On the way to Cairns
We are now away from Bowen on Highway 1 headed for Cairns. Planning to stop overnight at Big Crystal Creek NP about 45k north of Townsville. There was a fair bit of roadworks along this stretch, indeed the trip from north of Bundaberg has numerous stretches being widened and overtaking lanes built, a few bridges as well. Red lights pull you up and after a 5 minute wait off you go. The stop go people no longer have to stand beside the road and twist their poles, walkie talkies are in use and buttons are pushed that seem to change the red to green. Ladies seem to do a lot of this work, diversity and gender balance in action I suppose!
Big Crystal Creek a great layover. No squeezy sites here plenty of air in the great outdoors. We had our first camp fire and had some pork sausages over the flames. A number of bush turkeys roamed around looking for leftovers. The creek very picturesque and only a short stroll from the campground. A little highlight was seeing some quite large jungle perch lurking around the edges of the rocks. Could have spent another night here relaxing but had to move on.
Listening to the radio, ABC only thing we could get, there was a segment on the 100th anniversary on 2 August of a small town called El Arish, named after a battle in Egypt. Lo and behold we were a few short kilometres from the town. So pulled in to have a look. The town originated as a soldier settlement after WW1, cane farms cut by hand from the tropical jungle. Tough life. The town’s war memorial had undergone a revamp and a 2 metre wide ‘replica’ of the Australian ‘Rising Sun’ Army Badge installed. The State Governor had been up for the celebrations. Must have been an occasion, one of the town’s residents said there was quite a lot of bureaucracy involved in getting it done! What’s new! We devoured our crab roll obtained on the waterfront at Cardwell in the nearby park.
The stopover at El Arish had held us up a bit and Allthego was stretched time wise now to complete the climb of Mt Bartle Freere, Queensland tallest mountain at around 1600m or so. Apparently, you need something like 15 hrs to go up and down and camp overnight so it was going to be a bit of a challenge in the 2 hrs we had available. But he was going to give it a go! Came down smiling. Apparently, the mountain is generally shrouded in cloud and mist. Allthego wondered how did anyone know how high the mountain really was! It would remain a mystery.
After the walk we charged off into Cairns to the Big 4 just out of town for a few days.