Oct 2, 2000

Today, we left Cairns and started to head south. But to keep the trip interesting, we decided to head up into the Atherton Tablelands. The hill was steep with lots of turns and it took us quite a while to get up to the top, but there were lots of turn-outs and viewing areas to look back at the views.

Once on top, the area was fairly flat with rolling hills and lots of farmlands. Because of the height (about 1,000 meters), the temperature was a bit cooler and nights get a lot cooler.

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Fig trees often don't grow from the ground up, but instead grow on another tree and strangle it and take over. Often it starts with a bird dropping a seed in the branches of a tree. The fig tree starts to grow and the first thing it does is drop down some roots through the air and have them attach to the ground to bring up moisture and nutrients. As it grows, it creates new roots that go through the same process, and eventually strangle the host tree and take over.

They call the tree in the picture below the Curtain Fig because it first took over one tree, killed it, and then there must have been a wind storm or something to cause the tree to fall over against a second tree. The fig tree then spread over the second tree too, and dropped down roots from the tree on an angle, producing so many roots it looks like a curtain.

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On leaving the tablelands by a different route to head back to the coast (we made a loop through it) we had to stop and look at the Milla Milla waterfalls. You can swim in the pool and under the falls if you desire. We didn't, but it's apparently a popular local spot.

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Once back on the main highway, we drove south to Arlie Beach, by the Whitsundays. Our idea was to drive for a day, relax for a day on the long trip south. Another sunset at the end of this long day. We've had a lot of sunsets as it hasn't rained once since we arrived.

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