To go finally further south we took the inland road through the Atherton Tablelands. The first bit was a steep climb to a plateau that stretched as far as we could see. The landscape was dry and not as lush and green anymore. However exotic fruits were farmed all over the place. Funnily they are also called "exotic fruits" here where they are not at all exotic .We had a lunch at one of the rest places that one can find next to the road.
After Atherton the landscape changed, it became more rolling and green once again. Lots of cows grazed in the fields along the road, always in company of white birds whose name I have forgotten.
We stopped briefly at one of the many waterfalls in this area, it was a lovely waterfall in the middle of a lush rainforest environment. There were loads of people swimming in the small pond at the bottom of the fall. A bit furtherdown the road was a sign with look-out over the Johnstone River so we stopped again to have a look. It was however a 1.65 km track down the mountain through the rainforest (and of course what goes down must also come back up...) but a good walk is only healthy... The path ended at a clearing that also served as a helicopter emergency landing platform, presumably for white water rafters, and the view was really lovely. The way back was faster then coming down and we were puzzled by all the strange bird noises one could hear. No bird to be seen though but that was not so strange since it was such dense forest.
We spent the night at Mission Beach. Ate delicious fish and chips at a local cafe then walked on the beach in the dark and studied the southern night sky. It was funny to look at completely unfamiliar heavens, without any of the usual constellations to guide you. We also saw bats swooping past the lamp posts to devour the many small insects attracted to them.
(Marjolein and Derek)