NOW: THE WET TROPICS
For some travellers it’s the call of The Cape once you are this far north in Queensland but we’ve been to Cape York before and travelled up and back on the famous Telegraph Track. This time we’re heading for a camping RESORT with tropical gardens, a resort style pool, a large adults only heated spa and grass. With that picture in mind, add a long seafood lunch overlooking Cairns Harbour with a bottle of bubbly and sparklers in my dessert for a grand celebration of my 60th birthday.
With adventure in mind we headed to the outer reef for some snorkelling at Moore Reef with Wally the Giant Wrasse. It was windy and the waves were breaking over the edge of the reef and through the best area for snorkelling. The best course of action was get in the water and float with the swell! There were lots of tropical fish doing just that in amongst the coral bommies.
We hadn’t seen a shopping centre for a few months and our clothes were really faded with a distinct red dirt hue. After a few hours we were looking pretty spiffy and ready to take on the resort lifestyle. The tourist season had died down and we were able to stroll the esplanade at Palm Cove quite pleasantly and have a picnic by the beach. On The Esplanade in Cairns you can dine all day and night and swim in the stinger free salt water pool with all the other tourists.
The Cairns Botanic Garden made us want to get rid of our lawn at home and build a tropical rainforest. The huge fan palm leaves glowed under the shade of the curtain figs. The gingers were thriving and flowering with long brightly coloured flower stems. At home we have some palms and ginger that flowers if we get rain but this was superb. In the butterfly house there was a collection of flowering tropical plants, ferns, carnivorous specimens and of course, butterflies.
Up in the hills the behind Tully the Tully River has cut a deep gorge enjoyed by whitewater rafters and onlookers because of the huge volume of water racing over the rocky riverbed all year round. Tully has the record for the highest rainfall in Australia at over 8 metres and they built a gum boot 8 metres high to demonstrate the height.
The high rainfall and fertile river valley are also perfect for crops like sugar cane.
Mission Beach is surrounded by protected rainforest and home to the almost prehistoric looking cassowary. We had been cassowary searching in Atherton with no luck but here they were roaming through the camp. Their path took them from the forest next to our Tvan around the gardens to a tree near the front road with large fallen red fruit.
What started as a hobby has become a business with some Mission Beach locals who grow cacao (often known as cocoa) and produce delicious single origin chocolate. We toured the plantation, sampled the chocolate and bought some to take home for later.
The weather was not kind to us at Mission Beach. We had 180 mills of rain in 30 hours and even the cassowaries took refuge in the camp kitchen one morning. When the sun did come out the palm fringed beach at Bingil Bay was a pretty place to spend some time. We also walked along South Mission Beach with views of Dunk Island which we had visited several times in the past but which no longer operates.
NEXT: THE TROPICAL NORTH
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David