Pam's Journal for July 2006

Saturday 1st July 06
Today Jan and Ross were the tour guides. The sun was shining so we set off on our day out. It was quite a drive to Barrine Lake which we wanted to walk around. By the time we arrived it was morning tea time, so we enjoyed scones and coffee at the café. We then did the walk which took about 1.5 hours - a very pleasant walk during which we saw first hand the destruction Cyclone Larry had wrought on the rainforest. We saw huge trees that had been uprooted and were just lying there. From there we went to look at a huge Red Cedar tree that was supposed to be the oldest accessible one in North Queensland, but sadly Cyclone Larry had been there before us. The Red Cedar now lies there, broken. As it was lunchtime we made our way to Lake Eacham where we ate our picnic lunch before walking around that lake. It was a shorter walk, only 50 minutes, but tougher. Anyway, time was getting on so we went to the town of Yungaburra for a cup of coffee. We were directed to a delightful café by the man in the information centre. The café was also a bookshop. We had been told that there were Platypuses in the river so we wandered down but didn’t see any. Then it was time to head home where we arrived too late for HH.

Sunday July 2nd 06
Lay day today. Just cleaning and washing. We went for a walk and not much else.

Monday July 3rd 06
We went for an hour’s walk in the morning then I had to rush around to get to the hairdressers for 9.30am. After the hairdressers I did some washing and got ready to go into town. Pete Mate and I were going to have one of the best Caesar Salads we have found since travelling and then it was off to the hospital for a bone density test for me. Once that was out of the way we went into the centre of town to do a little shopping. Pete Mate wanted a belt for when we are walking so he can hang all his gear on it and leave his hands free. We found one at the Army and Navy Store, plus a bag for me. Then we went home for a rest before HH.

Tuesday July 4th 06
We went for an hour’s walk first thing. Later in the morning we went into town to the doctor’s to get the results of all our tests. All good news except Pete Mate’s cholesterol is very high so he now takes the same tablets as me. Having just been told by Dr Dot that we need to eat healthily and exercise, we drove to our favourite café for another Caesar Salad!!!

Wednesday July 5th 06
Pete Mate and I walked the hill circuit this morning without Jan and Ross. We were going to do three walks today whilst out but Pete Mate and I thought we would get an early start. (We need to burn a lot of fat by tonight as it is pizza night in the camp kitchen). We drove to the Botanical Gardens and parked near by. The first walk was recommended to us by Sue (caravan park owner). She didn’t warn us that most of the walk was steps and more steps so I found it tough going only having short legs. The people who build these steps always make them very deep. Anyway it was a good walk and the views of Cairns were lovely. The second walk was still closed after the cyclone, what a shame! We found a coffee shop and once refreshed we walked around the gardens. Very nice but not as many blooms as we saw last year. Mind you, it was springtime when we went last year. After we had covered the park we had lunch and then did the board walk around to Centenary Lakes. We walked around the lakes and then headed back to the coffee shop for more refreshments. Then we headed home for a rest before Pizza Night and the State of Origin rugby match. Go Queensland!!

Thursday July 6th 06
Mossman Gorge was our destination today. We set off fairly early and arrived at the Gorge in time for morning coffee. As there aren’t any cafés there we had taken our own. After coffee we set off to walk the trail through the Gorge. It was a lovely walk, we all enjoyed it very much, as we did our lunch when we arrived back at the car park. Departing the Gorge we headed off to look at a beach, then, on the return trip, we called at Mossman for a cup of coffee before heading home for HH. A very pleasant day was had by all.

Friday July 7th 06
I went to the dentist for root canal work which was supposed to enable the dentist to save my front tooth. Well, after a lot of discomfort, an hour and a half in the chair and paying a heap of money, I am no further forward; the tooth is on its way out. To say I was down in the dumps is an understatement. We were joined by our neighbours Vic and Margaret for HH. A very nice couple who have just done the cargo boat trip we did last year. From what they say they seem to have loved it as much as we did.

Saturday July 8th 06
Today our morning walk took us down the highway looking for a sign for Tai Chi. The sign is no longer there but we did get some exercise. After coffee we had chores to do, and then we got ready to go to the pub. Saturday is TAB day, I had a couple of bets and lost my money so I am giving up betting. Later we ate dinner there and it was really nice but very fattening. All in all a very pleasant afternoon and evening.

Sunday July 9th 06
Apart from our usual walk we had a lay.

Monday July 10th 06
We went for our usual walk up the hill. Just before lunch we set off to the Botanical Gardens taking our lunch with us. We ate a picnic lunch in the park and then proceeded to do the same walk we did the other day. So many steps! Anyway I found it tough going today but eventually we got to the top where the boys were delighted to see so many aircraft take off from the airport. We did a little of the other track but it is still closed. Once down on level ground again we had refreshments at the café before heading home for a rest before H.H.

Tuesday July 11th 06
We had a couple of errands to do in town. Once they were done we went for our favourite Caesar Salad before returning home. Pete Mate washed Billy and I caught up with some knitting.

Wednesday July 12th 06
Lay day. I went with Jan and Ross for a walk. Pete Mate's back is playing up so he stayed at home. We did some shopping and then returned for lunch. In the afternoon Dawn and Phil arrived so we had some catching up to do. We had a short H.H. as we were all off to the Brothers Club for dinner. It was a very pleasant evening, we all joined the club for $5 each then received $5 cash back to play on the pokies. The others all had a go but Pete Mate and I pocketed our money so ended up in front.

Thursday July 13th 06
Lay day. It poured with rain all day.

Friday July 14th 06
The weather wasn’t too bad so we went for our normal morning walk. Later in the morning Jan, Ross, Peter and I took a picnic lunch up to Copperlode Dam. (Dawn and Phil went off exploring a little before boarding a bus for a tour of Cairns). We had a short walk to the dam slipway and then had lunch. A map at the dam café revealed an interesting walk to the Crystal Cascades - only an hour, it said. It was so rough, steep and wet that only Ross made it to the halfway lookout before suggesting we turn back. We arrived back at the café an hour and an half after we set off; so much for a one hour walk. We were sort of revived by coffees and tea and then headed home for a proper rest before the pizza and entertainment night. A very nice evening it was too.

Saturday July 15th 06
We awoke to rain again. Jan and Ross decide to brave the rain and walked. Pete Mate and I waited a little while and then set off. The rain eased and we walked for over an hour. In the afternoon we went to the Brothers Club so Ross and I could bet on the horses. In the last race my two horses came 1st and 2nd and Ross's came in 3rd. We were winners!!!! Later we were joined by Cindy and David followed by Dawn and Phil. We enjoyed dinner together and a very pleasant evening.

Sunday July 16th 06
As the weather was supposed to be sunny today we had planned to have a full day out. We awoke to rain once again but being optimistic, we set off for a day in the tablelands. Our first stop was Mareeba Museum and Information Centre. We four went in Big Red and Dawn and Phil followed in their ute. Our next point of interest should have been the Wetlands Reserve but at $10 per head we decided to revise our plans. After coffees we went to the Military Museum (a privately owned museum) which was quite interesting in parts. Pete Mate loved the old engines and things but we three women had had enough long before the men. As we were waiting for them the museum owner's wife came up and spoke to us. She asked us if we'd seen the items inside as everything had it's own story. We said we had so she told us the story of the old sewing machine with the porcelain handle. It had belonged to her auntie who was born in the UK in the late 1800's.

Aunt had left home when she was twelve and went to work as a seamstress at a big house belonging to the gentry. The servants were not treated well and received board and lodging - but no payment. If the gentry had a big party, the staff would be allowed to eat the leftovers. However, everything would have had one bite taken out of it - the gentry just letting them know that they weren't really entitled to anything. The sewing staff were permitted to make something for themselves with any left-over material, but if the gentry noticed it first they would add another ruffle to the dress being made, just to be mean. Anyway, Auntie had had enough of this by the time she was eighteen and sailed for Australia. The mean old gentry gave her the sewing machine as a parting gift. She boarded the ship with two shillings to her name and disembarked in Australia a rich woman, having earned ten shillings on board, sewing for other people.

Dawn asked if her aunt had done well out here.

No, because she married a 'waster of a Pom'. This Pom decided to keep goats but he never did any of the work. Auntie did all the goat work as well as a job. When the floods came, Auntie saved two children. The 'waster of a Pom' met an untimely death. He built a stand for a water tank, placed the tank on top, filled it with water and then, just as he was walking away, kicked one of the stand posts that was leaning. The whole lot came down on top of him and killed him.

By this time our story teller was laughing and telling us she shouldn't really laugh . . . but boy, did he deserve it.

Anyway, by now the men had finished looking at the museum and the rain was pouring down so we went to the Information Centre where we knew there were tables and chairs under cover so we could eat our picnic lunch without looking like drowned rats.
Next on the itinerary was the Warbirds Museum. The men went in there whilst we women stayed in the cars.
A walk in Granite Gorge was, as it turned out, the last item on the agenda. It wasn't a long walk but involved a lot of scrambling over rocks so Dawn and Phil waited at the top, Dawn not being too good on her feet. The rest of us attempted the walk, stopping to feed rock wallabies along the way. That was really neat as the little wallabies took the food out of your hand and held your hand so you couldn't get away. It was a really nice place with streams and rock pools.
By now it was 4.30pm so we decided to give the last place on the list a miss and head for home. We travelled through heavy traffic and pouring rain so were very glad to reach home for a short HH.

Monday 17th July 06
Today we took Phil, Dawn and Ross for one of Cairns famous Caesar Salads. Jan wasn't feeling the best so she stayed at home. It was as good as ever and now we have three more converts. After lunch we went for a walk along the Esplanade which is really very nice. It has a safe swimming area and lots of seats, tables and barbecues. After a very pleasant walk we all went to Gloria Jeans for a cup of coffee, then it was home again for a rest before HH.

Tuesday 18th July 06
Lay day. In the afternoon we decided to brave the rain and went for walk up the Crystal Cascades. The weather, however, was kind to us and we didn't get wet. I had forgotten how lovely it is there. Then it was home again for HH. Dawn and Phil had been exploring on their own today but joined us for HH after which we all went over to the camp kitchen for a sausage sizzle and entertainment. Jan and I took a salad as we are not keen on sausages. It was a really good night.

Wednesday 19th July 06
We had to be ready early today so that we could catch the 8.45am train to Kuranda which we made with plenty of time to spare. It was a lovely, picturesque, journey which we'd done last year but we enjoyed it just as much this time. Once in Kuranda we found a coffee shop then, refreshed, we made our way to the Butterfly Sanctuary. It was marvellous, the butterflies are so beautiful. After lunch we went to the Bird World. We hadn't been there before and the birds were magnificent - beautiful Macaws and heaps of other pretty birds. The layout was very well done, which enabled you to walk amongst the birds. Jan, Ross, Peter and I wanted to do the river walk so Dawn and Phil went off on their own whilst we did the walk which was most enjoyable. We met up again at the Skyrail for the journey home. It was at this point that we found that Phil was terrified of going on the cable car. To his credit, he boarded and completed the journey back to Cairns. Mind you he did use a few expletives afterwards and vowed never to go on one again. I understand how he felt as last year I felt the same but this time did not find it so bad. We had to wait around for a taxi to take us back to the railway station where we had left the cars. By this time the sun was going down and it was freezing. Well, it was cold!!!! Once home we enjoyed a pleasant HH.

Thursday 20th July 06
Jan, Ross, Peter and I had a lay day but Dawn and Phil went off on a tour of Green Island.

Friday 21st July 06
Jan, Ross, Peter and I went to the Cairns Show; Dawn and Phil had a lay day. We enjoyed the show, there was plenty to see. Once we arrived, Peter and I went one way and Jan and Ross the other as we are interested in different things. We met up for lunch and then again later in the afternoon for coffee. The kind of things Pete Mate and I looked at were: Photo and Painting exhibits, Crafts, Rock Drilling, Log Chopping, Pole Climbing, The Horse Whisperer, Chain Saw Sculptures, plus lots of other small things. All the time we wandered around the showground we could see this ride in the fairground that went high up into the air and swung the occupant down near the ground and then up high again. Scary stuff, but Pete Mate wanted to 'have a go', so in the end we went to check it out and, yes, the mad fool went on it. He was the oldest person to do so that day and when he had finished the ride a lady stopped him and told him he was very brave. We had been trying to dodge the rain all day but by now it was absolutely pouring down so we made our way back to the car. Once home and dried out we enjoyed a HH.

Saturday 22nd July 06
Lay day as we were absolutely worn out yesterday.

Sunday 23rd July 06
Dawn and Phil took off for a couples of days to explore Cooktown. The rest of us drove to Mission Beach to have a look at it. It was really nice there we and have decided to stop off for a couple of days there on the way down. We then made our way to Innisfail to meet Cindy and David for lunch. We enjoyed lunch and their company. They showed us their caravan park which was really nice. We then went for a drive to the 'back of beyond' . . . well, that is what it felt like. Cindy and David showed us a walk up to a lookout. It was magnificent - you could see for miles across this huge wetland area. We spied a crocodile in the long grass and lots of birds. We spent a while looking at everything through binoculars before making our way back down the track. Someone in our party, I will not mention his name as he knows who he is, suggested we go back to the car along a different track. Apart from this track being extremely muddy, it went far too close to the swamp (for 'swamp' read 'crocodiles') for my liking. People think I am joking when I tell them that in instances of extreme danger I care not who I trample on to save myself!! Anyway we made it back to the car safe, sound and muddy. We said our goodbyes to Cindy and David before turning for home.

Monday 24th July 06
Lay Day. Phil and Dawn returned home safe and sound after having had a good time in Cooktown. We had another pleasant HH.

Tuesday 25th July 06
Jan and Ross went off to do the big walk from The Cascades to the Copperlode Dam and return. It is about 16 kms and very tough. We took Dawn and Phil for their final Caesar Salad in Cairns. Whilst having lunch we found out that they had never been to the Crystal Cascades or to Lake Placid so, after calling in at the caravan park to collect Dawn's walker, we gave them a tour of these two very picturesque beauty spots. We finished the tour with a drive up to the Hydro-Electric Power Station which is fed via an underground tunnel from high above near the Barron Falls. By this time Phil was not feeling the best - he had picked up some flu bug - so we headed home for HH. Jan and Ross were home and joined us. They had a tale to tell as they has set off on the wrong track that wasn't really a track and were climbing up a cliff-like slope - and then had to come down again. Rather them than me, thank you very much! However, they didn't give up and completed the whole round-trip walk from the other end. After HH Phil decided he wasn't well enough to leave next day as planned so booked in for another day.

Wednesday 26th July 06
Lay day today. Pete Mate and I went to do some supermarket shopping and decided to have a coffee in the local café close to Woolworths as it was lunch time and the Caesar Salad on the menu we couldn't resist. It was very nice too, but not as good as the one in Cairns. In the evening Phil and Dawn treated us all to dinner at Brothers. It was 'roast night' so that meant another all-you-can-eat session but Pete Mate and I were very good and didn't have dessert. It was a lovely evening.

Thursday 27th July 06
We said our goodbyes to Dawn and Phil and then had to rush off to see the dental specialist. The outcome isn't as bad as first predicted. I do have to have some treatment but I won't lose my front teeth. The only fly in the ointment is that I cannot have the treatment done until September and the plan was to leave here at the end of August. It looks like Jan and Ross will leave ahead of us and we will catch them up somewhere down the track. It will feel very strange without them. We then went shopping at Earlville and bumped into Jan and Ross who were doing the same thing. Eventually we arrived home in time for HH.

Friday 28th July 06
Today is Jan and Ross's wedding anniversary. To celebrate we went to Cazaly's for lunch and then to the movies in the afternoon. We saw The Lake House which I think Jan and I enjoyed more than the men did. A coffee at Gloria Jean's finished off a very pleasant day. At home we were joined by another couple for HH - Mike and Pamela, a very nice couple form Toowoomba.

Saturday 29th July 06
After our morning walk we quickly got ready to go to the markets. We had been told that these markets are really good for fruit and veg. The market was quite big with lots of fruit and veggie stalls, very cheap. As I had already shopped a few days earlier I didn't buy much but next week we intend to return and buy up big. The weather the last few days has been glorious - beautiful, blue skies and sunshine.

Sunday 30th July 06
The sun was shining, the washing was done and on the line, we had enjoyed a cooked breakfast and I settled down with a book and a coffee for a lazy day. Pete Mate had other ideas. "Let's go and do the Cascades to Copperlode Dam walk". I protested that I might not be able to manage 16 kms of rough track but he was undeterred and said we would do as much as I could manage. So we set off up the track at 11.15am . The first half was tough, the narrow track twisting and turning ever upwards with no respite. After that, however, it was manageable and we reached the café at Copperlode in and hour and three quarters. We enjoyed our lunch plus some chocolate for energy and then set off on the return journey, most of it downhill. This where I have difficulty with my knees . . . two and half hours later we finally reached the bottom! I had had enough by then and just wanted a shower and a good stiff drink! I am pretty pleased with myself as I didn't think I could do it and a lot of the walk was enjoyable. We met lots of people doing the same thing and stopping and chatting gave me an excuse for a rest.

Monday 31st July 06
For a while now we have wanted to visit a coffee plantation called Skybury. It was recommended by Sue (caravan park owner) so at about 9.00am we four set off. It took us about an hour to get there, but once we saw the building and the surrounds we understood what Sue meant. It was beautiful, so much thought and care had gone into developing it. We ordered morning coffee and sat down to soak up the view and ambience. (Besides, I had paid for the coffees and needed to sit down to get over the prices). It was Pete Mate's kind of coffee - strong. After coffee we continued our day's journey. Our next place to visit was Yungaburra; we had previously been there but hadn't had time to do the walk along the river. We arrived at around lunchtime so ate our lunch on the river bank before setting off. It was a very pleasant walk and we soon found ourselves at an old, disused railway bridge that marked the end of the walk. We continued along a road to the Pioneer Cemetery which turned out to be Yungaburra's main cemetery as well. It wasn't as interesting as some we have visited. We walked back to our starting point along the road. There was still a small part of the walk left to do (in the opposite direction) but Pete Mate and I opted to sit out that bit - Jan and Ross completed it on their own. Pete Mate took photos and I wanted to sit very quietly to see if any Platypuses would make my day and show themselves. Alas they didn't. Jan and Ross returned so we all went off to the pub for a drink before heading home.

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