In early January we had a relaxing day trip to Tully with Cheetah. Tully is the rainfall capital of Australia, although there have been times when (shock, horror) they have been accused of topping up their official rain gauge in order to maintain that reputation. Obviously having the highest rainfall is a great source of community pride - even more important than maintaining your communal meteorological integrity. Things have settled down these days and it's all water under the bridge.
So proud are they of their achievements in the race to the top of the precipitation stakes that they built a giant gum boot with a spiral staircase inside. That is Mr Sunshine looking out from the top of the boot and Cheetah sitting on the foot. The sign inside the boot tells you all of the important data about Tully's rainfall.
From the top of the boot you get an excellent view of the Tully Sugar Mill. Sugar cane, banana, paw paw and pineapple farms blanket the landscape from Rollingstone to the Daintree, but sugar cane dominates. Unfortunately sugar cane is also responsible for a dark stain on Queensland's history when Pacific Islanders were tricked into leaving their islands and forced into virtual slavery on many farms.
An unexpected delight of the day was the colony of woven bird nests near the giant gum boot. I have since found out that they are Metallic Starlings (also called Shining Starlings). Apparently their colonies can grow so large and heavy that they bring down tree branches and as the nests lay crushed and scattered on the ground the goannas, bandicoots, rats and snakes clean up the mess of injured birds and nestlings. Note to self: this idea could be sold to the creators of Angry Birds.
On the way home we saw a sign to Murray Falls which neither of us had ever heard of so we rounded out the day by taking a 20 kilometer detour that was well worth the effort. Apart from the main falls, there is a series of rapids and pools that turbulate like a washing machine. Here I have to apologise for not having a better photo, but we were under attack while trying to enjoy the spectacular scenery. March flies the size of baby elephants bit us and tormented us until we gave up and left.
Note to self: never, ever go bush without insect repellent!