Sunday, August 12, 2012

Atherton Tablelands and the little things...

Well after a sad and sorry three days at the mechanics instead of one, with us idling away in a Cairns caravan park for the best part of last week, we are finally back on the road! Long story short - poor Luxie (apparently) needed new front ball joints, the starter motor pulled apart, a few other niggly bits and pieces as well. He should be like a new ute! Or so our wallets say...

Anyway, we finally drove out of Cairns on Saturday headed...south??? Yes that's right, wrong way! Seeing as though our drive to Cairns was a bit rushed in order to catch our plane to Papua New Guinea we decided to backtrack a wee bit and see some sights of the Atherton Tablelands and surrounds. First stop was The Boulders just near Babinda. Amazingly clear turquoise water with smooth boulders and rainforest all around. 

We continued south almost to Innisfail and stopped in at the popular Josephine Falls, we considered a swim but it was quite chilly in the rainforest! Spectacular falls with beautiful pools below and then again and again, about three levels. A few people there as it was the weekend.

We hit the road again and this time headed up into the mountains a bit further to discover more waterfalls, more rainforest...all a bit repetitive really. Kidding! More gorgeous falls with crystal clear water and lush surronds. 

Eventually wound our way around to Lake Tinaroo where we planned to camp the night. A fair few others had the same idea considering it was a Saturday night and I'm assuming a popular spot for people from Cairns to come. We found what we thought was a great spot up on a hill next to the bush - only to discover there was a native bush rat problem and we were probably first stop for a midnight snack! We've had rats chew wires in both the Hilux and my Territory so Matt was all panic stations about the rats. When we camped with Matt's sister and her family after we got off Fraser Island some rats also chewed through both our expensive C-Gear mats so we weren't too keen on that happening again. Oh yeah, and it was freeeeeeezing cold! Ok I've probably been colder in the high country of Victoria camping, but for far north Queensland it was ridiculous! We dragged out our beanies, made some hot chocolate and went to bed early. Not before Matt rolled up the walls of the camper, packed away practically everything (including C-Gear mat), popped the bonnet of the ute and hung an LED light over it as apparently the rats don't like the light so much. Needless to say in the morning there was no rat chewing problems. Phew.

We hung around for awhile this morning - soaking in the glorious sunshine, I poached some eggs, we drank tea, jealously watched the boats going out for an early morning ski and wakeboard. Bliss. Finally decided to move on and headed back to the main road. Matt saw a sign to a look-out through a farm though and I reluctantly agreed despite the gate opener duties. Lovely farmland around Atherton - we found Gippsland up north! 

As you can see the view from the look-out was fairly spectacular so we stopped for lunch there, all alone and quite beautiful. On we went though to the Cathedral Fig - an amazing tree estimated to be about 500 years old and started as a tiny seed high in the canopy of it's host tree. It was truly magnificent...

Phenomenal, right? Right. We drove on to Yungaburra and visited another fig, the Curtain Fig which is a lot more popular to visit I think because it's on the highway but in our opinion not nearly as spectacular as the Cathedral Fig.

Luxie trundled on to Atherton, stopped for a few supplies before continuing through the farmland to Kuranda (where we went on the skyrail and train last week) and then down the mountain. We were headed to a campground at Palm Cove (between Cairns and Port Douglas) but unfortunately we got there and it was booked out! At 5.30 after a day of tourist activities and driving this generally isn't what I want to hear. After some quick googling I found another caravan park up the road, got the last site available after a cancellation and here we are tonight at Ellis Beach! 

We have really started to get into a great rhythm of traveling - becoming very efficient and quick at packing up/setting up the camper, we have a spot for everything in the camper, the kitchen works really well and there's really not much we would change about how we set it all up. It suits our needs fine. Last week though I was missing a few home comforts, little things that start to annoy you living on the road. The tap next to fridge is always hard to fill the kettle from for example. My make-up and toiletries overflow from the camper drawers and I can never find anything. I grumbled to Matt. And then while I was working in Cairns (yes this is a working honeymoon!) on endless photos he quietly set about putting a new hose extension on the tap and putting dividers in the camper drawers for me and arranging things better. It's the little things when you're living in close quarters you know?

Yes, it's the little things.

Little things like not objecting to his mad photographer wife telling him to stop on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Bless his cotton socks.


  1. I've told Derek (my husband) about your honeymoon adventure and he is positively jealous, "why can't we do something like that?!" I love hearing about what you guys get up to. For now, we will just have to live vicariously through your adventures ;) 

    1. What are you waiting for?! I was so hesitant before we did this. Now I love it! We needed to do it before we have a mortgage and kids. Fantastic way to start a marriage and really evaluate where we want to be and how we want to live. Fortune favours the brave.

    2. I love your logic, before kids, mortgage and all that jazz, we are in exactly the same position. I guess for me, I moved to Sale by myself at 17 and spent the 6 years following that moving in to different homes for whatever reason every year. So for the first time, being married to Derek means we have our own home and I am loving that so much. I got so sick of moving around. Plus, I have a scholarship for 3 years to do my PhD and I do have a great job at the uni. I don't know, I think I will always be able to come up with excuses not to, maybe I should just bite the bullet and be adventurous! baby steps! Derek's sister is moving to Darwin this week and Derek wants to drive up to see her and take a week or so to do it, maybe I'll get the bug after that ;)

  2. oh my! those rainforests and waterfalls are lovely!

  3. Great snaps. Yes, you did pick a keeper too. xx Happy Trails!

  4. It is a beautiful area. My BF is from up there so have spent a bit of time in the area exploring waterfalls and rainforest (maybe I am just getting a little biased). It is nice at this time of year when there are more sunny days. I love your photos and am glad the rats didn't cause problems this time.

  5. Just found your blog!
    We actually live on the Atherton Tablelands!!
    I look forward to following your adventure,
    Sarah xo