Forest Flying and Sweet Treats

After our week of chilling in the Whitsundays, we were back to some more modest camping at Cape Hillsborough National Park.

Cape Hillsborough is most famous for its multitude of different eco systems in a small area, and for its friendly kangaroos. You can usually spot them in the day use area, but they always appear on the beach early in the morning to say hello to visitors. We spent two days in peace, going for walks and enjoying the scenery.Cape Hillsborough BeachPioneer Valley

From there we had a small inland trip to Finch Hatton, and Eungella National Park. This was a big recommendation from lots of fellow travellers, and we were not disappointed. The area was beautiful, with gorges, cool misty mountains, rainforest and some platypus viewing (although we only managed to see turtles). We enjoyed some great hiking in the morning, and spent some of the afternoon relaxing at the Pioneer Hotel, famous for its Sunday afternoon live music, and its pies. They were so good.

While we were there, Mike and Coby decided to have a go at some Forest Flying. Basically, this involves getting harnessed onto a cable so you can travel through the rainforest canopy safely and easily. From that vantage point you have a unique way to experience the rainforest.

Forest Flying CobyOne of the owners, Dave, took Mike and Coby on their Forest flying experience. Coby was harnessed first, and then hung up in the room to check she was comfortable with it all. When it came to the real thing, Dave took care of Coby, pushing her along the cable at her own pace. She and Mike just loved it, and were happy to just enjoy the experience, forgetting that they were actually 30 metres up in the air. She came back after it all, full of stories and talking ten to the dozen about it. They both had such a great time. Check out the Forest Flying website here.

I wanted to go Forest Flying myself, but unfortunately I had come down with a pretty nasty gastro bug. Rhys stayed back with me to ‘take care of mummy’, and was happy to sit quietly watching movies and playing with toys while I napped.

My tummy was back to normal by the time we reached Mackay. Here we did some errands, and visited the new Bluewater Lagoon and water play park. I also managed to sneak off one night to go to the cinema to watch Breaking Dawn Part 1. I have coped so well this year with a lack of TV, movies and news etc, but I was not going to wait until next year to see this one. I have to confess I am a big Twilight fan.

So we have been in North Queensland for the better part of three months, and we are still seeing endless fields of sugar cane, cane trains and rail networks. This has left me wondering, what happens to all the sugar cane once it is harvested? Well, we were able to find out everything we wanted to know when we visited the Sarina Sugar Shed.

At the Sugar Shed, they have a miniature mill that mimics the entire process from cane to raw sugar, and you get to see all the machines in action. The tour includes an opportunity to smell, see and taste various products of the process. At the end of the tour, you can taste sauces and beverages made with the produced sugar and by-products of the process. Coby and Rhys also got to try some fairy floss for the first time. It was a terrific morning, informative and interactive, and a lot more fun than we were expecting. To read more about our visit at the Sarina Sugar Shed, click here.

Fishermans Beach - Great Keppel IslandFurther down the coast from Yeppoon, we travelled out to Great Keppel Island for the day. The main resort at Great Keppel was closed down over three years ago, but you can still camp and stay on the island. Despite it all being a bit run down, the main beach is absolutely beautiful. Its biggest attraction is the great snorkelling, kayaking, hiking, and peace and quiet. There are still some businesses running on the island, so you can get a feed, drinks, and all the essentials. We spent our day playing with the kids on the beach, and walking up to the lookout for the views.

On our way to Agnes Water and 1770, we passed through Rockhampton, and crossed back over the Tropic of Capricorn ending over six months spent going tropo. This part of Australia is known as the Capricorn Coast, and is home to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. As a special anniversary treat (nine years and counting), we all spent a day on Lady Musgrave Island and in the Lagoon. This was probably our last opportunity to see coral and tropical fish. Mike and I took full advantage of our time there. Every time we go snorkelling on a reef we spot something new.

1770 from boatLady Musgrave IslandThe boat was anchored at a pontoon, where the children got to experience the reef in a semi-submersible boat. Rhys was the first person on a packed trip to spot a turtle swimming next to the boat, and he was pretty proud of himself. On the pontoon, they also had a visy board, so Mike took Coby out over the reef so she could spot the marine life. Rhys was just happy jumping off the pontoon with his new found water confidence. There were plenty of fish hanging around to keep him happy.

Captain Kids on return journeyWith four weeks left, reality is starting to kick in. We have to start thinking about serious things, like renting a house and Mike finding a job. But we still have a few last adventures ahead before the big finish. It ain’t over yet…

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