Category Archives: Tropical Queensland

Bridges 11

untitled (297)Burdekin River near Ayr at Homehill. Water, Ayr and Home, I am sure poets would do something with that offering. This is a covered bridge like used to be in Nabiac. Being that this is the dry season we have seen more sand than water in many of the other rivers, but this one is major and full.

Over Johnstone River coming into Cairns. Joseph Mcavoy Bridge. I finally get a pen and paper to preserve the name. Some indications that he may have been a keeper of the bridge from sugar cane growing areas in late 1800s. But this could just be someone with the same name. Other noteworthy items include crocodile sightings upstream and that major road works are happening. No surprise on the croc thing, it’s close to the coast, wide and with mangrove banks.untitled (300)

Same, same over Mulgrave River, also coming into Cairns, near Gordonvale. This time named for a Desmond Tranamore. This time I am able to google that he was a police officer, killed in the line of duty in 1964, at the cost of $48 million this girder bridge replaced the low-set bridge, at an increase height of some 5m. Understandably many of these bridges used to flood in the wet season, people in the early 1970s used to say, ‘if someone spits upstream the Bruce Highway floods’, things have improved since I lived in Brisbane with my first husband.

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Lucky not in flood for us.

Over the Barron River multiple bridges. We crossed this river in Kurunda, Mareeba and Malanda. Each bridge equally as impressive with height between water and roadway. I think they have floods up here. We were both on the Captain Cook highway and on the way into Freshwater for these crossings.

Over the Annan River Bridge and causeway – Near Keatings lagoon. Kakadu like wetlands. Labeled with a “Big Annan Bridge” sign, but is really an old ‘pick a plank’ wooded construction with roadway covering. The car jerks across, with us wondering what would happen if the tyres get caught in a gap? The causeway has a chasm at the top of some falls, and is made of sections of concrete. We are really heading in the beyond.

Before Palmer River Roadhouse North of the Bverstown Range and lookout. Workmen and stock the only other moving things.

FAr north queensland
Called a development road , heading towards Cooktown on the inland sealed road.

Rollo Gallop Bridge was it a gully or waterway? Rivers in this area flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Palmer River. While we make an effort to get a view of the bridge and river we are chased by the Road House owner who is wondering what us city drongos are up to wandering about with backpacks. “yar not going bush walkin, are yars?’

The river has steep sides with minimal water, but flood flotsam is in the trees. WA registered caravan waits while we cross (The bridge is only single lane.) In the roadhouse is a museum filled with tales of people and how they traversed the river and travelled in past decades.

Near palmer River road house
Even this river can flood.



Fish N Chips FNQ style

Townsville fish and chips
The Townsville feed!





Dingo Old fashioned tropical beach pub, sand floor, stroll in from the beach or fishing for a cold one. But that’s the good bit. Our fish and chips best described as ordinary, it looks like pre-prepared fish fillets. $4 a serve of chips, nothing smaller, not sold as a fish and chips meal. I opt for a fish burger, lettuce, tomato, beetroot and large fresh white roll. Lemon and tartare sauce comes with the fish. (or you can pay $2 for a pack). A piece of fish and the burger costs us $25! Before drinks! (featured image)

Harold’s Townsville. German (European ?) girls serving behind the counter, seem to be learning. Specials – Barramundi and salad (crumbed), huge fillet but it would be better not crumbed. Reasonable salad, but we did not expect chips as well. Good value, but not as cheap as Saviges Bribie Island. My grilled offering is a tiny fillet. Rod has to ask for lemon, tartare sauce is 50c a sachet.

Townsville fish and chips
Best feed – Agnes Waters – 1770

Horseshoe Bay Fish and Chips. Magnetic Island, off shore from Townsville. Spanish Mackerel which seems to be the fish and chips basic offering up in FNQ, sort of like Flake is to Victorians. Much better than Harolds in town. Fish and chips $10. They offer a fish burger with choice of grilled, battered or crumbed. $3.50 for serve of chips, which is huge and double wrapped. A sign says, “Best on Maggie”, you’ll hear me shout! Ironic because a deaf lady takes the orders, which you indicate by pointing.

Magnetic Island from Townsville
Over there to Magnetic Island

Beachcomber Caravan Park South Mission Beach. Piece of fish $8.50 minimum chips = $4.50 that are too many. Opt for fish burger, choice of the lot – bacon, cheese, pineapple, beetroot, and onions. Brilliant meal and better value than the more classic F & C $10.30. They use Spanish Mackerel, lightly crumbed.

Disappointingly we could not find any fish and chip shops open near the Cairns Lagoon, to have a water-side picnic. Nothing had take-away, it was all posh sit down jobs.

Trinity Beach Bar N Grill. Sampling from the menu – Pig dog pork riblets… bacon and cheese $7.50. Sure these must be good for you. Spanish Mackerel $8 a piece, $11 if you have fish and chips. With lemon and tartare sauce. Thick yellow batter. I decide to compromise in an attempt to lose weight and opt for grilled, a very small, dry piece was the offering.

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Grill’d and Gutt’dCooktown. This little establishment gets our vote for the best, most perfect brown grilled fish. We pick Barramundi $9.90 – we have just been fishing for this delicacy out on the river, and know they are locally caught because three didn’t make it into the boat. Served with lemon on a bed of rice, why? ‘To keep it moist’, but offered up with plenty of “don’t know” looks. Great salad. Chips were a bit limp, ‘not their fault’, says Rod. They were left in their paper while we ate the wonderful fish. The meal cost us $30 for two, reasonable considering the quality.

Waterfalls 6

The waterfall Mecca of Australia has been reached. The Atherton Tablelands! Up into the hinterland from the wet tropics, I guess they have no choice but to feature tumbling waters.

Malanda Falls: Crashing into a pool at the base. Top marks on two categories, the volcanic rocks that are wearing at different rates, and the fern strewn surrounding rainforest. These falls have a web site – , plus a spanking new visitor’s center. This location has been on the tourist trail since the 1920s, where locals would come for a safe swim up in the cooler, not stinger infested hinterland.

Milla Milla Falls
Waterfall Nirvana – Milla Milla Atherton Tablelands

Millaa Millaa Falls: Part of the Trio for falls. We have struck waterfall pay-dirt. The trail has very slippery steps. 183m drop, 800m above sea level, they get 2-3m rainfall annually, and so no surprise the streams wear down gullies and make waterfalls. Some steep car access, slippery roads to add to the danger/amusement factor while we watch people in campervans try to park closer to the base. Impressive basalt columns, draws the number of tourist buses which add to the entertainment watching them try to turn in the full postage stamp sized parking area.

Milla Milla Falls
Local swimming hole as well as waterfall- Milanda falls

Zillie Falls: Viewing area at the top drop-off point is mud strewn and only really affords a glimpse of the power. It doesn’t seem as dramatic as the others.

Ellinjaa Falls: The last one we encountered on the day trip out of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands. We had to clamber down hobbit steps and trail switch backs to reach the viewing area at the base again. There is yet another problematic parking area, with carnivorous potholes and block of flats on wheels campervans to deal with.

Rockhampton Japanese gardens
Rockhampton has a Japanese Garden

Japanese Gardens Rockhampton. Part of the Botanical gardens we stumbled upon after reading the tourist information. Aside from the steak dinner, or playing spot the giant bull as we drove around town what other things were we going to do in Rocky? It did take us some time to locate the Japanese Gardens, confused by the map’s orientation and lack of signage. Our response: the water should be cleaner.

Rockhampton Japanese Gardens waterfall
Rockhampton Japanese Gardens has a waterfall

Eriskine Falls Otway National Park, Lorne. (featured image) While this might seem to be right out of the FNQ region I blame the way my notes are put together, and I am lobbing it here regardless. An impressive 38m drop. Giant tree ferns seen from above as we descend to the viewing platform look like lace umbrellas, with multiple levels of lookout. At the lowest one signs warn of ‘Dangerous terrain beyond this point: Experienced bushwalkers only.’ This warning is reinforced with universal symbols which show the potential dangers. Look out Kenny!

Otway National Park
All the warnings – don’t walk here Kenny
Launceston Pool

More Swimming Pools

A short and sweet category that was meant to match our experiences with the hot pools of New Zealand, but somehow faded off. These are a few of our noteworthy 2014 experiences. We have had some unique place in which to submerge.

Redcliffe Lagoon. On a clear day you can see the towers of Redcliffe from Bribie. It’s the departure point for the ferry to Morton Island (another Queensland sand island), strong triathlon club, used to be serious working class, now due to bayside status going more up-market. This pool complex is in the South Bank style. Plenty of features which make it look as if Redcliffe was built first. Lots of deep water areas. Kiddies play area all clean-treated water.

Redcliffe Pool
Redcliffe pool, yes there is a waterfall

Lake Mackenzie. A perched lake, not one with Perch there-in, but sitting above compressed sand. The base has been pressurized and become solidified with vegetation over time. The water layer sits on top. This sand has a high silica level and we use it to exfoliate. Gold jeweler comes out sparkling. There is a chill, sharp wind, but warmer in the water.

Lake Mackenzie Fraser Island
Kenny beside the squeaky clean Lake Mackenzie Fraser Island

The Lagoon. Airlie Beach. Various depths, an area with a blue line on the bottom for those who simply must swim laps. Lots of lawn and sand on which to sunbake. Essential resource as this area is a no swim zone due to the presence of stinger jellyfish between November and May. Signs warn of the ‘risk of encountering toxins’ bottles of vinegar which are supposed to ease the sting are on warning plaques. The life guard is full of anecdotes about fights between itinerate back-packers.

‘I don’t do nothing unless they’re drowning.’

Airlie Beach lagoon
A tropical pool – what could be better.

When asked about the water temp his reply was, ‘want the real temperature, or the one you’d prefer to hear’. Rod thinks it’s about 18 C degrees.

The Boulders, Babina Creek, south of Cairns. Deep cool magic ponds. Signs along the walk warned of the dangers, but swimming is possible in certain areas. The reflection factor was amazing. A mirror-lake-waterway amongst the rainforest. Everyone kept asking, ‘is it cold?’ Sure, but we kept swimming just so we could say we had this outstanding experience.

The Boulders Far North Queensland
Rod in the distance – Albino Bunyip – Swimming area at the Boulders

Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands. Swimming in a crater lake! Another one of those “because you could” swimming experiences. We had to swim there because it was so spectacular. A few brave souls were sharing the pleasure, but this will always be memorable because of the exchange with a relaxing bar-staff worker. ‘Is the water warm,’ asks Rod.

‘It always warm, it’s a volcano.’ Her knowledgeable reply.

‘Don’t you mean crater?’

Giggle, giggle, ‘oh yeh’.

She must have thought that the extinct volcano was still heating the waters, or who knows really, ‘whatever…’

Crater lake Atherton Tablelands
Rod beside the Crater Lake Atherton Tablelands


boyne Bridge

Bridges 7

With several journals, multiple entry points about bridges, and away from home again, I am going to take pot luck that this entry connects to the preceding bridges 6. So I flicked through the journal brought with me on this quick trip to Brisbane, before the new school year and found the first entries go do with bridges. Apt because they seem to begin with my current location.

Victoria Bridge, Queen Street, Brisbane. The brownish waters of another capital city river’s waters pass below. The cultural center is ahead, although many dispute the presence of actual culture in Brisbane. A look down river presents a vista of the Kulpa pedestrian bridge that circles back on itself, all angles and curves. I have crossed that too.

victoria Bridge Brisbane
Wonderful Brisbane walk bridges

Merivale Rail Bridge. This one train only. Squeals of delight form the kids on this train. We passed incredible murals just out of the Roma Street station, but I was too slow with the camera. Maybe Google images will help.

Rail Bridge Brisbane
Over the Brisbane river

Gateway Bridge. The tall, stunning toll bridge to avoid Brisbane CBD. Artistic construction as if approaching such a view needs sculptors too. But the view back towards sky scrapers that edge the Brisbane River is still there. Even at the cost this is a smooth alternative to the CBD. Previously the only alternative was the Story Bridge and then through The Valley. Both local landmarks that are pretty to behold but a nuisance if you had to deal with them daily.

Gateway bridge
The major gateway to Brisbane city

The Captain Whish Bridge. Over the Caboolture River, traversed on the train towards the city. Named for an English sugar planter and civil servant, …’Australia must have impressed him for on 15 August 1862 he arrived in Queensland… and established the Oaklands sugar plantation at Caboolture….he raised a better crop than his main competitor…he was one of a small but influential group of gentlemen immigrants, who left India after the mutiny to seek fortunes in the newly separated tropical colony of Queensland….’sadly he perished trying to return to England when his ship sank, but there is mention of a widow, two sons and four daughters. Issues apparently left behind in Bombay. Thanks Australian dictionary of biography for that information.

Whish Bridge
The Caboolture Bridge

Just to be different – the Pacific Plaza Shopping Center Bridge. This complex is so big, (on steroids in Queensland) that it spans the motorway. The on-time creek over which the mall was built now also sports toys for entertainment on those waters.

Pacific Fair Shopping Center
A shopping centre bridge.

Sunshine motorway. Bright shining span over the Maroochy River, providing quick access to the Airport and northern Sunshine coast. Got to love the fact that skin-cancer causing, Vitamin D source forms the name of the whole area. What are we here for? Like to stop a while here and go into a little aside, just north of this bridge is the area of Mudjimba, lovely beach I visited in the mid-1970s. My first husband and I were so impressed with the wide expanse of empty beach on which to walk the dogs, cute beach shacks and rural ambience that we stopped there several times. Sure don’t look like that now.

'Sunshine motorway bridge
Sunshine coast – typical

Bridge on Eli Creek, Fraser Island. You can find the crystal waters of Eli creek mentioned as a must see on this equally head of the top tourist attractions island location. And yes it is a sparkling clear stream, naturally pressed through the sands. “Purest on the planet,” we are told. 19 degrees, crisp and refreshing. There are fish in the stream, without direct access to the ocean, ‘how do they get there?’ Birds carry in roe, apparently.

Eli Bridge Faser Island
Bridge and Water on largest sand land – Fraser Island

Over the Mary River @ Maryborough. As we passed the wide mud banks, and bothersome wind would dispute the tag of being Australia’s 2nd largest immigration port. What a strange, alien place for European immigrants to disembark? Being a resident of Sydney it’s hard to equate this muddy river with a history of bustling port.

Mary River Bridge
Phone problems – pretty sure this is the Mary River Bridge

I know this entry has been long, just two quick ones before I go onto something else.

Boyne Bridge, south of Rockhampton. There are plenty of items named Boyne in the region, an Island, river and such, but as yet I am having difficulty locating why the name. Seems that many bridges in the area are to be renamed, to better reflect history, so Boyne may be erased from this bridge. (feature image)

Bridge Flynn Rockhampton. I have recorded this mainly because there is an entry in my journal. Name location and question mark. That’s all? Maybe I wasn’t sure of the name as we drove over. Quite possibly this was all part of the huge road works that were part of the Yeppon bridge. Hope it eases the traffic snarl.

Mary Bridge Maryborough
Lucky we encountered less water.