Sunday, July 24, 2016

Croydon, Queensland

Croydon is now a small township in the middle of the base of the Gulf of Carpentaria but in its heyday it was the fourth largest town in Queensland and was a bustling town surrounded by gold hysteria. These days it is a town like so many other outback towns trying to survive the drought and modern times. But fortunately a number of heritage buildings have been kept and this gives travellers a glimpse of what Croydon was like in the 1800's. 

The Club Hotel, built in 1887 is now the last of 36 hotels that were here in the gold rush days. 

The Croydon General Store is the longest continually running store in Queensland and also claims to be the oldest store in Australia. It was built in 1887 and now houses a lot of local memorabilia and artifices as well as groceries, tyres, fuel and souvenirs. 

The Croydon Court House was needed after the initial gold strike in 1885. The court house played an important role in the life of early Croydon. This is where disputes over mining claims were heard. Today it has been set up so visitors can sit in the gallery and listen to a recreation of poor Betty getting two months for swearing and she left for goal with a Chinese boss who also got two months for supplying his workers with opium. 

The Iguana Consols Mining Museum is an area containing various mining equipment now rusting but still very impressive. There is also the shell of the original Bing Chew family home. I love the way they built the low veranda to keep the house cooler. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mt Surprise and Undara Lava Tubes

Mt Surprise is a tiny community of around 65 people situated on the Savannah Way, which is the road that runs from Cairns on the east coast of Australia to Broome on the west coast. This part of the world is most famous for the Undara Lava Tubes. I have wanted to visit the tubes since I visited the  Atherton Tablelands five years ago, but I didn't have enough time to drive here. But I am finally here and today was my time to venture out. The half day tour started by heading into the Undara Volcanic National Park and our 2.5 kilometre walk up and around the rim of Kalkani Crater. The walk was a bit steep but the group took it nice and slowly stopping along the way to learn about the surrounds such as the three other volcanoes in the area. Kalkani Crater was created some 200,000 to 400,000 years ago.

The view was the crater rim was pretty spectacular
After returning to the base and having some refreshments it was back in the bus to head to the Wind Tunnel Complex, which is a system of intertwining lava tubes. Here we were to explore the three different sections of the Undara Lava Tubes. Here we made our decent down some rocky terrain, luckily we had a rope to hold onto. This first chamber was the smaller with a height of around eight metres.

The moss on the rocks looked amazing but was a bit slippery to walk on
After a short walk through the bush we came to the larger tube which consisted of two tunnels and had a height of around eleven metres. Once again it was a bit of a climb both in and out with the help of the rope. I was pretty pleased, I handled the rocks a lot better than I thought I would. Thank goodness it's only my right arm that won't work properly and my legs are still in good working order. There was one guy who had had previously had two knee reconstructions and he struggled a bit.

Heading down into our first lava tube
The ceilings and walls in parts of the tubes were some pretty amazing designs and colours. We were all given torches to help us look around the tubes as they were pretty dark when we moved away from the rocky opening.

Inside the larger lava tube was amazing

Without our torches we would never have seen the spectacular colours

Plus we would have fell over as parts of the floor were a bit bumpy

Looking towards our exit route

Looking back into the tube as I climbed out
This is definitely one location I would recommend someone visit. I think the only other location lava tubes such as these can be visited are in Hawaii. Tomorrow is going to be a lazy day before we head further west on Saturday.


Well our visit to the beautiful Atherton Tablelands ends tomorrow. We have stayed at Ravenshoe Railway grounds for almost a week and have loved it, even though it has rained most of the time. This time of the year is normally the dry season up in these parts but for some reason Mother Nature has put the wet on for all of us. Ravenshoe is claimed to be the highest town in Queensland and the Ravenshoe Hotel claims to be the Highest Pub in Queensland but while in Herberton the other day a local said that their pub was the highest. Mmmm a bit of country town rivalry it seems.

Ravenshoe Hotel 
Just west of Ravenshoe are the Millstream Falls which are said to be the widest falls in Australia. I would say that measurement would be when the falls are flowing in the wet season during summer.
Millstream Falls
 Today we drove some 35km to Innot Hot Springs. You can soak in the creek for free, but I have tried that and the water was so hot I couldn't even put my toe into it. So today we decided to pay the $10 entry fee to the caravan park and indulge in the 6 pools. Although I only got into five as one felt just like the creek did - hot! As I am still having some very annoying issues with my frozen shoulder it was nice to have a soak in the hot mineral water.

This pool was about 28c

So relaxing

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Historic Village Herberton

This amazing historic village owes it's existence firstly to Herberton's pioneers  and then also to the people who have collected old buildings, hundreds of artefacts from the past, many many old cars tractors, bottles, records and so much more.

Back to school in the 1800's, early 1900's
I have been to historic villages before, such as Sovereign Hill in Ballarat but this one has literally thousands upon thousands of pieces of history collected from the area. I was also totally amazed in the organization of everything and how clean everything was.

Day's Garage held so many beautiful vehicles

A funeral wagon

This toy store had so many amazing toys
 All the buildings, except Tin Pannikin Pub dates from Herberton's foundation years in the 1880's and almost all the buildings are as they were originally constructed.

Everything was so clean

The products in the pharmacy were mind blowing

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paronella Park, Mena Creek

This was my second visit to Paronella Park and I know I will be back here again in the future. To anyone who hasn't visited Paronella Park it is hard to describe its amazingness.

Lovers Lane
Paronella Park was the dream of Jose' Paronella way back in the early 1900's when he arrived in Queensland from Catalonia in Northern Spain. He chose this 13 acres in this special part of Australia to create his castle, picnic areas beside Mena Creek, tennis courts, tunnels and bridges. Then he wrapped it all up in some 7000 tropical plants and trees.

To the right of the waterfall is the Hydro Electric plant Jose built
As well of this amazing place Jose's story is extremely interesting as well, although it is way to long to tell here. If you are interested I have included a link so you can read Jose' Paronella's story.

Part of the beauty is the moss and plants creeping over the structures
 Another one of Jose's incredible feats was his hydro electric plant. He created Queensland's first hydro electric plant in 1933 to power the 13 acre park, and the castle grounds were ready to welcome the public in 1935. After many years, floods and cyclones the hydro stopped working but in 2009 the refurbishment of the original hydro turbine once again saw power to the park. The hydro also supplies power to the small settlement on Mena Creek.
The night time view of the castle is amazing
As I have mentioned Paronella Park has been through many floods and cyclones but in 1993 when the current owners Mark and Judy took over they discovered the almost lost park and envisaged reviving Jose's dream, which I am happy to say they have done.
The lights on the waterfall at night is spectacular
This is an amazing place to visit and I urge everyone to put this on your bucket list. The entry per adult is $44 but that includes a day tour, a night tour and the availability to come back for a free visit within the following two years.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit.

Millaa Millaa referred to as the "Village in the Mist" is a delightful little village surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. With all the rolling hills and deep valleys it is no surprise  this area has quite a few waterfalls. Just out of Millaa Millaa we took a left turn to start our short adventure on the Waterfall Curcuit. After an easy walk from the car park the first waterfall we visited was Millaa Millaa Falls which are just over 18 metres high and are quite a spectacle to see.

Millaa Millaa Falls
Then it was back into the car for a short drive through the amazing green rolling hills to Zillie Falls. The walkway took us to the top of these falls and there was a rough track to walk to the base of them but we decided against it. Zillie Falls were not as high as Millaa Millaa Falls but had a lot more rocks at the base that the water thundered down to.
The amazing views over this lush countryside

Zillie Falls
Then it was off to the third and last waterfall on this circuit, Ellinjaa Falls. There was quite a bit of a walk through the rainforest down to the base of the falls. But it certainly a pretty view once I got there.

Ellinjaa Falls
 Next it was onto Mount Hypipamee Crater. After an easy walk we reached this spectacular crater. I certainly didn't expect to see a drop of some 58 metres to the water surface. It is estimated that the waters depth is then something like 73 metres deep.
Mount Hypipamee Crater
Shane decided to take the same track back to the car and I took the more rugged track to have a look at Dinner Falls. Oh my goodness what a walk it was up and down until I reached the falls which consisted of about four different falls. The walk really set my asthma off but it was worth the walk.
One of the falls at Dinner Falls
Our next morning was our last in beautiful Yungaburra and seeing we were on the lake I really wanted to try and get some sunrise photos. As soon as I ventured out of our camper Myrtle I was faced with a literal wall of fog. It was a very eerie feeling standing alone on the waters edge without being able to see anything. As the sun slowly started to rise I was able to get a couple of shots I am very happy with.
I was confronted by a wall of fog

When the sun rose her head I was pretty impressed