so Near but so Far!
Off again, this time to Hidden Valley Cabins. Nice to have a 9am pick up from Townsville and explore the city sights including Castle Hill. From here (if it’s clear) there are magnificent 360 views to Magnetic island and all about from the nearby lookouts. There are several walking or running tracks which are steep but still very popular. Heading North West towards the Paluma National Park we came to Little Crystal Creek near the bottom of the range. The road and stone bridge were built in the 1930’s and there’s It’s a delightful place to stop for a picnic, byo thermos & scones, and climb over the rocks up to the waterfall and rock pools.
If Little Crystal Creek looks familiar then this photo might help. It’s the Lennox Bridge at Glenbrook, NSW that was built in 1833 and is Australia’s oldest bridge. There’s a striking resemblance, isn’ t there?
As we climb up the mountain range we come across areas drastically cleared by cyclone Yasi while others nearby are untouched. Strange. At times, this offers us tremendous views to the ocean that aren’t normally within sight, as well as scenes of devastated plantations below. The mist descends as we get higher into the rainforest and we’re getting a bit peckish as we head for lunch at the Rainforest Inn Paluma. Amazed to find they’re inundated with patrons but it’s a long weekend. I spy some scones which look pretty good so we place our lunch order and will return a while later.
Just imagine the views to the coast from nearby McClellands Lookout or after walking up to Witts Lookout through the misty rainforest. Today, if your patient the wind gives you tantalizing glimpes of the coast.
Back for lunch and our tasty wraps but we seemed to be surrounded by others enjoying scones. Was there time? I should have asked. Can you imagine our dismay when a plate piled high with scones was brought to us and it wasn’t ours? It was behind me and I didn’t even see them coming. Everyone thought I had ordered them. Oops, their mistake and they were speedily whisked away. Maybe tomorrow???? Raining now so after a brief stop at Paluma Pottery, its onto the gravel road and Hidden Valley Cabins. This is a leading eco certified resort, where the family who own it do their utmost to make your stay as enjoyable as possible, while at the same time working hard to remain climate neutral. For this they deserve as much support as possible. They were extremely welcoming, friendly and accommodating, even looking for hot water bottles on this very cold night.
It’s unusually cold, so we rug up and head off before dusk to nearby Running River to look for platypus. As they’re very shy we needed to be very still and patient. We were rewarded by some platypuses that came quite close up to us. It was surprising how small they were. Australian Geographic recommends this as one of the best spots to see them.
After a welcome dinner, we retire to our cosy cabins ahead of a very cold night. Tomorrow we’re off chasing butterflies and rainbows at Wallaman Falls.