Day 14-Nov 28-driving to Airlie Beach

It’s an all-day bus ride.

First stop will be at Tully…… the town has a big boot on the side of the road. It is 8 metres high to show the highest amount of rainfall they have ever recorded in Australia, was here in 1950. The mill is spewing black smoke that we were told yesterday, is not bad for the environment. The air smells like sweet corn.

I noticed big stainless bumpers on the big rigs driving by that I believe Luigi had mentioned before. Instead of cow plows like we have at home, we have here kangaroo plows cuz “if you’ve ever hit one before, you know they will make your vehicle incapacitated”. Along the way we noticed some sugar fields burning….. in the distance.

We arrived after about 11 hours with a few stops along the way …. Bathroom breaks and lunch in Townsville. The street along the waterfront there is quite lovely with a beautiful little park where J and I have had our lunch. It is extremely hot…29C “but feels like 34”.

Later we motored on to Airlie Beach. We cannot see too much cuz it’s already dark. Our accommodation is really very nice… on about the 5th floor. It is an apartment with view. It is probably a mile to town. Okay if you have a car or bike, but in this heat we decided to just stay put in the AC.

5307 steps.

Day 13-Nov 27-back we go to Cairns

Once we cross the ferry over the Daintree River (didn’t see any crocs this time either), the topography and vegetation changed. On the north side it is jungle with winding roads. On the south side it is flat but ringed by mountains….. with nicer wider roads. The main crops seems to be sugar cane…. About a 2Billion dollar industry. We passed what looked like fish farm ponds… on land and white cows in one field….. not big on cattle.

First real stop is Port Douglas to wander and have lunch. It looks like a pretty nice place… palm lined road in. It just so happened that there was a market in town.

Sugar cane mills make electricity from the steam that comes off in the production of the sugar. The burning of the cane after harvest is quite spectacular. Apparently, there are lots of geckos around too.

Steps….6620

Day 12-Nov 26/22-Cape Tribulation

We awoke to rain on the metal roof. Later this morning we are to go on an “Ocean Safari” out to the Great Barrier Reef….to a Mackay Reef…. One of over 2,500 reefs to Great Barrier Reef. I noticed a stick on the road near a little creek right after a sign saying the road was subject to flooding. The gauge on the stick read to 2 metres.

We swam in 29-30C water, checked out all the beautiful coral that seems be alive and well. There were of course the gorgeous tropical fishes including “Nemo”, giant clams that are a couple hundred years old and even a turtle or two. Because the waters are getting too hot for the coral, in places you see the algae being shed. It looks like yellow murky ink. Mackay Reef incidentally is a tiny sandy isle 30 minutes by speed boat from shore, surrounded by coral reefs. Before leaving to get on the boat we were issued stinging suits… to save us from being stung by tiny jellyfish…. so small you cannot see them. Even though the reef seems to be in great shape, I have seen a better display of fishes in other places.

10,542 steps today even with 4 hrs on a boat.

Day 11-Nov 25/22- Cairns to Cape Tribulation

8:15am start loading bags into the bus … left shortly before 9.

First photo op….Rex Lookout… they apparently do kite surfing but didn’t see any.

We see a sign “Water Restrictions” as it’s pouring rain. I’d swear the rain is following us.

10:15am Mosman Gorge, Indigenous Guided walk through the Daintree rainforest. Sugar cane to left as we start bus ride. It seems that sugar cane is the main crop in this area….. it’s huge. Oldest rainforest at 180M years old. 150 people live here in village. Guide said there are lots of roots on the trail. He said that “if you see it move, we’ll see if you can out run me”. The Melaleuca tree… paper, cloth & was burned as we walked around the little fire to be welcome to the forest.

“Wait-awhile” vines small has barbs natural version of “barb wire fence”….is used to build shelter, fishing nets and for climbing trees like linemen use to shinny.

Stinging plant— worst in Queensland… have to go to hospital for treatment or as the aboriginals do, urinate on the needles. They will come to the surface and then can be “raked” away.

Natural paints used as sunscreen, war paint & identification of tribe but best of all, it prevents the smell of human perspiration so is best for hunting … animals can’t smell you.

Soap tree plant…(kurrandal) antiseptic for sunburn, rash. Skinned branch (sassporella)

Raintree walnut looks like almond when pealed but tastes like coconut.

Cassowary nut very poisonous Good only for cassowary (there are only 7 in this area).

Rainforest Boyd Dragon in a tree.

12pm lunch at Mosman Gorge Cafe

1:30pm stop at the supermarket for supplies

2pm we’ll lose phone reception as we drive north and cross the Daintree River….. a cable ferry.

Climbing, climbing narrow twisty roads. Up to this point the roads have been so nice,wide and good condition. This reminds me of a cross between Finlayson Road and the road as you first enter the campground at Goldstream.

4pm to arrive at Cape Tribulation but we were a little delayed cuz we went to the wrong “Beach House”. The GPS I guess wasn’t giving great directions. There is no internet!!!

What a lovely place…cabins dispersed down a paved road through a tropical rainforest down toward the restaurant and a nice “cooler” (than yesterday) pool. Just beyond that is the gorgeous beach and ocean. We were told NOT to swim in the ocean, nor to try to walk along the tree-line when the tide is in cuz you’d have to walk in the water. There are CROCODILES in there.

6:30pm dinner at our accommodation. Our CEO bought a dish of kangaroo so that we could all get to try it. It was really quite good.

Only 7500 steps but we spent a lot of time on the bus.

Day 10- Nov 24/22-off to Cairns

Gained an hour on landing here in Cairns (3+ hour flight). Oh my, quite the change in temperature. It is hot 32C and humid but we are are not going to complain.

Lots of mangroves.

Our driver from the airport (not our CEO, whose name is Sam) said to expect lightning and thunder tonight. Here they haven’t had their usual amount of rain. The Tonga volcanic eruption in January probably is the cause of upset of weather. Ever other person has another reason for the unusual weather.

The British came here in 1876. They were after timber.

Coral Sea…Trinity Bay is the body of water here. Apparently there is to be no swimming in the ocean here…..not sure why. A good number of us decided to go in the pool to cool off. It was like a bath….very warm, so didn’t exactly do the trick…..wet but not cool. Too hot for me to wander around town. After our meetup, we 16 (plus CEO) people with exception of Jeanette, all walked to dinner. On the way back we walked through a night market. Nothing too exciting there but I am not a shopper.

Tomorrow on our way to Cape Tribulation, we will lose all internet connection and cell service so don’t expect to hear anything.

I have not taken much in the way of pictures but this is a beautiful very tropical city/town. It is much smaller than the other 2 major cities we’ve been.

10,109 steps

Day 9-Nov 23/22-Walking tour and tram ride in Melbourne

The British came to Australia in 1835.

Gold was discovered in the 1850’s about 100 miles away but then there was a land boom in 1880s when Melbourne became the world’s richest city.

The train station, St Paul’s Cathedral. Royal arcade. 1892 clock in royal arcade -dings every 15 min.

1892… the “Block” in 1902 where they did the walk and gossip was passed

The General Post Office was used until 1992

250 different languages spoke in Melbourne among 5 M population so it really is a multicultural city.

Aboriginals have been here for 40-60,000 years.

Yarra River ….. brown water. Upside down river … silt sits on the top and that is why it’s brown. Of course all the recent rains have compounded things.

I’m not exactly thrilled with this city. Maybe cuz it’s just too big although with very interesting architecture but no animals and no natural world stuff that I love. Tomorrow we fly to Cairns where we expect the weather will be hot and humid…. And then we’ll all be complaining about that…lol!

Steps today 6600 (8190 later after we walked to our goodbye to Luigi dinner). I believe several others will be leaving us too…. Karen and Steve, Julia and Danielle who are all going to Tasmania.

Day 8-Nov 22/22-Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne

Another blustery day. We were to go to Arthur’s Seat Lookout but we wouldn’t have been able see anything so opted out. So….. we went straight to Brighton Beach and their famous beach boxes. Some of them built in the 1860’s, some around 1934 and 7-8 between 1988 and 2007. They have no electricity, no running water, you cannot stay in them. They are essentially just for storage…. Surf boards and other stuff you’d use at the beach. The last one sold for 360,000 AUD.

Then it was to lunch in Brighton Beach….. what a posh looking place. Kinda reminded me of Beach Drive in Oak Bay/Victoria.

Then onto the huge metropolis of Melbourne with its great skyscrapers. our hotel is called Causeway 353. It literally is in a causeway or lane hence the view is spectacular….. not!

Oops, forgot to write number of steps. Nov 19…10,619; Nov 20…10,441; Nov 21….. 9468 steps. Today not a lot of walking ….7360.

Day7-Nov 21/22-Safety Beach

Rosebud beach houses worth 350,000-400,000 AUD ….. blowing so hard.

McCrae lighthouse

Cape Schanck … so gusty windy that even my poles would have been blown out of my hands if I didn’t have straps around my wrists. OMG we had sunshine for 10 minutes.

Passed by the the hot springs…. … ya right……pissing rain!

Did you know there are about 50 million kangaroos…., more than the 26M population.

Another London Bridge. All this on Mornington Nat Park….. above!

Fort Nepean & Ft. Pearce National Park…… next stops……more pictures to come…..

Day 6-Nov 20/22- from Pt. Campbell to Mornington Peninsula

Driving along the Great Ocean Road. Welcome to wind…. First stop Island Arch and Razorback. another “wow moment”

A while later climbing windy roads… thump????

Walk in a rainforest in Great Otway National Park

Stopped for lunch in place called Apollo Bay. Wow….. the highway is so incredibly winding…. gorgeous views.