Sunday 17 July
I was spending a few days in Innsfail, North Queensland to spend time with my brother. He loved having someone to hike with, so we managed to cover quite a few amazing kilometres together.
On this day, we were up early to drive to Etti Bay to catch the sunrise and enjoy bacon and eggs cooked on the BBQ. The previous 2 days had given me sunny, blue skies, so I was a little disappointed on our arrival, with the heavy sky before us. As the minutes ticked by, the sun's rays managed to peak through. Not a burst of colour, but a soft, muted light, adding to the tranquillity of the beach at this hour.
A cassowary arrived thinking it would share our breakfast. We made ourselves look big and she quietly skulked away.
An hour's drive south had us in South Mission Beach, at the head of the Kennedy Trail.
The trail was named for one of Australia's earliest explorers - Edmund Kennedy.
"On 28 April 1848 Edmund Kennedy and twelve men sailed from Sydney Harbour in the barque Tam O' Shanter escorted by the survey ship HMS Rattlesnake. They arrived at Kennedy Bay, but once landed, the party encountered terrible terrain such as mangrove swamps, mountains, lagoons, rivers, and thick rainforest that made it almost impossible to travel with horses, carts and sheep."
Kennedy's goal was to find a way to the gulf and explore Cape York. The expedition was fraught with hardship. In December and only 20 miles from the tip of Cape York, the party consisted only of Kennedy and his native tracker, Jackie Jackie. Kennedy was speared to death, but Jackie Jackie made the final distance to the rendezvous at Port Albany.
Looking north from our carpark, along the length of South Mission Beach.
The 8 km return trail included beach and forest walking, with picturesque island views. It meandered through a variety of coastal forest taking us to beaches and rocky headlands. Much of the path was boardwalk.
Like all beaches in the north, there was a crocodile warning sign.
I wouldn't have been at all surprised if I had spotted one, dozing on the bank here.
Kennedy Bay - not at all welcoming, even today.
Centre - Bedarra Island
As we retraced our steps, the sun was bravely trying to show its face, bringing tropical colours to the sea.
A type of salvia brought some colour to the shoreline.
It was drizzling at the completion of the hike. We drove to a shelter at Mission Beach, enjoyed our sandwiches and then set off north along the Ulysses trail to Perry Harvey Jetty - 4 kms return.
The afternoon breeze had picked up. The Coral Sea was no longer tranquil, but ruffled with white caps.
Sitting in the lee of Clump Point, this small bay offered a calm hideaway.
Dense rainforest to the shoreline.
A now familiar sight to me, as local residents beg drivers to slow down and save the cassowary population.
With no coastal sightings of crocs, Jim took me to a high bank on the North Johnson River, 15 mins out of town, to see this specimen.
Although I hadn't seen the coast at its tropical, winter best, it had been a fabulous day of being out and about in the great outdoors of the north. Midwinter and the temperature was still in the high 20's. Such a shame that in summer, it is unsafe to enter the water because of the deadly stingers.
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