This area is known as ‘The Wet Tropics’
Broadwater Camp, in Abergowrie State Forest, is paradise. So peaceful, only the noise of the rainforest. Loved this place. The last 17k is dirt road, but wide and in good condition. There is no power, water, phone or internet reception, but there are toilets and cold showers. The camp areas are big and grassy and have fire pits and there aren’t many biting things. There were the usual lace monitors and bush turkeys as well as a variety of colourful birds. A Northern Fantail (kind of like a Willy Wag Tail) found its mate in our car window.
Swimming in the crystal clear water of Broadwater Creek was amazing. But you have to wear shoes as there are Bullrouts. Similar to stone fish, they sit on the bottom of the water between rocks and if you stand on them they spike you and the pain is intense, although they don’t actually kill you, they make you very sick. There is a swimming hole near the day visitors area with ladder and platform, great for a quick cool off. The Broadwater Creek Walk, about 30minutes, ends at an amazingly large and deep water hole, well worth going to swim there. The locals told us only fresh water crocodiles are in the area, and they don’t attack people. They are easy to spot as their noses are a lot narrower and they are generally smaller in size. (I must admit when a leaf floated past that I thought was a freshy, I sprang out of the water with great acceleration.)
On our way into Abergowrie State Forest we noticed huge piles of wood, some had been lit and were still smouldering. Not something we would see in Victoria, but this is the ‘Wet Tropics’ so I guess bush fires aren’t such a worry. If we had a chain saw we could have collected some for fire wood. Apparently they are pine trees that fell when cyclone Yasi went through in Feb 2011. Check out the picture below of the road in, the day after Yasi. You can see the 70k speed sign, the rest of the road is under tonnes of trees.
Having helped out a fellow camper with a spare caravan gas pipe, he turned up the next day with a load of cut fire wood for us. People are so amazing, we were absolutely delighted and had a fabulous fire that night. Tim made a damper in the coals which was yum.
On the far side of the camp ground is a 1.7k Rainforest Walk. The main attraction is a Giant Fig Tree, very impressive, even after suffering damage by Yasi. What also caught my eye were the different colored fungi.
Visiting Wallaman Falls was on our tick list. Its about 80k east. We headed out very early on a misty morning. First we startled some cattle beside the road.
Then saw some Brolgas near a cane field
Then came to a stand still for some cattle that failed to show any sign of being startled, and took their time to mosey down the centre of the road. One even started licking the side of our car.
Wanted to , but didn’t see any Cassowaries.
We arrived at Girrigun National Park, and took the 2k walk/slide down the gorge to the bottom of Wallaman Falls. Chains are provided at the steepest parts, the rest is a fabulous rainforest staircase zig zagging down. Wallaman Falls drops 305mts, 268mts in a single drop, making it Australia’s tallest single drop waterfall. The pool at the base is 20mtrs deep. Unfortunately they don’t allow swimming, but it’s well worth the effort to get down…. and back up.
Not only is this ‘The Wet Tropics’, its also sugar cane country, which actually starts just north of Brisbane. Having been born and raised in Brisbane, sugar cane evokes wonderfully happy childhood memories of playing in the cane field of our school and travelling to Cairns with my mum on the train, the Sunlander (which sadly ceased operation this year). Back then the cane fields would be set alight at night, just before harvest to burn off the outer leaves. It was such an awsome sight. Now there is machinery to do the job, so no more burning. We want to come back next year for the cane havest which runs 24/7 from June to December. Special narrow gauge trains carry the cane from farm to sugar mill zigzagging across roads and through towns. What a sight that would be.
We headed north and moved camp to Mission Beach. It was wonderful in the forest, but it’s nice to have a hot shower and wash my hair. Will stay here awhile before heading north to Cairns.
Cheers for now. Helen and Tim