Miz Lizzie Adventures: Waterfalls, Weather and Walsh’s Pyramid

We knew we were in for some rain today.

We were right. It’s been soggy on and off all day. But it didn’t stop us, and indeed, we decided to add still more water to the equation by doing the Waterfall Circuit, a 15km loop drive which takes in three of the Tableland’s more notable falls. Without further ado, then, I bring you Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls.

millaa-millaa-falls zillie-falls ellinjaa-falls

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the cloud and downpour got too heavy for us to enjoy the scenery, and we descended from the plateau down to sea level and into sunshine.

En route, we saw some pretty amazing evidence of just how fast and how heavily rain in the tropics can develop, as a thick roll of dark cloud built up out of nowhere above Mount Bartle Frere, teetered briefly at the top and then tipped itself over the edge. You can’t even see the top of the mountain, and it’s the highest in Queensland!

weather-1

Rolling down over the mountain top, having appeared out of a clear, innocent blue sky….

weather-2

… and dropping its load in a sheer curtain of water.  Ten paces from the cloud’s edge, the ground was dry!

On our way into Cairns for a bit of shopping and a bloody fine curry at our favourite Indian restaurant, we passed the peak which is the ‘gateway to Cairns’, known as Walsh’s Pyramid. Well, you can see why, can’t you?

walshs-pyramidThis remarkable peak is the location of one of the most gruelling mountain runs in the southern Hemisphere. It’s 922 metres or 3,025 feet high, and the run consists of 6 km (3.7 miles) of road and 6km of sheer mountain; up, and then down again at headlong speed. If you’re interested, you can go here to read the history, stats and records for the race. And why do they do it? Because it’s there….

We did a fair bit more than I’ve documented here, but it’ll have to wait for another day.

 

 

Bee, Myself and I #12

The end of the month has come quickly this time!

hatbox-21 hatbox-22 hatbox-20Of course, February is shorter than all the other months, but even so, I’ve been madly busy. Not too busy to get my lovely hat-boxes done, though… You’ll remember that Lynn from Tialys and I are making hatbox blocks together; I’m doing it so I keep going till I’ve got enough to finish the quilt, and Lynn because she’s started making a wall-hanging for her bedroom, using fabulous Liberty prints.

We worked out that three blocks a month was workable and not too demanding of our time. And once the blocks are made, we can continue to encourage each other through the Quilt As You Go assembly process. I suspect that with 36 blocks rather than 12, I’ll be needing a lot more time and a lot more nagging encouragement… We shall see.

I particularly like the fabrics on the top two boxes. A little bit of hippy-chick fun, and the colours work in really well with the rest of the collection.  If you want a reminder of what all the previous ones look like, take a look at the photo below.

hatbox-halfway-collage-3

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button in the left hand column

And that’s my BM&I post for this month. See you in March 🙂

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Townsville to the Tablelands

We didn’t rush things this morning. To put it mildly; in fact, we slid sheepishly out of the campgrounds a mere 30 minutes before we would have been ejected!

Still, we were in good trim, and ready for the next leg of the trip. Despite the regulation enormous holiday breakfast, we were getting peckish by the time we approached Cardwell, a beautiful little town on the Hinchinbrook Channel, directly opposite the looming bulk of Hinchinbrook Island, the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef.  You can see the island to your right for ages as you head north before you arrive in Cardwell and it becomes obvious that it’s an island – it looks just like distant hills. Cardwell was flattened by Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011, the wind and waves drove the entire sandy beach up and over the town, huge old trees were uprooted, houses lost or de-roofed. Today, there’s no sign of that. It’s lavishly beautiful and neatly groomed, a wonderful place to stop for a breather, a meal, a walk along the promenade, or a nap in the shade of the surviving trees.

hinchinbrook-from-cardwell

tablelands-waterfallAfter Cardwell we pressed on, and in the early afternoon were making the long, and at times slow, ascent to the Tablelands over 900m/2,950 ft above sea level. There’s a pernicious myth that cars towing caravans/ camping trailers are slow and get in the way. We had no trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic even on the climb, but found ourselves held up by other road users a fair bit!  Large trucks and timid drivers who can’t steer confidently around corners were particularly annoying… At one point we pulled over when the truck in front slowed to a 20kmph/12mph creep. Happily, there was a small but beautiful waterfall for me to admire while we waited for the truck to clear the range.

The campsite is as good as we remembered, and even better than our last visit there as it’s virtually empty!  It’s school term-time so there are no families with noisy and active children to distract us from the peace. Second time round, setting Miz Lizzie up for our stay was a lot smoother and easier. I’ll need to find a new home for a few items which persist in flinging themselves out of cupboards and off shelves as we travel, but for the most part, our belongings were well behaved. One useful lesson; don’t take too many fresh vegetables. While you’re towing the van and the aircon is off, anything that’s not in the rather small fridge gets warm and starts to deteriorate a bit. It’s not a disaster, but good to know. We had produce in a styrene cool box, but it wasn’t enough… Another time, I’ll buy more while I’m away.

beer-time-at-lastFinally, it was beer/ cider o’clock and we could kick back, enjoy the view, the quiet and the sound of the birds in the treetops.

I’ll leave you with a selection of the foliage to be found in this beautiful spot. The campsite/holiday park has been carved out of rainforest and includes a seasonal watercourse and a small disused quarry. The grassy sites are level and closely mowed, the facilities are lovely, but for me, the charm of the place lies in the rainforest that surrounds us, with towering trunks, lush undergrowth and vines reaching for the sky.

campground-rainforestI have a large list of fun things to do around here. We shall wait and see what tomorrow brings and how many of them I get done. Or maybe we’ll just relax, take it easy and revisit some old favourites.

What the heck… I’m on holiday 🙂

 

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Paluma and Crystal Creek Falls

Day 2 of the Miz Lizzie Inaugural Adventure.

Our first night in the van was fine 🙂 The aircon worked very well, the bunks were comfortable, we got the site we wanted and virtually no neighbours. I’ve given the kitchen a serious workout, and it’s all good.

However, on waking, we discovered a few plumbing issues had materialised. Miz Lizzie is 18 years old, things have worn and perished, and now that we have her stretching her legs, problems are appearing. Nothing we can’t fix, so far. We spent the morning in the DIY store buying hose, joiners and connectors, plumbers’ Teflon tape and other fascinating bits and pieces.

After that, it was time for FUN!  We drove north for an hour, to make a visit to the Paluma Range National Park, a trip we’ve been promising ourselves for a while. It’s a World Heritage Listed Site, and having reached the top up an 18km intensely narrow and winding road, I can tell you it’s utterly worth the occasionally terrifying drive. For quite considerable parts of the journey the road is barely wide enough for two vehicles, and in many places, only wide enough for one. The drop off the edge is immediate and vertical, and there are no wussy safety barriers, either! However, in spite of all these drawbacks, the views are stunning, the lush wet tropical rainforest is dense and vivid, and for me, the highlight of the drive was stopping at the bridge over the Little Crystal Creek Falls. I’ll let the photos explain (click on them to enlarge, it’s worth it!).

little-crystal-creek-mt-speccrystal-creek-falls-2There were at least a dozen people swimming at all levels of the falls (I’ve carefully framed the photos so you don’t see the towels, sandals and snacks!), and I’m impressed at their fortitude, as despite the heat, the water’s cold. The top of the range is at 883 metres/2,900 ft above sea level, and it freezes up there in winter, tropics or no tropics.

After that, we tootled down the road a bit further to the famous Frosty Mango, a café serving ice cream made from a wide variety of tropical fruits grown on the premises. The flavours included guava, passionfruit, mango, sapodilla, soursop, jakfruit, black sapote, custard apple, Brazilian cherry, monstera, pineapple, carambola, jaboticaba and a handful more I can’t bring to mind. Mostly, these fruits never reach the mainstream market as they ripen quickly, don’t travel well and aren’t familiar to consumers, but they do produce delicious ice cream!

And then home, for a bit of a tinker with Miz Lizzie’s waterworks, a bottle of the golden throat-charmer for the Husband and a cider for me, and a relaxing evening. Tomorrow we pack up here in Townsville and head north again for Atherton, on the Tablelands above Cairns. We have a spot reserved in one of the most beautiful campsites I’ve ever stayed at, in a rainforest glade. Can’t wait!

So, a lot to do in the morning. An early night is called for….

And we’re off…

Miz Lizzie is packed (but isn’t very full, strangely), and we’re off.

on-our-wayI’ve been fairly minimal about what to take, reasoning that so long as we take what we normally take camping, we won’t go far wrong. Usually, we don’t take the coffee grinder and percolator, but if you can’t make yourself a decent cup of coffee in the peace and privacy of your own caravan, what’s the point? I’ve left Lilibet the sewing machine at home this trip and am taking some embroidery instead, but she’ll be coming along on our longer trip in May.

The last week has been one huge learning curve. For all those out there who think you buy your caravan/trailer and hook it up and go, think again. There are all sorts of things you need to know, or check, or add, or subtract, and a load of terminology and techniques to learn. I’ve started keeping notes so I can keep the whole shebang straight in my head, including a crash course in automotive electronics! If anyone out there’s thinking of doing the same thing as we’ve done, I’m happy to share the learnings. It’s been intense, but I think we’ll look back and say it has been totally worth it!

denim-matI did finish the chunky denim mat, and had enough yarn left to make a heat pad. There hasn’t been time to even think about the new curtains and seat covers, which will have to wait for the next trip. I gave the beds a nap-test, and they’re pretty comfy. The aircon is da bomb!  It’s very, very efficient, to the point where it got quite cold…

It’s just 4 hours to our first staging point in the journey north. We have a night, a day and a second night in Townsville before we continue north to Atherton, and I’ll be seizing the chance to catch up with Manic Mum, a blogging friend who lives there.

Right, time to head out. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

A whole different way of camping

Up to now, camping has been a balancing act.

You balance the things you want and need against the space or carrying capacity available. I’ve backpacked; I don’t enjoy the weightlifting involved. I’ve camped with a bicycle and panniers, a motorbike and trailer, and with a car. In all these cases, you have to discard things because there’s no space for them, often things you later wish you had. It’s mostly a case of cramming things into every available corner.

laundry-bagsMiz Lizzie has changed all that. I have places for things, permanent places. One of the most refreshing changes is clothes and laundry. We have a wardrobe, and drawers, for goodness’ sake. When I realised this morning that dirty laundry no longer had to be hung outside the tent in a skimpy plastic bag till I could deal with it, I made us each (drum roll) a laundry bag! To hang inside the wardrobe door on a hook, and corral all the mis-matched socks, used underwear and sweaty shirts, so that Miz Lizzie stays tidy, clean and pleasant-smelling.

pocket-hangingAnd remember I said I’d tell you another time what I did with the pockets from the jeans I cut up for rug yarn? It’s another ‘stuff’-corralling item, some-where to put all those bits and pieces that otherwise get put down, forgotten and lost. It’ll hang inside by the door, or possible on the back of the door itself, so you can find the torch easily in the middle of the night when you have to go to the loo, or you need your car keys or sun-screen before you head out. It’s not especially beautiful or straight – old denim can be a bit baggy to work with – but it is useful, and made from a recycled pair of jeans and a fabric remnant for which I paid $3.

Our first outing is on Saturday. I’m in a frenzy of list-making now that I have space to play with. With the bike and trailer I knew what I had and could take. This is a whole new ball game – does anyone out there have any gems of good advice or experience I could benefit from?

But it’s still better to take too little than too much, wouldn’t you say?

SAL 42: A line under the alphabet

I got the border under the letters finished!

Here’s where I was last time:

sampler-middle-border

And here’s where I am now 🙂

letters-bottom-borderIt felt good to ‘draw a line’ under the letters, which I found slow going, especially at the end. Now, I can let go and enjoy myself with the borders, blocks and patterns which happen below the line, as it were.

Don’t forget to hop over and inspect progress on all the other SAL projects; links below. We’re all in different time zones, so if there’s nothing up yet, give it a few hours and try again

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnJessSueConstanzeDebbierose,
ChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLinda,
Catherine, Wendy

See you next time, on 12th March.