Swimming (and Other Adventures) in Nature Part 6: Bingil Bay, Lacey Creek, and Licuala State Forest

Two posts in one week. What kind of Stephen King writing prodigy am I?

My last post was actually from doing stuff two weeks ago, but I was just too l-a-z-y to write it up earlier ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So another weekend, another day in paradise.

Here we go!

Bingil Bay

“Where the bloody hell are you?”

Thankfully this Bingil has nothing to do with that Bingle shit-show.

We started this trip with not much in mind, but that’s the great thing about Far North Queensland – you can just pick a direction and start driving, and you’ll eventually stumble upon something to do, whether it’s a beautiful look-out, a scenic hike, or an old country pub.

On the other hand, you’ll sometimes see a sign on the side of the road for a local business or so-called ~tourist attraction~ and decide to give it ago. Lo and behold though, when you pull-over, you realise the place has bizarre opening hours, tiny fine-print on the badly designed signs, and the building itself seems a little too ramshackle to be inviting.

Pro-tip to all tourism providers: If your prospective clientele feels apprehensive and has to ‘work-up the courage’ to walk through the front-door, you’re not doing tourism right – the obvious exception being for sky-diving, hand-gliding, and adventure-type stuff.

Fortunately we kept on driving and came to this amazing pub-lite in Bingil Bay, called the Bingil Bay Café.

It initially caught my eye, because, quite frankly, I am a massive hipster, and it was painted purple. How was I supposed to resist? Appearances aside, it had some really good veggie food options, a chill atmosphere, and was surrounded by a veil of plants.

Best of all though? THE GERMAN BEER.

I don’t care what anyone says, Australian beer is (generally) shite. I love the wine – gimme a goddamn Barossa or whatever any day, but the old Milton Mango can fuck right off, and I can’t stand the current trend of micro-breweries making one disgusting variation of IPA after another.

The beer was a tad on the expensive side, but I haven’t seen it in any local bottle-o, so I’m happy for them to take my money.

On a side note: Mum, I definitely plan to take you here when you come-up in September!

Lacey Creek in Djiru National Park

After lunch, we wanted to go for a swim, and decided on Lacey Creek.

This is a much smaller, more low-key kinda swimming-hole, made for relaxing rather than adventuring, but this meant it was completely deserted, without another soul in sight. On the downside, the creek did have an animal warning – no, not for crocs, for Bullrouts.

“What the fuck is a bullrout?” you ask.  

Better known as a stonefish, these guys are covered in spikes, camoflague in the river-bed sand and stones, and are said to have an extremely painful sting.

Fun times.

Look out, it’s a bullrout! Oh n0, it’s just me squatting like a goblin in the water…

I was a little terrified of stepping on one, and it did take a while before I was able to really relax in the water. There were some leaves on the river-bed, and I refused to even swim over them, I was that paranoid.

We emerged unscathed however, and continued to Licuala National Forest.

Licuala National Forest

This place is GORGEOUS.

It has a specific Fan-Palm Walk that shows off the giant fan-palms canopy.

The place is also so full of cassowaries that the day-use/BBQ-area is surrounded by a cassowary-proof fence, because those bitches are not as shy as Wikipedia will have you believe.

Au revoir.

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Swimming (and Other Adventures) in Nature Part 5: Lake Eacham & Yungaburra

Yungaburra

What can I say about Yungaburra?

This places gives off major Melany and Montville vibes, and I’m pretty sure it’s where all of the country yuppies/hipsters go when they’re sick of roughing it in swimming-holes and want a taste of the bourgeoisie – lots of middle-aged hippies, shops selling knick-knacks, crystals, statues, and cute clothes, a second-hand bookstore etc.

Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed. I did indulge in a new dress, and I think lots of people would enjoy Yungaburra, but I think I’m just getting sick of the knick-knack and shopping economy after living near Brisbane all my life ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yungaburra does have this adorable little creek running through it, which is famous for its platypuses, but we didn’t see any unfortunately =,(

Looking (futilely) for platypuses…

Lake Eacham

We then went to Lake Eacham for a cool down, which has this AMAZING sign.

This place for real has a freaking freshwater crocodile in it, but it’s also like, the most family-friendly place for swimming. Seriously, they’ve intentionally built man-made steps leading into the water, and installed gravel and a barrier on the bottom of the lake to distinguish between the shallow and deep water, but they kept the fucking crocodile???

Freshies are apparently less aggressive and more timid than salties, but still!

People up here just do not care. This is peak nihilism.

And the State Government’s attitude?

Your safety is our concern, BUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

My State Government, LOL.

Fucking love it. Absolutely savage. The Government might as well have just told people to fuck off and stop being dickheads.

This approach is honestly super refreshing though. The harken back to common-sense and personal responsibility really appeals to the libertarian inside of me. I can just imagine a ranger going, “You got nibbed by a freshwater croc? You had fair warning mate, you must’ve really pissed it off, and quite frankly, sounds like you had it coming…”

Of course, we still went swimming, though I was pretty apprehensive. At one point I put on goggles to peer into the water while I was swimming, but there are some things you’re just better off not knowing.

Speaking of crocs, when we went to Cardwell a couple of weeks ago, we were informed by a local road-side pie-vendor that we’d just missed our opportunity to see the town’s famous saltwater crocodile, Bismarck (yes, these quaint country-folk had named their local crocodile after a WWII Nazi battleship) who had unfortunately been shot and killed by an unknown assailant ONLY THE DAY BEFORE.

(Now that I type this out, I realise this whole story reads either like a fever dream or the beginning of a quest from a fantasy RPG…)

That aside, I was legit bummed about the crocodile, a) because he’d apparently never hurt anyone, b) because he kept other crocs away from his territory, which is ultimately safer for all the humans involved, and c) what with me being vegetarian and all that.

Little did I know though, my grief was nothing compared to the local towns-folk.

A week later, they had a memorial for Bismarck. A MEMORIAL. With flowers. And an Elton John song. And a recording from the remnants of Steve Irwin’s family (and fame) thanking the people of Cardwell for their love of Bismarck.

That episode of Parks & Rec where they plan the ridiculous, over-the-top tribute for Lil’ Sebastian the pony? Yeah, suddenly makes a lot more sense.

Now, the memorial admittedly wasn’t all brand new information to me – I’d previously seen on the ABC that the people of Cardwell were planning… something for their beloved saltwater guardian. And when I told Bae this, he was legit annoyed that I hadn’t informed him beforehand, as he claims he would have jumped at the chance to attend Bismarck’s memorial….

Yeah, I don’t know what’s ironic and un-ironic anymore either.

Gallo Dairyland

Following Lake Eacham, we then went to the Gallo dairy, to indulge Bae’s #1 love in life: cheese.

Now be warned, when you pull-up to the Gallo Café, it is situated right next to the dairy, so everything just smells like the worst farts you have ever encountered.

Luckily, the owners had the good sense to essentially fart-proof the café, and it is tightly sealed, with a fairly good air-conditioning system.

As such, Bae was able to enjoy his cheese-platter in relative peace, and even bought some cheese for home.

Curtain Fig Tree

Lastly, we went for a drive around the country-side, and walked around this really beautiful ‘Curtain Fig Tree’ – it’s heritage listed for being one of the biggest trees in Far North Queensland, and it’s over 500 years old.

Bonus Fact: It’s also home to tree-kangaroos!

Bon vayage!

Crazy Cat Lady Part 1: Because I’m Not Dumb Enough to Believe I’ll Devote Only One Post to the Cats

I only ever really make posts about what I do on the weekends, so you might be wondering what I do during the work-week since, ya know, I’m unemployed.

I’ll have you know though that I am a VERY busy cat-mum and house-de-facto, and looking after a kitten is no joke!

She’s bitey, and smelly, and always wants my attention. I even have to feed her every once in a while, and put mouth-wash stuff in her water! Plus, she’s only just started going down for a nap during the day!

Alas! My fantasies of Booboo and Grace becoming bosom-buddies and keeping each other company also never eventuated, and I’m not entirely sure which cat to blame…

Coincidentally, my house has never been so consistently clean, tidy, or organised (I even KonMari’d some of that shit, which I might make a post about another day).

I’m also doing some study online, but I dragged that shit out and avoided it for a year and half, so really I’m just catching-up on stuff I should have been doing all along.

My bad.

The important thing though is that I have yet to take-up daytime drinking. No secretly toxic, but publicly lauded (cat)mummy wine-time here!

Anywho, as you can probably tell, the Booboo was driving Bae and I nuts. To get all her energy out, we tried taking her out for walkies, had to play with her for like, HOURS a day, and she’d still wake us up in the middle of the night for play-time and shit.

Don’t believe me? Look at this nut, LOOK. AT. HER. She reminds me of a fu-dog…

Also, kitty-litter trays inside are the fucking worst. There were mornings when I thought that the ammonia was LITERALLY going to strip me of my sense of smell forever.

Combine that with the resident crocodillies meaning I couldn’t just let ‘em out whenevs, and I was like, I really gotta get ‘round to building that catio.

What is a catio you ask? Well, cat + patio = catio.

It’s for crazy cat-ladies like me who feel bad about having their cats indoors (It deprives them!), while also feeling bad about having them outdoors (It’ll kill the native wildlfie! And the actual cats maybe! No joke, country folk ‘round here have LITERALLY make jokes about shooting cats with arrows).

So what you do is, you can either enclose your whole garden, from fence to rooftop (seems extreme, but whatevs, you do you), or you can just enclose a lil’ section of your balcony, patio, veranda, or whatnot (like I did), and then enrich the heck outta that space!

After looking in Bunnings and the local hardware store, first by myself, then with Bae, then thinking about how much we could spend, and then planning the structure and the materials we wanted to use, and then making sure the plan was cat-proof, but also completely collapsible and wouldn’t damage any part of the rental-property, Bae and I finally decided to order some specifically-made cat-netting online from a company called CatNets.

Once the nets arrived, I was super impressed with myself, ‘cause I designed and built like, 90% of the catio ALL. BY. MYSELF.

No ladder? That don’t matter. I just stood on our Esky.

Didn’t wanna put nails in the walls? There were already some there, just hang that shit up!

How you gonna make sure the sides don’t slip down? Cable-tie that shit, and peg it into the ground!

All in all, I think I only used like, eight staples in the fence-post, and you can barely even tell!

Even so, I’m really hoping the real-estate don’t have a problem with it come inspection time…

I’m pretty happy with the end result (even though it’s kinda bare at the moment), but the Booboo and Grace still seem to enjoy it somewhat.

Exhibit A: Enjoyment.

I’ll take you for the grand tour!

So, the cats do have a little grassy area, so they can either eat the grass, or poop in it. Booboo seems to favour eating half of it, while Grace is relishing pooping in the other half. Bae even bought and sprinkled some grass seeds inside (and outside) the enclosure, to eventually give them more smells and things to hide-in.

We also got a native fan-palm pot-plant for them to sit under, with Mr. and Mrs. Silverwings presiding over it, so that the kitties don’t mistake the soil for a toilet, and erm… soil it, as they have done to unguarded pot-plants in the past. As you can see, there’s their cutie poopy-box next to it as well… Gotta hide the poop-shame.

I even found a good use for my fair-trade Oxfam cat-mat!

You wanna know the pièce de résistance though? My real coup d’état, if you will?

I managed to convince Bae to buy a two-hundred-dollary-doo sliding-door cat-flap.

“WUT DAFUQ,” I hear you say. “For a household currently existing on one income, you sure seem to be spending a stupid amount of money on these dumb cats.”

And to you I say, “Who are you to lecture me about spending questionable amounts of money on questionable luxury cat items? My Bae?!” =P

But hear me out. I’ll convince you, just as I (or rather the cats) convinced him.

See, the first morning after building the catio, Bae and I wake-up, and Booboo is no-where to be seen. Usually she’s either sitting on the bed-side tables waiting like the faithful hound she (spiritually) embodies, or she’s pawing at the door if we have sacrilegiously opted to keep it closed that night.

Suffice to say, her absence is weird, so we go to look for her.

We look in the linen-cupboard. Not there.

We look in the wardrobe. Nada.

We look in the spare bedroom – maybe she’s harassing Grace. Yeah, nah.

We look in the cupboard under the stairs, where we store the garbage, because hey, sometimes cats are garbage-cats. But no, not there either.

I whistle out the front door, and the Booboo comes running over from under the car, clawing manically at the screen, as if we were the ones that put her out there.

So what the hell happened, you ask?

I’ll tell you what happened.

That little moron, that petit crétin has jumped off the friggin bedroom balcony during the night, trying to get into the downstairs catio.

SO, off we go to Bunnings, first thing on a Saturday morning to get the damn cat-door. Keep in mind, this was also when we were going back and forth every two and half days between Cairns, and while we wanted the cats to be able to use the catio while we were gone, we were also just really fucking tired from all the driving.

There is a legit reason this contraption is so expensive though, ‘cause it lets cats wander freely in-out-out of the house and catio, without needing to leave the door open (‘cause ya know, robbery), or having to cut a hole in your glass door (rental-properties, eh).

The whole mechanism is also pretty cool – it slots into the sliding-door tracks, then uses tension and some other physics kinda thing to keep itself in place, and you can install and uninstall it multiple times, whenever you need. It also comes with a locking thingy for extra security (which is good), and a rubber-strip to make sure all your sweet, sweet air-con doesn’t escape out of any cracks.

It was a bit finicky to install, and it could probably be made a little more user-friendly for the less handy-people out there, but I’m happy with the end product.

“Your next project?” you ask.

Well, the cats already have this and this eating enrichment thingies (yes, I’m insane), as well as some indoor toys, but I wanna build my own cat-tower!

We’ve bought them before, and previous cats never really took to them, but I suspect Booboo would. Now, Bae doesn’t wanna spend $150.00 on another dud cat-tower (fair enough), but I still wanna try one out, goddamnit! Nothing but the best for MY babby cat!

So I’m going to trrrryyyy to make one out of used pallets from the local Community Garden (again, another post).

I’ve already drawn the design, but there’s still a good chance that I will never get ‘round to making the damn thing, which is WHY I’ve put it up here. Maybe by publicly stating my intentions, I’ll forcefully shame myself into following through with my DIY projects!

Adios amigos!

Swimming In Nature Part 4 Brazilian: Cardwell Spa Pools, Golden Hole & Alligator’s Nest

George Bush was once informed by Donald Rumsfeld that 4 Brazilian soldiers were killed while on-tour in the War in Iraq, to which Bush replied, “But how many is a brazilian?”

At which point you the reader may or may not realise and ask, “Michelle, did you just retroactively re-name all of your swimming-hole blog-posts by ‘part’, just so that when you got to the fourth one, you could make a reference to an American political faux-pas that is over a decade old?”

To which I would respond, “Yeah, duh, that’s just who I am.”

Cardwell Spa Pools

Anywho, guess what I did on the weekend? That’s right, SWIMMING. Surprise, surprise.

This weekend it was the Cardwell Spa Pools. Why are these pools extra special?

WELL, they are a cool aquamarine, teally, bluey-green colour!

According to ‘science’, the colour is probably something to do with minerals in the rocks interacting with the water – so pretty much, it’s like a giant Lush bath-bomb. I think it looks the most like the ‘Big Blue’ one.

Whatever the case, I swear the water in this place feels different to other water-holes, like thicker, more minerally, and my skin was sooooo soft afterwards… So it was just like a big Lush bath.

It’s not too deep, so good for just sitting around, or for people who aren’t strong swimmers. There is a little detritus (leaves and shit) on the river-bed, which I stepped-on and screamed at once or twice, but somehow not enough trees overhead to completely shade from the sun. Bae and I actually got star-damage for the first time in ages, so bring sunscreen.

The Cardwell Spa Pools are part of the Cardwell State Forest, so you can also go to Attie Creek Falls, and Dead Horse Creek. Attie Creek Falls reminded me of Millaa-Millaa in that it was super cold, and had a beautiful waterfall. You apparently need a 4-wheel drive to get to these places, but we made it in Meep-Meep (our 2017 Suzuki Swift) regardless.

Golden Hole

The weekend before we also went to Golden Hole (yeah, we giggled at that). This place is beautiful, but there’s a croc-warning, and the place was DESERTED, like no locals around whatsoever, which has never happened at any of the other swimming-holes that don’t have croc-warnings. So Bae and I were not game to swim. We did however take some cool photos, because again, if I see something cool in real life, I have to prove it on the internets ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Alligator’s Nest

Instead we went to Alligator’s Nest, a five minute drive away, which contrary to the name has NEVER had a croc. This place is giant, and it’s so easy to find a private place to swim.

Now you might be asking yourself, Michelle, what exactly do you do at these swimming-holes every weekend? Don’t you ever get bored? Well, no, and let me tell you why. Through careful trial and error, I have crafted the following:

Michelle’s Definitive-and-Official-Best-Things-To-Do-In-The-Water Guide:

  1. Look at cutie berbs and animals – try to take a photo of a Ulysses Butterfly, and fail miserably.
  2. Make fun of tourists – having been in the far-north for approximately 8 weeks now, Bae and I are officially no longer non-locals or blow-ins, and can therefore make fun of tourists with impunity.
  3. Pretend to be any of the following: a walrus, a river-otter, a mermaid and merman, a water-nymph, a beautiful fish, a snibbity-snabbity crab, a dugong/manatee, a river-pupper, and so forth. Please let me know if you think of anymore, as I am always trying to pioneer new and exciting river-animals that I can impersonate.
  4. Spin around in the water like a washing-machine or ballerina in a musical jewellery box.
  5. Debate with Bae as to whether or not you really have to shower anymore after going for a fresh-water swim (apparently I do).
  6. Ohhh and ahhhh over how you don’t have to moisturise your skin or wash your hair after going for a fresh-water swim (Bae has conceded this point reluctantly).
  7. Try and fail to romantically carry Bae in the water, and just resort to dragging him around by his legs while he slowly drowns.
  8. Practice your swimming, and then wonder aloud how fit, sexy, and swol you’re getting.
  9. Ask Bae if he’s still cold, and then when he inevitably says that he is, brag about the superiority of your Germanic/Scandinavian genetics in keeping you warm.
  10. Do any and all of the above while humming Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy, Waltz Of The Flowers, Dance of The Reed Flutes, and Dance of the Hours obnoxiously, and pretending to be a fairy (If you’ve never watched Fantasia, I really recommend clicking on those links and watching those videos).

Voila! And now you too are ready for fun in the sun!

Look at these Fucking Tourists: Cairns Edition

Bae has been in Cairns for work-training for two weeks, and I went with him, as our furniture/worldly possessions didn’t arrive at our house until last Wednesday.

Yes, we didn’t have any furniture for a whole freakin’ month.

What did we do instead?

We slept on an inflatable camper-mattress, had an esky for a fridge, and spent a million dollars on the local laundromat.

GLAMOUROUS.

Additionally, Bae needed the car for Cairns (an hour or more drive away from home), and since we live 8kms outta town in a place that literally has two buses a day, had I stayed at home I would have been stranded without food (for me or the cats!), without ice for the esky, and without anyway of cleaning my clothes.

Thanks government-contracted removalist company!

Useless fucking pricks.

So we stayed on-and-off in a hotel for two weeks (the ‘off’ was because we had to drive back home every 2 and half days to check on the cats, because Boo-Boo is too young and Grace too neurotic for a cattery).

This is a statue of sting-ray on the main esplanade… But really I just wanted an excuse to post a cute photo of moi.

That aside, Cairns was cool. We didn’t do too much since Bae was at work 8 hours a day, but OMG THE FOOD.

Don’t get me wrong, Coconuts and Co. has some tasty food. With all of the Italian and Europeans who immigrated to the area through the 19th and 20th centuries, there’s paninis, focaccias, pasta, pizza, and it’s all really good stuff. You won’t hear me shit-talking it.

BUT, being vegan there is only about five different places I can eat at, and having already relaxed into a lazy-vegan at times (particularly with the no-fridge-no-microwave-no-kitchen-utensils situation that has only recently been remedied), I’ve already eaten my way through most of the town.

For a city gal like me, this has probs been the hardest part of living in a regional area. I don’t give a fuck about shopping (I’m always trying to have less shit in my house), and despite my relative close proximity to the Brisbane CBD I never used to actually go out that much (because I was so exhausted from having to wear my human-face all day).  

No, food is where it is at for me.   

As such, I used Cairns as an opportunity to STUFF. MY. GODDAMN. FACE.

A kind of feast in preparation for the proverbial famine ahead.

So what did I eat?

In no particular order:  

Vegan waffles via Waffle On

Don’t ask me what kind of alchemy these people used to make such incredible vegan waffles, because I asked, and the guy said “Ratios”. I see you man, I know what you’re doing. You’re protecting that sweet sweet waffle secret-recipe. And I don’t blame you. We went on a Monday or Tuesday morning, which is typically the least busy café day, and the place was still half full. Apparently if you go on the weekend there is a line out the door. OUT THE FREAKING DOOR. You don’t want other bitches replicating that success and stepping on ya waffle business.  

Now I only got the most basic waffles, with (soy) ice-cream, bananas and strawberries (for your health), and maple syrup, but still so, so good. Don’t worry, you can get non-vegan waffles – Bae got chocolate ones, with Nutella, cream, ice-cream, and FRESH raspberries and blueberries. How are they getting fresh berries in this climate? I DON’T KNOW.

For the novelty, deliciousness, and attention to veganness-detail, I give this place 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses out of a potential 5.

My Very-Own Breakfast Abomination via Caffiend

Now these peeps are rad, because they didn’t blink an eye at me making my own monstrosity from scratch with the breakfast-sides. I’ve been to places that either charge you a ‘plating-fee’ (fuck off), or won’t let you do it at all (get fucked).

My abomination included: roast pumpkin, baked and-then fried potatoes, fresh avo, pan-fried mushrooms, house-made chilli-jam, and sourdough toast.

The portions sizes are very generous, and it took me a good 30-45 minutes to eat this, just mixing and matching and slowly giving each combination of food a go. I can’t even remember what Bae got ‘cause I was in my own little culinary world.  

It was a little pricey, and not super innovative, but still a solid 4 Italian Chef Kisses out of 5.

Vegan-Crepes and a Veggie Breakfast Burrito via Lillypad

This place has heaps of veggie and vegan options (as well as serving meat), and is pretty willing to try to veganise anything it can, without altering the price. We went here 2-3 times, and tried so many things, including ‘Parisian Eggs'(??), a mezze plate, a vegan breakfast burrito, and more.

My favourite was the vegan crepes – a good mix between healthy and indulgent to start the day, though I do wish that after Waffle On, the berries inside had been fresh instead of frozen.

I think some of their vegetarian stuff is a bit better than their vegan, as in they haven’t ~quite~ perfected the alternatives, but still good, hearty food, generous serving-sizes, lots of options, and a chill vibe. For this it gets 3.5 Italian Chef Kisses.

Trio of Dips, Chai Kombucha, Dragonfruit Kombucha, Pad-Thai Salad, and a Veggie Burger via Lafew Café & Kombucha House

It’s taken me many years, but I’ve finally done it: I’ve found a kombucha that Bae will drink without wincing involuntarily. In his now immortal words, “That’s the best kombucha I’ve ever had, probably because it doesn’t taste anything like kombucha”. LOL.

We were both super sceptical, but I desperately wanted to give this everything-is-plant-based-but-we’re-also-full-of-weird-new-age-hippy-shit-cafe ago. Glad we did, ‘cause it was goooood.

To start we got the trio of dips, which were basil pesto, hummus, and sundried-tomato with cashew cheese – all raw somehow. This was served with some kind of fresh-made dinkelbrot. So salty, so soft, so delicious, and it perfectly offset the subtle, clean taste of the dips.   

My main was a zoodle (zucchini noodle) pad-thai with a raw sauce of lemongrass, peanuts, and soy, topped with fried tofu, micro-greens and other fresh veggies. Sounds like it would be nasty at worst, or plain at best, but it was just really well balanced – fresh and delicate, but oddly satisfying.

You can tell a lot of work has gone into perfecting the recipe, and making sure each meal is made only with the freshest of vegetable, ‘cause even the slightest kind of soft or less-than-stellar ingredient would have made it a very bland or underwhelming dish, and instead we were both pleasantly surprised.

Bae got a veggie burger made with a patty of chickpeas, pumpkin, and a pretty tasty spice-blend. The whole thing held together really well, and was better than most veggie-patties in that it wasn’t trying to imitate meat at all, but it wasn’t an after-thought either.

The best part (for me) though? The kombucha. Honestly, so, so good. It was like the perfect alternative to soda for an adult. They make it by-hand, on-site, and experiment with their own flavour combinations, such as vanilla, lime and ginger, lavender and mint, and more! The colour was incredible, with amazing flavour-profile – just a teeny-tiny bit of sourness, and not too sweet. I would gladly guzzle a bottle a day of the stuff if I could afford it, and as above, even Bae said he would be happy to drink that kind of kombucha every day.  

It was a little pricey (but I totes understand why). Still, on my budget I gotta bring it down to 4.5 Italian Chef Kisses outta 5.

Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng via Bagus Cafe

Bagus is Indonesian for ‘good’ and let me tell you, Bagus Cafe is bagus. There’s a reason this place has won awards for being Australia’s best but cheap eat.

Additionally, since our trip to Singapore (which occurred BB – Before Blog), I have had like, a near-constant craving for any and all Asian food. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesia, Korean… And as I said earlier, Coconuts is mainly just European food. Good, but European.

So Bagus was like all my dreams come true, particularly since Indonesian restaurants are an extra level of rare in Queensland.

The food was simple, hearty, tasty, flavourful, greasy, spicy, savoury, generous, and CHEAP. Like, $10.90-for-a-plate-cheap, which is fucking impossible to get anywhere else.

Extra bonus? The vegetarian options were cheaper than the meat options, which I always appreciate.

For this, Bagus attained the ever elusive 5 out of 5 Italian Chef Kisses

Bone Apple Tea.

Swimming in Nature Part 3: Josephine Falls & Mossman Gorge

Josephine Falls

Another weekend, another swimming-hole(s).

Bae and I tried to go to Josephine Falls a couple of weeks ago, soon after moving. It was actually the beginning of that relentless couple of weeks of rain that ended-up flooding Townsville, and it was royally farrrrrked.

Like the Devil’s Pool, peeps have died at Josephine Falls after flash-flooding. I couldn’t get an exact number on the death-toll, but it seems there were at least two in 2018, one in 2016, and another in 2004.   

So we decided to wait until there was a couple of days of dryness before even attempting another swim.

Good idea.

We spent a whole like, 3-ish hours at Josephine Falls. Overall, very good – nice currents for swimming, super shaded from the sun, minimal amount of weird floaty stuff to freak-out over, and lots of rocks to sit on in the water.

Bae said it was like “jumping into peppermint oil”, which is surprisingly accurate and complimentary since everyone loves peppermint oil.

This would be the PERFECT photo without the people ;(

SO, let’s review:

  • The Boulders is cool because of well, the big-ass boulders, and the Death I mean, Devil’s Pool.
  • Millaa-Millaa is rad because it’s hella cold and has some lame claims-to-fame (Also, no deaths… that I know of???).
  • Mossman (below) has a mini-forest-canopy-walk.

So what does Josephine Falls have that sets it apart? A SLIDE AND A SWING (both natural of course!). It’s like a pool and a playground combined!

To go down the ‘slide’ you have to:

  • Swim over to the rock-face.
  • Claw your way up and out of the water over a rock with a gross algae strip;
  • Inevitably fail at least once and fall back into the water (and if you’re wearing a thong bikini, you might even accidentally give everyone an eye-full of your ‘twinkle tush’ if ya know what I mean).
  • Act superior when you do make it to the top.
  • But then fall over again either while waiting for your go, or when you’re trying to find the perfect insta-worthy pose to do on the way down the slide while carrying a water-proof selfie-stick.

Pretty rad.

Now to the swing… Say for example you’re waiting for some wanker of a barefoot-tourist-guide or whatever to give his gullible group of tourists an in-depth $100.00 explanation of how to (no joke) swim in a straight line, and then go down a slide – an explanation which also somehow involves a suspicious amount of touching and re-arranging of the lady tourists, but not the dude tourists.

While you’re waiting for these shenanigans, there’s a section of Josephine Falls called the ‘Top Pools’, right behind the unofficial waiting-area of the slide.  

Growing on the side of the Top Pool and overhanging it is this big ole’ massive fig tree. Down in Brisbane I’d assume it was a Moreton Bay Fig, but up here I’m not sure. It’s a fig though, and it has some super old, cool vines hanging from it, thicker than my wrist, draping and twisting in gigantic U-shapes, just begging to be swung on.

Anyone who says otherwise, and insists on giving you filthy looks for living your best life?

They’re just a miserable binch, because guess what my dudes?

I’VE DONE MY INTERNAL RISK-ASSESSMENT AND THOSE VINES WEREN’T GOING ANYWHERE!

Unfortunately, no photos, because of the proximity of water, but here’s a good idea of what it looks like.

We climbed all over the vines, and they could even support Bae’s weight, with no creaking or cracking, or anything that indicated they would break anytime soon, so hopefully they should still be there when we go next time.

Mossman Gorge

The next day we went to Mossman Gorge, north of Cairns. The drive is absolutely gorgeous with beach after beach after beach.

The Gorge is a tad unusual, in that it is located within a National Park, but has limited access because of the small roads, and the Aboriginal Community that lives at the foot of the mountain/gorge. You gotta catch a bus up (or walk 4km, which let’s be honest, I can’t be fucked doing), and the bus does cost money, so be prepared for that! Once you get off the bus, you walk through the forest canopy on an elevated platform, and get to see all kinds of cool rainforest plants and fungi before getting to the river.

The only thing that kinda sucks about blogging/reviewing swimming-holes: How many times can you say, “Oh yeah, it was gorgeous, magnificent, invigorating, amazing etc.” before it just begins to sound dull and/or seem like you’re rubbing it in someone’s face?

BUT IT WAS ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

I can’t help it! Places like this were the reason we moved here!

Mossman Gorge definitely has been the most challenging swim so far with the strongest, most persistent current, and my shoulders and arms were just straight-up knackered afterwards. Technically the conditions were “Swimming Not Advised” due to the rain-cast (again, people have died/been maimed), but we gave it ago anyways.

Even the rocks were harder to get onto, as evidenced by my river-walrus impersonation below. Feel free to really zoom-in on that ~flattering~ shot.

An additional bonus? The fish in Mossman must be super used to humans, ’cause they’d swim literally like, 30cm away from your foot.

So cute! 

Swimming in Nature Part 2: Millaa Millaa Falls

Since I don’t have a job yet, and Bae is still getting used to working predominantly in an office, we’re both trying to make the most of every weekend by doing something nature-y one or both days, so neither of us ends-up going cray-cray.

Nature Deficit Disorder, they like to call it.

I’m happy to just go to the same place over and over. I reckon I could go to The Boulders every weekend for a month, and still happily go back for more, but Bae is more adventurous, and wants to try something new every time.  

So this weekend it was Millaa-Milla Falls in the Atherton Tablelands.

The blurriness isn’t from the camera, it’s the splash from the waterfall, and mist from the mountains!

This place is pretty famous (by Australian standards), which means it’s featured in a Peter Andre music video (yeah who? The only reason I know the guy is because at the height of my morbid obsession with all things tacky and celebrity in ’06, I was obsessed with Jordan/Katie Price – that former UK Page 3/Glamour model with the giant fake titties, whom he was briefly married to).

According to Wikipedia, it’s also apparently in some random Indian Lotto and Swedish shampoo ads, as well as this recent Herbal Essences one, which I guess is at least kinda funny and tongue-in-cheek? I can’t even tell when the waterfall is supposed to feature though. I mean, I think the blue butterfly at the end is meant to be a Ulysses Butterfly, which is endemic to the region??? I don’t fucking know.

Delusions of grandeur, classic Australiana.

That aside, another great place to swim. Absolutely freezing (if you ever come-up here to visit us mum, we WON’T take you there, unless it’s the absolute dead of summer).

A local showed Bae and I the best way to get into the pool (it’s very rocky and slippery and steep), and to reward the poor guy, we were screaming and hollering at the cold, as we submerged ourselves inch-by-inch.

Made me very thankful my genitals are located inside my body.  

Luckily my Germanic and Scandinavian genetics kicked-in pretty quickly, and I soon felt just a little chilly under the water, while Bae was still actively shivering the poor thing. Reminds me of that ‘Cold Water Therapy’ that’s supposed to help you lose weight, with like, 15 minutes of shivering being the equivalent of burning an hour’s worth of cardio calories.

Can’t wait to go during Winter to get that Summer bod, it’ll be fab!  

Once again the recent rain meant the waterfall was extra fierce, meaning we weren’t game to go under the actual flow (in case it drowned us or something), but it was still definitely worth swimming around it.  

Afterwards we continued driving all around the mountain (Bellenden Ker strikes again!), exploring the waterfall and creek circuits of Wooroonooran National Park. The other two famous waterfalls were not particularly swimmable (one plunges into a rocky water-pool that would 100% lead to your death), and the other one was too shallow, but still worth the look.

We couldn’t resist the opportunity for a photo-shoot though!

If I do something cool, but don’t put photographic evidence of it on the Internet, did it really happen at all?

Until next time!