Monday morning we drove a back road south from Yungaburra and stopped at a few waterfalls. We saw an interesting bird with a red head which we were later told is a bush turkey, somewhat of a pest.
We stopped for lunch in Ravenshoe. At the local bakery we bought lunch, a sausage roll and a lamington. They are both Australian foods that brought back memories of the tuck shop of my school in Brisbane.
We visited the local museum and had a great talk with the volunteer. It was interesting to hear about the local opposition to when the local rain forest was made a world heritage site. It meant all the locals who worked in the logging industry lost their jobs. We also stopped at the grocery store and bought some snack foods. Duke insisted on buying a jar of vegemite.
The volunteer in the information office in Ravenshoe encouraged us to continue to follow the interior route which runs from Cairns to Sydney instead of cutting over to the coast road which he said rarely is actually on the coast. From the interior route we can cut over to the coast when we get west of Brisbane. We need to be near Brisbane Friday night for my reunion on Saturday. After we left Ravenshoe we almost immediately left the rain forest behind and were in dry land covered in with eucalyptus.
We stopped for the night at Undara National Park where we stayed at a place called The Undara Experience. We saw our first kangaroo as we pulled in. Undara Experience has all sorts of accommodations and we chose the tent cabins and used our sleeping bags.
You can't drive in the park on our own. You have to go on a guided tour. We went on the sunset wildlife tour. The guide drove about 20 of us out through the bush to a high point to watch the sunset. Along the way we saw many different kinds of kangaroos.
When we got to the end of the road we climbed to the top of a hill and the guide opened champagne and set out the fruit, cheese and crackers to share. We could see miles and miles of uninterrupted bush – trees and grassland with some mountains on the horizon. We watched a stunning sunset. It was a magical moment. The guide said that this is what Australia is all about.
After the sunset we drove over to the opening of one of the lava tubes. These lava tubes run for miles and are massive. We watched the bats flying out and even saw a snake in a tree over the opening trying to catch the bats as they flew out. Our guide said that Undara just became a park in the 1990s.
When we got back from the tour we had a very good dinner in the open air restaurant at Undara and then went on a flashlight walking tour with another guide. They have had quite a bit of rain lately and the cicadas were very loud. (kind of like loud grasshoppers). He pointed out several of them on the trees coming out of their shells and drying out their wings.
Apparently they live for years underground and come out after rains. They live for only a few days, mate and then die. Our guide pointed out several other insects, and birds and a snake.
Sleeping outside is really nice. The weather was perfect and it is great to wake up to all the birds making lots of noise. Before we left we watched a pair of kangaroos and a joey for a long time. They were only about 20 feet from us!
We ate our pineapple for breakfast before we hit the road.