Another gorgeous location to base ourselves and explore the wider region. Mission Beach is Cassowary country and despite signs everywhere, we didn’t spot one. It’s a pretty place. The beach was just across the road from where we stayed with a clear view of Dunk Island. Mothers Day dinner was an indulgent affair at Miller’s restaurant right next door. The food was amazing and probably on par with some of the best restaurants I’ve been to. Treated myself with a Mother’s Day gift by sipping on a Cheeky Coconut cocktail or two, while watching the sun set.
We planned to see many sights in the surrounding Atherton region and started with a visit to Paronella Park. At first glance it doesn’t look like much but the story tells of a grand vision realised by a crazy Spaniard. Anyone know of any other crazy Spaniards? No? He must have been one of a kind then.
There is a lot to the story but essentially, Jose Paronella comes to Australia to make his fortune before going back to marry his fiancé in Spain. It took about 12 years of working on cane farms, saving his money, purchasing land, improving it and continuing this pattern until he becomes quite wealthy. He purchases his ideal piece of land complete with waterfall and is ready to go back to Spain to bring his bride back to Australia.
In these 12 years he never writes a letter to his family or his fiancé and on arrival discovers that his fiancé, believing he must be dead, has married and has a son! Never mind, her sister Margarita, at this point Xavier chimes in with “just like the pizza”, is single, so he marries her and brings her to Australia instead. He builds his first set of castles, a family home and a ballroom. He constructs it out of concrete and steel, and to save money collects many of the materials locally.
Sounds like someone I know and all of a sudden I feel like calling my dad. Anyhow, on with the story, he has worked out how to generate electricity using the power from the waterfall and is one of the very first homes in the area to have electricity and running water in the home. His wife Margarita can make and sell ice cream at the ballroom, which you can imagine, cold ice cream is a real treat in North Queensland when refrigeration is scarce. On with more construction, he creates a tunnel of love, another castle which overlooks tennis courts, bocce courts, and a water feature. Most places have a view through to his beloved waterfall. He worked bloody hard his whole life to realise his dream and create a good life for his family. Well worth the visit.
Mamu Tropical Skywalk is a nice way to see the rainforest from a different perspective. This place also offers headsets to guests for self guided information along the walk. We only took two sets so to keep Craig informed, I performed interpretive charades. He got some of the housekeeping stuff, like ‘there are no toilets on the track’ but couldn’t quite understand much else. Amelie changed her mind and wanted to listen too, so now the kids both have headsets and Craig and I had one of the most peaceful walks in a long time! The information/story boards were interesting. I didn’t know that Ma:my indigenous clan used totems. When a person is born they are given an animal totem and they aren’t allowed to hunt or eat their totem. If that particular animal was low in numbers or hadn’t been seen for a while, then the ban would extend to the whole clan. Pretty smart conservationists!
Herberton was just up the road and we had to visit! One of our friends held the title of “Tin Queen of Herberton” and we needed to see the road where the parade would have taken place. It was beautiful country and I can see how she has so many fond memories from days ‘on the farm’.
The day is getting away from us and we decide to do a speed tour of Millaa Millaa, Zillie, and Ellinjaa falls. We’d race down to the falls, take a quick pick and race back to the car with “last one in the car is a rotten egg”. Fun! I think we all got a turn at being rotten.
The van park we stayed at was at Wongalin Beach. Mission Beach was about 6kms to the north and South Mission Beach was obviously, to the south. One morning we jumped on our bikes and cycled up to Mission Beach for breakfast. No cars, no bitumen, means no helmets. Woo hoo! Craig got to test the ‘fat boy’ for its intended purpose and apparently it was a joy to ride along the sand. Must do more beach rides when we get back home.
A lot of people sky dive here and we saw a few people float down to land at Mission Beach. This peaked Xavier’s interest who is keen to jump but has to wait until he is 16yrs old to do so… and has to save up for it! We loved this place and would happily return.