After setting up camp in Ingham I enjoyed a lazy afternoon as groups of small pale blue faced peaceful doves with their budgie like markings played mating games at my feet. Overhead in the palms, by the pool brown yellow breasted honeyeaters darted to and fro, to large or quick for the pair of butcher birds sitting on the clothesline to pay any interest.
The road surface was mostly new, terraced and built to withstand the floods during the ‘wet’ or monsoon season.
Pretty soon I was climbing up through the Cardwell Range, the gradient hit 15%. I was dripping wet with sweat but rewarded with spectacular views. The highway was a ribbon through the wilderness, offering a glimpse of what may lay beyond.
It’s Friday when I stopped at Sunday Creek. The sign warns of crocodiles, I peered into the clear gently flowing waters, fallen trees and rock pools. I scanned the waters from the safety of the bridge looking for any sign of a croc.
In Cardwell I snapped a pic of the Big Mud Crab, another candidate for my increasing log of Australian big things. Carwell is a beautiful seaside town completely rebuilt since cyclone Yasi all but destroyed the place in February 2011. It was the sixth time the town has been hit by a major cyclone in 100 years. I wondered why they bothered rebuilding? Still the ‘Crab Sangas’ are reputed to be delicious. Pushing on to Tully the temperature was 27 degrees. Smoke rising from the sugar mill wafted across the cane fields. That burnt sugar had a sweet toffee smell in the sticky heat of the day that made me hungry. The mountain ranges and cane fields under a bright sun seemed like steak chips and egg.
Tully is an old town of one way streets and a Giant Gumboot. Another big thing erected to acknowledge the town as the wettest place in Australia. Apparently, a record 70 meters of rain fell in Tully in 1950! Catching up with Therese, I decided to ride the extra 25 kms to Mission Beach. Signs abound alerting passing traffic to the presence of Cassowary’s. I kept my eyes peeled cycling through the lush bush land and banana farms. nothing!
When I arrived at the information centre in Mission Beach I meet an excited Therese who shows me the beautiful pictures of the Cassowary’s she saw grazing by the side of the road on the fruit of the quangdong tree.