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Touch of Paradise Part 5

It has been 2 weeks since my last report and you probably thought we had been taken by a crocodile but a derailment story is hard to beat.
For the last couple of weeks we have been wandering around the Atherton Tablelands. We enjoyed the Herberton Historic Village and the next morning we visited the Mining Museum at the Information Centre. Herberton was settled because of tin mining. The museum was very interesting but there was so much information that I didn’t have time to read much of it. I often wish these centres would put all the information in a booklet and sell the booklet. All the hard work has been done as they would just have to print the information boards and the photographs. I would buy them and then could read at my own pace. I am fascinated by the stories of our past.
In Atherton we visited the Crystal caves and were amazed at the amethysts, even though they had come from South America. We camped at Lake Tinaroo. The sign said “not suitable for caravans” but that didn’t stop them. The road was narrow, windy, rough and with big pot-holes but the camp spot was beautiful. We were interested to read that the lake was developed to provide for the tobacco industry.
We camped at Rocky Creek Memorial park which is the site of a WW2 Rehabilitation Centre and Hospital. This is convenient for Mareeba and also Kuranda. We went to Kuranda for two nights which gave us plenty of time to look around and visit the markets. We went to the Bird House where they have two beautiful Macaws and two Cassowaries. Then to the Butterfly Sanctuary where we were given a tour and learned how they harvest the butterfly eggs, hatch them and develop the next generation of butterflies. We also discovered why it is almost impossible to photograph the stunningly beautiful Ulysses Butterfly. We also went to Barron Falls which were not much more than a trickle – more like barren falls!
Back at Mareeba we visited the Coffee Works where we enjoyed the coffee tasting and the amazing collection of coffee machines and pots. We avoided the chocolates and liqueurs as we are not eating sugar. We also saw the museum at the Information Centre.
On our way to Chillagoe we visited an Organic Farm. After seeing plantations of bananas, mangoes, coffee, etc. it was fascinating to see the neat rows of a market garden. It is beside the river and they currently grow sweetcorn, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
At Chillagoe we did a cave tour, saw the ruins of the old smelters and were fascinated by the huge blocks of marble which are currently being mined in the area.
The next area to visit is Cooktown.