Eco Rainforest Tour

April 22, 2005

Today we decided to get out of the city and do a Rainforest and Waterfall Tour. Initially we had wanted to do another snorkeling trip but the winds were too much for our boat so we decided to try some different. We started our day off by visiting a couple of small, historic towns which were built around the sugar cane industry. The entire area is surrounded by sugar cane and banana fields so we learned quite a bit of how they produce sugar and bananas. Once we passed through the towns we headed up to the Babinda Boulders to hike down into the rainforest to see The Boulders and Devil's Pool. The history of Devil's Pool is that a young aboriginal couple had fled their parents to be together and the girl had drown in the Devil's Pool and the legend says her spirit still lives in the Pool. According to our guide she is still looking for her lost love so when a man comes close to the Pools she calls to him and once he is in her spell he can't escape her trance. Over 14 guys have been killed in the Pools since 1960, with the latest happening 4 months ago.

During our walk back to the bus it started to pour so we had our morning tea in the bus to try to keep warm. All of our tours in Australia have included morning and afternoon tea which we aren't used to having so we usually pass but this time I tried some tea just to get warm. Bleh, but the cookies were appreciated.

Our next stop was to visit Paronella Park and the Mena Creek Falls. This place is utterly amazing and seems so far removed from Australia. If we didn't know better we would've thought we were in Mexico or Spain. Jose' Paronella had created the park w/ his wife Margerita for their pleasure and to provide a reception center for the public. They held movies and dances for the public from 1935-1979. Throughout this time they had to deal with severe floods and in 1979 a fire which destroyed the castle. Today the park is maintained for tours and other functions. We were able to tour the grounds and they were gorgeous. Being located in such a lush location the grounds are covered by palm trees and other vegetation which the family had planted. Since the structures don't have walls any longer moss has covered most of the buildings which gives it plenty of additional character.

There were also various critters living in the park and one of my least favorite was located through The Love Tunnel. As you can see here they should really call it The Bat Tunnel. The bats were everywhere and it just was too much so we made a quick dash to the exit as this point.

After Paronella Park we headed to lunch up in the mountains at a local dairy farm. It continued to rain so we sat under the covered deck and took in the great view. Everything is so lush and green and the with the rain being so consistent the waterfalls and creeks were at their best.

The next stop was the Millaa Millaa Falls. If you say that w/ the Australian accent it almost sounds like Miller Miller which is what I thought they had said at first. It was Friday so can you blame me? The falls were gorgeous and if it hadn't been raining it would have been a great place to take a dip.

From the falls we visited the Giant Curtain Fig Tree.

On our way down from the rainforest mountains we enjoyed bananas from a local farm. These bananas were bar none the best we'd ever had. Perfect!! Although it rained most of the day we thoroughly enjoyed the Eco Tour and felt that we came away with a greater knowledge of Northern Queenslands environment.

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