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ON FROM CUMBERLAND BILLABONG TO MAREEBA

September 25, 2015

From: Kay
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2015 1:10 PM
To: my blog
Subject: ON FROM CUMBERLAND BILLABONG TO MAREEBA

Well after spending 3 days at this wonderful spot it was time to move on to Georgetown for fuel as we are travelling on the smell of an oily grease rag. Diesel in Georgetown only $1.29. Filled up with water as well as the usual dump point. Our destination for to-day was a rest area just north of the Lynd highway junction, where we have stayed before. A small area of bitumen beside the road, picnic tables & drop loo, clean. Hand basins as well.
Before there we had a cuppa at Mt Surprise but did not spend time here as been before. We stayed at the Van park to do the Undara Lava tubes tour about 2008. Country soooooooooo dry but cattle in reasonable condition.
Another couple pulled in behind us for the night & they were good company, with drinkies as usual. This time we did the walk around the “dry rain forest” which is just a 300 mt walk.

Could hear different birds but could not see them.

There had been an apple core on the ground beside our van & this little fellow ate the lot eventually.

There is a sign on the toilet block warning that there are bees & wasps around the hand basin, trying to get drinks of water. We had to chase them away while having to have a drink.

Even though this is right beside the road & there are continual mine trucks speeding by it did not stop us from sleeping as we are used to any noise- and Bruce just takes his hearing aids out!
They are carting copper down to Charters Towers.
It was so good to start seeing some green grass along the road side.

Just a short run into Innot Hot Springs van park where we were staying for a night to have a hot soak as well as doing rather a big wash. Last here 2008 but have driven past a few times since then.
Got there about 9am so had a full day & checkout was not until 10.30am. Washing done & into the pools, of which there are ones with 4 different temperatures. They also have spas as well so very relaxing. We got a wonderful surprise when a couple, whom we had not seen for at least 25 years & lived on the opposite side of the Kolan river at Bucca where we had our cane farm. Caught up in the pool for about 2 hours then at drinkies time as well. They were heading west so we said good bye as we headed east. They now live back in Bundaberg.

Another vanner called me to have a look at a Kookaburra feeding babies in a gum trees in the park. It had its tail sticking out but when it heard me the head came out. could not see in the nest unfortunately.

I was up reasonably early to go for a walk up the creek & was early enough to see the steam rising up from the hot water in the creek.

Caught the reflections of the suns rays shining through this palm .

8th September
We left here after seeing all the Posties as they left for breakfast at the local pub before continuing on their Postie Challenge run from Cairns to Darwin & back. I think I counted 30 bikes being ridden with about 6 spares on a vehicle.

This bike had a sign on the front saying “Sheriff”- possibly a Policeman!

8th September
We were in no hurry to leave this morning as only had a very short trip into Ravenshoe for a couple of things then back out to Archer River for a couple of nights, as we were catching up with friends whom we had not seen since 2012 in SA. They are house sitting in Ravenshoe.

That afternoon when we got back to our van there was a young couple there with this beautiful parrot. She was a real chatter-box!

There were a few birds there but not as many as we thought- there is beautiful clean running water in the creek/river.

Could not resist taking a photo of this home in Ravenshoe- maybe our next home paint color!!!

As usual we paid a visit to the wonderful Bakery here in Ravenshoe. Their bread is really the best I have ever tasted & naturally someone had to have a cream bun!
Back out to Archer Rv to wait for Catriana & Chuck to arrive for the day. There was lots of talking as well as a great lunch & organising for Chuck to pick us up the next day to go to where they are house sitting. This would save us having to unhook the van.

There were literally hundreds of these flying around & they are so fast not easy to get a photo.
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10th September
Time to move on to Atherton & this time we decided to go through Tumoulin & over to Herberton instead of the usual highway. This was a rather winding road but and was so good to be seeing really green grass everywhere. We had spent a lot of time at Herberton before so just drove through, intending to stop at Hasties Swamp but the weather was not looking the best.
First thing we did was to go to see Bruce’s cousin at his surgery to organise a time to catch up. Had a cuppa in the tea room while he finished with a patient & arranged to go to their home for dinner on the following Monday night as they had to go to Cairns for the weekend.
All good as on the spur of the moment I rang my cousins in Mossman to see if they were home- only 105ks up the road. We were in Mossman by 1pm.
So good to see Maureen & Peter as last saw them in 2012 when we left our van there for our Cape trip.
At the moment there are mango & avocado trees on farms roadside & they are just covered in flowers- looks like a bumper crop this season if nature does not interfere. Bananas are looking really good as well.
We had a quick stop at the Mareeba info centre to see about the cruises on the wetlands.
Took this photo while there.

Got to the range at Julatten to go down to Mossman & now really into rainforest.

These few Navman photos show what the 8.2 ks down this range is like.

Just arriving at cousins home for a few days & this is what we were watching while having a relaxing drink.

Wandered around the farm the next morning where there were a few birds in the water channel.

There were lots of these tiny birds but they were never still. I think they are the Figbirds which are making a lot of noise in the flowering mango tree beside the house.

Also having an early morning fly were a couple of Ultralites.

Bruce had to inspect Peter’s tractors once again- maybe wishing to be farming! Not likely.

This lady has been leaning over this landing on the side of a building in Mossman for years so she must be getting rather tired – first saw her in 2008 I think.

While driving this morning I have tried to take photos regarding the sugar growing industry, starting with fallow ground, then plant cane, then fully grown cane, harvested & loaded into the bins for transport to the sugar mill.

The “billets” to plant the cane with are sticks of cane cut into pieces about 12’ long with a few eyes to grow

Applying fertilizer to Ratoon cane.

Back to about 1990
These are a couple of cane fires when we were still farming.Some farmers still burn their cane. The farmer works his way around the block of cane to be burnt, lighting as he goes & the fire gradually works its way to the middle.

Back to the present
Bruce was chook feeder for the weekend as Maureen & Peter had to go to Cairns.

There were a few different birds while we were here which was good.

I
These little babies were resting on the air conditioner of the house.

I will now jump down to Ingham for some more sugar industry photos. Still trying to catch a harvester working as cannot find any on my photos.
Went for a drive to Lucinda Point where there is a huge bulk sugar loading facility with a 5.7 k long wharf out to the ships.

Passed some nice looking cane, especially this block of plant cane where the farmer has obviously had a good “strike”.

Could only drive past the huge Victoria Sugar mill, the largest in QLD.

These mills are very close together. Macknade only one stack whereas Victoria has 4 working. Passed a train hauling processed sugar to the terminal.

It was not easy to get a photo of the full length of the jetty & there was a sign at the terminal gate that there was a ship loading but it could not be seen. All Queensland sugar mills are now owned by overseas companies- what is happening to Aussies owning Aussie icons & when it this madness going to stop?

No one is allowed in the sheds & they do not do tours but driving around gives you some idea of the size of the sheds.

This old pub, maybe wrecked by cyclone Yasi, will not be selling any beers.

At last came upon a harvester working beside the road so managed to get some great photos- basically like mine at home & in storage. The first photo is another one showing where only a few rows have been cut to use for planting. The second is after the harvester, which is on tracks, has literally spun around at the end of the row. Third is a tractor with tipper which now takes the cane to the tram line for carting to the mill at Lucinda. These tramlines are only 2’ wide.

That is just rubbish coming out of the top of the elevator as well as from the back with the chopped “billets” going into the trailer. These are the billets which are used for planting when needed. They are placed horizontally in the ground. There are “eyes’ along each billet from which the cane shoots.
I would have liked to put all sugar photos together but never happened. Sorry but for anyone interested & have not seen how the sugar industry works hope this very small explaination helps.

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