Friday, July 29, 2011

Nature's trail - Mossman Gorge

Today we planned a picnic and a walk at Mossman Gorge. The gorge was shown on the local activities and marked "not to be missed". It was only about 22 kms each way from the caravan park. Roanne and Roger now have a rental car so Tim and Zoe travelled with them and Jake travelled with us. The road into the gorge narrowed significantly and the speed was down to 20 kms. Roget fluked a carpark opposite the picnic tables and Peter had to take the Patrol quite a long way further down the road. We had our picnic lunch first and it was just as well we did. We happened to be in the right place at the right time.

We had seen signs of cassowary on the drive in. At the picnic area the signs said there were no rubbish bins because of wild cassowary. Within five minutes of us arriving a cassowary wandered out of the rainforest. Roger was quick with the camera and everyone was able to see this flightless bird that we had been hearing so much about. For Peter and me this was our second sighting and we are told that it is quite rare to see one let alone two.
Jake following

After lunch we commenced the rainforest walk. We had no idea how long the walk was but it was well set out on boardwalks and good paths. Jake was very interested in all the trees and various types of growth and would read the signs and explain the information to us all. The path followed the Mossman River and this was very similar to the terrain that we had seen at The Boulders down in Babinda about 130 kms south of here. The signage warned or crocodile in the water but we didn't see any. We did see lots of Dusky Morehens wandering around the undergrowth. 

We crossed a swing bridge and continued our walk higher before following a two kilometer circuit and starting the return trip which went a slightly different way than the way in. When we finally made our way to the carpark and picnic area we realized that we had started at the end rather than the beginning and had taken the walk backwards. It didn't matter at all. We had walked between 4 and 5 kms so it was no wonder that both Zoe and Tim were very tired when they got back. We had also made two bad errors with our walk today - we didn't take any water and some of us had jandals (thongs in Aussie language) on. We will have to watch that in the future.

We had afternoon tea in the picnic area then headed for camp. On the way we stopped to watch a sugar cane harvester working. Roger and the boys were keen to look at the cane so they were able to see some close up. Jake, Peter and I then stopped when we saw a sugar cane train and we were surprised to see that one of the wagons had derailed.

We had Kangaroo kebabs for dinner tonight - the first Kangaroo that the Lumsden family had tasted. Although they are farmers, it looks as though they might have a vegetarian daughter as Zoe refuses meat at most meals. It will be interesting to see if this habit changes as she gets older.

We have been very lucky - the days have been very warm around 26 degrees and more. The evenings have also been very pleasant and surprisingly warmer than in Cairns. We have eaten our dinner outside each night and for those who know me well, it must be warm as it is around 8 pm and I am sitting outside typing this into the I-Pad. Over the last 2-3 years I have noticed the cool and I am quick to put a sweater on even when everyone else is saying how warm it is. I am really enjoying the warm weather and look forward to more as we travel further north. I am not sure how I am going to adjust to the cold winters in Mt Maunganui when we return to live in NZ. We might just have to plan our winters in North Queensland! In the nearly four weeks since we left Melbourne we have only had one day of misty rain in Babinda and a couple of showers overnight. Here's hoping it stays that way when we are in the tent next week heading to Cape York.

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