(17 July 2010)
Mission Beach – possibly what Byron Bay was before it was raided by cashed up merchant bankers from Sydney thinking they could be hippies for a week each year – is a pleasant detour off the Bruce Highway. While there is an abundance of boutique lodgings and caravan parks, the place seems to hold onto enough chillin’ rustic charm to make it one of the more attractive beach holiday destinations.
Soraya has one of her ‘scared of death’ moments as she is fearful of being anywhere remotely near a coconut tree in case a coconut falls on your head. Anyway, after a picnic lunch, we walk on the sand away from the countless coconut trees that fringe the beach.
Along the beach, we come across a palm frond hut someone had made so the tribe relives a ‘Man vs Wild’ moment. Later on, we come across an abandoned lilo, stranded by the surf, its adventure at its end, or perhaps yet to begin?
On our drive to and from Mission Beach, there are again many signs warning of cassowaries, yet alas, we luck out on seeing one – the closest we get are the models and murals of cassowaries that profligate the townships.
Our stop for the night is the rest area in Babinda, about an hour’s drive short of Cairns. The place already has many other travellers settling in for the evening and with the recent rainfall, there is little choice in finding a ‘dry’ spot as most available and reasonably safe spots are slowly being reduced to mud.
The next day, in the drizzle, we seek the famed Boulders just a short drive west of town – the boulders are a collection of house-sized granite slabs that populate Babinda Creek, which in company with the falls, offer a dangerous place for a swim as many warning signs attest. The local aboriginal story on the creation of the Boulders makes for a poignant reminder of the dangers.