Wednesday, September 02, 2009

From Townsville to Tully To Mission Beach


Having made the call to now leave Townsville a day early and head north we had to pick a stop off point for the night ….Another search though the tourist papers and the like and we spotted a place called sanctuary retreat….at mission beach. It looked great. The only caveat when Jill booked it was that we should try and arrive before dark.

So off we went ..It wouldn’t be a hard drive but we couldn’t stop too many times on the way…The traffic wasn’t too heavy but these other cars tend to ride your rear bumper a lot, bullying you into driving faster….We read of a lot of deaths in Queensland due to bad driving…


{the thing with these birds was the red eyes..I;ve cropped the picture in the hope you can see the flash...}

We took turns to drive the long stretch. Finally arriving at a sugar cane township called Tully…Tully was famous for it’s flooding a few years back, and claims to have the highest rainfall in Australia (around 4000mm or 13 feet a year)..They erected a giant gumboot to mark the fact and celebrate it’s environment. You can climb to the top of the gumboot. We did …Inside serves as a small gallery of pictures of the flooding there.


The other thing Tully is known for are UFO sightings…We didn’t see any :O)


Tully marked the start of the cassowary region and on leaving Tully for our stop over we turned off immediately to drive though the rainforest towards the coast again and Mission beach. We were continually reminded of the cassowary in the area by the road signs and speed limits…The road cut through the rain forest and it was easy to understand how the infamous cassowary would cross the road on their travels….We had no wish to run one over that’s for sure and were well on the alert for any sightings..

The surrounding area was very pleasant. When we reached the coast the beaches and coves looked awesome…Had the weather been better it would have been the type of scenery you see in the travel books. Having stopped at the tourist information we headed onwards for the last mile to the retreat. Then just as we approached the final turn off we got to see a juvenile Cassowary cross the road…So young it was still brown and fluffy looking…No chance of a picture we carried on to the carpark of the retreat..

Turns out the carpark is some way away from the retreat itself. We had two options …We could ring through to the retreat and get a 4-wheeler to pick us up, or there was a pathway through the rain forest that was stated as being a 20 minute walk. As we were only there a night we packed a rucksack including a couple of bottles of wine, loaded ourselves up with the camera gear and set off…..We just hadn’t known or worked this one out properly…The pathway after a downwards dip climbed incredibly steeply. The afternoon temperature and the humid forest air was difficult to breath . The bags etc were heavy as hell….


After a few stops and a good half hour trudge we still couldn’t see the retreat or anything but trees….While still light, the sun had definitely started its fast sink to sunset….In the near distant the tribal drums beat faster and faster. A fanfare announcement of our arrival…….Errrrrrrr scratch that ….After this climb upwards my heart was pounding in my ears….The sweat pouring freely…..


As we trudged on…and what else now could we do? …We noticed a lot of large bird droppings notable for its blue colour from the berries it had been eating. We both spent a little time looking upwards expecting to see a pigeon or parrot or something…….Later we were to find out that the path was smack in the middle of a pair of cassowary’s territory. The poop was cassowary poop…A pair so often seen around the sanctuary they had named them…..However they were also aggressive and the warnings just the same ….Walk away if you come across one,,,hide behind a tree if you can …get out of the way……… 

Then just as we were upon it the buildings of the retreat could be seen and we had arrived…….




keewee said...

What an awesome time you had. I am enjoying going along with you via your pictures.

Jan said...

What a fabulous trip and a great piece of journalism to read!