Pam's Journal for August 2006   Pictures by Pam

Tuesday 1st August 06

Pete Mate and I had optometrist's appointments today. Once that was out of the way we had coffee at - yes, you've guessed - Gloria Jeans. Whilst I was ordering the coffee Pete Mate was having a go on one of these Cadbury's chocolate machines where you guide a claw which (hopefully) grabs a bar of chocolate and then drops it on to a pile of others. If you're lucky the pusher then shoves some down the chute. I turned to see him with one arm clutching a pile of chocolate bars while he scooped yet more from the machine. He'd won 14 bars! Yum. After that we went shopping for my birthday present, a new Canon camera which so far I am very happy with. Then it was lunchtime so we went for one of our favourite Caesar Salads. I wanted to buy a second walking stick to use when we are walking down steep inclines, so we popped into Australian Geographic as that is where I bought the first one. There was a sale on so we bought it for $13 - can't even buy a cask of wine for that. I needed it whilst walking around Cairns as I have hurt my knee and it keeps giving way. When this happens I gasp and grab Pete Mate taking ten years off his life. Walking using the stick was good until I tripped over it and nearly gave Pete Mate a heart attack! We did some more shopping in Cairns before returning home for HH.

Wednesday 2nd August 06
Went shopping at Redlynch. Pete Mate climbed from the Cascades to the Copperlode Dam and back alone. He made excellent time. He is certainly a fit old bloke!!! My knee is still bad so I rested it.

Thursday 3rd August 06
My knee still bad. Another lay day.

Friday 4th August 06
We went for a walk in the morning. I was trying my knee out on the hills. It's looking good. After doing my chores and having lunch, Pete Mate and I took our new cameras to the Cascades to practice using them. I was really pleased with my first attempt and Pete Mate is very pleased with his camera. We then called at the shops on the way home and before we knew it is was time for HH. Where does the day go!

Saturday 5th August 06
It was 'get ready' day today as we are off to Cooktown early tomorrow. By the afternoon we were fed up so we four went out to Yorky's Knob Sailing Club for a drink or two. Then I had to race around to make sure we had everything for tomorrow.

Sunday 6th August 06
We were up and ready in good time and made it to the pick up point with a few minutes to spare. Just one more pick up, then we commenced our journey north. We had a really lovely day. Our first activity was a cruise on the Daintree River.We were entertained, not only by the appearance of various forms of wildlife, but also the very clever wit of the boat driver. We then went to a beauty spot alongside a stream where fish and turtles swam about. Here we were treated to a barbecue lunch, which was very nice. Along the way to Cape Tribulation we saw beautiful scenery . . .

We did a short walk in the rainforest where the tour guide told us about different plants and trees. At the end of Day 1 we were to be found wandering on the beautiful beach of Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the beach. Our overnight accommodation was very nice, set in the rainforest. We went to the one and only restaurant in the resort and had a very nice meal plus copious amounts of red wine. A good time was had by all.

Monday 7th August 06
We didn't have an early start this morning so after a leisurely breakfast we walked to the beach where a snake was spotted. Pete Mate rushed off to get his camera. Once the photo shoot was completed and we were all packed, we made our way to the reception to be collected for Day 2 of our journey. We were there informed that the bus was running late, so we retreated back to the beach for another walk and to look for the snake. We didn't find the snake, only a London Crocodile - see webpage 29. Once the bus had arrived and we were safely on board we set off along the Bloomfield Track. Pete Mate and I had the unfortunate privilege of sitting on the two middle seats on the back row. If you don't know what I am talking about, try it one day. The backseat on a four wheel drive bus is over the wheels - you feel every bump and it's most uncomfortable. The journey was not pleasant and the treat at the end was a disappointment. The Lion's Den Hotel we had heard so much about wasn't as good as Daly Waters and the food was a worry. Anyway, from there on the day got better. Once we arrived in Cooktown our bus driver took us sightseeing before dropping us at our very nice accommodation. We had a walk around Cooktown and really loved it. We then went back to our motel and had a take-away meal before retiring for the night.

Tuesday 8th August 06
After breakfast we checked out of the motel and set off to explore Cooktown. We first went to a museum in the old bank. It was very interesting and informative. Once that was complete we needed a cup of coffee - no Gloria Jeans here! We enjoyed a really nice iced coffee in a little café we had discovered yesterday. Pete Mate and I then went to the James Cook Museum while Jan and Ross went for a walk as they had been to the museum on a previous visit. The museum was again very interesting and informative. We then walked back to the café where we met Jan and Ross for lunch. After lunch we had a walk around which wasn't the most pleasant walk as it was very windy. We decided to go back to the motel and wait in their lounge as the bus was to collect us there. We didn't have to wait long as the bus was early. Once all passengers were on board we set off on the homeward journey, this time travelling on the inland road. We had two stops on the way, one just a very quick toilet stop, the other longer for a meal at a roadhouse in Mount Molloy. The driver talked non stop all the way to Mount Molloy and lectured us on the environment and anything else he held dear to his heart. When we left Mount Molloy it was dark and he had to concentrate on the road so was very quiet, thank goodness! We arrived home just after 9.00pm having had a very enjoyable three days and vowing that we would one day return to Cooktown, but via the inland road and not the blooming Bloomfield Track!

Wednesday 9th August 06
Lay day. Apart from washing and shopping we didn't do much else.

Thursday 10th August 06
Pete Mate had an appointment at the optometrist. After that we returned home for lunch before setting out to do a walk I had read about. We drove to the starting place and then started to walk. We soon found ourselves on a very steep rocky river bed that was really difficult. I was afraid of twisting my knee again and we were not wearing our walking shoes, so we retreated back to the car and returned home for a coffee instead.

Friday 11th August 06
It was my turn today at the optometrist. We had to go on different days as they were to put drops in our eyes after which we were not supposed to drive. Once my appointment was complete we went off to do some shopping, then had our favourite Caesar Salad for lunch before visiting Rusty's Markets for our weekly supply of fruit and vegies. We were amazed at the difference in taste, everything is so fresh from the markets. We then headed for home with the intention of going for a walk that didn't happen!

Pete Mate in a mangrove swamp - see 14th August.

Saturday 12th August 06
We packed our picnic lunches and were in the car by 9.00am ready for a day out. We went up to the Atherton Tablelands to a place called Hallorans Lookout. It was a really nice place, it was just that the weather wasn't the best and the views were obscured by low-lying clouds. We did a walk from there into the town through rainforest, seeing water pools and cascades. It was a lovely walk apart from the rain. We returned the same way back to the car and decided to have lunch at the lookout as it had stopped raining. No sooner had we finished lunch than it poured down again. We raced back to the car and set off for the next attraction on our itinerary. We arrived whilst it was still raining but we are made of strong stuff and proceeded to do the walk to the Crater and Dinner Falls. It wasn't a long walk; the crater was spectacular and the falls were beautiful, even in the rain. We promised ourselves that we would return when the sun was shining as it was a really lovely beauty spot. Our final destination of the day was the town of Herberton, an historic town where they used to mine tin. It is also why the Kuranda Scenic Railway was originally built. We had a cup of coffee there and then decided to make our way home, wet but happy in the knowledge that we had had a really nice day out.

Sunday 13th August 06
Lay day today. Washing and cleaning. In the evening it was the park's entertainment and pizza night. We enjoyed a really nice evening and as we four went early and set up our chairs in the camp kitchen we didn't get wet either. We must do that again next time as it always seems to rain on pizza night.

Monday 14th August 06
Today is my birthday and our wedding anniversary. I am 54 years old and - contrary to what some people believe - I am not too young to be retired. Pete Mate and I have been married 30 years today and every one of those years has been a gem . . . though some were more precious that others. The day started with our normal walk up the hills, but this time I was wearing my new pedometer. Later that morning we went with Jan and Ross into the city for a walk around the marina. We ate our picnic lunch with a view of bathing beauties, male and female. We were very close to the local lagoon . . .

Once lunch was complete we went for a short drive towards the airport where there were a couple of walks through a mangrove swamp - on boardwalks, I might add. I had no intention of wading through thick, black mud. It was an amazing place - really interesting. We then returned home for a short rest before getting ready to go out for dinner. Pete Mate and I were being taken out by Jan and Ross. It was a lovely evening, good company, good food and - of course - good wine. I had had a lovely day, with some really nice presents, cards, phone calls, emails and text messages. I will remember this birthday as one of the specials ones.

Tuesday 15th August 06
Lay day. I started giving the caravan a 'spring clean'. Over our two years of travelling we have accumulated 'stuff' so I am having a clear out.

Wednesday 16th August 06
Lay day. I did do the three-hill walk twice today, plus one extra hill.

Thursday 17th August 06
Lay day. I went to the hairdressers and Pete Mate did the Cascades to Copperlode Dam walk again. He made very good time but apparently it wasn't his 'personal best'. I again did the three-hill walk twice, plus an extra hill.

Friday 18th August 06
Today we did the Blue Arrow walk. It had been closed for sometime because of cyclone damage but now it was open and awaiting us! We set off around 9.20am and took all day to do the walk. I found it extremely hard going in places and for a lot of the time I was terrified as we had to walk along a narrow track with a steep incline on one side. This track looked like it was going to give way at any time. To sum it up, the view from the lookout at the top was really spectacular as you could see for miles all around. Apart from that I was very glad when the walk was over and vowed I would never do it again. I can never imagine how I walked up Snowden, it must have been in a past life!

Saturday 19th August 06
The after-effects of yesterday are still with me as they have been all night. My knee, which I hurt on a previous walk, is now back to square one - extremely painful. We set off for Gordonvale about 11.00am. Today was the day of the Great Pyramid Race. Walsh's Pyramid is just short of being a mountain, or so the experts say but to the layman's eyes it looks like a mountain. Anyway, once a year these mad fools run up and down it. In the park where they start from there is all day entertainment, food, drink and stalls. It was a really nice day out and didn't cost us anything.

Some pictures I took at the 47th Gordonvale Great Pyramid Race.

Sunday 20th August 06
Apart from going to Rusty's Markets for our fruit and veg we didn't do much. We went for a walk in the late afternoon to see how my knee is holding up. We managed two hills but then had to return home as it was raining.

Monday 21st August 06
Lay day. Not feeling the best so did very little all day.

Tuesday 22nd August 06
The four of us went to the local cinema in the morning to see "United 93". It was very well done, by the British of course. It kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. After the movies we all had lunch then parted company as we all had shopping and 'stuff' to do. Pete Mate and I went for a walk which turned out to be a short one as it had started to rain. During HH we were joined by a very nice couple - Greg and Helene - who are currently living next door.

Wednesday 23rd August 06
Lay day, heaps of washing to do and supermarket shopping. Did the hills walk in the morning and again in the afternoon. I went on my own in the afternoon. When I reached the top one hill I stopped for a drink of water. It was so quiet, there was not a soul around. Suddenly a loud rustling noise startled me. I had a quick look around and saw nothing. Then there it was again! Spooky or what? Then I saw two geckos chasing each other in the fallen leaves. Smiling, I made my way home for HH.

Thursday 24th August 06
Lay day again. I walked the hills on my own this morning as Pete Mate didn't feel like it. Pete Mate has a job on today repairing the shelves in the caravan. I had placed heavy things on them and as Jayco had done a rubbish job on them in first place, leaving out heaps of screws, they were now falling down. We also took down all the curtains for washing. A job and a half, let me tell you. Plus we did a few other chores and another walk and before we knew it was HH.

Friday 25th August 06
I went for my usual morning walk. We had to go into Cairns to get some papers signed by two Justice's of the Peace. We also had a few errands to do before meeting Jan and Ross for lunch followed by a visit to the markets. The idea was to get away early but Billy had other plans. His battery was flat and he refused to start. Luckily one of our neighbours was walking by and he got his car and gave us a jump start. Another errand added to the list. We finished the JP business in plenty of time so walked down to the coffee shop for lunch. Our contribution to the environment. Another really nice Caesar salad was consumed and then we parted company with Jan and Ross but saw them again at the markets. Once all the shopping was done we headed off to buy a new battery.

Saturday 26th August 06
A lay day, then in the evening we went out to Cazaly's club for dinner. Cazaly's had sent me a birthday card with a meal voucher and a $5 voucher to cash in and play the 'pokies'. Since that would be the same as giving the $5 back to them, I put it in my pocket instead. It was a really pleasant evening.

Sunday 27th August 06
Lay day. In the evening there was all-you-can-eat pizza and entertainment in the camp kitchen so we took our chairs and drinks over early to get a good 'possie'. It was again an excellent evening. The artiste, Carole, is not only talented musically but has a wonderful personality as well.

Monday 28th August 06
We had a fabulous day out at the Low Isles. We were collected outside the caravan park by a large coach and taken to Port Douglas where we boarded a catamaran. The whole day was very well organised, the staff were excellent and the food extremely yummy. We lazed on the beach, Pete Mate had a swim, Jan tried but found the water too cold, Ross and I had a paddle, and we saw the Coral Reef through a glass bottomed boat. The weather was perfect; in fact the whole day was perfect.

Tuesday 29th August 06
Lay day.

Wednesday 30th August 06
Pete Mate and I went shopping at Earlville. Jan and Ross were getting ready to move on as they leave tomorrow. In the evening we went to Brothers club for a meal. Another very pleasant evening was had by all.

Thursday 31st August 06
Jan and Ross left us today. It was really strange after they had gone as we have been together since Easter. Pete Mate and I didn't quite know what to do with ourselves so we did more or less nothing, didn't even go for a walk.

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