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.
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.

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… 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.
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.

Leaving Normanton – WOW!

September 29th we departed Normanton for the next amazing adventure in our life…….yea!

The 1st night we stayed on the Gilbert River – what an awesome spot & our campsite was the best. The Jabiru’s were beautiful – what an amazing bird they are, saw some fish movement but we didn’t wet a line BUT we did put in the parliment pots so look out 2moro. The sunset was lovely. Quite a few ‘happy snappers’ but I think they are freshies.

I know the signs says welcome to Normanton but I couldn’t find a “farewell from Normanton”…..hahaha

When you are travelling this is a very popular sign.
We will go as far as Chillagoe then change direction slightly.
When travelling on gravel roads its always a good thing to let some air out the tyres – makes life much easier if problems arise.
Soooooo many of these to be seen.
Passed a few Hawkins side tippers along the way – definately a good idea to get off the road when any roadtrain comes along.
Our camp for the night on the Gilbert River.
This critter kept his eye on us.
The Corella’s were very prolific & loud…..
These 2 characters did a few miles but they always stayed together- Burdikin ducks
This Jabiru is definately a good fisher bird – a reasonable size catfish for dinner.
This freshie was doing a little sunbaking.
This little piggy needed a drink, I’m sure he wasn’t that little (I was a long distance from him) -there was lots of signs that the pigs liked this area.
Quite amazing, I watched this fellow dig a hole a few metres from waters edge to find water to drink – very ‘croc’ savy.
This fellow not so timid……
But the freshies are always around.
WOW – a pink grader. Actually this fellow is based in Normanton.
A shag drying out.
But……… they are always around.
Dinner time, I think she had another one in the pouch…..
Isn’t it surprising how trees can survive growing on the edge of banks with their roots exposed.
The sun setting on the Gilbert River.S
Always need at least one scary pic…hahaha

Normanton #12

WOW! another weekend off – we had booked the boat (Dory) in for a service at Karumba, dropped it off Thursday arvo & picked it up Saturday morning – We decided to have a look at Karumba in the water, was awesome, got a little windy later on in the day but was a wonderful day – we even managed to catch a fish keeper – ‘blue nosed salmon’, sorry no pic.

This is our last Normanton blog, we have 9 days left of work (no days off) then we heading Cairns way, we are taking the Chilagoe Rd but I not sure if we will have much service but I will try to take lotz of pics.

Keep smiling. 🙂

This is an amazing boat ramp in Karumba – its very boat launching happy.
Karumba Point – a very popular spot especially to feast on some local take away fish & chips.
Leichardt River quite a beautiful spot – during the wet season & if good rain there is water running over the rock cliffs – ‘Leichardt Falls’
Windmill in the background.
The roadwork water trucks fill up their tankers from here, this fellow works for Hawkins so we stopped for a chat & a wander.
A very beautiful spot, but apparentley there are ‘big’ happy snappers here so no swimming.
Passed a few of these boys on the way back to Normanton.
The birdlife is pretty amazing.
Lotz these termite hills around, they look like a massive cementry.
Gravel off loaded waiting to be flattened..
Quite a few of these characters too, although a lot of their family/friends spread out on the road – makes the bird life plentiful.
Crossing over the Bynoe River saw this fellow having a bit of a look.
Bynoe River.
Sun setting 30 minutes from Normanton – saw quite a few black cockies hanging in the trees.

Normanton #10

WOW! days off again. SO good. 11th/12th July.

We drove to Mt. Isa, along the way we stopped at the Burke & Wills roadhouse for breakfast & seemed to have a few friends..

Did some shopping & relaxed, was nice. We left Mt Isa Sunday morning & drove towards Camoweal (towards the NT border), after 120klms we turned left heading to the Gregory River, was an interesting drive, we drove past quite a few stations. Gregory River is a lovely looking spot, is fresh water so NO salt water crocs but there is proabaly a few freshies around but we may come back here & camp along the river – it is quite beautiful. We had a counter luch at the pub which was quite nice, no need for social distancing – we were the only ones there…..haha but a few people die call in for fuel.

Back in the yard at Normanton, Peter does have a couple of hairy jobs…….

The sunsets have been providing us with some amazing colours.

I go walking with a guy I work with, it is always interesting. We find some interesting sites.

We stopped at Burke & Wills Roadhouse for breakie & these critters keep a keen eye on us.
Ptilotus Exaltatus.
After the bitumen the road was very good in most parts, some parts were a bit hairy.
What amazing signage – metal artwork is fantastic.
Ringers moving cattle along the road.
The Gregory Hotel.
The Gregory River – looks like an awesome spot
Melaleuca Linarifolia.
We found some long horn moo’s along the way.
The Flinders River.
The Bynoe River, on one side of the river there was heaps of cockies in the trees.
Peter & the boys emptying some very long & heavy metal framework from the truck.
Great sunsets in Normanton.
The bloke I go walking with the majority of the time.
This all part of the local water supply for Normanton.