(12-13 July 2010)
Continuing our journey up the Bruce Highway, we look for another ‘free’ campsite, thanks to the great guide book that is Camps 5. Firstly, we try Balgal Beach just south-east of Rollingstone (yep, in a word a town, not a band), which proved to be full, so onto Rollingstone itself. ‘Bushy’ Parker* Park is our home for the next couple of nights – a very large free camp site. The nearby creek is a picturesque bonus.
We take a trip up to the hamlet of Paluma in the mountains – the day, misty and drizzly – another opportunity for the tribe to don boots and raincoats. This is our first walk in a rain – forest! There is a short 500m loop track we take – with the fairly typical flora of many rainforests: birds nest ferns, creepers, and trees with high canopies – the drip, drip, dripping of water a reminder of why these forests are named so.
As we finish our walk, I discover a couple of leeches on my hand which I quickly brush off – they had only just ‘landed’ on me, so hadn’t sunk their suckers in. Immediately, I check Zak, who also had one, and we all head to the toilets to do a complete check. Leeches were the closest to wildlife we encountered on this walk.
Afterwards, we head back down towards the coast and repair to the Frosty Mango for some ice cream treats. As we enter, there is a TV crew filming the ice cream range, and the tribe are instantly asked to be part of the picture – ‘the kids from casting central’ supposedly ended up on Queensland Weekender, not that we’d see it. Despite the variety of tropical fruit ice cream, the tribe go for their favourites: strawberry, chocolate and vanilla; while M chose chocolate (of course) and I go for the jackfruit (yum!). Other tropical flavours on offer include pawpaw, black sapote, soursop, rambutan, dragon fruit and lychee.
(* Lt ‘Bushy’ Parker was a former local resident who was incarcerated at Colditz during WWII after being shot down in his Spitfire, who made many attempts to escape, though never succeeding).