My third visit to Wallaman Falls was a day trip with Wildlife Queensland. A full report will appear on their blog in due course but I thought I might quickly share this photo and mention my previous posts – from almost exactly one year ago and two years ago, as it happens. (This is a good time of year for camping and bushwalking, since everything is still quite green after the Wet but the weather is reliably fine and not too hot.)
I have added the spider and insect photos from this trip to my existing Wallaman Falls album on flickr.
A few days ago I left home just before dawn to visit Pallarenda – specifically the Old Quarantine Station, Cape Pallarenda and Shelly Cove. Part of my motivation was simply to be outdoors, since the weather at this time of year is too beautiful to waste, but the main reason was to see the wildlife. I didn’t have to wait long: a couple of crows came to check on me when I sat on the beach to have breakfast. I walked down to the water’s edge afterwards and turned round to see Continue reading “One morning on Cape Pallarenda, with birds”
Castle Hill is a great vantage point for looking out over Townsville and its environs and I visited it recently to fill in gaps in my knowledge of Cleveland Bay. The top photo (click on it for a larger image, as usual) is a wide-angle view of the Southern half of Cleveland Bay, Continue reading “Cleveland Bay from Castle Hill”
Magnetic Island is very beautiful and is only twenty minutes by ferry from Townsville but we only get over there a couple of times per year. Here are some souvenirs, with minimal commentary, from our visit last weekend.
Two walking tracks lead up from the Eastern end of Picnic St, Picnic Bay – one towards the Recreation Camp and the other, new us, to a lookout on top of Hawkings Point.
I wrote recently about Blencoe Falls and the road to them but didn’t say much about the camping ground. The National Parks page provides all the basic information but didn’t make clear (to me, at least) that what is offered is basically free camping along a two-kilometre stretch of creek: when you drive into the nominal “camping ground”, all you find is an information shelter (under the dead tree) and a toilet in dry scrubland.
All the campers were settled down beside the creek, in shady sites well off the road. The creek itself was a tranquil string of broad pools linked by rocky shallows but the sandy, rock-strewn banks confirm the implication of the flood marker fifty metres back from the bridge, i.e. that it must sometimes be a raging torrent.
I found plenty of wildlife beside the creek – lots of birds, including a Sea Eagle (they are not restricted to the coast), a cormorant, parrots and honeyeaters, and a good number of insects (now here, on my flickr photostream).
The most numerous animals, however, were flying foxes – there was a colony of hundreds or a few thousand just downstream from the bridge. They are Little Reds, a nomadic species, so they may not stay long, but they certainly made themselves known aurally and olfactorily during my visit and were an impressive sight as they swirled into the sky to go foraging at dusk.
Access to Blencoe Falls (previous post) is from the small township of Kennedy, just north of Cardwell: take the only road which turns inland from the highway, follow it for 10 km or so, veer right onto the gravelled Kirrama Range Road, and you’re on the right road. For quite a while.
The top of the range is reached after about 20 km of steep, rough, winding road through dense rainforest. Several viewing spots offer spectacular vistas over the coastal plain and to Hinchinbrook Island.
The road levels off at the top and winds through more rainforest to Society Flat rainforest walk, marked by a towering kauri pine. It is less than a kilometre long but presents the best opportunity to enter the rainforest jungle: no-one takes a casual stroll through this green tangle except on a made, and maintained, path.
It’s an abundant environment, but an abundance of plants, not animals. Certainly there are birds (more often heard than seen), butterflies and spiders, but the trees, vines and epiphytes make it what it is.
Further inland, the country gradually dries out and the vegetation changes to open forest dominated by eucalypts. I stopped there for lunch on my way to Blencoe Falls and again, for somewhat longer, on my way home.
The distance from Kennedy to Blencoe Falls is about 70 km but that doesn’t give much of an idea of the travel time: if you allow three hours then you may be pleasantly surprised but if you plan on two then you may arrive later than you expected. The road is all gravel except for the steepest section, up the range, which is broken bitumen. All of it is narrow and has enough blind corners, pot-holes, rocks and fallen timber to keep average speeds low. 4WD vehicles aren’t absolutely necessary in dry conditions but may be after rain, and the gently decomposing corpses of a couple of backpacker vehicles beside the road are reminders that inland roads are unforgiving. The journey is well worth the time and effort, however.