Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Trip Journal Dec. 23

On our last day in FNQ, we tried to go on an aboriginal nature walk in Mossman, but found it closed for the summer holiday. Mossman is different from Cairns, Port Douglas, and Daintree in that it has a large aboriginal population. There is an aboriginal reservation near the town, and there is still a lot of social segregation too. We learned a little bit about aboriginal traditions from the interpretive signs on a walk we took in Mossman Gorge, but nothing about how people live today.

Next we drove inland for a taste of rural Australia. It was hilly, green, and alternately foggy and rainy, which reminded David of Scotland. All of the towns we passed were slow and small, and we visited a Mom-and-Pop mining museum in Herberton, where the volunteer guide took us on a personal tour. The museum focused on mining and display of minerals, but also mentioned some local characters, like a man who built a house in town but lived in a prospector's hovel instead, unable to stop looking for tin.

Near Yungaburra, we visited a 500-year-old curtain fig tree, a pond in a deep crater, and a waterfall. And on the way back to Cairns, we took a windy, mountainous road that dipped above and below the clouds before returning to civilization.