We woke up this morning, saw what a beautiful day it was going to be and thought: “Let’s get away from the computer and visit the towns in the southern ATHERTON TABLELANDS“. It was a trip we had been meaning to do for many days, but there was always something stopping us from driving there. We’re happy we finally made it as we discovered lots of new and interesting sites.
Our first stop for the day was TOLGA, a town we had visited before, but I have missed the Hand Carved “Heritage in Timber” Poles and I was interested in having a look at them And this is what we found there. Nice, aren’t they?
Even though we were a bit pressed for time, we couldn’t miss stopping at the HOU WANG CHINESE TEMPLE, in ATHERTON, just a few metres away. Noelene, the Museum’s manager, was very kind to offer us a quick insight into the Chinese people who migrated to Queensland late in the 18th century. It’s a very interesting, and sometimes hard, story. We promise to investigate a bit more and we’ll write about it soon. I’m sure you’ll be as interested as we are.
We were then taken to the actual Chinese Temple, where the Chinese community celebrated their religious ceremonies. We couldn’t have guessed what the Temple had awaiting for us. As soon as Brian, our friendly guide, opened the doors, our mouth opened in disbelief. A beautiful Chinese shrine at the farthest end of the room, surrounded by wonderfully crafted timber ornaments and poles, all of them carved in China and brought to Queensland specially to be donated to this temple. Surely you are thinking that whoever donated the ornaments was a very unselfish person. No worries, we thought so too. But the reality is that it wasn’t such an unselfish act. Whoever donated anything got to have his name carved in the ornament as well, so everybody knew who had donated what and honored them. Not so unselfish after all, was it?
Apart from the Temple itself, visitors can also see the Community Hall and the kitchen. The kitchen was very interesting, with a display of what the kitchen looked like when the Chinese workers were still using it. And there’s another surprise at the Community Hall, but I’ll leave it for you to discover it when you come to Tropical North Queensland. We don’t want to reveal every little secret this region has to offer, we’d rather you discover them yourself.
Then on to HERBERTON, where Steve wanted to visit a few of the businesses he had been in touch with. Nowadays, Herberton is a little town, but not so long ago it was the richest tin mining field in Australia, with up to 20 pubs at the time. Hard to believe now. However, although Herberton is now a modern town, the old mining town remains at one end of the town, with its streets, houses, etc. The whole town has a very eerie feeling about it, as if the pioneers were still around. We would love to do a tour of the old town, maybe we’ll go back very soon.
Then on to IRVINEBANK, only 30 kilometres away. However, before Irvinebank there are two sites worth visiting, or at least, taking notice of. One of them is the Pioneer Cemetery and the other one is, well, the Windmill. Nothing unusual, a windmill in a rural area. However, this one is located right in the middle of the roads and vehicles have to actually avoid it. If you don’t believe me, see if for yourself.
In Irvinebank we had a look at a few National Trust Heritage Buildings, buildings that date back to the 19th century, when the pioneers were still alive and kicking. Anyone can still see their traces all over the place and it really feels as if they are going to be walking in the streets any minute.
Next stop was RAVENSHOE, Queensland’s highest town, proud location of Queensland’s highest pub. Needless to say, we had to check the pub and it felt very high, honestly. Ravenshoe is home to Capella Stream Train, a 1925 vintage steam locomotive that still run tours every Sunday. A shame we didn’t make the trip on a Sunday, it must be a very interesting trip. I guess that’s another reason to drive down to here soon. Also very close to Ravenshoe visitors can find the Wind Farm, Queensland’s largest wind farm, with 20 windmill working non stop. We couldn’t go home without having a close look to them, and this is what we saw.
Ravenshoe on to INNOT HOT SPRINGS, where locals and tourists alike can enjoy the beneficial waters of the creek. Just one piece of advice: think twice before you decide to try the temperature of the water with your feet. I did and I can tell you my poor feet are still suffering because the water was absolutely boiling. The two couples who were enjoying a hot bath had been wiser and had gone a bit further away from the mouth of the stream, where the water is warmer. And they seemed to be having a very good time…
Ooops, I nearly forgot the highlight of the day for me, the Millstream Waterfalls. They are Australia’s widest single-drop waterfall during the wet season. I think we’re in the dry season now, but they are still impressive, I cannot imagine what they look like when they are at their best.
MOUNT GARNET was our last stop for the day, before we made it back home to a delicious pizza and a refreshing bottle of red. Mount Garnet is another old mining town, although, unlike the rest of the towns in the area, Mount Garnet is still home to a mine and gold prospectors and fossickers still make their way down here to try their luck. We haven’t heard of anyone who has become rich these days by finding enough gold, but you never know when it can be your lucky day.
And that’s all for today. We will come back very soon with more interesting updates. See you soon.