We finally do get to Ravenshoe, Atherton Tableland.
Ravenshoe Travel Blog› entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
Last time we came to Australia, to the Atherton Tableland, we drove all around looking at many beautiful waterfalls and lakes, all the while heading to Ravenshoe a town right at the back of he tablelands, that simply fascinated me with its odd name, but we took a wrong turn somewhere and charged down the Palmerston Highway and ended up in Innisfail. So this time we intended to make a big effort to actually get to Ravenshoe.
We say raven shoe but Australians say raven’s hoe, strange.
We left Atherton Caravan Park cabins to drive to this town of strange name, our map showed two ways of getting there, on the longer road we saw a town named Herberton and remembered those Nuns from Cooktown Convent being evacuated to there, so ofcause we headed off on the longer route, what’s a few extra miles to drive to a taxi driver! Actually it wasn’t that much further anyway, and a pleasant drive even with dead kangaroos littering the road. Suicidal kangaroos must all come out at night, as we didn’t see any on any of our drives. When we arrived in the small town of Herberton we stopped and I asked the first person I saw to direct us to the Convent the Cooktown Nuns had been evacuated to during the War.
On we drove to Ravenshoe, past many huge windmill type power generating poles, out on the hillsides, all whirling madly making masses of electricity for the Nation, I for one did not see them as an eyesore but I could imagine others do, you certainly can’t miss them.
Arriving at Ravenshoe we found a great old steam train parked at the Railway Station looking very impressive, stopped to have a look and actually to get on board the engine, pity today was not a day it ran, but run it often does for a few miles.
An old impressive looking Hotel Tully Falls at the head of the main street dominates the town as you approach. We stopped off at a wonderful small bakery, I think its name was Goodies, and bought some of the best buns and bread we have ever eaten, where do they get such good wheat, far superior to any we have in New Zealand. I decided that as we had gone to such lengths to visit this town that I might as well walk the full length of the street and back down the other side. I stopped off several times, once to buy the small alarm clock we needed, once to attempt to change some $NZ in $AUS; this proved impossible, the lady behind the tiny Bank counter said I have never done that before and I don’t think we have any of the currency, wasn’t I going to be in Atherton or Cairn soon, couldn’t I get it changed there? Well, yes, I supose I am!!
Stopped off for a hot mocchachino and a biscuit at a cafe along the street, and while Erle checked out the real estate windows and a bookshop, onwards I walked up to the Hotel Tully Falls, where I went in and asked just where these Tully Falls were.
Having completed my walk of the town we drove to Mill Stream Park on the lookout for a picnic table in the shade, no problem, we had yet another lovely picnic in a park, all on our own with just the birds for company, followed by a short walk around the area.
There didn’t seem to be much more to see and do, so we drove away back by the shorter road back to Atherton, amazingly we found we were just in time for the Atherton Birds of Prey Show held every afternoon at Chinatown. We bought tickets for the show and for a grand tour of Hou Wang Temple in Chinatown. At first we rather thought we were going to be the only audience for the birds of prey show, but in time 4 there’s arrived and we settled down on the big logs, for the show in the open air.
Then we were all off over to the Hou Wang Temple, an old corrugated iron structure, I am not sure when it was built, but it must have been around 1880 when there was a thriving township of Chinese people and businesses on this site, the town was abandoned in 1920, but the Temple was still used until 1970, when the National Trust of Queensland acquired the temple and set about restoring it to its former glory, it is a work still in progress but we enjoyed looking at this very different house of worship. I find it a shame that the Chinese peoples part in the history of this country and also NZ is largely ignored, nice to see something being treated with respect, as it should be.
We spent so long at the Temple asking so many questions we all missed going to the display within the café museum, but I gather it has lots of interesting historical Chinatown things to look at too.
We returned to our Cabin for coffee and to change before going out to dinner at one of the Hotels in Atherton. We really intended going to the RSL for a meal, but even though the RSL building looked large and modern, and was built on a large section of prime real estate at the start of the main street, it had recently, been closed up permanently from lack of use, we gather. Very sad loss for all the RSL members, but we guess it must be happening all over, as these men all age and become fewer as the years pass..