Our trip to far north Queensland

Hello, everyone.

We are back from our wee holiday and I am sad to say I am going to bore you all with some holiday shots.  I have hundreds of photos but I will spare you.  I know other people’s holiday shots are no where near as interesting to others as they are to those who took them.

We went to Brisbane, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation.  We had a couple of purposes.  Number one, we had never been to Brisbane.  How embarrassing is that?   The other purpose was, for a long time, I have wanted to see the Daintree rainforest.  So, when Maus suggested we spend a couple of weeks in Brisbane, I adjusted the itinerary slightly to: two days in Brisbane and the rest of the time in far north Queensland, to ensure we had enough time to see the Daintree.  🙂

The wet tropics of Northern Queensland is so different from the Mediterranean climate of Western Australia.  We are so lucky in Australia to have such a variety of climate and terrain.  It is freezing cold in Tasmania, hot and wet in Northern Queensland and hot and dry everywhere else, although it is not always hot over here.  It has been snowing in a small area of Western Australia in the past week.

Back to the holiday… The first photo is a 5 metre salt water crocodile we saw when we went on a river cruise in Dickson’s Inlet near Port Douglas.  If you see a sign that says “Warning: Crocodiles.  Do not swim”, take the warning seriously.  These guys will quickly make mince meat of you.

This is a shot of Dickson’s Inlet where we saw the croc.  It is amazing how wilderness like it looks yet it is extremely close to the very touristed town of Port Douglas.  BTW: a friend of ours described Port Douglas “as close to paradise as you can get.”  I guess if it wasn’t for the crocs and the stingers, it would be paradise.

We saw this guy at an outdoor restaurant in Kuranda.  He is a water dragon.  Before this holiday, I had never heard of water dragons.  It appears they are seen quite often at the restaurant.  I noticed this guy peer over this bit of pine.  He stayed there long enough for me to get a photo and then he was off.  According to Wikipedia:

Australian water dragons have long powerful limbs and claws for climbing, a long muscular laterally-compressed tail for swimming, and prominent nuchal and vertebral crests. (A nuchal crest is a central row of spikes at the base of the head. These spikes continue down the spine, getting smaller as they reach the base of the tail.)

Including their tails, which comprise about two-thirds of their total length, adult females grow to about 60 cm (2 feet) long, and adult males can grow slightly longer than one metre (3 feet) and weigh about 1 kg.  Males show bolder colouration and have larger heads than females. Colour is less distinct in juveniles.

I will not bore you with too many of the multitude of tree photos I took.  Of course, when you go to a tropical rainforest you are going to see a lot of trees.  This is a photo of a Kauri Pine.  They are magnificent trees.  They can grow up to 50 metres tall.  Just as an indication of how many magnificent trees we saw, neither of us can remember where I took this photo.  All we know is (from the date and sequence it was taken) it was after we left Kuranda and before we called into Palm Cove for a squizzy.

Talking about trees …  This photo was taken at Mossman Gorge.  I include it just because there was nothing special about it.  It is similar to at least 100 photos I took.  It just shows how beautiful the area is.  You can turn anywhere and take a photo like this.

We went off the main drag to see a “natural theatre” which one of the other hotel guests recommended to us.  I don’t know how long ago they saw it but it looked like it had been long closed when we got there.  It didn’t really matter. We were not in a hurry to go anywhere in particular that day and the scene there and back was fab and we were lucky enough to see sugar cane being harvested.  I had never seen sugar growing before let alone harvested, so I had to stop and take a shot.

I did so little research before we went I didn’t really understand much about the Daintree, except it was a tropical rainforest and I wanted to see it.  If asked, I would have thought you head towards Daintree Village and the rainforest would be there abouts.  I didn’t even know there was a Daintree River.  Well, folks, what an ignoramous I turned out to be.  Maus booked accommodation for us at Cape Tribulation which, as it turns out, is north of the Daintree River and … there is no bridge over the river, only a car ferry.

North of the river, it starts to get less civilised.  They don’t even have mains electricity.  It is either solar power and/or generators.  But north of the river is your best bet to get a taste of the rainforest.  I would highly recommend if you are going up these parts that you stay some place north of the river.  Most tourists just do day trips but I don’t think this is anywhere near enough time.  We spent four days in the area which is probably a bit generous.  BTW:  we bought a book of 10 river crossing tickets and only used four so if you can use the balance of the tickets, let us know.

This is Emmagen Creek, as far north as we went.  It is a few kilometres after the end of the bitumen and as far as we could go in our little hire car.  It is 4-wheel-drive only past this point.

You may wonder why, when choosing a select few photos to show you, I chose a photo of a pile of shit.  I was very glad to find this shit because I am pretty sure it belongs to a cassowary.  Local cassowaries are renown for eating a particular fruit, the blue quandong. They swallow the fruit whole, digest the pulp and pass the seeds, intact, in large piles of dung, distributing them throughout the rainforest. Some rainforest seeds require the cassowary digestive process to help them germinate.

I was pretty confident this was as close as we were going to get the endangered cassowary so I took the photo.  We saw quite a bit of wildlife, the big croc, the water dragon, two bandicoots, two snakes and … three cassowaries!!  It was on the last day when we were heading back to Cairns.  I thought I saw a chick crossing the road in front of us so I got Maus to stop the car.  We saw another chick and a big old daddy (male cassowaries look after the young).  I didn’t have time to take a photo but it was pretty close to the highlight of the trip .

  

We took the inland road back to Cairns and passed Lake Mitchell.  This is one of those great photos that when you are taking it you have no thought it is going to be special but it turns out fabulous.  I just love the colour and texture of the grass.  It looks like a painting.

Last shot!  It is the “Cathedral fig tree”, a couple of kilometres off Gillies Highway, north east of Yungaburra.  There is also the “Curtain fig tree” which is equally magnificent.  But I took this photo to show the canopy.  A whole city of creatures would live up there.  Mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, spiders and every other creature you could think of.

It really is a fascinating part of Australia.

A Shane Delia night, part 3 … Pistachio and Apricot Frangipane tart

Hello, everyone.  Not only did I trick you, I tricked myself.  I thought I wouldn’t have time to prepare this post before we went on our holiday but, as it turns out, the day before we left was wet and I was stuck in a small flat.  Anyone who knows me would know that is cabin fever material, so I decided to prepare this post. Continue reading

A sojourn and a recipe

Maus and I have been busy of late (when I say busy, remember, everything is relative) so we decided we needed a break.  Maus chose Augusta, a coastal town 1½ hour drive south west of us.  We had a fab time.

We stayed at the local hotel (which is not recommended but was adequate).  When booking in, Maus picked up brochures for local whale watching tours.  I have had whale watching on my “must do list” for quite a while.  We had intended to go to Albany later this winter for that purpose.  I didn’t even know that you could go whale watching from Augusta. Continue reading

Soaping makes me happy

That title makes me happy too …  because it is true!

Soap is really taking over our house  … and garage.  There is barely enough room in our two-car garage for one car anymore.  I only have one corner as a workshop but it is expanding outwards.

I started off airing soap on top of the fridge, then Maus made me a shelf in the laundry.  One shelf!!  What was she thinking?  Then she acquired this wonderful 5-shelf display stand… and then, not so long ago, we bought another stand from Ikea.  Alas, the Ikea stand is nearly full.  I think it is time for another stall. Continue reading

Lamb meatballs with warm yoghurt and swiss chard and solutions to some recent software problems

Hello, everyone!

This is a post which has been sitting in Drafts for ages.  I just hope I can remember how we made the dish.

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written a post.  One reason has been lethargy and the other is that I have had computer problems or, more to the point, software problems.  I will tell you about them in case you have the same, or similar, issues.  It will save you hours in forums. Continue reading