Lockhart River # 5

Not sure if the ‘wet season’ has begun but we have had a bit of rain, hopefully more on the way. There are some amazing flowers blooming at present and the aroma from the gardenias is still in the air (mmmmm).

This last weekend (Fri 11th/Sat12th), we drove to Weipa. WOW! did the skies open along the way, we nearly turned back just in case we couldn’t get back, but we perservered – the rain was very intermittant & heavy at times. Once we got onto the Weipa road(Penisula Development Rd), the rain really pelted down, still intermittant but very heavy. Kept raining most of afternoon although I don’t think it rained much overnight. Saturday, after breakfast & a little bit of shopping we were off, we took the Batavia Rd, 75 klms from Weipa which took us to Bativia Station which backs onto the Development Rd heading north to the “tip”. We wanted to have a look at Moreton Telegraph Station as we were ‘caretakers’ there from January to April in 2013 – quite different from when we were there, the Wenlock was always in flood, either over the bridge or just under so seeing it like this was great.

Cephalaria leucantha – apparently in the honeysuckle family.
Old man’s beard also known as Travellers’ joy – apparently a noxious weed but still pretty.
Golden guinea tree/Red beech – they are flowering everywhere at the moment – beautiful.
Vito – Genipa americana – apparently a part of the coffee family
Poisonbulb/Swamplily/Spider lily, beautiful but not good for humans or dogs.
Chinese Hibiscus/Shoeback plant/Rose mallow -has quite a few different names.
Just got to love ‘fungi’……..
Lotz of these fellows along the road as we were driving to Weipa.
Before reaching Weipa town, we had to stop at the ‘haul road’ until we got the green light.
This is a good reason to stop, he is much bigger than us.
Even scarier when he gets closer…..
Moreton Telegraph Station, gate shut so we didn’t venture in.
The bridge over the Wenlock River on the Development Rd, next to Moreton Telegraph Station.
There is a far distance between the water level and the bottom of the bridge.
The Wenlock is so clear, clean & quite shallow in places. (quite inviting)
When in flood this was our spa(when we did our stint at Moreton), its on a creek that runs into the Wenlock (approx 500m from river)

Lockhart River #4

We have managed to go out in the boat a few times, whenever we can work the tides & weather, off we go(usually Friday, Saturday & Sunday as I work down at the community store the other days til lunch time). We stick to the Claudi River when its windy (I do not like white caps) but we will venture out again soon to the Lockhart River & maybe some of the islands. The Claudi is quite lovely, although we haven’t managed to get an eski full of fish we have managed to catch at least one keeper each time we have been out which has been yummo. We have caught mangrove jack, blue nosed salmon, flathead, bream, cod & a baracuda -all very delicious.

Before we left Cairns I bought myself a new camera so I am enjoying playing with it, hope to improve my skill BIG time but I imagine it will take time.

There are some amazing coloured butterflys, I am still trying to catch them but they don’t seem to like camera’s….haha. I will keep trying.

This last weekend just gone 5th & 6th December we took the boat into the Claudi & managed to catch 1 keeper each day, actually Saturday we caught 2 keepers but on Sunday after catching our 1 keeper we decided to go upstream more, we ventured to new waters – WOW! what a difference in vegetation & landscape. It was quite unique, palm trees everywhere lotz of birdlife although not possible to get pics, I too slow. It was very interesting, did find a facinating plant though.

The great Claudi River…
There are some amazing coloured butterflys, I need more practice but will keep trying.
Can you see the Queen in the top right fungi???????
Lotz of fungi…..such amazing stuff.
Lotz of these critters hanging around.
He was thinking – I like this photo……
Bush turkeys galore.
George the pig, he lives across & down the road but is a frequent visitor.
Wenlock Gardenia/Cape Jasmine – beautiful. I just love the gardenia family.
The mighty Claudi River – upstream
Hankerchief tree / Maniltoa browneoides – it was quite amazing.

Iron Range #3

WOW! we have been here at Lockhart River for over 5 weeks now. Time is definately going quick. Up to this stage there hasn’t been much rain, one day we had 47mls but since only small amounts of 3 ml to 7 ml but I imagine it will happen soon. The days have been good, does get warm but we always have a great breeze, I think our hottest day has been in the mid 30’s, it usually ranges from 30 -35 deg. A few days before we got here there was a rather large bush fire(apparently lit by the locals) – you get that, unfortunately it burnt out the orchard that was growing on the outskirts of the rain forrest & it was on of the main watering jobs for us to attend to -it even melted the tank to not much. The fruit trees were not happy & they still aren’t but I think there maybe a chance for a few of them if we get some m.ore rain. For several days & acouple of weeks, Peter spent a lot of time going back & forwards to the orchard area & beyond to look out for smoke & fires, there were a few logs smoldering which did start burning again due to the windy conditions After the rain we got it didn’t take long for a carpet of green grass to sprout & thankfully no smoke or fires to be seen but it was ongoing for a week or so to keep an eye out.

The lorikeets are in abundance & they do lotz of swarking . The Cape York Lily is beautiful & popping up everywhere.

At the moment we have lotz of lizards, a few different types (I think) but I still trying to find out info on them. Lotz of ants. Lotz of bush turkeys.

This is the remains of the tank.
This palm started to have regrowth even before any rain.
After the rain we had, it didn’t take long to get a carpet of green happening, hopefully some more rain will assist the fruit trees also.
Lotz of these critters around at the moment, not easy to get a photo of, they keep moving….haha
WOW! The Cape York Lily/White Turmeric – simply gorgeous
Peter quite likes playing on this toy, the washouts have been a ‘bit’ hairy but we survived.
Crimson Cattleya – another WOW! flower.
Lotz of these critters, not sure of the name but will keep working on it.
There is quite a few of these planted around, hopefully one may ripen in our time here.
Asian Coriander – apparently a weed, but it tastes great.
Native Lasiandra / Malabar Melastrome
Lotz of these – ‘white lipped frog’

Pandanus Tectorius (Tahitian Screw Pine)

Iron Range Research Station #2

We have a few different critters here cruising around the pods. Not a lot of them we actually see but you can hear them & see where they have been the next morning…haha

We went out boating 2 weeks ago, the boat ramp a little different, have to keep an eye on the tides – not good for mid-low tide & lower, but we will continue to try. It quite amazing where people just leave their boats, parked up on land, some have a motor others don’t. We tried our luck at fishing, put the boat in at Claudi River, the ramp not the most friendly although the sand flies were very friendly, then motored out to mouth, tried trolling – no joy so we went over towards the mouth of the Lockhart River – there is like a delta there of lotz of small islands -did some trolling & eventually caught a blue nosed salmon 53cms. That was our catch for the day, back to the boat ramp, no sand flies but getting close to the “don’t want to go there time” – all good. Fresh fish for dinner.

Last weekend we drove up the Chillie Beach (a very popular camp spot), nothing there but beach, WIND, a few toilets -nice but not our type of spot, alot of people go 4wding along the beach & also launch their boats for fishing off the beach, we not that keen but you never know. we then went to Portlands Road, not much here also – a boat ramp (which again is suitable at the right tide), we will try to go out here – will depend on the tides & wind being happy together. There is a cafe which is open Sat, Sun – 10am -2pm. Very nice, small but great food & cute.

There a lot of these critters around.
White lipped frog – we have quite a few of these critters too.
Peter likes this little toy.
People park there boats in some funny places, looked like they have parked in up for a while.
Yea – a blue nosed salmon – over the legal size too.
Chilli Beach – obvioiusly lotz of 4wd’s on beach by the tracks but we did see 2 near the water looking for oysters on the rocks.
Found this little treasure on the beach – not a millionaire but still good.
Mangrove roots – quite amazing really.
Not sure what this is, but seen along the road a lot – will work on it.
Entrance to the cafe at Portlands Road.
The lookout from our table.
Yummo lunch.
Saw this critter running off the road as we left Portlands Road,

Iron Range Research Station #1

Our new home for the coming wet season. Its a privately owned 8oo acres of mainly rainforrest trees, different researchers come here to look into rainforrest regeneration & also bird watchers love it. Quite a beautiful place, we have only looked at a small area but will discover new things along the way. The houses are called ‘pods’ – pod 1 – 2 bedrooms own ensuites & big veranda: pod 2 – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, office, storeroom & lounge room. We are in pod 1. The outside area is all open but under roof except for half of the kitchen (mainly where food is kept & fridges, it is in area like a lockable carport – works well, a roller door keeps the critters out at night, the cooking part of the kitchen is in the open area, simple but effective & cute. It is run totally on solar although there is a generater for back up if required & also the water is pumped up to the pods tank from a bore half way down the driveway by the backup generator – works well.

A long winding driveway, thank goodness it is concreted all the way to the houses.
Pod #2 on right handside of photo.
pod #1 in the baackground
Pod #2 in background
Food & fridge area in an area like a carport, roller doors come down.
Garden areas – lotz of orchids.
Tetramelee – a very rare but large rainforrest tree. Alot have been burnt out so what can be salvaged is in the process.

Lockhardt River here we come.

23rd October 2020. WOW! we finally got everything sorted, put the ‘KK’ into storage & collected the boat, filled the boat & ute with shopping & away we go. We are headed to Lockhardt River approximately 800klms from Cairns.

Our 1st night we camped up at a free camp just outside of Mt Molloy – Rifle Creek rest area, a great spot, good toilets & a cold shower which was refreshing. We managed to have a little campfire & thanks to Danny & Julie we were having ‘coral trout’ for dinner. We had an enjoyable night under the stars in our swag, it was quite a busy camp spot but there was heaps of room.

Our 2nd nite on the road, we cheated & stayed at a caravan park in an onsite caravan for the nite at Cooktown, we were meeting up with a guy we met at Normanton, it was nice to see him & meet his lady, the aircon worked well in the onsite van too…hahaha.

Drove out next day & passed lotz of sugar cane being harvested & then transported on the small trains with lots of cane aboard. We drove along Battlecamp Road which was really good, came across Isabella Falls – quite a pretty place, would be awesome with more water but there was a small fall still running, this is near where the first lot of gravel was beginning so it was a good spot to let some air out of the tyres.

We came a across a few hawks feasting on roadkill but there wasn’t a lot of roadkill on our travels so far which was good, the vegetation was very dry & need of a good drink. We passed ‘white lily lagoon’ & ‘red lily lagoon’ neither lagoon had any flowering lilies although white lagoon has some jabiru’s, red lagoon didn’t have any water either. As we were getting closer to Musgrove Station the clouds were getting darker, a couple of emus ran across in front of us but I was a little slow with the camera. The decision not to swag & get a room was easily decided once the skies opened …..hahah, once we got to Musgrave Station. There was a lovely mare & her foal in the house yard – he was a cutie.

Next morning, back on the road, we stopped after about 2 hours & decided to have some breaky – thanks again to Danny & Julie, coral trout – yummo(it had defrosted & needed to be eaten but it was awesome). Quick pit stop at Archer River roadhouse then on the road again.

The cane season has been running for a while now all.
A camp at Rifle Creek near Mt.Molloy – great spot.
Button Orchid, they are very popular in Cairns & can be found on lots of paperbark trees.
Its that time……
Didn’t see any white lilies.
But did see a few of these fellows – so gorgeous.
So dry, not much water around in the creeks or rivers.
Emu’s
Musgrave Station -roadhouse
Peter cooked up some coral trout for breaky – yummo. He did a great job too.
Very dry countryside.
Archer River Roadhouse found us parked up with some of the local girls, they weren’t too worried.
The roads were really quite good, the worst section being on Portlands Road to the Wenlock River.
The Wenlock River crossing on Portlands roads.
Saw quite a few gravel truck tippers along the way & their dust.
Unfortunately there was a lot of burnt country also.
The mighty Pascoe River – not a lot of water at present, but it will come…
Beautiful weeping bottle brush tree’s in the river bank.

Meetin up with ‘relations’

7 klms south of Babinda we drove to Mirriwinni, my second cousins Danny & Julie – crazy fisher people & awesome company, we spent 4 wonderful days with these guys – thanks it was great.

Danny & Julie took us driving, we went to the ‘Murdering Point Winery’ a boutique winery -mmm, did a little ‘wine tasting’ & got a couple takeaways. Our next stop was at Etty Bay, a 700m long beach approximately 15 kilometers south of Innisfail who have at least one resident cassowary(they have amazing strength in their legs & feet). Back home then for another round of 500 (the girls flogged the boys…haha) which was great fun.

Saturday (17/10/20) found us going to Deeral ( a little place 22klms north of Mirriwinni) to the Mulgrave River – Danny, Peter & me (Julie stayed at home waiting for the ‘grandies to arrive for their sleepover). It was fantastic, would have been even better if we caught some keepers but it was lotz of fun. Cards again tonight.

The next day we shared a great lunch with Julie, Danny, Jodie & 3 kids – we all went and had a dip in the Babinda creek, it was wonderful, a great family spot that was also used as a free camping spot, the water was clear & refreshing & not real deep – but wonderful. They had a great park area for families with good facilities. Jodie & the kids went home to Cairns & we had one more adventure, the water resource for Mirriwinni – WOW! Definately a little too fresh to indulge in a dip but a lovely spot, the vegetation was awesome. We gave the boys one more night to try & even up the scores in 500 – didn’t happen.

Monday morning, time to go back to Cairns, thanks Danny & Julie – we had a great time.

They had some beautiful orchids growing in the garden of this winery.
Julie, Peter & Danny checking out one of the locals..
Cassawary, apperntly he loves peoples picnics…….
A small but lovely beach, very popular spot.
Lets go fishing.
The mouth of the Mulgrave River.
Yea, Peter caught an edible fish.
Bugger….he wasn’t quite legal so he got to live another day.
Grandies having a good time with the ‘grandparents’.
This is a water sieve used to stop the majority of vegetation going down in the pipeline.
WOW! awesome ginger.
Some cute fungi too.
Ficus.

Forever Friends ….

Got to Cairns, did a few things then travelled to Cardwell (half way between Cairns & Townsville) on the 9th October 2020, our great mates Mandy & Raymond live here, its always a joy & so much fun to spend time with these folk. Thankyou so much Mandy & Raymond for sharing 3 nights with us in your home – awesome as always.

Back to Cairns, we went to a delightful resturant on the water(boat mariner) & shared a great meal. We organised a few things in Cairns then we went south again, 1st stop – Bramston Beach, WOW! what a beautiful spot, we camped about 30m from the high tide water mark, there were hundreds of starlings nesting in one particular tree, we didn’t park too close to them. Next day we called into Babinda for a coffee, apparently Babinda & Tully vie for the ‘wettest town award’ every year. We drove out to the boulders, had a few light showers of rain but we still did the small walk, quite a spectacular area & very beautiful but also dangerous if you venture where you shouldn’t.

Mandy overseeing the cooking – what a great job they both did.
Hinchinbrook Island
Mandy in her hometown of Cardwell.
Driving through Tully, you cannot miss the sugar mill chimneys in full force, even in wet weather.
Dinner at Cairns overlooking the bay.
Dinner before we started.
Dinner demolished – yummo.
Saw this ginger plant flowering while walking the streets of Cairns.
Bramston Beach Park
Lotz of starlings were nesting in this particular tree, the night before we got here was windy & quite a few branches with nests were on the ground the next morning but there was hundreds of the birds.
Beautiful elkhorns, orchids & ferns can be found just up from the beach.
A flowering Beach Almond – the fruit is edible & just like a normal almond you buy in the store but smaller.
We called into Babinda for a coffee & found this delightful sculpture – amazing how clever some people are.
The allocated swimming area of the Babinda Boulders – quite lovely but a little too cool for us.
It was great going for the walk…….

Hots Springs for a treat.

After leaving Mitchell River for the 2nd time – wow! both awesome spots to camp up for the night, we headed towards Chilagoe (once known for its mining of a range of minerals but now a small zinc mine & marble quarries).

We drove through a few old mining area’s, majority of them were mining tin, these days – who knows but they are still utilised. Lotz of little towns full of history.

There are lotz of tracks going off the in every direction, you spend weeks checking them out, getting lost but having fun. Saw quite a few brumbies & they were all in pretty good condition considering the lack of rain & environment.

Innot Hot Springs – very nice, they have 3 outside pools & I think 2 indoor pools. A nice camping area & the pub walking distance for dinner – 🙂

Driving into Chilagoe – this is the main street.
A few of these beauties in the main street of Chilagoe – Embrert (Scrambling clerodendrum), apparently parts of this plant are used in tradional medicines.
We camped up just off the road near a waterless creek, very quiet & peaceful.
A little bit of interesting history.
This is how the countryside looks.
There was a few brumbies around – these 2 looking pretty good.
The road just keeps going – quite good really.
Life has been difficult in these areas in earlier years & probably still now.
Found this family enjoying the Montalbion Town water supply.
More interesting history bits from the town of Irvinebank.
We parked up under some amazing ‘ficus’ tree’s – weeping fig. They were magnificent.
We saw lotz of ‘blackboys’ (grass tree’s) & they were beautiful.
WOW! Innot Hot Springs – this is the pub, great meal.
Our next camp, just before Kuranda, not too exciting but we just set up & went to bed.

Moving on from the Gilbert River (north QLD)

What a beautiful time of day, watching the sun rise over the Gilbert River -the bird life is quite active this morning. The collection time for the parliment pots…..so exciting. we did okay, got about a dozen mixed size, they will taste good.

The next night we camped on the Mitchell River, once again a lovely spot & all to ourselves. we put in the partlimount house pots & managed to catch approx a dozen cherabin. The following night we camped on the Mithcell River again but about 100klms upstream (Hughs Crossing)- a really, really, really nice camp although there was someone on the other side of the river, once again we baited up the pots (dry dog food, very easy) & we caught about 20 keepers.

Not sure if this fellow was a ‘great egret’ or the ‘intermediate egret’, I imagine he would be the 2nd one as they are very common in the northern areas of Australia ……..? But still an awesome bird.
A Hawkins side tipper, carting gravel from Normanton to Kowanyama approximately a 5 hour drive each way.
Jabiru
Burdekin ducks on a mission.
Happy snappers always around.
Sunrise, what a beautiful time of day.
Jabiru – what a magnificent bird.
Woo ho – not a bad catch – approx a dozen all up, dinner to tonite
I think fellow saw a Happy snapper & ?????????
On the road again, this road train was going a little faster than us so we pulled over.
Passed quite a few brumbies.
Our camp – Mitchell river.
This causeway is covered in a type of matting – quite interesting.
There was quite a few crows.
Lotz of kites keeping an eye on things.
Honeyeaters in big numbers.
The doves were plentiful & put quite show on while I was drinking my cup of tea.
Wild mangrove flower.
Small seed pods growing wild over a dead tree – Loofah (Luffa Aegyptiaca)
On the road again, the road was very good.
Quite a few moo’s along the way.
Our next stop, Hughs Crossing – Mitchell River again, approximately 100klms from our last camp.
We had an amazing camp site.
This fellow flew across the causeway empty & came back an hour later loaded up with cattle.
The pee-wee’s were having a great time.
More Burdiken ducks.
Our catch overnite.
It was a fantastic camping spot.