Last night after Paronella Park we arrived at Licuala Lodge, just 4km south of Mission Beach, at about 6.30pm. A really spectacular B&B place. It had a great garden area in the middle of the rainforest complete with Jungle Swimming pool. The noise of the jungle all the time helped the general ambience and many birds were seen and heard. Monkeys were also heard but not seen. As everything closes really early here, we soon dropped our bags and sped off to the local Pizza place, placed our order and then went through the drive-in liquor store to pick up a couple of wines. This is a strange idea to us…… just like a drive thru Burger King, except that you park up inside the store, choose your wines, pay and then drive out. Back at the lodge we helped our selves to beers out of the fridge and had our pizzas. Then processed the photos for the Reef and PP over a glass of wine or two. In the morning I took a few photos of this place. Over a fantastic breakfast Mick and Sue told us a bit about the history of the place and how over the past 8 years they had had guests from all over the world. Several maps in the lounge covered with pins to show that and now including a Menorca Pin. Whereas most Aussies don’t have any idea where we come from Mick and Sue also related a story about when they had been on holiday to Menorca and knew about the trotting races and the market squares of both Mahon and Ciutadella. We then spent some time relaxing by the pool, had a swim and got ready for our drive south to Townsville. On the way to the car I noticed a huge spider hanging on a web under the stairs. This spider if placed on a postcard would hang over the edge…. At least 7 inches across, and a body of over an inch long.
The Bruce Highway is a smallish main road and considering it serves the East Coast completely, is relatively underused. There were times when we were the only vehicle on the road. The massive road trains…. Articulated lorries with huge trailers, came thundering through going north and obviously “kings of the road”. We took a detour to Forest Beach for our lunch stop, expecting to find white sands and blue sea, so we could have a dip. However the sea was muddy with all the rains and subsequent pollution washed down and there were so many lethal stingers in the area that swimming was banned everywhere except in a special area surrounded by a boom with hanging net and only then if you wore a stinger suit. We declined to swim, or even lie on the beach as crocs had been recent visitors. The drive was mainly through wetlands, rain forest and acres of sugar cane. We passed over hundreds of creeks as they made there way to the sea, all muddy and one in particular accurately named “Blue water creek”.
We arrived at the hotel in time for yesterdays blog posting. This Self catering apartment (Oakes M on Palmer St.) was very well equipped and we managed to do a good wash and tumbledry of lots of stuff. We could have ironed it as well, but decided not to, and went out for dinner instead. On the way back to our room we passed a tree and to our surprise a fruit bat launched itself off into the night sky only feet from us. These are big bats. The wingspan is reportedly up to a metre wide and up to that point I had not believed it, but with a couple of swishes of its wings, which we felt, it was up and away in seconds. I have tried to take photos of these in Cairns, but either did not have the camera with me or they had flown into town and roosted before I was ready. They are very much nocturnal animals. If you imagine a raven sized body with wings either side the length of your arms, that is about the size they are, and were seen all along this coast at dusk. Maybe I will get another chance down in Sydney. If not, you may get an image off the internet.
This morning we were up and off early to return the car and catch our flight to Sidney. Looking forward to some big city culture for a complete change. On our descent we noticed a patch of water where the clear sea and muddy silt had been disturbed by a boat going through. Very surreal. Later we flew over the famous bridge and Opera house before landing. After finding our hotel and getting settled in we went to explore the streets around us. We found ourselves at Darling quay, a very nice waterside venue with lots of eating places and entertainment possibilities. Lovely water features and flower beds. Plus there are some strange water birds here in Sydney… any suggestions? For a quick supper we discovered a “Pie Face” shop just over the road from here. Steak Pie with Mash and gravy….. lovely! We wonder if this is where Debbie’s nephew got his name? Photos here.