Cockatoo Cuts down Coconut

A Coconut fell from the tree. I looked up and there was a cockatoo who had pecked the coconut down. He actually pecked a second coconut down too and flew away

Lions Den Rossville Queensland

They need a cook…so I went in and made an enquiry. Not having WIFI or Telstra makes this not attractive….

Marguerite Carstairs

The petrol here was the cheapest I have seen in this area…I parked in the front and wandered inside. Its certainly a trendy place.. I left a Resume, bought a dried up egg and bacon roll for $10 and drove off to find some shade to eat my bun.

Wonderfully situated in a lush valley, the Lions Den Hotel offers powered and unpowered camping (suitable for even the largest caravans and camper trailers. It is 4km off the main road between Cairns and Cooktown, located at 398 Shiptons Flat Road in Rossville. It has a reputation for great music and events and is the party venue in this area… The camping area looks great but without WIFI and phone coverage. It was so hot and humid, I just wanted to get to shade…

Bloomfield Queensland

Camping at Bloomfield

Am camped at Bloomfield Camping which is $25 for one powered site with access to a fully equipped kitchen complete with coffee and sugar. The shower and facilities are excellent and the grounds are picturesque and beautifully maintained. The only negative is the heat. There is absolutely no breeze at all. I had bought a tiny 12v fan yesterday at Cooktown and I ran it when it got unbearable worrying that it would drain the battery. Wishing I had bought a full electricity run fan as well.

The heat is too much forme. .I went driving the next day and the Bloomfield General store had a stand up fan for $30. I bought it and was able to sleep better with the fan on all night. The Store had good food and almost everything one could desire including a friendly Vietnamese couple working there. I went on to Wuja Wuja . The road winds down beside the river and its a beautiful drive, very steep in places and eventually I stalled the van half way up a hill and had to do a standing start. I was relieved to see the next store and cafe. I parked here and enjoyed a nice toasted sandwich.

I drove on to Wuja Wuja, but the next hill was too much for me. I had to admit I turned the van around here and drove back…all down hill and not a single problem, I regretted not going all the way to the Wuja Wuja Falls . The location beside the river surrounded by mountains is beautiful…and the drive was amazing.

Rather than go back to the camping ground, I went to find the beach.. Weary Bay it is called, and I spent the whole day sitting here watching the water. I did not see any crocodiles but the week before one had taken a dog paddling n the water. Weary Bay Beach is a bush beach, without any bitumen car parks and concrete pathways. It’s a place where you can look from one end to the other and on most days, not see another soul. Sunrise and sunset are perfect times for panoramic photos, as the rainforest hills in the backdrop are lit by the colorful rays from the rising or setting sun.

Climbing Split Rock Laura Queensland

Yes, I have climbed Split Rock. I left Lakeland at 7am so it was not hot when I arrived at Split Rock. I parked the van in my usual shady spot and wearing a hat, yes, I forgot to take a bottle of water, I started the climb. Its 300m to Split Rock and then 50m from gallery to gallery. The steep climb to Split rock was not easy. It would have been harder in the midday sun. There are rocks placed as stepping stones… 100 steps in the first section, and another 100 in the second part and then an almost vertical path to Split Rock. It is spectacular and a beautiful place to be in.

The indigenous paintings were very faint, and said to have been here for 14,000 years. You had to really concentrate to see them. This video shows the paintings

In 1972 the Qld government declared 97,500 hectares of land on Gresley Holding (or Crocodile Station as it is locally known) as an ‘Aboriginal site’ under the ARPA 1967. Visitor access to rock art sites around Laura was regulated by Honorary Wardens and,
from 1973, an Aboriginal Ranger stationed in Laura.

While public visitation to Quinkan lands has been contained by the region’s remoteness, rugged terrain and regulated access to the DLA, there is ample evidence to indicate that roads and tracks pose risks to Quinkan cultural heritage. For example, the Split Rock sites, which are located adjacent to the Peninsula Developmental Road, have already been impacted by road dust and graffiti, as has a story place at the road crossing on the Laura River. At the latter site sections of the engraved pavement were destroyed by explosives during road works in the 1960s , and nearby, at the Old Reserve, Aboriginal burials and birth places were destroyed by the expansion of the Laura rubbish dump

An Army expedition which twice walked the Hell’s Gate track
(west of the Laura River) reported defacement of rock art and removal of historic remains by track users

Festival at Lakeland

There was a Christmas Festival with Carols at 6.30pm held at Lakeland in the area opposite the General store, between the Lakeland Hotel Motel and the Lakeland Rainforest Caravan Park. It was a beautiful grassed area edged with shady trees and the market stalls were lined up along the outer rim. There was an Ice-cream stall, the Progress Association selling fruit, Printed T-shirts, Kathrina giving away Fire Fighting Spirit Books, Handmade jewellery, pot plants and an amazing lady dressed in striped yellow like a bumble bee with the most amazing display of bubbles that I have ever seen…and she was active in the full sun for the entire duration of the markets.

At 5pm. a fantastic Tongan team, workers at the local banana Farm put on this amazing display of Tongan Dancing. They were lively and full of energy and really enjoyed their dancing. Tongans placed money, and maybe notes, into their shirts causing the guys to laugh and giggle, and then a beautiful Tongan lady, covered in oil and flowers, did a dance and collected more money. I wondered whether people would press notes into my T-shirt when I walked around playing the ukulele, but I have to tell you no-one did. I did ask a couple why, and he replied it was because I was not covered in oil.. Good answer, Thank you…I was lucky to have 4 beautiful Japanese girls, also banana workers, join in singing and playing the Piano.. The Ukuleles and guitars sang Christmas Carols at 7pm..and everything was finished by 8.30. It was a well attended event and much enjoyed by the audience who waved electronic candles.

Magpie Geese at Laura

The Magpie GooseAnseranas semipalmata… is widespread throughout coastal northern and eastern Australia. It can be seen from Fitzroy River, Western Australia, through northern Australia to Rockhampton, Queensland, and has been extending its range into coastal New South Wales to the Clarence River and further south.

Large black-and-white waterbird with bulbous lump on the top of its head and striking orange legs and feet. Often seen in very large, noisy flocks. Typically found in and around wetlands, pastures, and orchards across northern Australia. Also perches in trees and on branches. Soft honking calls given frequently, including in flight

Magpie Geese are widespread in northern Australia, where they may congregate in huge flocks, often comprising thousands of birds. They breed in large colonies late in the wet season, with the biggest recorded at Daly River in the Northern Territory — it covered 46 km2. The species was once also widespread in southern Australia, but disappeared from there largely due to the drainage of the wetlands where the birds once bred. 

Large, noisy flocks of up to a few thousand birds congregate to feed on aquatic vegetation. The Magpie Goose is a specialized feeder with wild rice, Oryza, Paspalum, Panicum and spike-rush, Eleocharis, forming the bulk of its diet.

Its interesting that there is little research done into Magpie Geese. I wrote them up 10 years ago and since then there is still no information about its migratory patterns. The magpie geese are now at Laura, in northern Queensland. I last photographed them at Normanton and there is a definite migration pattern They come here in the wet season…

During the breeding season, Magpie Geese build nests in secluded places, usually close to wetlands. The nest is almost single-handedly constructed by the male. It usually consists of a simple unlined cup placed either in a floating platform of trampled reeds or built in tree-tops. Pairs of geese mate for life, but a male may have two females. Two females may occasionally use the same nest to lay the large, oval, off-white coloured eggs. All adults share incubation and care for the young.

Magpie goose has been eaten by Indigenous people in the Territory for thousands of years and is a staple for modern day hunters in the Top End. But the story of how it has been rolled out to some of the best restaurants in the country starts with the chance meeting of a Territory-born football star and a provedore of game meat. At a shed in a small Indigenous community an hour out of Darwin, Motlop and eight other Indigenous people have set up an operation to slaughter, pluck and gut the magpie geese, before sending them south on ice. It is a fairly efficient operation, taking about an hour to process 20 geese.

The only bottleneck is trapping enough geese to meet the demand. Health regulations mean they have to be trapped, not shot. So far, the geese are proving annoyingly smart.

Split Rocks Laura Queensland

About 12km south of Laura look out for the badly signposted turn-off to the Split Rock Gallery, the only rock-art site open to the public without a guide.

The sandstone escarpments here are covered with paintings thought to date back 14,000 years. If there are no tour groups around, it can be quite a surreal experience to walk the path up the hillside in silence, solitude and isolation, before coming upon the various other-worldly ‘galleries’ in the rock faces.

They contain numerous Aboriginal paintings, engravings and hand stencils. Accessible on a 30-minute self-guided walk, there are three sites to visit here, Split Rock Galleries, Flying Fox Art Site and Tall Spirits Art Site.–split-rock-art/

I parked the car in a shady place and walked to the site. I started walking up the track, almost to the top, but the heat was too much and I decided to walk back and return another time, midday not being the best time to climb tracks with no shade. The paintings displayed were colorful and informative and told the story of the two bad Imjim spirits who live in this locality called Timara and Turramulli.

The importance of Laura lies in its remarkable Aboriginal artworks. It is recognised as one of the most important archaeological study sites in Australia. Archaeologists have found evidence that the rock art is at least 15,000 to 30,000 years old.

The area is famous for its strange mythical  figures known as Quinkans. … “Quinkan is an Aboriginal name for the supernatural spirits that live in the surrounding sandstone and are painted in the rock art around Laura. The Quinkans do their work at night.

“Timaras or Tall Spirits are the good spirits. They have long-limbed, thin bodies which provide camouflage among the trees, and also allowing them to quietly withdraw into rock crevices.

“Imjims are the bad spirits and have a distinctive long, bulbous-tipped appendage. They bounce like kangaroos and live like frogs.”

There are literally dozens of Aboriginal art sites in the area. The most popular sites are Yalangi Galleries (a 2 – 3 hour guided walk), Mushroom Rock (2 hours), Giant Horse (3 hours) and the Quinkan Galleries (2-3 hours). Perhaps the most famous of all the galleries is the Giant Horse Gallery which features a horse, a fallen rider and a variety of animals including a sting-ray and bush turkey.

Cooktown Queensland

Home of the Guugu Yimithirr people, the region is known as Gangaar, ‘(Place of the) Rock Crystals’ due to the abundance of quartz in the area. These crystals are an important aspect of Indigenous ceremonies, and there is even evidence of them being traded as far as 300km south of the region.

In more recent history, this township became a place of further preciousness as a port during the Gold Rush. It’s also the place where the Endeavour ran ashore after its hull was grated along the reef, making it Australia’s first non-Indigenous settlement.

You only need to see the kind of boats bobbing around the Endeavour River to know what Cooktown does best. You won’t find luxury liners here – instead, it’s moor-to-moor fishing boats because Cooktown has the fishing scene to warrant it. In fact, it’s a world-class fishing destination known for drawing in keen anglers to their coastal community.

Join in the Gone Fishing guided tour company with your lure, fly or pole and get ready to reel in anything from coral trout, tuna, and mackerel to jacks and trevally. The river is lined with over 25 species of mangrove, so it’s no wonder the fishing is so good here.

I parked at the esplanade opposite the Police station and walked down to the RSL and back along the main road. The parklands are very beautiful. Here you can see the first well, the RSL monument, and the wrecked ship.

I drove down to the esplanade where the road winds down to the end. A self important elderly gentleman in a singlet and shorts, was quick to tell me to move on when I was taking photos. He even brought his car and trailer next to me to yell that I was in his way…so I moved on without taking the photos of the headland and decided this type of local was not worth getting to know. I drove to the RSL for lunch but the restaurant was closed…so I went to the IGA and the library and as it was very, very hot, I bought petrol and decided to return home to Laura.

Cooktown Queensland

About one quarter of the way between Cairns and the tip of Australia, Cooktown is one of the most historically significant sites in the country.

Cooktown, town and port, northeastern QueenslandAustralia. It is situated at the mouth of the Endeavour River on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, facing the Great Barrier Reef.

Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
Cooktown, Queensland, Australia

The town and nearby Mount Cook (1,415 feet [431 metres]) are named after the British navigator Capt. James Cook, who beached the Endeavour there for repairs in 1770. Cooktown was founded in 1874 during the Palmer River gold rush

Cooktown is of particular interest to botanists since the time of James Cook‘s visit when extensive collections and illustrations were made of local plants. It is situated at the junction of several vegetation zones including tropical rainforest, sclerophyll forests, sandy dunes and lagoons. Vera Scarth-Johnson, a local resident, gave a priceless collection of her botanical illustrations to the people of Cooktown, which are now housed in a dedicated gallery at Nature’s Power House situated in the Botanic Gardens, and features displays of local flora and fauna.

The “Milbi Wall” (or “Story Wall”) marks the place of the first encounter between the British seafarers and the local Aborigines. The Milbi (‘Story’) Wall tells the story of Cooktown and the Endeavour River from the perspective of the Aboriginal people in tiles, and is an outstanding monument to reconciliation. Charlotte Street is the main heritage precinct.

Cooktown is the northern terminus of the Bicentennial Heritage Trail, which, at 5,330 km (3,310 mi), is the longest trail of its type in the world. The southern end of the trail is at Healesville, Victoria, a town 52 kilometres (32 mi) north-east of Melbourne

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