Day 49 Thursday July 24th 2014 Cooktown to Rocky Creek
A cool evening turned into a warm windy night. We’re up early and pack up quickly to hit the road. This has been a lovely town unspoilt, with a relaxed tropical feel. It’s nice to see a lot of Aboriginal people, and kids and dogs playing in the streets, folks chatting. Did I mention the gutters? The gutters are wide and deep and made from stone blocks, they’re so good they should be heritage listed.
The early morning light makes the drive south picturesque. Brown grasses, white tree trunks, green eucalypts, ochre soil and blue ranges what a palette. We see our first feral pig, dead, on the road. That would’ve done some damage. There are a few small wallabies about.
“Welcome to Mareeba 300 sunny days a year.” And it’s raining. We see dozens of red tailed black cockatoos. We stock up on fresh coffee at Domigo Roasters, Mareeba is the home of coffee and these guys grow it and roast it and you can’t get any fresher. Within an hour the bag is puffed up like a pillow with coffee gas, that’s fresh. We buy fruit and vegies from a farm stall helping ourselves to the produce displayed inside a horse float.
Rocky Creek War Memorial Park has about sixty vans in the freedom camp area but there is room for many more. This is our third visit to this park and this time I make a point of reading every memorial plaque. I learn that not only was this the site of a 5000 bed military hospital, but there were 2000 staff and it was the largest military hospital in the southern hemisphere. The tableland was also the base for the 6th, 7th and 9th divisions during the war. “You are here today because of where we were yesterday”… says an inscription at Rocky Creek.
We’ve got a fairly chirpy bunch of neighbours and when I play Waltzing Matilda on the uke, one picks up the melody on his harmonica but it’s too cold to stay outdoors for long.
Towing Kms: 286Kms
2020 Note: I’m into gutters. No matter where you find yourself in this world you can learn a lot about the place, especially the climate, just by studying the gutters.