October 31, 2017

Visiting Home Rule Falls in Rossville

While staying in Rossville with John & Steven, there was very little to do in the actual town of Rossville. Most of our excursions were north of the farm in Cooktown. However, one gem which Rossville can claim is Home Rule Falls. Home Rule Rainforest Lodge is a communal lodge and campground that sits on Wallaby Creek, a prized freshwater creek. In addition to the creek, Home Rule Falls and Cedar Bay can be accessed from the lodge's property.

Lucky for us, the owners are fine with travelers stopping by for a hike up to the falls or trips to the bay. For either destination, be prepared for a hike. The falls are 35-45 minutes from the homestead, and you'll be climbing up rocks and over tree trunks. It's definitely manageable but you'll work up a sweat. From the Home Rule Lodge, you'll see a path leading off the campground clearing. Once you start walking down the cleared path, you'll see signs posted on the trees for the hiking trail. You will definitely encounter the infamous Wait-a-While vines, the local tree acacia cuspidifolia. The tree grows vines with hooked spines and they will tangle you up. You'll without a doubt be waiting a while why you try to untangle the thorns from your clothing and hair!

October 28, 2017

Queensland Quirk: Microwaves for Mailboxes

I’ve now been in Queensland for three months! And as of now, I’ve got another month or so in the state before I head to New South Wales. Queensland has several local quirks that I’ve been told don’t cross over into other states. One of the more perplexing quirks is people using microwaves for mailboxes. Yep, you read that correctly. People put broken microwaves in their front yard to hold their mail and packages. And sometimes they don’t stop at one mailbox… one house I saw way up north had three microwaves out front. I assume they receive a lot of mail.

My first host had a microwave out front so I had to inquire as to why this is a thing. His first response was “What else do you do with a broken microwave?” I am being honest when I say the idea of throwing a broken appliance away never crossed his mind. I’m still flabbergasted. In some parts, especially very rural areas, everything is held onto in hopes that it can be repurposed in the future. Their commitment to recycling is amazing – but you definitely end up with sheds and backyards full of broken crap waiting for its rebirth. The second reason he offered seemed more practical, the microwave stops your mail from getting wet. Queensland has a very wet summer so in that case, I’d have to agree that the microwave mailbox serves a purpose.

And when Queenslanders don’t have access to an extra microwave they’ll improvise… On top of dozens and dozens of microwaves, I’ve also seen oil barrels, plastic tubs, breadboxes, and vacuum drums used to hold mail. I even saw a three-foot-tall chicken made out of plastic egg cartons which served as someone’s mailbox. Apparently, anything goes here as long as it’s lying around and will keep your bills dry!

October 21, 2017

Meet the Hosts: Condon Cattle Crew

Guys, I am very aware how backed up I am on posts. I’ve just wrapped up my fourth WWOOF host and I’ve only introduced you to my first host so far… I know, I know. I swear at some point I’ll start getting a schedule down for more consistent posts. But if I’m totally honest, my daily siesta is getting in the way of my productivity.

To get started on catching you up, let’s backtrack to the end of August when I was staying with Phil and Tessa Condon in Ravenshoe, a town in the Tablelands region. Again, it’s pronounced ravens-hoe, not raven-shoe. I spent two and half weeks with the Condon’s learning the ins and outs of daily cattle management.

This is the Thanks I get! I feed them daily and they still shun me.

October 2, 2017

Visiting Trevethan Falls in Cooktown

Trevethan Falls was my first waterfall in Australia! Throughout Queensland, a lot of the beaches and rivers are infested with saltie crocs so you can’t swim and need to be alert just to approach the waterfront. So anytime you find a croc-free water source, you have to get in!

Trevethan Falls: pretty & cold.
At Trevethan be prepared to jump right in because the water is cold, cold, cold. I made the mistake of trying to wade in on the rocks at the surface and it was miserable. It took me a solid five minutes to get all the way in. I would have been better off jumping in from the surrounding boulders. We visited in the middle of the winter season, but I doubt the water gets much warmer even during the summer. The falls and swimming hole are surrounded by trees and get limited sunlight during the day.