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BEACHES & WILDLIFE  
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A beach or two and a kangaroo...

Our big adventure has been a tour of Australia’s East coast.  And so we have become an authority on good beaches.  Northern Queensland has some of the finest, but you must watch out for crocodiles, fatal marine stingers, and the deadly stone fish.  Qld Tourism won’t be hiring me in a hurry.

Cooktown has some fine samples.  Finch Bay is our local beach.  It’s a beautiful beach.  Here is the mouth of the estuary Garry once crabbed.  Cow Bay on the Bloomfield track is also worthy of a mention.  A rather difficult bush walk with two kids finds us at Cherry Tree Bay, but it was a very windy day.  Archer point, just out of Cooktown, is one of our favourites.  A dirt track allows you to drive right up to the beach, with shady coconut palms.  The sand bars create a shallow, crystal clear pool of 30+ degrees water.  On the other side of the point is a great lookout and a base of an old war turret.  We met some beach campers at Archer Point.  We were envious of their set up and ability to camp at such a beautiful location.  They labelled us “The Packers” travelling with our fancy Land Rover, staying in expensive caravan parks.

Back at camp, another Lace Monitor lizard sighting brings great excitement.  Garry quickly runs for the camera to get that photo opportunity.  Fellow caravaners gather around the tree the monitor has taken cover in.  Hoges warns us all, “You’ve gotta be careful of these monitors, if they mistake you for a tree they will slice you to death …well almost”.  Not to be outdone, cool as a cucumber, hand on tree, Garry rattles off his expert knowledge on the Lace Monitor.  Meanwhile hundreds off ants swarm his tree leaning arm.  He has the groups full attention as he jumps up and down, screaming like a school girl.  Good one ‘Ace’.

The wildlife is never ending here.  We have a local dingo that roams the caravan park at dusk.  Wallabies have become a regular feature, some with adorable joeys in pouch.  The wallabies sound the alarm of the dingos presence by slapping their tails on the ground.  Not that I plan on taking up bird watching, but we’ve been visited by the rare blue-winged kookaburra, a papuan frogmouth, and are regularly stalked by the ‘scary birds’ more commonly known as a Bustard.  There have been two sightings of a three-metre python in the caravan park.  On one occasion it was found on top of a neighbour’s tent.  Jodi is contemplating a tent upgrade.

Hoges is a generous bloke.  He pops over to deliver some fresh fish from his outing to the reef.  He makes us laugh with his disappointment, “We took a couple of sheilas out to the reef today, they got sea sick and we had to turn back”.

(See our pictures in the GALLERY and watch our ARCHER POINT, LACE MONITOR, and DINGO videos)

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