Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bowen to Mt Morgan.....and then home

Before we left Bowen, I managed to take a couple of photos of the beach that was a bit rocky.....

We got up quite early and headed off, stopping in at Macca's for breakfast along the way - no dishes this morning....  :-)

The cane cutting season seems to be in full swing at the moment - we saw quite a bit of activity and the odd cane train..... cute little guys these are....

We got to Rocky and headed inland a little - we wanted to avoid the roadworks all down the coast from Rocky to around Gympie as it added quite a bit of time to our journey.  We were heading from Cania Gorge for the night but we did plan on stopping at Mt. Morgan for a look.  This is a very historic mining town and after spending a little time at the old Railway Station Museum we decided to stay the night at the local caravan park and take in the sights in the morning. 

I had read a little about Mt. Morgan before we left and was keen to visit the town. We unhitched the camper and went back into town to have a closer look. We first went up to one of the lookouts closest to the open cut mine. It hasn't been operational for many years but apparently that may change in the future. There are currently private tours of the mine but we didn't do that. 
The mine from the lookout.
 This is a photo of the mine that is now full of contaminated water.
The amount of copper, gold and silver that came out of this mine was phenomenal.  Check out this link to learn more about the mine
and also,_Queensland

Since the closure of the mine in 1991, I think the town has become a little stagnant - obviously people have moved on in search of work elsewhere but there seems to have been little progress in the town.  Having said that it is a lovely little town, lots of history and you can spend a good couple of days taking everything in.....but it has the potential to offer so much more in our view.

Masonic Temple

Anglican Church

Mafeking Bell
(cast in 1900 from pennies donated by the children of the local primary school to celebrate the saving of Mafeking in South Africa by Lord Baden-Powell. )

Former Queensland National Hotel
(now a private residence - just sold - who knows what will become of her this time)

Running the Cutter
Local custom of a runner collecting beer and giving the miners their cut.
Mt Morgan High School.
The oldest public school in Queensland
Many of the older heritage buildings seem to be vacant and  little has been done regarding the upkeep of them.  We particularly found that to be the case when we visited the cemetery - it was quite sad much history yet no-one seems to be doing much about keeping it all alive.....yes there is the Mt. Morgan Museum but so much more can be done in the town to make it much more of a tourist attraction.  The people were very friendly....we spent a little time at one of the pubs chatting to the locals - this particular pub was built in 1901 and is heritage listed - the young couple who own it are doing it up and have done a great job so far but are governed by the Heritage Council as to what they have to do which all takes time and money.  They are working on trying to attract more tourists to the town but it is a very slow and frustrating process.  A marketing whizz needs to do something about putting this little town on the radar in a big way.

Hotel menu from 1924

The most striking monument is the Linda Memorial built in memory of the twenty-six miners killed in mine accidents in Mount Morgan between December 1894 and July 1909.

A well-preserved ceremonial burner, a heung lew or xiang lu, is one of few reminders of Mount Morgan's Chinese community. Built in 1890, this shrine is believed to be unique in Queensland. It was used for burning symbolic papers and offerings for the dead.

We stopped for lunch at a rest stop just out of Monto at the Ceratosus Railway Station building.  Quite a few vans were there settling in for the night - we found that a lot on this trip....vans and campers pulling in to these free spots for the night around lunchtime - they just travel for a few hours and pull up and relax - chatting to each other - everyone is quite social really.  The only down side of these spots is that there usually aren't any shower facilities, so if you don't have a shower in your van you either have to use the old bucket to have a wash or find the nearest roadhouse along the way where you pay about $3 for a shower.  But it saves paying $30 odd for a site at a caravan park.

We left on our final journey home to Caboolture stopping at Goomeri for a cuppa and quick rest stop.  We called in to see our new grand-daughter, Teleah Rose at D'Aguilar who was born while we were away. 
So that's our trip to Far North Queensland - it would have been great to have a bit more time to look at places in more detail, but there is always next time.....I think we did pretty well to see and do what we did in 10 days. 
Until our next trip......

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cairns to Bowen

Not much to report today.....we left Cairns at 8:15am bound for home....we stopped at Josephine Falls for morning tea but didn't go to have a look at is was a bit of a walk away. 

When we got to Townsville, we headed in to the city to go to Castle Hill Lookout; but when we got there we found that it wasn't suitable for trailers, so we turned around and continued our journey south stopping at Bowling Green National Park where we had lunch.  I was unpacking the lunch supplies and on my second trip back to the picnic table I had to run after a bush turkey that pinched the bag of lettuce off the table!!  Cheeky Turkey!!

After lunch we headed off and ended up stopping at our planned stop of Bowen.  On the way, we witnessed a near head-on between a 4WD ute and a car on the highway.  We are pretty sure the guy in the ute was either answering his mobile phone or texting - he veered over to the other side of the road, realising at the last minute what he was doing and corrected himself - I think we all had our hearts in our mouths at the same time.  He pulled up straight away; not sure whether it was to attend to his mobile in a more safe manner or to change his undies!!  It could have been a horrible outcome!!  Not something we want to remember from our holiday.

We are at the Big 4 caravan at park at Bowen right on beachfront - a little windy and cool but it should be good sleeping weather.

No photos today but I hope to take a few of the beach before we leave in the morning.  Not quite sure where we will end up tomorrow at this stage.

TFL, Ann & Dennis (Mum & Dad) xx

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We left Wonga Beach on Saturday morning and headed for Cairns.  We stopped for a cuppa on the beach - very relaxing sitting under a tree looking out to the water, the island and mountains. 


We checked in to the Big 4 Crystal Cascades Caravan Park at Redlynch and then went into Cairns City to do a bit of shopping and have some lunch.  I bought some comfy shoes and a few tops. 

We then set off to the Esplanade to have a look at the water - this is what we found....

She was a tad dry!!

We wandered around town and found a hairdresser as Dennis started looking like the mad professor.  Before that he told me that he didn't like my hat so I was trying to find one, when he grabbed the one I had off my head and promptly took it outside and threw it in the bin - so I had no option but to find another one - it just took a few shops before I was happy with my purchase!  The tide started to come back in and we sat at one of the Esplanade bars and had a couple of drinks - very relaxing.

We went back to the caravan park and got ready to go out to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park where they had a Show and Dinner package available.  It was a great night learning about their culture - we had our faces painted, sang, played instruments and I even got to help with the fire starting process.
The 4 course meal was great - very tasty.  We purchased a couple of items from the shop and then went home.

Sunday morning and we got up and ready for the train trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway.  We went to Freshwater Station then boarded the train and set off for the hour and a half journey up the range to Kuranda.  What a spectacular journey.  The hardships that the labourers endured while building the railway all those years ago must have been incredible.

We alighted at Kuranda and wandered around the village which is very much like Maleny/Montville - little market stores all over the place and vendors trying to sell their wares as we walked past.

While we were there, we went to BirdWorld where hundreds of species of birds flew freely around the huge aviary. Some of them were quite friendly, allowing us to hold them and pat them. We were very excited to finally see a Cassowary.

 The return journey on the train was just as enjoyable and we alighted at Freshwater to return home and grab a quick cuppa before heading off for Cairns for a sunset cruise and dinner.  We dined at Dundee's restaurant and tried the kangaroo & crocodile skewers - crocodile definitely tastes like chicken!!


 Tomorrow we start our journey home and will possibly stop at around Proserpine - we will see what sights come our way tomorrow.

TFL, Ann & Dennis