Miz Lizzie Adventures: Figs, Fries and Sunny Skies

We’re heading homewards.

After a final delicious meal in Cairns at the Botanic Gardens – which are, by the way, magnificent – it was time to up sticks and wagons roll, turning our faces reluctantly southwards again.

We have the process of breaking camp by heart now, and once the alarm goes off at 7am, we slip into well-oiled routines, each with our own jobs to do. By lunchtime we were back in Cardwell. This time, I’d opted to forego a crab sandwich in favour of visiting the Pie Cart (anyone seeing a pattern here?).

We ate our steaming hot beefy lovelies at a picnic bench under the old candlenut trees in the park. The trees are beautiful, very old and bent, with deeply fissured bark, glossy oval leaves and hundreds of green candlenuts hanging on stalks. They’re amazing fruit, providing all sorts of uses, and the trees themselves are magnificent.

Onwards through the rain, though we came into Townsville dry, to find they’d allocated us the powered site with the best en suite shower in the entire park. Yeah, baby, power showers! Today we met fellow blogger Manic Mum for lunch at The Ville Resort-Casino at the Marina in Townsville to sample a delicacy whose fame has spread far and wide.

No. Not fries.

Doughnut Fries!!

That’s not potato, it’s cinnamon-spiced doughnut dough, cut into sticks and deep fried. It’s then laid on a bed of chocolate sauce (not tomato sauce as you might have thought), and sprinkled with white chocolate flakes (not shaved Parmesan) and a couple of slices of strawberry. Yup, that last item might have thrown you a bit.

I have to say, they were absolutely, gobsmackingly delicious.

And this is where they were being served.

And yes, that’s Magnetic Island in the background. Just out of idle curiosity, we asked how much it would cost to stay there for a night. Oh, only $260…? We’ll stick to the caravan park. Anyway, I’d call that a pretty good send-off on the last full day of our holiday. We tootled back to Miz Lizzie along The Strand, prime beachfront real estate lined with massive old Moreton Bay Figs. The one below had a multiple trunk about 7 metres across.

Tomorrow the alarm will go off at 7am again, and we’ll swing into action for the last leg, Townsville to home. Yes, lunch will be at Jochheim’s in Bowen again. I’ll be going on a pie and chocolate exclusion diet when I get home, so I need to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves!

Signing off till we’re back. It’s been a blast having y’all along 🙂


Miz Lizzie Adventures: Lovely Lavish Loot!

As promised, then, here are the acquisitions of the past two days.

Firstly, the chocolate. I think we’ve been quite modest, really, when you consider that two of those packages are for the kind neighbours who are keeping an eye on the house and taking in our mail.

From top left to bottom right, we have milk chocolate coated coffee beans, latte flavoured milk chocolate, dark chocolate gingers, more milk chocolate coated coffee beans, dark chocolate cranberry & pistacho bar, milk chocolate salted caramel bar, and milk chocolate cranberry & pistachio bar.

Here is a current portrait of Miz Lizzie.

And here is her Mini-Me, a totally gorgeous clock with extremely funky hands and a swinging pendulum. It now hangs on the locker door above the sink, and ticks very quietly, not loud enough to be annoying while we’re trying to sleep. We saw it in the Coffee Works gift shop, where (despite the fairly substantial price ticket) buying it was a no-brainer. It’s made by a US company called Allen Designs, and they make a fair range of clock designs, something to suit everyone, I’d say.

To the point, in fact, that the Husband has ordered me a second one.

Well, no prizes for guessing where it’ll hang when it arrives. (They’re not paying me anything for this link, I’m telling you about them because you’ve got to share a good thing. Go ahead and browse. I’ll be here when you get back in an hour or two…)

And finally, I got my toes titivated. The previous pedi was getting a bit weatherbeaten, and I like to do the Husband credit when we’re prancing eagerly into a shop to Buy Stuff. I don’t normally indulge, and my toenails are habitually bare, but in holiday season you have to make a bit of an effort, don’t you?

I’ve told the Husband that in return for the clock loveliness, a holiday present for him is called for.

He initially pretended he wanted for nothing, but his eyes lit up like anything when, working on information previously received as they say in the detective stories, I suggested a rattle-gun (aka a cordless torque wrench) might be acceptable.

So there’ll be a trip to the DIY store soon. That’s a promise.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: up one hill and down another

We did a LOT today.

To the point where I can’t fit it all in one post without being tedious. So there will be more tomorrow, mainly the Loot. We started out driving past the Australian Armour & Artillery Museum, the Skyrail cable car and the Kuranda Scenic Railway to head up the Kuranda Range to the Tablelands. I’ve written about all 3 of those before, so if you’re interested, do a search for those posts, as otherwise this one will turn into War & Peace!

Once at the top of the range, we drove to Mareeba, location of our lunch destination and Coffee Works. Lunch first: a plateful of beefy goodness for us both in one of the nicest foodie pubs in the area.

The Gateway Hotel in Mareeba has been Done Up in a big way, but my word, it’s worth it. This is a corner of the pub garden. See what I mean? Pretty lush, isn’t it?

After lunch, it was time for Coffee Works, also in Mareeba. They bring together local and imported coffees from around the world, roast them and blend them. You can tour the works and see this in action. They also have a huge collection of antique coffee brewing implements and vessels, and the world’s best gift shop. The photo below shows one small corner of the huge barn that houses the gift and coffee shops.

We scored there, but more of that tomorrow. They also have a chocolaterie on site, and make their own dark, milk and white chocolate, flavoured with chilli, ginger, coffee, lemon myrtle, orange, lime & pepper, cranberry & pistachio, etc, etc. We scored heavily there too, but again, more tomorrow.

The debate was then whether to return home the way we’d come, via Kuranda, go down the Gillies Range or down the Mt Molloy-Mossman Range. We’ve done the Gillies Range a lot, so we opted for the Mt Molloy-Mossman Range via the Mulligan Highway. It’s incidentally the direction you’d start out on if you were planning to take your 4WD up to the Top End; north of Cooktown (another day’s drive away)  it’s where the roads begin to get interestingly rough and challenging!

En route to the range, we passed Quaid’s Dam (aka Lake Mitchell) beside the Mulligan Highway, an artificial lake that takes you by surprise: it’s huge, deserted, miles from everything and doesn’t really have any function, not being for irrigation, or leisure, or drinking water, despite the fact that it holds 190,000 megalitres at full capacity. I believe there was a plan at one time to build a housing development in that location, but as far as I can see, there’s nothing there to justify or support housing in that area.

The Mt Molloy-Mossman range is lovely, passing through rainforest much of the way, with a couple of outstanding lookout spots for photos. It’s interestingly wiggly and huge fun on a motorbike, to the point that on a previous trip on the motorbike we’ve turned round at the bottom so we could ride back up and then down again!

This one shows the view over Mossman to the sea; the light-coloured fields are canefields, which appear light because of the flower plumes on the tall cane.

And then from Mossman, we turned down the Rex Highway south to Cairns, passing Port Douglas and Palm Cove. We passed this sea-eagle nest on top of a power pole – how the birds are not electrocuted is beyond me, but it’s a pretty substantial nest, and it’s right beside the road.

An eagle coming in to land on that must have given a driver or two a bit of a start, wouldn’t you say?

Last stop of the day was Ellis Beach, reliably deserted and peaceful, with Double Island in the background. The sun was getting low in the sky, the sea was calm, the sky a bit patchy (the rain started later), and I got to feel the sand between my toes, always a very calming experience for me.

Home again to Miz Lizzie, cool and comfortable, for cups of tea and a bit of planning for tomorrow’s expeditions. Oh, and tomorrow I’ll show you what we bought at Coffee Works!

Till then…

Miz Lizzie Adventures: restraint, and a lack of it.

I can resist anything except temptation…

Well, that’s what Oscar Wilde said, anyway. I can resist some temptations, especially when I know the Husband is tapping his foot outside the fabric shop. So this time, I only bought one piece of fabric (she said with an air of spurious virtue). The shop is a treasure trove of not just fabrics, but flosses, fixings, findings, fleece, and everything the avid crocheter or knitter could wish for. Oh, and paints, dyes, stains, crayons, pencils, papers, canvases. So you see, buying only one piece of fabric from the sale bin really was quite restrained.

I made up for it once outside, though.

A luscious caramel chocolate slice from the Vietnamese bakery. Not a pastry base, but made of compressed fresh coconut shreds. I don’t pretend it made this delectable treat more virtuous, but it did make it slightly less heavy and filling. Slightly…

We didn’t do much yesterday; some laundry, some grocery shopping, a little reading (Husband) and sewing (me). This is, after all, a holiday. Today, we’re going up to the Tableland to visit Coffee Works and pay homage to the chocolatiers by carting away as much chocolate as we can without people pointing and whispering. We’ll probably also buy some cheeses at Gallo’s Dairyland. The weather’s looking a bit overcast, so I don’t know if I’ll get many landscapey-type photos. Depending on time and weather, I may visit some of my favourite waterfalls, too.

After all, I have to pretend the day’s trip isn’t totally about food….

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Crackling, Copperlode and Caution!

Another day of mixed gastronomy and sightseeing.

Well, aren’t the best holidays like that? Yesterday we went into Cairns city to try and get a few errands done. Things on order which we couldn’t get at home, a fruitless attempt to get some clip-on sunglasses for me (nuh-uh, frames too large. The search continues…), some groceries, a book and of course, lunch.

Apologies in advance to the vegetarians, who may wish to cover their eyes and ears and sing lalalalala while I wax lyrical about the lavish and luscious roast pork, crackling, gravy and apple sauce subs with a side of sweet potato fries dusted with smoked paprika, salt and oregano.

Moaning noises ensued. They were really thickly stuffed, fresh, hot and delicious.

OK, it’s safe to look again.

After our shopping and nosh-fest, we decided a bit of scenery and fresh air was called for, so we headed out of the city northwards, and turned off up towards Copperlode Dam. They’re still carrying Natural Disaster Repairs up there after the last cyclone, so we couldn’t go all the way to the top and the dam itself (Lake Morris), but did manage to capture some good photos of the view southeast over Cairns and out to sea from the various lookout spots on the way up. It was hazy so you don’t get a tremendous amount of detail, but the city lies in a bowl of rainforested mountains, and the forest really does stretch all the way down to the sea except at the city centre.

Some obligatory nature shots. Well, it is beautiful round here… I love how the fig fruits grow directly out of the trunk of the tree in this species.





And finally, confirmation that Australia has some of the grumpiest trees in the world, never mind the snakes, spiders, sharks crocodiles, jellyfish and cone shells. Click on the photo for more detail…

Welcome to Australia. The country’s beaut, if you can survive the flora and fauna!


Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cardwell, Cairns and Curry

Oh, I do love a bit of alliteration.

“No, really?” I hear you say… None of that sarcasm, now. Anyway, Sunday morning dawned grey, overcast and drizzly. We had a 10 minute reprieve to shake off the side awning and get it dry enough to roll up. We do have the process of packing up the caravan down to a fine art by now, so it’s really only about half an hour from start to finish so long as we’re organised but we were distinctly damp by the time the job was done.

Waving goodbye to the thick grey cloud hovering inches above the Hinchinbrook Channel, we set off up the coast towards Cairns, our final destination for the next six days. It rained on and off, but most on, for the rest of the day. It was fine though; everywhere is brilliantly green. The cane looked tall and lush, with thick feathery purply-pink plumes (back home, it’s a different variety and the plumes are white), and it’s over 3.5m/12ft tall in places. Definitely ready to cut. You can still see dead tree trunks on hillsides facing the sea where cyclones have stripped every leaf, but the rainforest has amazing regenerative power and in a couple of years, they’ll be invisible.

Once we’d passed the ghostly outline of Walsh’s Pyramid, with its top hidden in the clouds, I knew were were nearly there. It’s more of a landmark on a sunny day, but is unmistakeable in any weather.

We got to Cairns early and were able to set up in a brief dry spell. The caravan park is in a great spot. I’ll show you an earlier view of what it looks like when it’s not raining, since the present view isn’t quite as interesting. Still plenty of low cloud over the mountains to give you an idea, though!

There are lots of grey nomads here, taking advantage of the warmer weather compared with down south, but it’s not really full, so there are no battles for the washing machines or camp kitchen facilities. I was able to spread out when I made dinner. Mostly, I cook in the caravan, but it was chicken curry, and I didn’t want the smell to linger for the rest of the holiday! I’m not quite picky enough to grind my own spices on a caravan trip, but a good quality curry paste, coconut cream, chicken and vegetables will do the job.

Today we have some chores to do: grocery shopping, a bit of laundry (if the rain stops), etc, but tomorrow, let the gastronomy commence! The only decision is whether to stay at sea level, or head up onto the Tablelands.

That’s about as hard as the decision-making’s going to get for the next few days…


Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cardwell, and reasons to stop

Our trip today was very short. Very…

Only two hours after we’d packed up and left Townsville, we were pulling off the highway again.

It was Cardwell, and apart from its attractions (of which more later), there was just a chance that someone from our motorbike club might have turned up for morning coffee and something tasty. Sadly no one came, although we did see the right kind of bike passing through, but we were quite happy to sit there and enjoy our own something tasty.

Cardwell is famous for crab, and I had a fairly lavish sandwich full of big chunks of fresh, delicious mud crab and salad.

The Husband was unable to refuse yet another meat pie.

After this rather early lunch, we went for a shake-lunch-down walk along the waterfront, where I saw what must sure have been influenced by a quilter. This is the pattern known as Baptist Fan, which has been shamelessly stolen and adapted for paving.

After we’d parked Miz Lizzie and hooked her up to everything, it was still early afternoon, so we headed into the Cardwell hinterland to investigate something I’d read about. The Cardwell Spa pools are a series of seasonal water-holes where the water is an extraordinary and natural shade of milky turquoise-blue. See for yourself; if anything, my photos don’t do the true colour justice. I framed the photos carefully to edit out the happily splashing tourists… As an adopted Queenslander, 24°C and overcast is just a bit too cool for swimming, and the mozzies were out in force so I wasn’t tempted.

Tonight we’ll be concocting a lavish chicken curry for dinner followed by a moderately early night. The new mattresses are brilliantly comfy and I fancy a nice long sleep among the palm trees, three streets back from the lapping waves of the Hinchinbrook Channel. Tomorrow we complete the last long distance leg, Cardwell to Cairns, and then we can settle down for a week or so before we have to uproot again and start the journey home.

And finally, I leave you with some teeny tiny rainforest flora.




Nothing exotic, but sweet and pretty, glowing brightly in the dim coolness of the rainforest.