Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sept 2014 in Aus: From the town of Charters Towers - north to Cairns, then west

Rainbow Lorikeets.  
There are flocks of these getting around the local mango trees.
NT has heaps of mango trees and plenty in public areas.  They are dripping with mangos at the moment that are not quite ready to eat, give them a few more weeks...yum!.  Looking forward to it, hopefully WA has heaps too.

Green mangos getting gobbled

 Water slides in Darwin wohoo!

Adults are allowed too....and so they should be

Circus act style side show at a Darwin night-market near the beach

Darwin museum 

USS Peary monument: one of the guns recovered from the ship deck.  Sunk by the Japanese in Feb 1942.
This view is looking west from about halfway along the Darwin Esplanade

 Darwin wave pool, looks like a beach but it's actually a pool.  I think they made this because people can't really swim in the waves of Darwin beaches due to the nasties (crocs, box jellyfish that can be fatal, sharks)

 Darwin harbour swimming area just south of the esplanade: a man-made beach with nets to keep out the chompers and stingers

Adelaide River war cemetary/memorial just south of Darwin.  The grounds here are kept immaculate even though there's been no rain for months.
I think many people don't know that Darwin got pretty badly hammered by the Japanese during WW2.

Termite mounds up north here get pretty big.

Outdoor mining museum in Pine Creek - just North of Katherine.

10th wedding anniversary (lucky I got a reminder).  Bubbles were required.

The glow of bushfires in the distance.  Mostly nothing to worry about according to locals, but we were glad to be parked next to a lake for the night.  Jumping in the lake could mean crocs though...hmmm..think I'd take my chances with the crocs.  

Mmm, marshmallows.  This was our last camp spot before Borroloola.  Pity I didn't get a photo before the sun went down.  This was right next to a really pretty lake with lily pads, ducks, frogs, brolgas (like herrons).

Northern Territory border.  Felt like a long way to get here.  Pretty warm at the mo - around mid thirties.

There must be tens of millions of termite mounds in aussie.  The odd one has been dressed up.

Corrugations of the unsealed Savannah Way.  There are hundreds of kms of these.  They drive you nuts and wreck your vehicle if you're not careful.

HellsGate roadhouse about half way along the Savannah way road between Normanton and Borroloola.  
It got its name from being the furthest western point that police would escort white settlers back in the 1800's due to local aboriginies who were prone to attacking white people.  The police were too chicken to go any further than this point.

The historic Gulflander train that now does tourist trips once a week between Normanton and Croydon.  We pulled over to see it go past about halfway along its journey.

Another quiet parkover spot all to ourselves west of Croydon.  Dinner cooked on the campfire.

Road entering Burketown.   We had to hangout here for a day as the westward road was closed due to grass fires.  Very quiet little town.  Population 202.

A pretty spot we stopped over at for the night just west of Normanton.  
This is close to a memorial for Burke and Wills - two intrepid explorers that walked in a group from Melbourne to Normanton area in1860 basically to see what was out there.  They both perished on the return journey to Melbourne.

A quiet stopover place just out of Georgetown, well off the main road.

Cows can eat minis here

Croydon public loos for "Croydonites" and "Croydonettes".  I guess the sign is a dig at NSW, no other reason for the big safe to be parked in front that we could see.

Little Millstream Falls near the town of Ravenshoe - the highest town in Qld.

Babinda boulders

Barron falls (Dindin falls) just north of Cairns near the quiet little mountain township of Kuranda.
Apparently these falls are a spectacular torrent during the 'wet'

The awesome Cairns swimming lagoon.  Heaps of backpackers here.

Cairns waterfront.  Muddier than I expected, basically a beach then mudflats that go out for about 100m at low tide.

We stopped in Ingham for a day and a half as they had a great RV camp spot next to wetlands with lots of wetland walks (and free camping)

Tully township a couple of hundred kms south of Cairns.  Real cane country (see the sugar cane refinery chimneys in photo above).
Famous for being the wettest town in Australia.  The gumboot height represents the amount of rainfall in a record year (7.9m rainfall in 1950)

This is city hall of the town of Charters Towers.  A pretty little town that has kept the heritage style in many of it's central buildings.  It was a booming gold rush town in the late 1800's when it had a population of 30,000,  100 mines and 25 pubs.  The population is currently about 9000.

 Main street of Charters Towers with one pub declaring itself as the first in Qld.

Townsville waterpark.  This was pretty awesome for kids, and free!

We did a pre-lunch walk mission up Castle hill in Townsville.  This is the view from the top looking north