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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Snakes and the Atherton Tableland

Thursday, 17 August 2017
 
Snakes are probably a bigger worry!

Paperbarks


Twitching



Jacana





Going, going

Gone

 The weather continues to be dry and hot, with cool nights (well, 16 degrees that is!).


The weekend just seemed to disappear and Monday afternoon we decided to have a walk around the Cattana Wetlands.  We were the only people there and it was much cooler in the shade of the trees and beside the water.  There were a few different birds about, including a few jacanas walking on the water lily pads and a couple of darters, with their snake like heads poking out of the water.  It was as we were returning to the car after stopping for a final photo opportunity that we scared a snake only a few feet in front of us on the edge of the path.  We both stopped suddenly, Himself immediately implemented a rear guard action in case of attack from behind (there may have been another snake following us!!!), the snake sat up and looked at us, then moved hurriedly away for a few feet then stopped and looked back again, with much wider eyes.  He quickly decided it would be safer well away from us, who had the same thoughts.  We stopped at the snake information board at the entrance and decided it was most likely a slatey grey – “venomous and likely to bite.”  This made three snake sightings in about ten days.

Beautiful moth on the green

Staying cool

More water than mud!

Avenue of Honour


Preparing for a Lion Dance

Times have changed

Temple entrance

Painted tin panel

Wooden carving of a bat

Inside temple

Cute dragon


Cheeky little carving

Probably not much call for ski fittings ...

Pig oven

Temple and meeting house

Sculpture depicting the banking profession

Orange blossum

On Tuesday, we decided it was much safer to have a foot massage, ice cream and walk along the Esplanade boardwalk – the tide was nearly in, too, a real bonus.  Tuesday night was our usual bowls night and my team were very unlucky not to win a prize, losing on a countback.  It was a lovely warm night and no dew, with lots of bugs, moths and micro bats flying about.

Wednesday we headed inland to the Atherton Tableland, with a stop at the Termite shop for some chutney and a visit to Maria for some coffee, spotting a recently dead snake near her driveway.  We wandered our way to Yungaburra, stopping for a stroll around the village before heading to the Avenue of Honour and Lake Tinaroo.  The lake is well down and it is easy to understand why the farmers are angry at not being allowed to irrigate when water is being released daily.  We had a lunch stop at the Malanda Dairy, another stop at Gallo Dairy for some chocolate purchases (also a piece of cheese) and fortunately we were too early for the afternoon milking of the cows.  We used the back roads to travel to Atherton, visiting the Hou Wang Temple.  This is the only remaining wood and tin temple in Australia and the only building remaining of the Atherton Chinatown.  The museum was very interesting, with stories of the local Chinese community and artefacts from the site.  A guide took us to the temple, explaining about the village as well.  This lady was so good, she really brought the place to life.  We were able to look closely at the interior of the temple and its contents, with explanations provided, before moving to the meeting house next door and then having a look at the reconstructed ramped pig roasting pit and the sculptures along the main street depicting the life and professions of the people who lived here.  We were so glad we visited.


Lots of photos today!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Week in Cairns

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Harvested cane

Freshwater Creek

Popular pretty plant

Heritage Scout Hut in Munro Martin Park

Stage, August 2016

Stage, August 2017





Beautifully framed!

August 2016

August 2017

Red jade vine


Aqua jade vine

The big excitement last Saturday was, while fattening the fish once again, seeing the snake returning across the creek – perhaps the same snake does laps for exercise?

The weather has been beautiful all week – very warm and sunny with clear days and nights, which means slightly cooler nights (and a blanket!).  The days just seem to disappear and it is less than three weeks now until we depart Cairns and commence the long drive home.

Tuesday night at bowls proved to be good bowling but no prizes.  Wednesday we joined the latte set at Port Douglas for a few hours.  It really did seem like the same people enjoying coffee, the same stock in the same shops but no where near as many hippy types as previous years.  The large crocodile which always enjoying sunning himself on the mud flats of the Mowbray River has been joined by a couple of companions this year.  We had a brief stop at the Rex Lookout on the way home and watched the kite flyers for a short while and enjoyed the varied colours of the Coral Sea.

Having received an email from “Telstra” earlier in the week relating to my wifi modem and the computer’s virus protection going into hysterics, a visit to a Telstra shop was called for.  Our usual shop at Stocklands no longer has tech support so it was back to Cairns Central and an appointment with a very helpful Irishman.  He was very doubtful about the legitimacy of the email but was quite happy to check the modem and update it.  It would seem that “Norton does know best!”


The walking track north to Brinsmead has reopened after being closed for nearly a week during cane cutting operations.  Our walk yesterday revealed that not only had a large amount of cane disappeared, but a sizeable section of land had been replanted at the new cane was well visible already.  During the afternoon we visited the Munro Martin Park once again (last time was during a very wet ballet performance) and were able to compare it to this time last year when it had just opened after redevelopment.  Lots of pretty flower photos!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Cairns Museum

Friday, 4 August 2017

Freshwater Creek

Looking for turtles - or just resting?

Ferns - and rock

Crystal Cascades

Pandanus fruit

Ulysses butterfly (cheat's photo!)

Museum displays

Cane knives

Relaxing on the verandah

What a big mouth ...

Last Tuesday we waved goodbye to the rellies as they set forth for the Atherton Tableland and we spent a relaxing day in preparation for bowls that evening.  Unfortunately, Himself was not able to produce the same winning form as the previous Tuesday and managed to win the booby prize!  With the temperature plummeting to 17 degrees and a heavy dew falling, it was a rather cool evening on the green.

The caravan park management once again provided a sausage sizzle (with the trimmings) and Wednesday evening and again, the temperature dropped rapidly and the due descended.

With the temperatures very warm all week (27-29 degrees daily) and Thursday even hotter, we decided on a walk to Crystal Cascades, as the track is quite shaded by the rainforest.  Just after commencing the walk, we spotted a small bird quite low in the trees, and with his binoculars poised, Himself quickly set off into the jungle.  He hadn’t ventured very far before remembering it is always a good idea to watch the ground as well, came to a halt and slowly returned to the path.  There were a few tourists and plenty of backpackers (mainly wearing bikinis!) at the falls and we were also lucky enough to see a few Ulysses butterflies.  Unfortunately, these beautiful butterflies are very fast flyers and virtually impossible to photograph.

After returning to the caravan and with the temperature starting to cool later in the afternoon, we took some stale bread to the bridge over Freshwater Creek to help fatten the jungle perch.  While we were enjoying the fish and the sound of the running water, I noticed a splash at the edge of the creek and a bush moving; a snake then proceeded to swim very quickly across the river (towards the caravan park!!!) and disappeared into the undergrowth.  We walked very warily back to the roadway.


Today was very hot and muggy, 30 degrees and cloudy.  We visited the new Cairns Museum, which only opened a couple of weeks ago.  It was certainly well worth the visit, with the history of the region and Cairns, especially, well documented, with plenty of interesting items on display.  The old Cairns School of Arts (another name for Mechanics Institute), which open in the 1800’s, has been upgraded inside but the old verandah still exists with beautiful cane furniture.  We also unexpectedly met a couple from our bowls club who arrived yesterday for a holiday – a nice surprise.  Lunch was an indulgent waffle at our favourite ice cream parlour before Himself added to his linen shirt collection.