We had a week near Cairns at the end of August I forgot to share. All I mentioned so far was our ascent of Mt Bartle Frere and the crocodile we encountered in Lake Placid. We also walked up to some waterfalls in the Barren Gorge. There are heaps of tracks. You can even hike up to Kuranda and catch the Skyrail back – which would be a good trip.
Here is the croc basking on the bank of Lake Placid
Cairns: Crystal Cascades. A short walk to remove the flying kinks. A pretty nice looking swimming hole; will pack swimsuit next time, as weather here is a pretty warm 27 degrees max. Preparing to tackle the big hike up Mount Bartle Frere over the next couple of days.
Crystal Creek Cascades
A lovely day acclimatising to sunny Cairns! Kim Henry accompanied us on some small walks around Lake Placid, the Cattana wetlands and along the Stony Creek Weir Track. Unexpectedly we were able to see a good sized croc on the edge of Lake Placid after only a 5 minute ramble along the opposite bank. Steve’s little Nikon Coolpix S7000 captured it very nicely!
Kim Henry Stony Creek Weir Track
Stony Creek Weir Track
Della’s take on Bartle Frere:
Tonight we are camped just near the summit of Mount Bartle Frere. The going has been tough but we expect to make the summit early tomorrow. Mobile service is unexpectedly available. A little weary but not heart-sore! (PS: Della is very pleased with herself as she has been exercising like mad to overcome microvascular angina. This was her first big walk, and she triumphed!)
Lots of tree-root ladder work…in fact most of the track has been constantly vertical.
One of the stream crossings
Delightful bracket fungi!
Victory! Mount Bartle Frere done and dusted. In a motel in Innisfail tonight too tired to even contemplate a champagne….Tomorrow night may be a different story! We reached the top in cloud forest mist this morning after an amazingly challenging climb. The approach to the top involved negotiating a formidable boulder field that felt like a mountain climber’s nightmare. Some of the leg ups were far wider than my short limbs could possibly reach so I was very grateful for Steve’s assistance in hauling me over the yawning chasms! The view from the top was non-existent, due to the heavy mist, but Bartle Frere was all about the journey rather than the destination. The steep descent that took us all of today was cruel on our overstretched leg muscles so I may be hobbling for a day or two!
Cloud forest this morning
Hanging out with some bracket fungi this morning.
The boulder field begins.
Half way up the boulder field, looking down the route. No pictures can quite capture the steepness of the climb!
Bartle Frere – the final ascent.
View, such as it was, from the top.
Last night’s camp: Tent in the mist!
Looking back towards Bartle Frere from the Palmerston Highway – 1650 feet or so…a satisfyingly big mountain.
A tale of 2 waterfalls: The first one, Milaa Milaa Falls, is the most photographed waterfall in Australia. I snapped it on my camera phone amidst a riot of tourist buses, Winnebagos, heavy-duty camera apparatus and shoulder- deep people.The second and third , Millstream Falls, only about a half-hour’s drive away, is one of the least visited waterfalls. We had it totally to ourselves. The surrounding vegetation was not quite so tropical, the feature not so manicured, but a far more impressive display in my opinion!
I really liked the Millstream Falls too, and its association with WW2 history.
So we have spent the last 3 days exploring from Atherton across to the old mining towns on the edge of the savannah lands: Innot Hot Springs, Herberton, Chillagoe and Mungana. The land changes so quickly from rainforest to savannah and the old mining towns were well worth a look!
Chillagoe Creek – quite a respite from the heat of the day.
Inside one of the limestone caves at Chillagoe-Mungana National Park.
And this interesting paper wasp’s nest.
Snapped this guy inside a very dry cave!
View from old Chillagoe copper smelter across the savannah.
Remnants of the old Chillagoe copper smelter.
The kapok tree is quite a stunner.
An Agile Wallaby. What a beautiful little guy this one was.
Don’t you wish you loved a bath as much as this?
The light in this Mungana cave was delicious. Steve inside the Archways, Mungana National Park.
Love these dry riverbeds – they look like great spots to camp, particularly if you love birdlife.
Dry creek bed on the road from Herberton. Cows, brumbies…lots of road hazards with unfenced stations.These wonderful Qld cows seem to love them.
According to the locals you should never buy termite country because it is low in phosphorus – this patch must be particularly low!
Many grand spider’s webs around Chillago
So many wonderful pigeons up here. Della is in seventh heaven.a Top Knot. A prosaic farm dam can be a thing of great beauty.
On the ‘Development Roads you do have to watch out for these guys – and the immense dust cloud they trail.