Mt Surprise

Monday 6th August, (Mt Surprise).

We have given up on Atherton as the weather has not improved and life has been on a down, if such a thing exists in this lifestyle, because of it. So, we upped camp and moved on this morning. Our intention was to travel south through Ravenshoe and on toward Charters Towers. We had decided to try camping at roadside rest areas on this leg of the journey as we have as yet not done this, and as we are supposedly equipped to do so it would be time to try it out. After studying the map and another map showing rest areas, that fellow campers at Atherton were kind enough to give us as they had finished with it, we considered a rest area between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet, with the second leg to The Lynd Junction or Greenvale, in a park, and then on to Charters Towers with a stay at a rest area on the outskirts of the township before going into town for a couple of days depending on how much time we have. The reason I don’t make plans on our trip came to bear on the first leg as when we reached the rest area in question we seamed as though we had not travelled far enough, and as neither of us could make a decision on the spot to stop and camp there, we decided to travel on and possibly stay at Innot Springs a few kilometres down the road. When we reached the springs we decided that the caravan park was no better than staying at a rest area so another decision was made to travel on to the next rest area about 60 kilometres on from Mt Garnet.

This is where the best plans come undone, when we reached this rest area, which according to the map had no facilities except tables, we found that it also had toilets but there was only room for limited parking on the roadside and a not very good sign was the lack of any other campers. If any campers use a rest area for camping, normally a two day stay is permitted, there would be several already there using the area. Then we noticed a sign stating that the site was for day use only so a choice had to be made as to whether to return to Mt Garnet or go on further, we had already travelled further than we had intended for the day. If we were to travel onward it looked like the next stop would be The Lynd and then we would have done two days travel in one, unless we were to travel on to Mount Surprise. We had previously decided not to visit Mount Surprise, as this would have been the place to stay if we were to visit the Lava tubes and we were not going to pay the price asked to see them. Also if we went to Mount Surprise it would mean returning on the same road back to the highway, ha ha, a single lane sealed road with gravel verges to use when passing, to return to our route of travel. As we had plenty of time and it was shorter to Mount Surprise that was the choice, besides we had considered for a long time staying at a caravan park there called the Bedrock Holiday Park as we had heard about it earlier on in our travels and here was our chance.

We are now camped at Bedrock. It is a quaint park that is owned and ran by a reasonably young couple who have built it up from scratch, and seem to be a couple who have committed themselves to making ones stopover as enjoyable as possible. They own their own bus and organise several tours around the area, which include visits to large local farms, the Lava tubes, railway trips etc. They also have barbecue’s several nights of the week, at a small fee, and all at this evening’s event had a sing along around a campfire and a good time. Then something has to be done as there is no TV reception or radio in the area, the park at least, there is a transmitter for the town providing ABC and channel 10 but it must be very weak as it can’t be picked up at the park.


Saturday 4th August, (Atherton).

Our trip to Atherton is turning out to be a restful one, as it has not fined up since being here. We did manage to make a day trip visiting several waterfalls in the area yesterday. There are quite a few falls in the area and are worth seeing.

We also visited the Curtain Fig Tree and decided that we did not visit this one on our previous trip 5 years ago. Both this and the Cathedral Fig Tree are worth seeing when in the area, as they both demonstrate just how amazing these trees are in the method in which they grow. A couple of scenic look-outs on our travels proved fruitless as when we reached them they were above cloud level and nothing could be seen.

Needless to say we have not been on the bush walks that we intended, because the bush would be just too wet to even think about walking in, and it doesn’t look as though things will improve before we move on Monday.

We had also planned a trip on the local railway, but again it may well be pointless if the weather does not improve, we have one more chance to do this tomorrow. The trip would not be the one they normally run to Herberton as they are undertaking rail repair on the line between here and Herberton, so the one they are running is a shorter one to the Carrington waterfall and return, not on the usual steam train, but on a small cane train, but it may have still been worth while. Oh well, if we don’t get to do it this time there may be another chance in the future.


Wednesday 1st August, (Atherton).

Well, we are again on the move and keen to do a bit of sightseeing and, wouldn’t you believe it, it is raining again. We at least took the opportunity to look around and see what is on offer as far as bush walks and decided on a couple we will undertake when the weather is fine enough to get some decent photos with the sun shining. I did locate a walk immediately behind the caravan park, about 4KLMs return to Widow maker, and after talking to the management it seems quite a worthwhile walk to a decent lookout, so this one has been included into our schedule.

We visited the crystal caves today and quite enjoyed it as an attraction with a difference. We had thought of visiting them on our visit about 5 years ago, but decided against it because it is man made, not a natural cave, and had thoughts that it may not be worth it. On this trip we have heard quite a few people say it was quite good so we decided to make the visit. Even though the cave is man made the exhibits are actually natural, although not many are Australian but from all around the world, and some are quite spectacular.

We had thought of visiting the Lava tubes later in our travels in this area, but have now decided against the idea because of the price. It seems they require a payment of $40.00 odd per person for a guided tour, but this little black duck has no intention of paying that amount to see some caves.