Look at These Fucking Tourists: Long Weekend Edition – Part One

So in my last post I boasted about writing two entries in one week, and then… nada for three weeks, because in some kind of Shakespearean twist of hubristic fate, only a few days afterwards, I slipped over in the bathroom, slammed my elbow on the floor, needed two x-rays to confirm it wasn’t broken, after which it was still so swollen, I couldn’t straighten it for a week, and then couldn’t bear weight on it properly for another week and a half.  

FUN TIMES.

But what does that really have to do with something as simple as typing a blog-post?

Well, the doctor put me on these pretty sweet pain-killers/anti-inflammatories, but the main side-effect?

Drowsiness. Like, mind-numbing, zoning-out, dying-for-a-nap-everyday drowsiness.

Add to that the general tiredness of healing (I assume?), and that fact that doing anything with a sore arm took twice as long as usual, and I just could not be fucked blogging.

OH WELL.

But it’s pretty much better, and Bae took the Friday after ANZAC Day off, so we got another long-weekend, and so decided to have a bit of a get-away in the Tablelands.

Australian Platypus Park

To kill some time before checking-in at our lil’ AirBnB in Tarzali, we stopped at the ‘Australian Platypus Park’. Now, this place ain’t anything fancy, but for 10-bucks you get a guided-tour around the property’s beautiful lakes, you can stay as long as you like, and you’re guaranteed a platypus-viewing. If you don’t see a platypus, you don’t have to pay; simple as that.

I was, of course, super excited about this, particularly after our trip to Yungaburra yielded NO platypus sightings.

>=\

Luckily we saw MANY platypus this time, and they looked like small, wet versions of baby Booboo! I was overcome with that cute/playful-aggression phenomena (which is honestly pretty common for me), and I just wanted to pluck their fat little blubbery bodies out of the water, and mush them into my face over and over again!  

>8D

Unfortunately, the platypuses were so fast and wriggly diving in-and-out of the water that it was impossible to take a decent photo of them…

=,(

While touring the property, the ‘ranger’ also told us the following little factoids:  

  • Platypuses don’t have stomachs, so they don’t digest or metabolise their food in the same way we do, meaning they have to eat a third of their body-weight in food every day.
  • To deal with the cold in Tasmania, Tasmanian platypuses are EXTRA FAT compared to their northern counterparts, and have to eat even MORE than them.
  • Platypuses are completely carnivorous, and ONLY hunt and eat live prey, which is a little creepy when you consider 1) how fucking cute they are, and 2) the fact that most Australian animals are herbivorous, insectivorous, or omnivorous; and if they are carnivorous, they’re at least opportunistic scavengers, like the Dingo or Tasmanian Tiger. Hell, even crocodiles and snakes will eat frozen or fridged meat. What gives then? Is the platypus just ultra-sadistic? No actually; rather, because they’re essentially blind underwater, platypuses use their sensitive snoots to sense movement via the electronic-pulses that every living animal emits. Dead animals = no buzz-buzz = no food, so fresh it is.

Lastly, the Park also had a bunch of hokey-but-adorable tourist signs, which I was more than happy to take advantage of.

Malanda

After the Platypus Park, we kept driving north to Malanda, home of the ‘Malanda Falls Swimming Pool’.

Half natural, half-artifice, the Falls are fed by an actual fresh-water river and waterfall, but the river-banks have been built-in with cement, with the bottom left as sand. So even though there’s no chlorine or chemicals in the water, it’s almost as clear and fresh as a completely natural swimming-hole.

These kind of manicured swimming-holes (or ocean-holes) were super common in the late 19th to early 20th century (and supposedly pretty unique to Australia), so whenever I think of them I imagine old-timey people in full-body cotton-bathing suits – though even in the ’20s they apparently needed signage to deter local nudists.

The falls is also situated in a National Park, so it’s surrounded by walking tracks, beautiful rainforest scenery, and a cool Visitor Centre with some interesting information on the local Aboriginal people, and native wildlife, such as the tree-kangaroo.

Overall, both places were really lovely, and I would definitely go back.

Sayonara!

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.

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!

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!

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!

Swimming in Nature Part 1: The Boulders & Mission Beach

The Boulders

On the weekend, Bae and I decided to go to one of the most popular and advertised tourist places in this region, the Babinda Boulders! Located 60kms south of Cairns, this place is beyond words. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Magnificent. Incredible. Any cool, too-good-to-be-true photo of it on Google is no lie.

We took the Scenic Drive out of town, and it was extra *Italian Chef Kiss*

Lush rolling hills, fields of cane swaying in the breeze, trees and vines growing like crazy on periphery foothills, cutie cows mooing everywhere… So, so relaxing. Kinda glad I can’t drive yet, ’cause I just kept zoning-out and almost drifting-off.

Bonus: With all of the extra rain at the moment (which is thankfully not affecting us here in Coconuts), we even saw the flash-flooding make a temporary waterfall down a cliff-face of Bartle Frere (the tallest mountain in Queensland), which is part of the ‘Bellenden Kerr’ mountain range (very LOTR-esque naming).

Bae assures me the waterfall was definitely not there on his drive up to Cairns last week, so very special! No photo unfortunately, as the range was way too far away for our camera-phones, so you’ll have to take my word on it.

Once we got there, The Boulders themselves were gorgeous.

Bae said the last time he was there five or so years ago (on a dudes-only road-trip), it was a lot more shallow and dry, and you could mostly walk upstream to The Boulders, with the two rivers confined mostly to the banks either side, and meeting up downstream.

Once again though, with all the rain and the cloud-coverage overhead dappling the water, the whole thing was flooded with teal, sapphire, emerald, aqua, everything! Crystal clear in some spots, but really deep and dark and unfathomable in others.

Even Bae (who is 6″4 tall) couldn’t reach the river-bed with his feet in some places and freaked a lil’. Me on the other hand? I’m so short I can never reach anything ever, so just normal levels of terror for me.

Unfortunately, my photography skills ain’t great, and I couldn’t do it justice, but here’s a photo anyways. We’re both thinking a proper camera might eventually be in order once some of our other pressing purchases are out of the way.


Such a good swimming spot though – cannot stress this enough, just fresh, clear, crisp water, and so invigorating. Again, *Italian Chef Kiss*

The water-current was surprisingly strong, and even after watching a local try and fail to swim upstream to the Boulders, we gave it a go ourselves. Needless to say, neither of us got very far, but it was a good shoulder work-out, and really relaxing just floating down with the current afterwards.

You wanna know the extra cool/spooky/scary/particularly-alluring part of the trip though? People have DIED at The Boulders. Like, 17-people-in-50-years-died, not just one or two, so you know it’s not just a fluke.

The deathly/maim-y part wasn’t the section we swam in thankfully (I flat-out refused to even entertain the idea), but further down on a separate confluence of rivers called ‘Devils Pool’.

You were right about the legend by the way, mum.

According to local Aboriginal lore, a young woman was scorned by her lover, and jumped to her death in the pools rather than live without him. Ever since then, she’s drowned several young men, so she could be with her lover forever.

Coincidentally 16 out of the 17 deaths have been young men…

Me being my morbid self, I was of course eager to have a look at the pool, so we walked along the river (sans phones, and therefore sans photos), and with the recent rain, it was absolutely torrential, roiling like crazy, a complete vortex of kinetic energy.

The photos I’ve linked here and here are deceptively placid, and don’t reflect what it’s like when there’s been a fuck-ton of rain, but it was creepy powerful. You can see where the water has been battering the rock-sides of the river for thousands of years, carving-out these perfect, alluring, circular pools.

Flimsy human bodies just don’t stand a chance against that kind of geological/hydrological power.

Mission Beach

In a glib 180, the next day we tried another popular tourist spot, Mission Beach.

Honestly, as overwhelming cool as The Boulders was, Mission Beach was as underwhelmingly disappointing. Maybe that’s a little unfair of me, since it was literally the end of the tourist season, but there were no lifeguards (despite the website saying there would be), a sunken stinger-net that wouldn’t keep out the biggest jellyfish, and no visitor-centre in-sight. Downside of a small, regional Council I guess?

On the upside, we’d recently bought and brought along a cutie plush Cassowary toy, and decided on an impromptu photo-shoot.

JUST TOO. FUCKING. CUTE.

It broke my goddamn mind, and it’s just a plushie.

Did the locals think I was insane?

Clearly.

Oh well.