Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 14 We left Undarra and headed towards Cooktown. Along the way we experienced an amazing transformation of the landscape as it changed from the dust and termite mounds of the outback to the incredible lush green fields of the Atherton tablelands. We also had dry creek beds replaced by flowing rivers one of which contained the Milstream Falls which is the widest water falls in Australia. This area was also home to over 100,000 army troops during world war two as they were stationed here for training, recuperation from the pacific campaign and to make sure troops were close at hand should Japan invade Australia from the north. We also learnt that Mareeba, a nearby town that we were destined to spend more time at, also played an important role as a base for Australian and US bombers also pivotal in the pacific campaign. We then bought some rolls for lunch and decided to take a scenic detour to have lunch at Millaa Millaa falls. As we started along the track we were confronted by a sign stating that caravans were not to be taken on the road. According to Wes this was clearly not meant for us as we had a camper trailer/van. The road was spectacular as it took us past an impressive field of wind turbines, beautiful rainforest, dairy country and over small streams. The road was very narrow and the friendly greetings from oncoming traffic in the outback was replaced with rude gestures suggesting perhaps that our van was not welcome on the road. Undeterred we reached Millaa Millaa falls and had the most amazing picnic spot you could wish for. While the day was not freezing it certainly was not warm and the water was freezing. Our peaceful picnic was interrupted by a group of 16 year old American students who were on a 30 day camp in Australia. We spoke to the tour organiser and it was interesting to hear that he needed to provide a very quick moving agenda with many quick visits with short explanations. The reason he gave was “this is the ipod generation and you measure their interest level in minutes not hours”. It started me wondering how is this group ever going to be able to work in a job where you are required to stay engaged in your job for a full day. Perhaps we could redesign each role for this ipod generation so they work no longer than 15 minutes at any one task…… No wonder the Chinese economy is booming…………no Ipods ! We then travelled to see a huge strangler fig called the Curtain Bay Fig tree, it truly looked like an ornate curtain. Finally we continued on through Atherton and ended up in a small town called Mt Carbine. This was a mining town that had closed down in the early ninties and had been turned into a caravan park. The area was frequented by over 400 species of birds (most of them managing to leave a message on the Prado). It is run by a Victorian couple, Jenifer and Robert. We finished our day sharing a bottle of Red with Jenifer and our ears pricked u when she mentioned the Rodeo was in town.

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