We are getting much better at the pack up/set up gig which means we have more time on our travel days to squeeze in visiting more amazing places. Our trip from Townsville to Cairns was no exception.
The morning we packed up and left Townsville we set ourselves a challenge to get out early and actually managed to be on the road by 8.45am including having to pack up the annex. This was a major achievement for us. Given we only scraped through leaving Canberra by 11am, we have come a long way!
The reason for wanting to get off early was so we could stop off at Little Crystal Creek along the way. We were certainly rewarded for our efforts as Little Crystal Creek is simply stunning! Located in the Paluma Range National Park about an hour and a half from Townsville, poor Terry (the Territory) had to drag us and the van up another very steep, very winding road. The crystal clear water at Little Crystal Creek cascades over smooth boulders, under the historic bridge and down a waterfall into a clear, deep pool. Surrounded by rainforest and giant trees overtaken by strangler vines, it feels like you have stumbled into paradise. You can swim at Little Crystal Creek but the water was as icy as it was clear and too cold even for our two munchkins. So instead we admired, restrained the Jazzy devil as he threw rocks into the “biy-bong” (aka billabong) and had our picnic lunch.
Saying good bye to this amazing part of Aus we headed on our way to our overnight stop – Paronella Park. Paronella Park was created by Jose Paronella, following his dream to build a castle in the rainforest that would entertain the public and allow people to spend time together there. The now moss covered ruins easily look as though they could belong in a Tomb Raider movie. Misty rainforest envelopes the old buildings, staircases and hidden waterfalls and wandering through the park continues to delight and entertain, still achieving Jose’s dream.
We arrived at Paronella Park late in the afternoon with just enough time to set up and grab some dinner at the Mena Creek Hotel before going on the night tour. Thank goodness for steak with chips (gf ones of course) and salad, this is our pub staple – simple, tasty and the kids will eat it! Complete with torches, the night tour gives another beautiful side to the park with the waterfalls and main part of the castle lit up.
The next morning we very pleased with ourselves as we were up and out even before the grey nomads. Quite an achievement! Spurred on somewhat by the fact it stared raining and we hadn’t put the bed end flys up as we thought we would risk one night without them. Wet bed ends equals wet bedding as the canvas folds down to be able to wind the roof down, something we were not keen on! Having packed up in record time, we were able to go exploring around the park again in daylight, which both Bubba and the Jazzy Devil had a great time doing.
We then ventured down the road to the Ma:mu skywalk. A 1km long track that meanders through beautiful rainforest. Off to the side of the track are a 10m long cantilever extending out over the treetops and river far below and a treetop walk, which quite literally has you walking up next to the tops of the rainforest giants. The Jazzy Devil put in a massive effort walking the whole kilometre, which given he had already walked all around Paronella Park that morning was pretty impressive. Thankfully we had the stroller for the hike back again.
I managed to scratch together some lunch out of the van in the car park (I was definitely due a trip to the supermarket), think bits of leftover cheese, crackers, ham, chicken, nut bars, sultanas and bananas, just enough to fill empty tummies. We climbed back into the car and made our way to Cairns, our most Northerly stop along the East coast.
This was meant to be a short post as it is only two days worth of travel but as you can see we packed a lot in. I haven’t put a recipe in as we didn’t really do anything exciting food wise these two days, but don’t worry I have some good ones coming up for you shortly! Until next time, eat well and live happy.