in the caravan. It is a mystery as to how the strut cracked, that cracking sound when 'he' sat down heavily on it one night would not have anything to do with it he is sure.

Next we called into the Woolworths store where 'One of Us' was in her element, all these goodies to pour over and pile into the shopping trolley because 'we need that' 'and that', 'and that'! The 'Other One' almost gets a hernia from pushing an overloaded trolley around the store, but that is life as we know it.

We eventually managed to get all the goodies out past the check out and into the Patrol, then came the important part of the trip, 'One of Us' needed another cask of white wine so back into the shopping complex we went and into the bottle shop where a cask of Lambrusca was purchased. Just to make her feel better by not being the only one to be buying alcoholic beverages, the 'Other One' picked up a bottle of red wine, then to make her feel even better he picked up a cask of red wine and a block of XXXX beer (He is very thoughtful).

It was then time to return to the caravan park where all these goodies had to be packed away for future use, but this task was finally achieved. After all that effort there was definitely a look in the eye of 'One of Us' that said "Get me food!" so the BBQ was fired up and our came the bacon, onions, eggs and bread to toast so by about 1:20pm we enjoyed a rather tasty feast whilst sitting out in the warmth of the day taking in the tropical sun.

The afternoon was spent repairing the seat strut, preparing e-mail messages to send to some friends (Yes, we believe we still have some) and some computer work which we never seem to catch up on. Tomorrow we believe we may drive out to Herberton for a look around that town before returning and starting preparation to leave Atherton the next day.

Platypuss in Atherton
Fuzzy little Furry Platypus in Atherton

Waterfalls at Platypuss Park
Waterfalls at Platypus Park

Big4 Caravan Park - Atherton
Big 4 Caravan Park - Atherton

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