Newman, Karijini and beyond

Following our short stint in Broome, we ventured inland to visit my Aunty in Newman. Newman is a pretty small town about five hours south of Port Hedland, which revolves almost entirely around mining. I was looking forward to seeing a familiar face and, well, having a little holiday from our holiday.

It was our first time being in a house in about three months, and it was so nice to be able to lounge around and escape the heat, as well as having excellent company to do it with! We stayed a couple of nights and basically just chilled right out. The most strenuous activity we did was walk up to the Radio Hill Lookout for a view of the town.

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Other than that, we slept in, lounged on squishy comfy couches, played games, watched movies and ate delicious food like these pizzas (hummus and grilled vegetables and ‘supreme’)

ImageImageand this kind of antipasto spread…

ImageAfter leaving Newman, we backtracked north a short way to visit Karijini National Park, which I had heard many great things about. The weather put on a bit of a show for us, and we camped out there in the pouring rain. It was pretty cold and overcast the next morning (I actually wore leggings for the first time in who knows how long!) so we didn’t much feel like taking a swim which was a shame, because there were some gorgeous spots.

ImageImageImageWhat I found to be the most incredible aspects of Karijini were the rock walls and formations, which display stunning layers and patterns throughout them. They are very special and unique – I’ve really never seen anything quite like them before. 

ImageImageThe colour of the place was so rich, you can only imagine how bright it must be when the clouds clear and the sun in beaming down.

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After Karijini, we headed west towards the coast, with our next main town to hit being Exmouth. Along the way, we stopped at a lookout which we discovered had been turned into an open memorial site for loved ones, with passers-by leaving a rock to commemorate them.

ImageI found this little one that might as well have been put here by me for my first dog – Tilly – who was a Blue Heeler (though passed away a few years earlier than this puppy.

ImageI also spied this little guy trying to blend in amongst the rocks. They are sooo quick, the way they dart over rocks and into tiny gaps is really quite amazing.

ImageHe was just the beginning of our creature spotting adventures for the day, we passed many more (particularly reptiles) along our travels.

ImageImageAnd the strangest creatures of all….

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Mission to Broome

Does anybody using a wordpress blog ever have troubles with new posts from blogs you’ve subscribed to not appearing in your reader? This seems to be happening on and off to me…I’m missing heaps of wonderful posts! Or are there any other kinds of readers people use to subscribe to blogs that they find really awesome?

So where were we? After leaving Kununurra, we headed off into the West Australian landscape. Maybe it was the time of the day, or the fact that we were just so relieved to have made it across the border, but the scenery was just stunning.

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We travelled down the Victoria Highway, as our poor clunky van was definitely no match for the Gibb River road.

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The weather was getting unbearable (for bears used to the cool breezes of Hobart) and we were fantasizing about being by the water in Broome, and praying that it wouldn’t be a mirage.

We had started waking up pretty early (and by pretty, I mean a very ugly 5am) when the sun was coming up, as most days it was getting to 30 degrees or more by 9am. With our early start, we hit Halls Creek by about 9am and did a quick visit to the little China wall – a natural quartz formation set in the landscape, which was a pretty interesting site.

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Wasting no time, we kept going until Fitzroy Crossing, where we stopped in to the Hotel to pause in the air-conditioning and enjoy a cold cider. We met a local lady at the petrol station there who took us down to the river and talked to us about her culture and some Dreamtime stories. While I think she was motivated by the need to find a lift home, I felt privileged that she was willing to share with us.

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With the afternoon closing in, we decided to keep on truckin’, driving to a rest stop an hour or two out of Fitzroy Crossing. We stopped at the aptly named Boab rest stop to bunker down for the night, but ended up deciding to take off again. We had heard that there were markets and festivities in Broome once a month around the full moon to celebrate the ‘staircase to the moon’, a natural phenomenon that occurs when the reflection of the moon on the mud flats makes it appear as though there is, well, a staircase to the moon. We knew we were close to that time, and being a Friday we figured there was a good chance they’d be on that night. Onwards!

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By about 7.30pm, we still had 150km to Broome and I was too tired to go on. We stayed overnight at a deserted rest stop and headed off early, reaching Broome by about 8am. After a truly disappointing breakfast at Aarli Bar (baked beans arriving with hunks of meat in them – my bad for not asking, was so hungry and eager to eat – but since when do baked beans come with meat? And if so, surely you’d write it on the menu? Annnnyway…) we headed over to the caravan park in Roebuck Bay to treat ourselves to a couple of nights of relaxed accommodation (and showers). (note: there was a cute little café further into town – I think it was called Dragonfly café or something. We ended up having a coffee there one day and the menu was pretty vegetarian friendly and looked like there were a few items that could have been easily veganised. Ah well, next time.

We were stoked to get a waterfront view, and we pretty much spent our days chilling at camp, swimming, and browsing the markets. The stairway markets were on Saturday and Sunday night just next to where we were staying, and there was a bigger market in town on the Saturday morning too.

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We even had a chance to visit a neat little brewery called Matso’s to try some of their beer. Unfortunately we happened to go on an Oktoberfest themed day, and they had silly gimmicks like having to buy tickets at one end of the bar and then exchange them across the bar for a drink to make it more authentic (though I don’t remember any tickets at the actual Oktoberfest…). After getting over the shock of $12 pints – yep, definitely not in Melbourne anymore – we managed to find a step to sit on amongst the crowd and listen to some shitty live music. The beer was decent though. I am keen to try their desert lime and ginger cider, but couldn’t tackle the environment at that time. Hopefully we come across it in a bottle shop somewhere.

We really enjoyed our short stay in Broome – apart, of course, from the ‘incident’ which kind of soured it on the last night. These things happen though, and nobody got hurt which is the important thing.

It sure doesn’t change my view of Broome being a really beautiful place.

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Heading West

We left Darwin on a rainy afternoon – the first real hint of the wet season approaching. I say rainy, but this was not your regular rain…it was drenchworthy with massive bolts of fork lightning and possibly the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard. It was something else.

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After revisiting Katherine and stocking up on supplies, we started travelling west towards the border. Unfortunately, ZZ decided it was the perfect time to BANG and break down in the middle of nowhere (between Victoria River and Timber Creek to be precise). I shouldn’t be mean…it was not his fault. We had had him serviced a few days earlier in Darwin to prevent any potential situations like this one from occurring, and the guys didn’t put the points in correctly. Isn’t that always the way? Breaking down after having it tuned up? So frustrating!

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. A lovely couple and their kids who were on their way home from a holiday in Bali took pity on us and pulled over. No party had any reception, so they agreed to call RAC on our behalf when they got to the next town. About an hour later, the guy appears again in his car. He had called RAC only to be told that it would be about 3 hours until someone could get us (and it was already 4pm and we were stuck in not the safest of places just over a bridge AND there was a storm on the way), so he bought a tow strap, drove back and towed us into town (and got saturated in the rain and would not accept any money for petrol or the tow strap). The goodness of people! We were able to track them down when we went through their home town a few days later and gifted them with some beer and chocolate.

We were stuck in Timber Creek for two nights, which, while far from the end of the world, it wasn’t the most exciting time of our lives. We had also brought no fresh fruit/veg, as there is a quarantine at the W.A. border and we were planning on being over there pretty quickly. The only store in Timber Creek was attached to the Roadhouse/caravan park, and they were charging $9 for a piece of watermelon. Crazy.

Finally the local mechanic was able to sort us out and we were on our way, driving straight to Kununurra, just over the border of Western Australia.

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We were pretty stoked to be over the border and on the move again, as after a couple of overcast days providing some relief from the heat, it was really starting to get hot and sticky again. We pulled into Kununurra and went and immersed ourselves in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, getting excited by all the options. After running all the necessary errands, we enjoyed some delicious tofu and salad wraps on the grass, then popped by Wild Mango (a café we had parked in front of) to enjoy an icy cold fruit granita.

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This one was citrus flavour, full of freshly squeezed juice. It was so delicious and super refreshing. I wished that it would never end. Mmm icy treats.

Then it was time to plan the next leg of our trip, destination: Broome. Stay tuned for more..

 

Wild Mango
20 Messmate Way, Kununurra W.A.
Open 7 days, breakfast and lunch

The Groove

In the midst of our market weekend, we headed over to Nightcliff to go to the Sunday morning markets there. A lot of the stalls were the same as had been at other markets, and we didn’t find anything that won us over in terms of brunch. On the way out, we noticed a funky little café with a large outdoor deck and seating. We popped over to take a look and to my surprise, they actually had multiple vegan options on the menu.

Not only did they have make a make your own sandwich option (with a variety of breads including GF), with an extensive list of items you could add, from artichoke to pineapple, but they had a vegan breakfast listed which included toast, avocado, baked beans, spinach, mushrooms, roasted red capsicum and tomatoes. Yum!

Their lunch menu included a vegan roasted stack, and cous cous stuffed tomatoes. Pretty good for an omni café! What caught my eye though was the delicious looking lentil patties that you could get on their own or in a burger. Billy and I decided to split one over coffee for an early brunch.

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The burger was awesome! The pattie was coated in sesame seeds and was packed with flavour. It was noticeably spicy, which I always love and was accompanied by salad and what appeared to be a homemade tomato relish in soft Turkish bread. Beautiful!

I would go as far as to say that the lentil pattie was one of the best ‘veggie burgers’ that I’ve tasted (and there’s been a few!). I’m going to have to try and recreate this one.

Also worth mentioning – though it was very busy due to the markets, our food arrived with about five minutes which was pretty impressive. The staff obviously know what they’re doing! The Groove is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. Lots of veg options, friendly staff and a good atmosphere.

The Groove
Shop 4, 35 Progress Drive
Nightcliff, Northern Territory
Mon-Sat – 7.30 – 6pm
Sun – 7.30 – 2pm

Nitmiluk and Litchfield National Parks

We arrived in Katherine early in the morning, and decided to head out to Nitmiluk National Park first thing, before it got too hot. The heat (and the HUMIDITY) was really starting to affect us, and we were now planning our days around where we would swim. Nitmiluk National Park is most famous for the Katherine Gorge, which is a series of gorges cutting through the rock. There are various walks you can do through the park, and we picked a pretty basic 1-2 hour one which took us up to a lookout above the gorge, and then back around through part of the park.

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The view from the top was pretty breathtaking, it was quite incredible to see the vibrant river cutting through what is quite a harsh (yet beautiful) landscape.

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The walk was not too strenuous, but the heat that was developing already at only about 10am was insane. We were dripping with sweat from just being out there. It was quite a phenomenal walk though, with some amazing rock layerings and formations as well as an entirely different landscape from where we had just been in Far North Queensland.

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While there was a spot you could swim at the gorge, we had already decided that we would go back into town where there were more thermal springs, and cool off there. Quite a few backpackers had the same idea, and you could see why. It was a lovely peaceful little spot, where you could float around in the crystal clear water.

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Unfortunately, my phone also decided it was a great spot for a dip, and somehow unbeknown to us jumped in. It sat on the bottom of the pools for probably about an hour, and amazingly, after pulling it apart and leaving it in rice overnight, it worked just fine! At first I thought it had become all warped, it was telling me I had messages that I couldn’t see and so on. Then I discovered that it simply had the Y2K bug, about 13 years too late. For some reason my phone went back in time to 1/1/2000 and so all my messages and photos and stuff were at of whack. Bizzareo!

After Katherine, we headed a bit further north to the Edith Falls (our next swim destination). Edith Falls is still within the Nitmiluk National Park, and we discovered upon arrival that you could camp there for something like $6.60 each a night, so we ended up doing that. It was such a lovely spot, right on our doorstep was one swimming area that was just the most perfect temperature.

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We thought it was pretty amazing, and just splashed around there for the afternoon. The next morning when we got up we went on the 30-45 minute walk up to the top pools, which was where the main falls actually were. And oh. my. goodness was it worth it. It was SO out of this world beautiful.

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We stayed up there for a couple of hours, splashing around and chatting with others as they came up there. Nearly all my fears of being eaten by crocodiles subsided just in the sheer beauty of the place. Plus we were above a waterfall, and I am pretty sure crocs are usually downstream of them.

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It’s pretty crazy finding such lush places like this, and then walking back into dry bushland under the scorching sun.

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After Edith Falls, we kept on our way north up to Litchfield National Park. We spent the afternoon wandering around these humungous termite mounds and finding more swimming spots (of course).

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This was our first swim spot, a series of tiered pools called the Buley rockhole. We lazed around in this one a bit higher up which was quite shallow, but was away from all the people – there was quite a crowd down the bottom.

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A little further along the tracks was a campground at the Florence Falls, which we set up at as it was getting dark. The night was a STINKER, we had the doors open and the mozzie net up and we just lay there sweating our butts off. It was crazy. All we had to comfort us was the thought of getting up and going straight down to the falls. The colours as the sun set were pretty awesome though.

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Billy either caught a little bug or had a bit of heatstroke, and was not feeling too flash hot, so we had to get him into the water stat. Others had the same idea…all of us poor folks sleeping in stinking hot vans or cars were the first in the water.

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Next up were the Tolmer Falls, which you could only view from a lookout, as down the bottom there are several rare species of bats that are being protected. While the amount of water was not that spectacular, the height of the Tolmer Falls was really something, and you can imagine in the wet season the water would just be streaming down.

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The lack of being in cool water was not appreciated much by a withering Bear, who didn’t look like he was going to make it.

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We went on to our last destination for our time at the park, the Wangi Falls.

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What can I say? Another incredible swimming spot with beautiful waterfalls. That moment you step into the water and all the heat and sweat and lethargy just washes away…it’s indescribable.

Well that’s two big photo posts for you in one day, I’ll post again soon on our time in Darwin – where we headed straight after Litchfield, but that’s all from me for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us 🙂

Crossing the outback: Queensland to the Northern Territory

After our lovely tropical beach, rainforest, and lush waterfall experiences, it was time to head off on our long journey to Darwin. It was pretty exciting, neither of us had been to the NT before, however, the excitement only lasts so long when you have two-four days of driving ahead of you. In saying that, it was a really cool experience watching the landscape change and it just solidifies my amazement at the variation of the landscape in our country. Not to mention the sheer size of this place!

We set off early in the mornings to try and beat some of the heat. We were really starting to feel it now as we sat in the van for 8 hours a day with the sun beating in on us. We took the Savannah route (which is above the main one which goes from Townsville) with the plan of heading south to the main road at Normantown, after which the road becomes a bit dubious if you don’t have a 4WD. We saw THREE emus on our first day of travel. I’ve only ever seen one in the wild before, these guys are crazy prehistoric looking birds. They kind of camouflage against the landscape, huh?

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Our first main stop was Georgetown, where we got a new tyre to replace a balding one. Then we drove all the way across to Normantown, where we snapped a shot with this ‘big’ thing…an apparent replica of the largest crocodile ever caught in the area. Look at the size of that thing! Crazy!

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Georgetown had not just one but TWO big things, so we were grab another snap before we headed south. Yep, it’s a big barramundi.

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We headed as far as we could before the sun got too low (and all the little wallabies started to emerge by the side of the road) and stayed overnight at the Bang Bang rest stop. You can find street art in the strangest of places…

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The following day, this happened to our tyre (not the new one, thank goodness).

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I’ve never burst a tyre QUITE as bad as this before. Thankfully we had a spare to get us into Cloncurry where we could pick up another. We went a little further to Mt Isa and set up camp, as we had some other car issues that we had to attend to. This being our last stop in Queensland, I realised that I was yet to drink a XXXX beer (THE beer of Queensland), so we quickly remedied that. There is actually something to be said for drinking mid-strength beers in hot climates, that’s for sure.

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The next day was back to outback driving. The scenery doesn’t change much for long stretches, so you get kind of excited when you see something like this.

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I know…wild, right?

Oh, this one time we also got surrounded by cows.

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FINALLY, we made it to the border. WAHOO!!

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Then it was pretty much back to outback driving, with a roadhouse punctuating the trip every few hundred kms. One of them, smack bang in the middle of nowhere, had about four peacocks. Again, the things you see….

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We found a rest stop just in time for sunset, and got to watch the sun go down on central Australia. It was pretty cool.

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The next day it was all systems go. We were kind of tired of driving and being in the middle of nowhere, so we were on a mission. We had a kind of interesting drive, as coming the other way were all these solar cars for the world solar races. Some of them were crazy, they looked like little space ships. The poor drivers, it was about 40 degrees and they didn’t have any air con in those tiny little bubbles. They would have been ROASTING.

Finally, we hit Mataranka where we were blessed to find the thermal springs. We melted into the water and floated around for an hour or so, which really revived our bodies and spirits. It is not easy driving for days in 35-42 degree heat (with no showers). There’s definitely nothing glamorous about this lifestyle (but it’s rad fun!)

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And with that, I’ll leave this picture heavy post there. I’ve got plenty more to add, so I’ll try and sneak another one in tonight while I still have reception. We’re actually in W.A. now, so I’ve got a bit of a backlog to get us up to speed…I’ll see how I go.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and beyond

We got over the sadness of having to leave Cape Tribulation pretty quickly, as we had to dash back down to Cairns by the following day so we could have the next exciting adventure – snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef! EXCITING. We decided that it was definitely something we wanted to do while in Queensland, so we booked a day tour where we were taken on a boat to two different spots on the outer reef to snorkel among the coral and fishes.

We had to be ready to board the boat pretty early, but we managed to sneak in a big coffee before we left at a place called Bang and Grind, which do their own roasted coffee in two blends – Bang and Grind. We got one of each to taste the difference…we definitely preferred one over the other but I forget which now. They were both pretty tasty though – nice and strong coffees.

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Then, to the boat! At first, I was a bit hesitant about being so far out in the ocean (the dude on the boat tour the day before wasted no time in telling us that crocodiles can swim hundreds of kilometres and can be found on the reef, but not to worry, as there are far scarier things on the reef that can get us…thanks dude…) but I have to say, this was one of the coolest experiences ever. At first, you jump in the water and look down and get kind of disappointed at only being able to see distant blurs, so you paddle along, and BAM! That moment where the coral just appears in front of you, and tropical fish are swimming right by your face…it was so cool! Now I’m keen to do it again, maybe on the Ningaloo Reef when we get around that way!

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The tour was good – they fed us and gave us wine on return, and Billy even had a play on the boom net on the way back. I was going to jump on, but then felt the need to stay on board to watch and ensure he didn’t drown. I think he came close a few times.

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Here he is floating off into the ocean.

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After our big day, we headed south and stayed overnight in Gordonvale, before driving west towards the Atherton tablelands. We had only given ourselves one day to visit this area as our time is becoming very limited, so we had to rush it somewhat which was kind of a shame, but we managed to pack in heaps of cool stuff regardless.

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First up, this 500+ year old cathedral fig tree, near Yungaburra, which was out of this world huge. The enormity of this thing is hard to describe. You can kind of get the idea seeing Bear amongst it.

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We met a really lovely young family there who had just been up to the Wallaby Creek festival, and their youngest boy was so taken with Billy, and kept yelling “NOOOOOO!” when his parents told him it was time to go.

Next we headed to Lake Eacham for a swim – a lovely lake with turtles swimming around it and easy access, with manmade steps built down into it. This refreshing swim rejuvenated us a little, and we kept on moving to our next destination – the ‘waterfall circuit’. As we were a little time limited, we only did part of it – a short road with three waterfalls spaced out along it. First up was Millaa Millaa, a gorgeous waterfall with icy cold water to paddle in.

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Next, Zillie falls, which brought you to a lookout at the top. We bushbashed down a steep worn path, climbing over and under fallen logs to reach the bottom of the falls, where we had a picnic lunch on the rocks.

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The last on our circuit was the Elinjaa falls, where we spotted another turtle jumping into the water. Billy took a swim here, but I was content just to dip my legs in this icy one.

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Then, we were on our way in. Our last stop was a cute little town called Ravenshoe, that had an awesome shop near the end of the street (I forget the name of it) which had a mix of organic veggies, health foods, jewellery, herbs and spices, new hemp and bamboo clothing, second hand clothing, crystals, and more, the majority of it locally sourced from the Ravenshoe area. It was a really cool little place, and the lady there was super friendly and willing to chat – definitely worth stopping in at if you ever happen to be in the area.

We ended up driving about 150km west of Ravenshoe and camping out on the edge of a state forest, just to get a start on the long journey ahead of us. I’ll fill you in on the trip across to the Northern Territory (where we are now!) very shortly. Until then! X

Bang and Grind
8/14 Spence St, Cairns
Mon-Sat 6am – 4pm

Cape Tribulation

Well! I’ve been kind of absent for the past little while, I even missed the end of MoFo, though I predicted that might happen. I loved participating in MoFo but it got a bit difficult while travelling. It was my first time though, and no doubt I’ll be back.

Since my last post we have come a loooong long way. After Kuranda, we travelled up the coast towards Port Douglas, where we stopped to pick up some groceries. It wasn’t really our kind of town – very ritzy and touristy. I had also heard that on the whole the town has a very ‘anti-backpackers’ attitude. My dislike for the town was sealed when we came back to the van to find half a meat pie smashed across our windscreen.  Another campervan parked nearby also looked like it had been sprayed with soft drink or something. Charming.

We stayed the night in Mt Molloy, before visiting Daintree and then crossing the river by ferry (and spotting a crocodile on the way) to reach beautiful Cape Tribulation.

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Cape Trib is really a magical place. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to spot fairies nestled under the fronds in the rainforest. The place is filled with lush green rainforests that make up the Daintree National Park, as well as tropical white sanded beaches, lined with coconut trees. It is really out of this world.

We only had two and a half days there, so we packed in as many things as we could. The first thing we did upon arrival was take a dip at Thornton Beach. The water was CRYSTAL clear and so warm, it was unbelievable. Although I was still on edge about being eaten by crocodiles, I felt a bit more at ease being able to see to the bottom. Also, I made sure we positioned ourselves between other groups of swimmers, so that we would at least get some warning should one swim in from the side. Ha.

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We took a minute to enjoy one of our black sapotes, which had finally ripened. Bear’s new favourite fruit…chocolate pudding fruit. You can eat it straight out of the skin with a spoon!

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While in Cape Trib, we stayed with a lovely friend from Melbourne and her partner, who have been living there for a year. They have been working and living at the campground there, and invited us to stay with them. The campground is amazing – definitely on the luxury side of camping. Not only are the grounds RIGHT on the beach, they also have a woodfire pizza place on site called Sand Bar, meaning you can enjoy a delicious fresh pizza and a glass of wine while looking out from your campsite. They even do an awesome vegan pizza with basil oil, artichoke, red onion, olives, mushroom, etc. SO GOOD. As it was school holidays, they also had fire twirling shows for the kids (and the bigger kids). It was just perfect!

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On our second day, we headed out to Cow Bay early and walked along the beach there, collecting rocks. We then visited the nearby Floravilla Ice Cream, which offered two or three different vegan water based ice creams. We shared the coconut lime one, which was sooo yummy. Sometimes I am a bit iffy with coconut flavoured things, but this was so zesty with the lime juice, and was creamy (despite being a ‘water ice’) due to the coconut. A-mazing.

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Next we missioned into a lovely spot called the Blue Hole. We didn’t swim here, rather, we just sat in awe of the beauty of this place. Apparently it is a sacred place for Aboriginal women, as the water holes were birthing and menstrual pools. The colour of the water was incredible, and there were fish swimming left right and centre. We even saw a little turtle jump off a log into the water.

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In the afternoon we went on a guided boat trip, in search of the elusive crocodiles. We saw one little guy sunning himself on the banks, but no big whoppers (though I am sort of glad about that).

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We topped off our day with a walk through the forest, before returning to the campgrounds to hang with Jess and Chris after their shifts finished.

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The next day we sadly had to leave, but not before popping up to Emmagen Creek for a morning swim. This place was sooo pretty! We went for a short trek through the forest to find it, and what a reward it was when we got there.

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I wish we could have stayed forever…we had the most wonderful time here. But the trip must go on! I’ll get to our next adventures soon, so stay tuned…

Sand Bar
Cape Trib Camping
Lot 11 Cape Tribulation Rd
Cape Tribulation
Mon-Sun 6-9pm

Floravilla Ice Cream Factory and Art Gallery
Corner of Cape Tribulation and Cow Bay Rd
Mon-Sun 8.30am-5.30pm

Sweet Leaf Living Foods at the Kuranda Night Markets

We have just gotten back from the Kuranda Night Markets, which happen once a month here in Kuranda. It was a bit quiet as apparently many of the locals (including some of the stall holders) had packed up to go to the Wallaby Creek music festival. Jealous…it sounded really beautiful but we want to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and we can’t do everything. Nevertheless, we had a great time wandering the little stalls and chatting with the friendly locals.

Nestled in one of the corners of the markets is a lovely little café called Sweet Leaf Living Foods, which is a vegetarian/vegan café. They had some really delicious sounding dishes on offer, but we had to choose something. We decided to get two dishes and share them, as we both liked the sound of the same things. You’ll have to excuse the quality of the pictures, as I was in dim light and I’m no photographer. You get the idea of what’s going on…

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These were the absolutely AMAZING Raw Almond Falafels with Tahini Garlic Sauce ($8). These were really really really yummy. I don’t really know what else to say about them…Billy and I both loved them, and they were gone in no time!

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We also ordered the Thai Pumpkin Soup ($10), which was served with sourdough toast and topped with extra grated ginger. This soup was just bursting with flavour – it was sweet, yet balanced out by the warming ginger and Thai spices. It was possibly the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had, and I’ve sure had a few.

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After such a delectable dinner, we couldn’t skip out on the desserts and I had been eyeing off this Raw Caramel Tart ($5.50) which we split. It was the perfect way to end the meal. The subtle caramel flavour was not too sweet or overbearing, nor was it too rich like raw desserts can be. It was spot on.

As well as a range of vegan mains, desserts and snacks, Sweet Leaf Living Foods also had various flavours of bliss balls, smoothies, juices and more. If you are up this way, don’t miss checking them out! The food, the service and the atmosphere were just beautiful.

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Sweet Leaf Living Foods
Shop 39
Original Kuranda Rainforest Markets
Therwine St
Wed-Sun 10am-3pm
(plus open until late the last Friday of each month for the night markets)

veganmofo

Townsville to Mission Beach

I’ve missed the last couple of days as we’ve been on the move and haven’t stayed in places with any reception. We are now just north of Mission Beach, which is about halfway between Townsville and Cairns.

But man oh man we’ve had an awesome two days.

Yesterday, after camping out at Balgal Beach, we woke up to some markets setting up around us. While they weren’t officially open, we managed to pick up a few veggies from one of the guys there, who grows all his produce locally at Rainbow Gardens.
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Next we headed up to Little Crystal Creek, which is in the Paluma National Park, not far north of Balgal. It was a short drive from the highway, and my goodness was it worth it. Check out the beauty we stumbled upon…(and crocodile free, too!)
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It was seriously just stunning. It’s unbelievable how many little beauties like this there are in this country.

After that we slowly made our way up to Digger’s Creek, passing through Tully and stopping for a chance to visit the Big Golden Gumboot.

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The Golden Gumboot pays homage to the ‘wet’ nature of the town, and the height of the gumboot (7.9M) represents the record rainfall for Tully, which was in 1950. Crazy huh? You can even go inside and climb the staircase to the top of the boot, hehe.

Today we got up early and started the day with a watermelon that we had been carrying around for a few days, waiting for the right time to eat. We actually picked this little baby up on the way to Townsville, when we saw a fruit and veg stall on the side of the road and stopped to take a look. When we got out, we realised this was not just any fruit and veg stall, it was surrounded by GIANT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES that we could take photos with. Hurrah!

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As the melon didn’t really fit in our tiny fridge, we decided it was best to eat it in the morning before the van heated up too much. It made a pretty good brekkie too!

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After filling our tummies we headed out to Mission Beach, which was a fairly short, but beautiful drive from where we had camped. We are now in croc AND cassowary country, and we saw countless signs warning us to drive carefully so as not to hit a cassowary. I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t see one, but also glad that none were playing too close to the road.

Mission Beach was stunning, and I think our first real ‘tropical’ beach that we’ve been to so far. The sand was so fine, the water crystal clear and the edge of the beach was lined with palm trees. And again, no crocs here! Wahooo. (only poison stingers and big stingrays, don’t worry).

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This picture doesn’t really even do it justice. It was just pristine and beautiful here!

We spent the morning walking the length of the beach and lazing around in the sun, before heading to town for a beer at the bar. In the afternoon, we simply went back to the beach, found a shady spot under some palms, and dozed and read books. Tough life hey? Of course now everything we own is covered in a layer of superfine sand, as you can never seem to get it all off. Oh well, I guess that’s the price you pay…

Tomorrow we should find out whether there is work for us in Townsville or not, and then we will be able to be a bit more sure of where we’re going – south back to Townsville or north to Cairns. It’s like waiting for a coin to land!

This wasn’t a very vegan MoFo-y post…there was a bit of food (and all local too!) but it has been more an update on my whereabouts….sorry! Tomorrow I promise to post something a bit more food-y. Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

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