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Long after an eruption

For Becky’s ‘UP’ square, today, I’m featuring two views of the Undala lava tubes of Queensland; outside and inside the tubes.

Outside

The longest lava tubes in the world, they are formed (to give a lay explanation) when a huge mass of lava is on the move, but cooling as it runs. Subsequent lava flows add to it and run up the sides, eventually closing over the top to form a tube.

Inside

The last eruption was about 200 000 years ago.

Not so far from Cairns, they are well worth the visit.

Ingham – art, waterfalls and more.

Proud enough of its history to paint the walls with it, this quaint country town has a great feeling. Artistic, cultural and well-maintained, Ingham is a farming area, with sugar and dairy thriving in this tropical area.

JK’s delicatessan mural

Let’s start with a coffee, and there were a few choices, but we chose JK’s delicatessen. In Adelaide, that wouldn’t be an unusual name, but way out east it’s very unusal, as the first white settlers were predominantly from the UK and they have ‘milk bars’ and now cafes. A good selection of coffees, teas and vegan sweets and it was very large.

As we travelled, many people told us we had to stop in Ingham, as it had a strong Italian ‘flavour’ and this wasn’t a big draw card, but then we found the Mercer Lane Mosaic.

The Rainbow Serpent, acknowldging the traditional owners’ dreamtime story about the area’s history.

A project that was co-ordinated by Karen Venables, it involved about 2000 locals and visitors who created mosaics to represent the history and diversity of the Hinchinbrook Shire.

Local artist, Kate Carr, did most of them and they are mosaics because it’s quick to learn and represented a popular artform of Italy, from where the greater percentage of the population come (https://www.hinchinbrookway.com.au/do/mercer-lane). Merceer Lane is 50m of cultural celebration and commemoration. There are even columns with family history, which fascinated me and I thought every town should do it.

We made our way to an economical campsite, on a farm, set up and left the van so that we could explore Wallaman Falls.

It was a beautiful 50km drive through sugar cane and cattle farms to Girringun National Park.

The falls, Australia’s highest single drop waterfall, are impressive and after viewing from the top, we decided to do the walk to the bottom which was steep, but easy on the way down.

Alan clambered over rocks to get as close as possible to the Falls , but I stayed back, unsure of the path he had taken and cautious after seeing a black snake.

the view as you near the bottom

The walk back was pretty demanding, nearly all uphill and steep. The falls are about 250km high and all in all we were there about 2 hours, including lunch.

We made it back to our campsite, only to be told that we couldn’t stay because we didn’t have a shower in our van. We had thought self-contained meant having our own toilet, but we were told we had to have a shower, by council regs. and would have to leave. This may be a Queensland thing, but other travellers we spoke to had not heard of it. In fast-approaching dark we were eaten by mozzies as we packed and, in the dark, we headed for the town caravan park, which was very welcoming and had drive-through sites.

The next morning we went to the TYTO wetlands, named after an endangered owl of the area. The wetlands are home to over 200 birds, and we thought we’d get a peaceful walk in before travelling on.

It is a very picturesque park and the paths are lovely and level. However, from the birdwatching gazebo, top right, above, I took a shot of what I thought was a log. As we continued, we saw a sign that said there’d been recent crocodile sightings, and we joked about whether my log was actually a croc, as you do.

Well, every rustle in the grass, interspersed by long tunnels of flattened reeds, had us jumping nervously. We decided to head back to the car and, as we travelled along, I put on my glasses and went through the photos. You’ve probably guessed by now…

Across the river had been no log.

Travel safe, take water, hat and your glasses. Ingham is well worth a visit.

Red and Green

I read, with interest, the origins of the red baubles on Christmas trees in Something To Ponder About’s blog and thought I could find some red and green photos for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

parrots at Yarra Valley
gumnuts and gumleaves to add an Aussie element
autumn leaves
restaurant decorations
Fringe light festival

A bouquet of plantlife.

Why not join the challenge?

Townsville, from a different angle

Almost as flat as Adelaide, Townsville has the advantage of being in the tropics, so the landscape offers those luxurious views that are dominated by water. With a population of over 150 000, it is a reasonably big city and has everything you might need.

We started at The Strand, which is on the esplanade and has been developed with tourists in mind.

cafe
lagoon
lagoon

We circled the lagoon, created to keep swimmers safe(ish) from stingers, and then took a steep stone path up to what we found out was Kissing Point.

Stone steps leading up to Kissing Point

The name may be romantic, but I do not know how the title was coined. Originally a fort, in the late 19th century, the area became Jezzine Barracks, housing the military, and is now a military museum and encorporates Crossed Boomerang Amphitheatre which is an acknowledgement of the original owners of Garabarra, the Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people.

There are walks, viewing platforms, canon, information plaques and tours (when Covid allows).

We returned to The Strand, and walked along the esplanade, where there are water parks, playgrounds and other interesting diversions . This artwork, titled ‘Bazza and Shazza’ (Aussie slang for Barry and Sharon), can also be used, as demonstrated by my husband.

Permanent Public Art, Bazza and Shazza, designed by Jan Hynes and created by Alison Curtis and Sarah Bliss.

And then there is the jetty and Ocean Siren.

Townsville jetty, where anglers try their luck
Siren

This interesting sculpture, the Ocean Siren, is part of the Museum of Underwater Art. It is thoroughly fascinating, as it is modelled on a local traditional owner, Takoda, and it changes colour according to the temperature of the water. There is a board explaining how to read the colour.

You can just see the legs are pale blue, corresponding to a temp of 25-26C.

As many people are concerned about stingers and water temperature, the beach features a board with this information. So, I could compare the accuracy of the Ocean Siren.

The sign says water temp is 23C. That’s close to the Siren.

The boards also have information about ‘stingers’, which are either box jellyfish and Irukandji and, as the popular name suggests, they are capable of delivering a very painful sting that can be lethal. They are only present in tropical Queensland as far as I know, and we certainly don’t have anything like that in South Australia, where the water is far too cold, I think.

This was our third visit to Townsville, so we tried to go to less conventional tourist spots.

Ross River Dam is both 80% of the water source and flood control centre of the region. Built in the early 1970s, and last upgraded in 2007, the dam is also listed as a nationally significant wetland, providing shelter to endangered birdlife and a destination for birds migrating from the Arctic (source: Townsville City Council noticeboards).

view from the walkway of the dam

From here, it’s a short drive to Riverway Stadium and lagoons. The former is recognised as an AFL standard stadium and is the centrepiece to this cultural and community area.

An Art Centre borders a public swimming area and walkway that hugs the Ross River.

wide open lagoons
The door to the Arts Centre across the water
Rain trees in the park
magpie geese along the river’s edge
turtles bobbing up regularly

As a stopover before hitting the Whitsunday Coast, or as a good family spot, Townsville has a lot to offer. Previously visited were the town centre lookouts and Castle Hill, which are excellent places for a view.

Travel Safe, carry water, hats and sunscreen.