Through the floods
17.03.2006 - 18.03.2006
With rumors still abound that roads north were still closed with more floods on the way, it was with some trepidation that we left the sunny skies of Airlie Beach and headed north. And the rumours proved true when just outside Townsville we were met with the ominous flashing sign: BRUCE HWY CLOSED. So for today at least, Townsville was very much the end of the road and we stopped into a bug infested campsite to hole up for the night. Next morning we learnt traffic was making it down from the North so without further ado we fired up the Jucy and set off. It felt like every creek we crossed was a minor victory as we began to see more and more evidence of floods and cyclone damage. Soon enough, we were no longer driving on tarmac. The SS Jucy was ploughing head on through several inches of water. Thankfully not quite enough water to close the road, but enough to make the drive great fun!
What's that sign, road subject to flooding?
Yep, no kidding.
We passed through Cyclone hit Cardwell, missing Prince William by just a day (shame), and pottered on up to Innisfail where we cut in land for a whistlestop tour of the stunningly beautiful Atherton Tableland. This circuit up to Cairns included several stop offs at increasingly larger waterfalls - I was pretty impressed by the first:
But little did we anticipate:
We also dropped in on the famous 'Curtain Fig Tree'. In case you didn't know, the fig is a vicious little tree. It's seed will land high up in the branches of a mature 'host' tree and then suck it dry whilst sending down roots of its own. In this case the host tree eventually gave up the ghost and toppled over into another tree which the fig duly ate as well, and in the process created the fabulous curtain effect.
So, after all the worry about floods and road closures, and after a treacherous descent in the dark down a very windy road from the Tablelands to the coast, we finally lumbered into Palm Cove, just north of Cairns, as the sun-set. Still a bit of the North to explore though...