Internet has been a little patchy lately but now we have arrived at Mt Isa, we are back to ‘civilisation’ so we can continue the blog,

Our day visit to historic Cooktown was very inspiring and informative on the initial grounding of Captain Cook’s Endeavour. The history is of course the story of the arrival of James Cook in 1770 and the excellent museum and monuments all over town tell it very well. The plaques provide both the aboriginal and the explorers’s perceptions of this first communication. Banks the botanist records the way that the aboriginals appear to be living the perfect life and as being very happy and content. There is also an aboriginal tiled wall of the aboriginal pictorial history since the ‘Dreamtime”. After a great late breakfast at a local cafe we walked along the waterfront, visited the museum which has an anchor and a cannon from the Endeavour recovered in the late sixties and went up the lookout over the town and bays. Near the Black Mountain National Park we called into the famous Lions Den Hotel for a beer and snack before heading back to Lakeland for the night.

After collecting the van from Lakeland, we headed for Mareeba where we knew we could leave the van at Ringers Rest while taking a quick trip back to Sydney by plane to visit family. Ringers Rest is run by a lovely chap, Dave, who made us very welcome. He has a small function centre and RV park on his property with cattle, horses and a cranky Shetland pony who devoured apples in seconds as well as balloon flights. If you are needing an inexpensive place to stay to visit both Cairns and Atherton, we can recommend Dave’s place for sure. While there, we drove over to Chillagoe for the day to see the Mungana National Park with fascinating caves and aboriginal rock art and the amazing ‘balancing rock’.

Our first serious rain in over 4 months fell as we drove through Atherton and stopped at Ravenshoe for lunch which had recently had the terrible accident that affected the town badly. We stayed at a roadside free camp then visited the Undara Lava tubes which we promised to treat ouselves to see while in this part of Queensland. After there we continued further west to spend a night near Georgetown at the Cumberland Dam Billabong which is teeming with birdlife and avid birdwatchers with binoculars and huge telephoto lenses!

We made a trip out to Normanton and the road is sealed all the way, but many kms are single lane sealed which makes it scarily interesting when there appears a huge roadtrain heading straight for you. The rule is, smaller traffic makes way for larger so we had to slowdown quickly then head over to the dirt! We thought we had seen large ones in the outback but they have 4 trailer ones up here (which is really 5 including the first one behind the truck) which seem to go on forever.

We just stayed the one night here as we wanted to head for Mt Isa and explore the region a little.