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Atherton Table Land

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 16 May 2008 | Views [3225] | Comments [4]

We entered the Atherton Tableland from Queensland’s highest town, Ravenshoe.  One evening we slept in the town’s FREE  rest stop. It was well situated beside a meandering creek and seemed popular with other travellers.

As with our previous encounters with new geographical areas, we left the information centre with a pile of brochures and the expression, one from Down Under calls, ‘a stunned mullet.’ (I believe this rather curious expression is a humorous attempt on the Aussie’s behalf referring to the moment one bludgeons a mullet (type of fish) on the head, after catching it via a fishing rod).

I admit to being deficient at many a subject pertaining to my country of birth (and of any common practical value, being, as I am,  a proud English Literature graduate with Honors in imagination), and it is one of the grand highlights of this North Eastern Australian tour, that I am enjoying a fast and furious input of information. Actually, I’m feeling slightly dazed at the amount of data being stored in my head.

Geographical formations, mineral components, dairy cattle identification, industrial mining laws, the friendly or ferocious finger differentiation, botanical names and systems, cartography, exotic fruit tasting and the study of mild to dark roast coffee beans and what it does to a cappuccino at different heights above sea level.

I enjoyed staying overnight at the Ravenshoe train station. I read a Private I novel on the grassy platform, and ‘waited’ for a train that never came. But how great!! If the train doesn’t arrive, what do you do? Yes my little possums, you read, enjoy another coffee (albeit instant but with LOTS of cream to make up for the lack). It was more than pleasant. I felt as though I was in a time warp.


Mungalli Creek  Dairy

On an extended veranda overlooking the lush hills of prime dairy farm country, we ate Cheese Cake – Sicilian! they say. WOW. Albert and I ate half each, and we both felt about 4 kilos heaver afterwards. The cake is a monstrously rich taste sensation. 

We were invited to taste delicious cheeses (quark, havarti to name a couple) and different flavoured yogurts. We consumed dips and toasted farm bread.  Jett, with his sensitive palate, opted for cheese fingers.  It was a highlight for our taste buds in our highlands tour.

This leads us to the little known art of efficient brochure browsing.

Questions you must answer before being fool enough to begin browsing.

  1. How much time do you have?
  2. How much do you want to spend?
  3. Do you want to eat there?
  4. Do you want laid back, or state of the art?
  5. Do you want a whirl wind of fun, or a more personal touch?

If you approach the pile of brochures before knowing a little bit about what you like from travelling, you will fall into the unfortunate facial figuration of ‘stunned mullet’. Trust me, it ain’t pretty.

Mungalli Dairy’s ‘brochure’ was a sandy yellow, printed on rough 100% recycled paper, had a laid back feel and promised delicious home made FREE tastings. Its exactly what we got, and we were very happy with our choice.   So when we pondered over what coffee plantation to visit, we went for something that would suit us all. Not too expensive, good coffee and no unnecessary frills.

Tichum  Creek  Coffee Farm

Mario was as charming in real life as he seemed upon the brochure. There wasn’t any grand tour by airplane, or cigarette puffing divas wrapped up in fur posed over a coffee cup. It was Mario’s smiling brown eyes and the phrase ‘come and join me for a coffee’.  Simple pleasure s are often the best.

Mario showed us a coffee plant, and allowed us to take fruit from the tree. We were all surprised by the sweetness of the fluid around the beans. I chewed mine afterwards for a bit. It became bitter after a while, but the thought of all that natural caffeine kept me chewing.

Then Mario showed us photos of how the beans are harvested, dried and roasted. They have wonderful roasters on display. They say that’s the key for the great flavour they have in Tintum coffee.

The cake was of a high calibre to go with the punch of the coffee.

I don’t know much about coffee. Just what I like to drink, little bits and pieces I picked up without wanting and what Mario told us. 

Coffee is an amazing thing. I was reading a dense book, but with the overload of coffee, coffee beans and chocolate covered coffee beans Mario presented to us as FREE sample, my brain was moving too fast for me to do anything but be a little more manic than usual and try to top Albert for ‘who can be the most annoying’. Unfortunately, Jett also chewed the coffee beans and he topped the ‘most annoying’ with me coming in a limping second.

A bit of Tiffany prattle

Interlacing the move from outback to sudden rainforest and dairy land, is the same story I learnt up north. White people came, not so long ago, and viewed the land as a quick buck. They tore up, dug up, cut down, and claimed what ever they could.  They viewed, and many still view the land as money. They view trees as money. They view the earth as money. They view animals as money. They view people as money.  Its stamped all over the history of this country.   (You can see the last old Red Cedar, and the last of the Big figs.)

And a dark shadow underlies the past with faint stories of an ancient culture viewing the land as mother.

But!! No time for lament.

We’re leaning fast. With thanks from early conservationists, modern environmentalist such as Tim Flannery  and the government’s support (even if they think it will increase the tourist buck, who cares as long as its serving the needs of all concerned?), increased awareness of what we have and lots of extras I’m not aware of, we are here. In the now. Ready to create a new future.

We also saw the powerful and always wow inspiring wind farms – if you want to know a bit more, check out the website of the people responsible for the one on the Atherton table top. 

Tags: allwelcome, ambassador van, t a j




tiff, mullat can,t be caught with a rod and hook

  v.lewis May 16, 2008 4:32 PM


HEElllooooooooooooooooo!! It's Alberts birthday soon isn't it? Life on the road? Allright is it? Met any nice poms yet? I believe that some of them ca be nice.
How is the weather? Is it damp like a sharks behind, or dry as a pommies towel? HA ha haaa.

Thinking about you allllll.

  Katrine May 21, 2008 1:38 AM


Sorry about duplicate messaging. Anything for attention really. Look at me look at me look at meeeee.
Happy Birthday Albert for tomorrow - woop woop.

  Katrine May 21, 2008 7:21 AM


HI Mum. Thanks for telling me how the thing CAN'T be caught. Considering we're alllllll deeply interested in finding out how to really catch it, I'd be delighted to read your account. Thank you. (I guess you do the Mr Miyagi thing and dive your hand in?)
Hello Katrine.
Albert's birthday bash was held in Ingham. We ate shockingly poor pizza and watched horrific Rugby - great lads jumping on top of each other with the aim of chasing a ball. Its incredible. They called it the state of origin....
Life on the Road - I am dreaming of writing an ncut version, after we are ambassador's no longer and I can let the acid really drip. I will battle Albert for the right of freedom of speech.
Met no nice nuffin...
Weather is rather windy. HOt during the day. Cold at night. (Not Norwegian cold)
love and hugs and thanks for your brilliant and ME ME ME comments. Wouldn't be the same without you.

  allwelcome May 24, 2008 7:23 PM

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