Sunday, September 06, 2009

From Mission Beach to Innisfail to Silky Oaks

 





Sanctuary Retreat turned out to be another highlight of the holiday. Set in peaceful surroundings our unit was set right into the rainforest. The shower had a clear window overlooking the trees. That was an experience !! :O) The centre point of the sanctuary is a large hall that serves as bar / restaurant/ relaxing area (with soft armchairs and books) the view from the ajoining balcony was across over the forest to the pacific ocean. The weather spoilt the view but it was marvelous anyway ... Under the hall way were 'back packer' style accomodation. Following a windy pathway down hill a swimming pool was hidden in amongst the trees ..We were told that nude bathing was allowed there .... And we did indeed threaten to go down there and scare off the yung-uns :O) But decided we had  more enjoyable things to do :O) 



 





We ate in the main hall, the room well set out and spacious between tables ... We opted to sit outside under the stars (and clouds) on the large balcony... Across from us but inside a young couple spent the entire evening meal ignoring each other..We had tried to book a time slot that would miss us seeing them having come across them earlier on ...She was over dressed for the retreat and not enjoying herself .... 



The meal was nothing short of excellent ... Most unexpected, but it was delicious and so well cooked and presented.. .We both had opted for the Barramundi fish. A local fish with a white, firm flaky flesh... Yum :O)  Above us a bird or small animal (possum??) was moving around in the darkness of a large tree...We were glad we hadn't chosen to sit at the table directly below it... As we were finishing the meal a cooling and welcome breeze had picked up slightly and the dark clouds now covered the moon and stars ...



We slept with the door to the decking open bar the insect screen and fell asleep to the sounds of the forest .....



Regrettably the next morning we had to leave, heading for our final stay at the Silky oaks lodge on the southern outskirts of the Daintree Rain Forest Reserve ... Having had to wait for the owner to get himself up, we paid and packed our bags into the 4-wheel landrover to be taken to the carpark .... neither of us had any desire to tempt fate again with the forest walk .... The couple who ignored each other the night before were also leaving. With a number of suitcases in tow .... "have you ridden this before?" the young bloke asked ... "No ! - well you are in for a ride" 



It was bumpy...It was hellishly steep in parts but we made it. Packed our bags in the boot and set off leaving the youngsters to decide how to pack their luggage again in such a small car .....   



I like early morning drives ...You do see a lot more due to the light traffic .... And true to form this time - in the far distance - we saw one of the infamous Cassowary !!  









Not knowing how 'skittish' the bird may be we stopped and took some pictures from a distance and then edged closer











We were pretty much ignored by the large flightless bird ... From this distance we could see that while in full plumage it was still a juvenile and didn't have the famed helment on top of its head



























As it crossed the road ( why did the cassowry cross the road ?...I for sure wasn't going to argue about it ...) we edged ever closer...The other couple had now caught us up and I wound the window down and signelled to them to stop ....



 











We had so much opportunity to get some great photographs as I parked the car directly opposite the bird .... But we didn't .... Poor/low light didn't help.... Me leaving the car running caused a lot of vibration when shooting at low camera speeds... We had no intention of getting out of the car of course ..No way ........ 









But in the end the pictures while showing the bird and its colours proved that we are such bad photographers .............  







It was time to leave and off we set for the hard drive to Port Douglas and the daintree forest...... The rain was falling quite hard now ... It made for a dreary ride. About 1/2 way the rain was getting heavier and we stopped off at a township called Innisfail. We stopped at the tourist information as we had time to spare and were looking for something to see in the area... It turned out that there was some Art Deco buildings and a nice esplanade alongside the river there.. .We also opted to then drive to a local waterfall north of the town and a few K's off the main road ....   





This statue on the riverside and dedicated to the sugar cane workers was striking against the grey cloud 















We took a pass through the township - pretty much a 1 street town..Car parking in the middle of the street. Jill took pictures of the Art Deco so will have to get her to post them ...It was a nice place and we could have done a lot more there ..... 



The rain had been consistant thoughout the morning. The air cooled down significantly ...Still t-shirt comfortable but cool non the less. 











I was totally unprepared for this and on arriving at the walk through the forest to the waterfall had to concede to getting wet . So with camera under polo shirt we set off into the forest along a well defined and tarmac'd pathway.... 







On arrival at the stream and the water fall we encountered a couple of idiot German blokes taking video shots of each other climbing the rocks. Well old enough not to be doing such things (i.e. older than me :O) they spent a lot of time getting in our and another couples way as we tried to take pictures  



 











So look at these and then imagine two old fools beside me trying hard to get a bone or two broken as they slipped off large boulders onto smaller rocks equally if not more slippery and unstable... 











I vowed if they did come to damage there was no way we were going to help them 







It wasn't as though we hadnt been warned of the dangers at the entrance to the walk...We left them to it ...The rain now heavy it was time to leave ... 









The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful ...Jill and I took turns ... We drove past Cairns but turned off for a comfort break at a beach further north ... A long beach with many classy looking small hotels and restaurants ... Shame about the weather - it would have looked stunning in the sun. But rain, cloud and a now fierce wind proved challenging...And yet people were milling around everywhere ... The rough seas still had body-boarders and the likes in it. The waves though too choppy for true surfers  .. The surf rescue however were kept busy.  Even as I stood looking on as I waited for Jill to appear, they pulled a young girl out of the waters edge right in front of me ....I hadn't noticed her plight as she had struggled with an over sized surf board in the choppy water ..Just as well they had ... "Dad" appeared out of the water a look of surprise to see his daughter being tended to by the surf rescue girl....... 



 





Then finally we arrived at the Silky Oaks Sanctuary.. Car duely parked a long way from the reception we were picked up by a young lad in an over-sized golf cart .... Having checked in and suitcases and bags stashed away in our unit we settled down to relax .. .The unit was great. A dark wood interior, a large bathroom / spa bath/ shower and a mainroom with a large comfortable bed. A small balcony looking across the forest and with a hammock for the brave  .... No TV, No Internet Connection, No Cell Phone access... 



We did however have our trusty Laptops and bought some old and not so old movies to watch while in bed ... Films such as "Bridge over the river Kwai" a real classic :O) 



When in the bathroom I came across a large moth ....wingspan about the width of my fist !! Having taken a photo or two I beat him up with the heel of my boot .....!!!! No -  just kidding - are you still reading this !! Well done :O)  Moth was very gently helped out of the unit and to freedom :O) 









Along the journey we had stopped off to get fruit to eat ...This was a Cherimoya or Custard Apple...Very sweet and tastes as its name describes ... We do get these in New Zealand ...Though I think the Qeensland Climate is better suited for it .... 













  Again that night we were able to sleep wit hthe balcony doors open save the insect screen and listen to the forest sounds ...Frogs abounded here and their distinctive chirping gave that feel of the tropics ......


1 comment:

Kay said...

Aahhh ... the memories eh. I felt like I was right there! Such good descriptions, and the photos are great too. The cassowary's just like a little moa I imagine ... excellent. Now we just need McD's updates and pov!