Murray wanted to spice up our trip with some ‘adventure’ so we set out from Townsville to Cardwell for an overnight stop then to Blencoe Falls with a picturesque drive up the Kirrama Range. Hmmm, not too sure, in hindsight, if adventure is what I would call our trip this day.
After arriving in Cardwell for a lovely lunch of fish and salad at Annie’s Kitchen we decided that we would travel onward to Blencoe Falls which was to be our destination for the next day, as it was early and we had already seen around Cardwell before, we moved on.
First we checked out Kennedy State School where Murray attended in years one to four, 1965/66/67/68. Murray’s dad was a Principal and teacher at this school and others we have already posted, therefore they lived within the schoolyard and Principal’s residences.
We arrived at the bottom of the Kirrama Range and Murray aired the tyres down ready for the dirt roads and corrugations we may encounter.
We knew the road would not be perfect, possibly narrow in parts with lots of twists and turns. It had begun to rain so we were hoping it wouldn’t be too foggy at the lookouts we had heard about. I took photos as we travelled along and it wasn’t too bad…
…now I must apologise as I forgot about photos and concentrated on hanging on as I thought my life would end at the next turn. As I held on tight the car twitched and shuddered as did my nerves. The rain had begun to get heavier, the lookouts were a blur of fog and the road just kept going and going. I cannot describe this road enough it really did put on a show for us. It wasn’t corrugated, it was rutted and they were deep and plenty. We were in four wheel drive high for all of it, using first, second and sometimes third. Progress had slowed and seventy kilometres felt like 1000. It became quite slippery in parts. Trees were down across the road and a path had been cut through just wide enough for a single vehicle. Fairdinkum, a normal four hour trip between Townsville and the Tableland was taking us much longer than I really liked and nightfall was fast approaching.
The trailer twitched and at once stage on a downhill run over wet clay the trailer appeared in Murray’s mirror and the car slid to the edge of the road with it. At this point I held my breath and Murray said “Are you still talking to me?”, as I hadn’t said anything for quite sometime and I replied, “well, I’m not having fun yet?” We ventured on and I really wasn’t enjoying this at all. Sure, I trusted Murray but certainly not this road. At one stage I remember commenting that I didn’t think I could take anymore as it had been two hours already and we had only gone 30 of the 75 kilometres.
Hallelujah, we were at the falls, it was 4.30pm and I really wanted to get out of this place. We could walk to the lookout but this little black duck had given up by then. I got out, took a quick look and back in the car. My headspace was gloomy.
Blencoe Falls is part of the Girringun National Park, well worth a look and is the gateway to the Wet Tropics Wilderness Walk, here’s the link if anyone is interested. http//:nprsr.qld.gsv.au
Due to the weather, wet conditions and my state of mind we decided to push on to Ravenshoe, a further 155kms from the falls, on the Tableland where Myra, Murray’s sister lives and we would bed down there for the night.
After another hour, twenty kms of travel, more narrow sections wide enough for one vehicle and me still holding my breath half the time we came across a perfect opening on the Herbert River. We crossed the log bridge, took a couple of photos and were ready to leave when we looked at each other and Murray said, “We could always stop here for the night!” I think I almost cried. I was so relieved to get off the road and relax even if it was in the middle of nowhere. There certainly was no one around to wreck the silence with just the sound of the babbling river to comfort us. No phone reception so no contact with anyone. Absolute bliss.
I so needed this overnight reboot of peace and quiet before reaching the Tableland, after a day which really stretched me to the limit. Sitting down at camp, having a wine and beer together, after sorting out our differences and clearing the air we both realised it was harder than either of us thought, especially me and we would have further challenges along the way during our trip which I would have to handle better and be more understanding of. We discussed this under the most perfect Milky Way ever with stars glistening as the weather had now cleared to present us with a wonderful evening of star gazing.
The next morning was a little foggy down on the river and after a quick pack up we headed for Malanda, on the Atherton Tablelands and Murray’s parents place for a couple of weeks.
The roads did improve as we headed to Mt Garnet through cattle stations where we met many local cows. We were now able to travel at 80kms an hour in fourth gear on relatively good roads with short sections of severe corrugations like we’ve never experienced before.
We arrived safely in Malanda at 11am, and were still talking to each other, for a late morning tea with the folks.
That’s it for now. The next instalment will be our time in Malanda then a family camp at Barrabadine Scout Camp on Lake Tinaroo over the Anzac Weekend.