Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Across The Highland Plains

Recently I had the opportunity to travel north of my home and visit a famous little fishing village in Queensland. To climb up and down coastal ranges for about 3/4 of an hour, to arrive at the edge of the inland plains and still only be 4 metres above sea level is weird. You can see the rain filled clouds stuck on the edge of the mountains.

It is peaceful driving around up here, this time of year. Overcast skies mitigate the burn of the sun. The grass is green and the cattle are content to lie around, all having full stomachs. The strong breeze carrying enough moisture to cool the air and the scents of thriving flora and fauna. Though the roads are narrow and full of pot holes the atmosphere is incredibly calming. This is in complete contrast to the outback desert plains I drove through only two weeks ago. 

So relaxed and unhurried was I, that I took the time to stop and help old mate turtle who had two crows on his back trying (I'm guessing) to peck its eyes out. Interfering with nature I know; but why not help the struggling? Especially as it was in the middle of the road probably doing the reptilian thing and trying to get heat into its body from the bitumen. So it was promptly deposited into the nearest creek bed, about 200 metres down the road, which is probably a years journey for a turtle?

Having said all that, I'd be fairly miffed if some giant turned up and put me under a bridge #perspective. Anyway, off we go up and down some more coastal mountains before the road begins to open out onto the highland plains. 

The highway now winding its way around the foothills instead of climbing up and over the mountains. The expansive Australian bush laying its subtle cloak of timelessness over the travelers on the Mulligan Highway. Cares and telecommunications are left far behind out here, but that's OK, because they are readily replaced by bugs. Not your everyday bzzzz-ping types but you know those kurthunk-splat kind?

15.460739, 145.255149
Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
A few more hours driving and finally I arrived at this famous little fishing village. Apparently Captain Cook beached his boat here after holing the hull on a coral reef. In case you are wondering, yes that is the whole township in the picture. Cooktown has a population of around 2,000 people, that's it. So don't expect to travel here and get your mail delivered on time, but do expect your seafood dinner to be succulent and fresh. The wind blows fast and fresh up this way, with many a tourist losing their hats at the lookout - lol. In fact Cyclone Ita passed through here only a few weeks ago taking the roof off a 140 year old historic pub.

West Coast Hotel, Cooktown
This laid back approach to life really has a lot to offer over the hurried busyness of modern life. Ask a local what time it is? Time is measured in days up here - not hours or minutes.  Fun and games. But as always in this great land there is the constant threat of nature.

Don't feed the Crocodiles

<insert boring business section>

Anyway time to head back to the hotel. Another small journey of about 320kms, which by the way, was the same road I'd just come in on. Yep, I had to turn around and go back the exact same way now that business (and a seafood lunch) was concluded. 

I suppose I could whinge about going all that way for one appointment. I could moan about the lack of infrastructure up here. I could even rant and rave on about the loneliness and isolation. But lately I feel so blessed to be experiencing this great nation and it's people for what it really is. So thanks boss for the opportunity to venture out across this great nation. It was great to drive on a bitumen road, as opposed to a dirt track and I took the time to enjoy the serenity. Stay positive and enjoy the journey (sounds so cliche doesn't it?)

Let's Drive,


  1. First...I think you are a prince for your turtle rescue. It just shows what a caring heart you have.
    And now, those photos! I am learning so much about your part of Australia. It's amazing!

  2. A prince? I wouldn't go that far but I am glad you are enjoying my thoughts on life. I am only one man :) Thank you, Victoria, for your continued support.