Saturday, July 18, 2015

Port Douglas = work & road trips!

So we returned to Dickson Inlet Port Douglas for the wet season which didn't eventuate. We were told it was the driest wet season in memory. We didn't undertake any major boat works this stop although we did haul out for a clean, reconditioned the anchor winch motor and re-painted the decks a paler colour as it was too hot to walk on them this far north.The paler colour does help. We both worked as much as possible to stock up the kitty. We also enjoyed lots of road trips!

Ruby ready to go!

Our first trip was back to Townsville to pick up the van and scooter, so we hired a "hippy van" and made our way slowly down the coast. Our first overnighter was a Cairns beach where I had camped back in the 70's.
 After loading the scooter we headed back via the inland route to get in as much sightseeing on the land as possible.

We stopped overnight at Paronella Park near Innisfail which was built by a Spanish cane worker for his wife between 1929-1935. It was their Spanish castle of dreams beside Mena Creek waterfall which was later opened to the public, powered entirely by a hydro-electric plant on Mena Creek Falls. The castle's great hall had silver chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and dances were regularly held there.

In 1946 the site was flooded when the dams bridge burst by a pile up of cedar logs. In the 70's fire swept through pretty much destroying most of the buildings. Then there was a cyclone. A couple travelling past appreciated the history and romance of Paronella and are slowly bringing life back to the park. The gardens were fabulous!

We also had a few trips to the Daintree area.....

Daintree rainforest

Daintree River near township

We also spent time exploring Cairns and its district.......
Palm Cove, looking across to Double Island

Kuranda park

Cyclone Nathan also made a few passes at Port early in the year-we tidied the boat decks and removed awnings the first time so it was easier when the area went into yellow mode the second time the cyclone was imminent, we just pulled up the anchor and found a spot in the mangroves up river. It was good practice!

Crowded river during cyclone Nathan

We also took a trip by road up to Cape York (not the tip!) and sold lots of our goods at Cooktown markets staying at the beautiful Sovereign Hotel. Ruby was most impressed!

Amazing art at Cape York 

We stayed in a little motel at Laura which was clearly a local cow's grazing pasture!

And we stopped for lunch at the quaint Lions Den Hotel where local miners were known to write up how much the owed the inn keeper by writing on the walls. Tourists now use the walls for their messages.

We stopped at markets near Cedar Bay...

and at Black Mountain (Kalkajaka - place of the spear) where people have disappeared into tunnels to escape capture by police

It was a busy 7 months and we were eager to continue north. We did spend some time in Port Douglas. 4 Mile Beach was spectacular,

the local markets fabulous,

and we had great anchorage neighbours!

Bye Bye Port!