Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Lot Further North

I have decided it is high time that I shared the rest of my warm northern holiday adventure with the 'a lot further north' part and a lot further north I went. I spent 5 days of the second week of the school holidays on Thursday Island visiting a friend who is a teacher up there. I'm not going to write much rather I am going to let the pictures and their captions do all the talking.
At around Sunday lunch time myself and two friends (one who lives up there) flew from Cairns to Horn Island. I was on the land side of the plane, looking to the West. The weirdest thing was flying along the East coast and seeing water to the West at we flew over the top of Cape York.
On landing we collected luggage and caught were transferred by bus to the ferry to Thursday Island. I couldn't believe how clear the water was, what an amazing colour. On arriving on Thursday Island we hopped on the courtesy taxi to go up the street to my friends house which is a complex shared with other teachers.

We dumped our stuff and Miss K took us on a driving tour of the island ending up at Green Hill Fort where we waited for the sun to set. Best view on the Island.

During our stay we explored the Island a bit more on foot. We checked out the local wildlife especially the hermit crabs down on the beaches ... 100s of them. We looked at the shops and thought about buying florals which are the local clothes made in bright floral prints. We also may have passed through the Top Pub which is the Northern most pub in Australia.

We went croc spotting every night to see what we could see. We saw 3 one night, exciting. We picnicked beside Bach Beach where there were more hermit crabs. Bach Beach has pylons poking out of the water that are all that remain of the netted swimming area. There is no swimming here unless you want to be croc or shark bait. We also visited the art gallery and got a run down on the local area after looking at some amazing artworks and carvings.

We spent most of a day back on Horn Island to check out the WWII historical sites. These sites are slowly going to be restored so that people can walk through the cement lined trenches, go inside the underground communication room where the gunners orders came from as well as see how the guns were set up. We saw many interesting things including crash sites and machine gun nests. We also walked through the museum where there is a huge collection of articles from the war as well as items that have been picked up around the area mixed in with local art and culture.

Although it was overcast and windy most of the time we were on Thursday Island we did get to see another beautiful sunset from Green Hill. This time we were prepared though armed with a picnic rug, glasses of the plastic variety, wine and food.

Before leaving we made sure we stopped by the grave yard where locals are buried including those from the outlying islands. There is also a fairly large area of Japanese pearlers graves which is why they believe that Thursday Island was never bombed in WWII. Some of the graves date back to pre WWI.
On Friday we hopped back on the ferry to Horn Island then onto the bus that met us at the jetty. As we flew back to the mainland I was again on the land side but clouds meant I wouldn't have gotten any reef photos anyway. I think we nearly froze as we departed the plane in shorts and t-shirts to a cool Cairns day. A bit of a shock after the balmy (if a bit windy) tropical weather of the far, far north. I then flew down to Townsville so I could head back to the station the next day.
The trip back was filled with wattle and wildlife and despite the fact that it meant holidays were over I was glad to be back after my northern adventures. I know I would head back up there again as it was relaxed and there is so much more I would love to see.

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