This place couldn’t be more on the beach if you tried! Van and campsites literally sit at the top of the small dune. Palm trees and green grass mark the point where van park begins while rocks and sand slightly slope away to meet the tide. We were advised not to swim in the ocean as a resident salt water crocodile lived nearby in one of the creeks and would occasionally swim up along the beach. The kids, and Craig affectionately named the croc Mister Snappy. I would unaffectionately call it ‘a bloody croc!’
We chose a site slightly back from the beach edge as Craig was hoping to escape the worst of any bad weather, while I was ‘not so secretly’ happy to be well over 15m away from any croc activity. This fear could be a hangover from the croc tours and stories told by fishing mates while living in Darwin or I could just be getting soft, either way I’m super wary of them!
After setting up, we decided to hang out at the pool. It was refreshing, had a waterfall and was beautifully landscaped. Soon enough we were joined by an ex-army guy. He seemed a bit loose with whatever he went through in his time, but was friendly enough. We talked a bit and I was in fits of laughter over a few of his stories. One in particular involved taking some US soldiers through what was included in the Australian ration packs. Now I may not do the story justice if I tried to tell it again as he did, suffice to say it involved; Vegemite being described as ‘hoop snake’ and ‘drop bear’ repellant, the explanation of what hoop snakes and drop bears were, disbelief from a US soldier that this was the truth and it was perhaps a type of food because it was in a ration pack, screaming about insubordination to a superior rank and confirming that toilet paper and matches which are also in ration packs are not food, ordering the US soldier to eat the Vegemite, reluctance to eat the Vegemite by the soldier, strong emphasis that it was a direct order, eating and then spitting out of the foul tasting Vegemite and the ‘dabbing of Vegemite behind the ears technique’ used by the US soldiers. Still makes me laugh. Maybe you had to be there!
Rollingstone was our base and we took day trips out to visit the local sights. Crystal Creek Falls was very picturesque. A beautiful stone bridge covered a cascade of falls down to a larger pool. A leech tried to befriended me as apparently I have juicy blood. Just ask the mozzies. The kids were fascinated and simultaneously grossed out, as I picked up the leech on a large tropical nut and it did it’s fastest leech lap around and around the nut in an attempt to get a hold of my skin. The kids overcame their fear of those slimy little suckers and discovered the joy that is nature’s slippery slide, the waterfalls.
Paluma Dam was a quick stop with an impromptu family game of tiggy. This is not my favourite game. I’m not a fan of running very much and Craig is impossible to catch. He will keep up a slow jog just out of my reach for ages! Insert expletive here. It also doesn’t help when you have to run in thongs. Inevitably I end up targeting the children as I can outrun them for now. Only just!
We stopped for lunch at a cafe up the top where a ‘Bird Life of Paluma’ DVD was playing. While spotting wildlife is great, we do kind of pull the mickey out of the serious bird watcher. I’ve got to say though, the DVD had us all fascinated at the amazing variety of bird life found in just this one place. They even had a humpy pigeon. That’s not its real name but the name we gave to a crazy pigeon in Coolum who took a fascination to humans during its mating period and had me running and ducking for cover and my sister trapped in her car!
We had one of our first rainy days so what better to do than go to Wallaman Falls, which is the largest single drop waterfall in Australia. It was a 2km slippery yet very pretty walk down to the falls. We were lucky enough to see a rainbow through the mist and the rain. There is a barricade a fair distance from the pool at the bottom of the falls and this disappointed Xavier greatly. He was pretty keen on hitting the water. I wonder what it would be like under the fall? Probably pretty full on and probably wouldn’t get back up from under it!
On our way back up, for what must come down 2kms must go back up, a couple of young guys alerted us to the fact that they thought they saw a red-bellied black snake on the track. I swapped places with Xavier to take the lead just in case it was still on the track. With the pressure of the lead I set a steady pace but one that slightly pushed my comfort level. I could hear Xavier behind me puffing and panting but with little to no encouragement he stuck with me. The pace was starting to take its toll, my breathing was becoming more laboured and I was sweating from everywhere. I swear there was sweat coming out of my eyeballs! With Xav up my butt, I couldn’t stop. My pride was on the line! Where ever my fitness went, I still don’t know, but it up and bloody well deserted me! By the end, my son was giving me encouragement and I was holding him back. I could see it in his eyes, the moment he realised what was once my strength, is now his. He is the strong one, the fit one. It’s going to be hard to keep up with them now.
Mother’s Day morning was spent having cuddles with my munchkins, breakfast made for me and flowers stolen from the campground gardens. A perfect end to our stay at Rollingstone.