Mossman Gorge and Vanilla Slices
Have had a short day trip of about 20km up the coast to Mossman Gorge. This is a low level rainforest environment (as opposed to those in the Gold Coast hinterland which are highland ones) through which the Mossman River tumbles down from the highlands to the sea. When not in flood it is a tranquil flowing stream but can turn into a torrent after rain. An easy stroll along the boardwalk takes you to a couple of swimming holes among the river boulders. A few people enjoying a splash around in the shallow waters, jungle perch swimming around among them. Very green with numerous species of trees and creepers.
We were thankful for a number of rest spots along the way, Allthego found it not nearly as demanding as the Mt Bartle Frere expedition. Homealone had her usual experience of crossing a swinging bridge over a short gorge section. It was a pleasant couple of hours among the trees and beside the River. Later back in the Mossman township the River flowed beside the road along sandy banks and overhanging trees.
It is, however, time for an update on the vanilla slices we have encountered since the last commentary. It is often said that when one passes into North Queensland there can be a bit of a cultural shift. In the case of vanilla slices we have certainly found this to be the case. There is a lot of sugar cane in North Queensland and the industry has a murky past when it comes to labour practices. First, it was the ‘black birding’ of South Pacific Islanders to work on the farms as arguably slave labour and after this the ‘Italian invasion’ of workers in the industry, many of who later became landowners in their own right. There is a lot of South Sea Islander and Italian cultural influence in the North that has permeated and filtered into Australian life today. All good.
Except, it seems to have influenced vanilla slices. We came across a vanilla slice at the bakery in Home Hill with pink icing (the Italian input) dusted with desiccated coconut (the South Sea Islander influence). There was another one with a layer of cream on a milky white filling at South Mourilyan. The icing in both cases was quite sweet. To top it off in Port Douglas we got one with passionfruit icing, with a couple of seeds for good measure. None of these really measured up to expectations. But, interesting culinary variations to say the least. In Port Douglas we also came across a baker who had the ‘Best Ever French Vanilla Slice’, but the shop was shut and wouldn’t reopen till we left town a couple of days later. Knew we were coming obviously! Try them another time!
So, we are now moving to Daintree Village a short 56 km hop north and the gateway to Cape Tribulation. It is now feeling like we are starting the Cape journey. We may not see a vanilla slice for 2 or 3 weeks.