Australia - Queensland

From the border with the Northern Territory, in the northwest of Queensland, the road took us from Dry Savannah Grasslands to the Wet Tropics along the Pacific Coast, before heading southbound to New South Wales.
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The 3700 km-long Savannah Highway connects Broome (Western Australia), Katherine (Northern Territory) and Cairns (Queensland). Hell's Gate is located near the border between Northern Territory and Queensland. In the 1800s, it was said that no law was enforced west of this point. Having crossed this area in the spring and already suffered from the heat, our impression was that of having rather left Hell behind us...
...So finding a couple of a couple of ''watering holes'' was... heaven, more especially fine ones such these in Normanton (population 1100) or Croydon (population 255).
Club Hotel Pub in Croydon... a welcome stop!
We took a ''shortcut'' through Dimbulah, hoping to reach Cooktown through inland trails and... bumped into Mount Mullligan Station, with its ruins of an old mining site and village. Like many other stations throughout the country, the historical station house has been turned into a B&B.
When in 1770 the Endeavour crushed its hull against a reef, its Lieutenant James Cook did not imagine that a century later, gold would be discovered nearby and would turn the settlement into a busy harbour.
Further out at sea, now called Endeavour Reef, is where Lieutenant James Cook and his crew ran into trouble. Coral such as seen in the foreground no doubt inspired the name of Cape Tribulation. On a more recent and positive note, in 1988 the nearby forests were listed as a World Heritage site.
Daintree is the biggest tropical rainforest in Australia. The vegetation thrives from the hills in the west all the way down to the very edge of the sea. Shown here is the lace pattern formed by roots entangled in the mangrove mud.
On the coastal plain near Mossman Gorge, sugar cane farmers have built railways along their fields to facilitate moving the harvested crop. The yellow spots on the left are precisely that: wagons of a cane train.
Ashore the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas population doubles during tourist season. The town was established in 1877 when gold was discovered nearby by James V. Mulligan.
The city of Cairns stretches for more than 50 km along the coast. At the time of its foundation in 1876, it was barely an inlet in mangrove. Debris, ballast from quarries and other materials were used to fill the swamps. Dairy products and agriculture led to the creation of a harbour which in turn supported a booming economy as demonstrated by fine Art Deco buildings such as this one.
At 928 meters above sea level, the town of Ravenshoe is the highest in Queensland. Due to its elevation, the temperatures here average 6 degrees C below those found in Cairns... What a blessing and a nice change from the hot and humid air of the coast...
Millstream Falls run over dark basalt rock. When the water flow increases, the river can be here as wide as 90 meters across. This explains why Millstream is considered to be the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia.
On Atherton Tableland, the combination of elevation up to 1200 meters and a rich, volcanic soil makes dairy farming a source of wealth for the inhabitants of this plateau. Who would expect such a landscape under tropical latitudes?
The country township of Eungella is nicknamed Little Switzerland not only for its farming activity and landscapes resembling its European counterpart... No wonder there is a Swiss community happily established here!
The Pioneer Valley below Eungella National Park is the longest stretch of sub-tropical forest in Australia. Its emerald green, lush lowlands are carpeted by sugarcane fields and dotted with charming small towns such as Eungella.
Australian Brahman Breeder's Association Limited is hosted in this fine building in Rockhampton. Originated from India, it is via the USA that Brahman cattle were imported to Australia in the 30's and proved to adapt quite well to local climatic conditions.
Located on the bank of the Mary River, Maryborough was founded in the second half of the 19th century and grew rapidly due to its status as a major port of entry for many immigrants. One of them was Pamela Lyndon Travers, who gave life in 1934 to the character of Mary Poppins. The remarkable unity of style found in the architecture of the town's center makes it a heritage center much appreciated by visitors.
South of Frazer Island, the beach between Rainbow Bay and Noosa Heads extends over 50 kilometers. It is in fact the shortest route to connect these two places... but only at low tide! Half way, on a spot named "Coloured Sands", minerals such as zircon and rutile are responsible for those amazing hues.
Volcanoes created the peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains. They cast their shade over pine and eucalyptus forests as well as on open fields where sugar cane and pineapple thrive.
The resort town of Caloundra is not far away, in fact just across the channel from Bribie Island, where this photo was taken.
From this quiet island, it is hard to look to the south and imagine that the Gold Coast is a continuous stretch of urban development, from Caloundra to Brisbane and all the way to the border with New South Wales and beyond.