Atherton Tableland, Australia

Miles Away from Christmas (part XNUMX)


Platipus = platypus
Trio observes a branch of river on the outskirts of Yungaburra, looking for the strange and elusive platypus.
Bathing at Milla Falls
Grandmother, granddaughter and a group of young people cool off in the pond fed by the waterfalls of Milla Falls, one of several on the Atherton plateau.
Day off
Resident rests in the shade of the porch of Whistle Stop Cafe in Yungaburra.
Mattress Races
Children have fun at Lake Eachman, where sightings of freshwater crocodiles have been reported.
Frogs No Food, No Fuel
Yungaburra's quirky service station, also closed on Christmas Day.
Lake Fun
Aborigines refresh themselves during a family get-together in the heart of Lake Barrine.
faith that was on vacation
The picturesque Yungaburra chapel, with XNUMXth century architecture shared by most of the village.
Christmas sunset
Sun sets west of the Atherton plateau and marks the beginning of the end of December 25th which had very little Christmas.
christmas twilight
After sunset, twilight takes hold of Queensland's soaring interior.
Pelican Lake
Pelican rests in the calm waters of Lake Eachman.
shadow walk
Resident walks along a deserted Yungaburra promenade.
curtain fig tree
Visitors gaze at the huge Curtain Fig Tree.
On December 25th, we explored the high, bucolic yet tropical interior of North Queensland. We ignore the whereabouts of most of the inhabitants and find the absolute absence of the Christmas season strange.

It was our second Christmas in Australia. Two years earlier, we were walking between the coastal town of Cairns and Michaelmas Cay's Sand Island.

"Cleaning service, mates!! Cleaning service!!” It's only ten in the morning.

As is customary in these English-speaking parts of the world, the cleaners appear determined to kick us out of the room, indifferent to the Christmas spirit, the guests' more than likely need for sleep, the inflated prices of any room in Cairns and to the fact that, in most of the rest of the world, check-outs take place at midday.

We were already fed up with revolting with such injustice. Instead, we hurried to pack what we still had to pack, handed over the keys. We got into the old van which, for lack of campervans  (sold out), we had rented to roam the wild north queensland.

We left Cairns.

We turn on the grumpy engine and the pre-tuned museum radio on the Triple J station, always animated by young, irreverent, sometimes even rude, presenters, so we hear some of their rubber-boot compatriots complain.

Trip from Carripana to Queensland Atherton Tableland Unknown

Let the insults come. The day had dawned gloriously. We were unwilling to give up the best pop/rock we could ever find in the almost nowhere Aussies we were going to start exploring.

The carripan drags along a sequence of slopes on the Gillies highway.

It lifts us from the flat, sugar-covered lands planted on the edge of the Coral Sea to the upper stronghold of the Atherton Plateau.

Christmas in Australia, Golden Valley

Sun sets west of the Atherton plateau and marks the beginning of the end of December 25th which had very little Christmas.

We round, in slow motion, the Walshs Pyramid mound as Triple J recaptures mega-success aussie "We are The People” of the duo made eccentric Empire of the Sun.

The energy and contagious imagery of the song take us to the most fascinating parts of Oceania.

Yungaburra: A Picturesque but Almost Deserted Australia

A few kilometers later, still rocked by the unexpected musical catalyst and with the inevitable euphoria of those who rule the world, we enter Yungaburra. We realized, at a glance, that in those parts, we would hardly find subjects.

The area around Yungaburra was inhabited by sixteen Aboriginal peoples when the miners who traveled from the coast through the wild interior of the Outback there they began to stay overnight and, years later, to settle down.

In 1910, the railway also arrived. It brought the development of the population and the death of more than 80% of the indigenous people, due to the introduction of diseases and conflicts with settlers.

Christmas in Australia, Yungaburra Chapel

The picturesque Yungaburra chapel, with XNUMXth century architecture shared by most of the village.

As we walk through the postcard-perfect alleyways of Yungaburra, among XNUMXth-century Western Australian buildings, we get the impression that no one – neither natives nor invaders – had survived.

Today, Yungaburra was even one of the favorite weekend retreats for money slaves in Cairns, but on Christmas Day the owners of small tourist businesses were either hostages inside their homes or had offered families vacations elsewhere.

Among the potential visitors, only we were unaware of the reason for the abandonment of the 5th Dimension to which the territory had been voted.

On the way out, we pass in front of a picturesque Whistle Stop Cafe.

Christmas in Australia Day off

Resident rests in the shade of the porch of Whistle Stop Cafe in Yungaburra.

Here we see the first of the exceptions, a resident with a cell phone glued to her ear, buried on a sofa in the shade of a garden porch.

Confronted with its immobility, we wondered if it wasn't just any decorative humanoid.

Drifting through the Atherton Tableland Around Yungaburra

We continue out of the village.

Common sense dictated that we should refuel the carripan's tank. At the Frogs & Fuel service station, there was only a giant frog doll that the absentee owners kept lurking from the top of the pump's gaudy canopy.

Christmas in Australia, Frogs No Food

Yungaburra's quirky service station, also closed on Christmas Day.

In the village chapel, in his Eachman hotel and in the open surroundings, once again, no sign of people, not even of the religious square that half the world and – until then, we thought – the whole of Australia passed.

We are already on the green outskirts of Yungaburra when another mirage, lost between earthy familiarity and the eccentricity of any theme park dedicated to Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

In Search of Runaway Platypus

A mere twenty meters from the roadside, with no more souls around, we became aware of three figures, so as not to vary motionless. They are installed on a lying log, with the heads.

Christmas in Australia, Platipus = Platypus

Trio observes a branch of river on the outskirts of Yungaburra, looking for the strange and elusive platypus.

ties threaded into an equal number of rectangular openings in a siding made of wooden slats.

We decided to unravel the latest Atherton Highlands extravaganza.

The rammed earth had straddled in bright red its status as “Platipus viewing Platform” and it's already as part of a shapeless, slumped and almost silent quintet that we dedicate ourselves to spotting platypus in the downstream branch.

Of the five observers, only the most Australian – let's call him that because he wore the classic hat aussie akubra – is equipped with binoculars.

He has fun watching and whispering to his neighbors what he allegedly sees. Outsiders and strangers that we are, we don't get the same attention. We maintained that the animals were a mammalian and oviparous species with the appearance of a beaver crossed with a duck.

After twenty minutes without a trace of the real creatures, we left the platform sulking with the poverty of visual memory.

The Figueira de Indias Strangler Curtain Fig Tree

We come back à road determined to make up for this frustration and the absolute absence of Christmas trees on the plateau with the careful appreciation of one of the most impressive prickly pear trees in the southern hemisphere.

500 years old and with abundant strangling tentacles over fifty feet, befitting one of the saga's terrifying creatures. "Aliens", Curtain Fig Tree it was so called precisely because à long curtain we wove.

Over time, it took possession and made its host tree topple over another one beside it. Then he blew up the second one too. In this merciless way, it caused the decay of both due to its own structure and plant supremacy.

Today, it provokes in anyone who goes around it and looks at a dazzling match.

Christmas in Australia, Curtain Fig Tree

Visitors gaze at the huge Curtain Fig Tree.

And the Suspect Lake Eachman

We were arriving in the middle of the afternoon and, despite the area's almost a thousand meters of altitude, the summer heat had intensified, so we decided to cool off in the fresh waters of Lake Eachman, one of several that dot the region's evergreen landscape. .

When we approach the shore, we share it only with small turtles. It seems perfect for a good swim, not least because neither the guide book we use nor any sign mentions the presence of crocodiles.

Even so, as we alternate styles and coexist on the long journey to the opposite bank and back, the tiny possibility that we are crossing those reptiles' territory shivers.

We temporarily get rid of that fear when, in the second half of the return, we see a group of picnickers ozzies, splashing and having fun on inflatable mattresses.

Christmas in Australia, Lake Eachman Mattress Races

Children have fun at Lake Eachman, where sightings of freshwater crocodiles have been reported.

At night, on the Internet, we found several reports and warnings that, after all, specimens of freshwater crocs were often seen there.

We celebrate with yellow smiles the fact that we have not nurtured them.

Final Day Kilometers in a Strange Christmas Spirit

We continue to another lake, the Barrine, where we immediately detect a fauna and flora more suited to animal life documentaries than to new swimming. Along the shore, we saw more turtles and water dragons.

Christmas in Australia, Lake Eachman, Pelican

Pelican rests in the calm waters of Lake Eachman.

Into the large lagoon, large flocks of pelicans and other birds.

We are also attracted by the reception of a tea house anchored further on, but, as we feared, the establishment is closed.

We flank the structure and, on the bank behind, we come across an aboriginal family in full bathing and affective ecstasy. "Better Christmas than this is impossible!" we shoot to mess with them.

Christmas in Australia, Aboriginal family

Aborigines refresh themselves during a family get-together in the heart of Lake Barrine.

To which the bulky, half-dressed matriarch responds with good disposition: “Well, the kids couldn't be happier, that's for sure. Much better than being pestering us with gifts!"

We have faith in your joy and tranquility.

We took advantage of the court's last sunlight in new and delicious lake baths.

Christmas in Australia, Curtain Fig Tree

The sun leaves the almost antipodes of Queensland.

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safari
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Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
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José Saramago's Basalt Raft

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(I) Eminent Annapurnas

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autumn in the caucasus

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Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Religion
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From Nightmare to Dazzle

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On Rails
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The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

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Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

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Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Wildlife
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The Pantanal of the Pampas

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Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
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