Like a Rollingstone, Day 52 – Wandering up The Bruce

Day 52 Thursday, 30/6/2016, Rollingstone, some cloud 24

Oh my God, I thought that I’d missed a day of my medication until I checked the iPhone. Phew, that was a close call.

Once more we wave VeeWee and little Tilley off. They’re aiming for Tully then on up to Cairns.

We explore to the north of us. Little Crystal Creek an oh so pretty picnic spot where the original wooden bridge was replaced by a sturdy stone bridge in the 1930’s as a depression era work project. A tiny ribbon of a waterfall cascades onto large granite boulders and flows under the single curving arch of stone. All around there is a jungle of rainforest plants. This is a place of such beauty. Brush turkeys scurry about and I could just sit here for hours and drink it in. Woody on the other hand, sits in the car listening to John Laws on talkback radio.

Little Crystal Creek, Qld

At Cardwell we stop for a cup of coffee and have a walk on the pier crossing our fingers that it doesn’t rain as the offshore islands are shrouded in cloud. The local symbol is the flame tree and a gleaming metal flame tree is on the foreshore walk but it looks a little battered having previously been bent at right angles by Cyclone Yasi. When repairs are complete it will again glow at night.

The flame tree under repair at Cardwell

At the southern entrance to Cardwell there is a marina and an upmarket housing estate which is quite a contrast to the old Queenslanders in the heart of town.

South and just off the Bruce highway is a swimming hole called Five Mile Creek. Another picnic spot but this time an invitingly deep crystal clear pool with fresh water turtles and fish in abundance.

Hinchinbrook Island from south of Cardwell

Back in Ingham it is an important week as they’ve started cutting the sugar cane. Steam from the mill billows into the sky and trucks, tractors and trains are crossing the highway every which way. And speaking of trains we finally see the Spirit of Queensland heading south on its Cairns to Brisbane run. We pop back into the courthouse and this time they are quieter so we get our Federal election voting done. With all of that going on we barely make it back in time for our turn to host Happy Hour.

Oh sugar! Waiting for the cane train to trundle by, in the heart of Ingham, Qld

2021 Note: It’s hard for Melburnians to comprehend the ferocity of cyclones but each year as we travel north we see the devastation and hear the locals recount past events as though each year and cyclone has been tattooed into their memory. Only days ago Cyclone Seroja battered the coastal town of Kalbarri 700kms north of Perth. A pretty tourist town and fishermen’s haven 70% of the town has been damaged.

Sugar cane trains are a common sight in the wet tropics of Queensland. The back roads are criss crossed by narrow gauge railway lines and there’s always a mill in the distance exuding steam and that sugary aroma.

When my parents lived in Qld my father always referred to the Bruce Highway as a ‘bloody goat track’, thankfully these days that moniker no longer applies.

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