Beautiful Port Douglas

We set off through the rain forest from Mission Beach in the morning, but still no Cassowaries to be seen.


Back on the Bruce Highway, we found our first patch of bananas growing. It was near the little town of El Arish, a small town settled by soldier-settlers after WW1. This name came from the place in Egypt where the Australian Light Horse saw action in 1916 and was later developed as a major base area with an allied hospital.


At Innisfail, we found a town full of Art Deco style buildings. It is basically a sugar cane and banana town with an economy that  is largely dependent on the sugar and banana plantations that surround the town.  It is one of the few substantial towns in North Queensland to remain relatively untouched by the tourist boom. 


In 1918, a catastrophic cyclone destroyed much of the town – the same one that destroyed the aboriginal mission at South Mission Beach. Buildings were rebuilt in an Art Deco style as was the fashion of the day. The town hall is a good example.


By the river is warning sign that lets you know the reality of this part of the country.


Back on the highway, we passed Queensland’s highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere with an altitude of 1611 metres. It was named after Sir Henry Bartle Frere, a British colonial administrator who was once president of the Royal Geographical Society. Bartle Frere was British Governor of Cape Colony (South Africa) at the outset of the Anglo-Zulu War.


The first European to scale the mountain was Christie Palmerston in 1886. He blazed a tree at the summit “‘P’ October 26, ’86. On 21 April 1942 an American Air Corps B-25 Mitchell medium-range bomber, from the 3rd Bomb Group, 90th Bomb Squadron, crashed on the mountain with the loss of all seven crew members. This particular aircraft had only recently returned from the Royce Raid against Japanese forces in the Philippines.

At the little town of Babinda, we saw a road sign pointing to the ‘Babinda Boulders’. A. quick look at our tour guide suggested that they were worth a visit, so we made a stop at a cute little coffee shop in the town and headed along the five kilometre distance to the boulders. We found a jam packed car park and once again we were grateful that Jill had a disabled parking permit as the one disbaled parking spot was the only one available. Right near the car park was a beautiful swimming hole in the Babinda Creek.


While swimming holes are popular because they don’t have crocodiles, this was not the main attraction here – it was the area downstream where the creek cascaded over a series of granite boulders as large as cars. It made a spectacular scene with its crystal clear water.



This area of the cascades is very  dangerous with up to seven people drowning from swimming in the rock pools and being sucked under the boulders by the pressure of the water.

The walk to the cascades through the shady rainforest was very relaxing.It was a well graded track and quite smooth.


The highway continued to pass through agricultural land (sugar and bananas) and for the latter distance to Port Douglas. It hugged the coastline. At Ellis Beach, the area was packed with cars and people as the local life saving clubs were holding a carnivasl there. We had some good views of many beaches but I will need to wait for our return trip to photograph them as they were on wrong side of the road and the double lines prevented us from stopping.


One of mny friends decribes Port Douglas as a nice village and indeed it is. It was put on the map with the development of the Mirage Resort in the late 1980s but still retains its ‘small town’ feel.

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The main beach is very long and it was very popular when we arrived in the mid-afternoon. It had a distinct relaxed, holiday feel. We were suprised and delighted to find that one of JIll’s good friends and her husband were also staying here. We ran into them by accident at the same restaurant last night. The daughters of both our families shared the school vice captain’s role at Ivanhoe Girl’s Grammar.

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The most suprising part of the day was to open the door of lour motel room and find a riot of tropical colour in the way the room was decorated. None of those muted modern tones – just a feast of colour for the eyes red, yellow, green and orange combined into a very appropriate tropical colour theme..

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