Arrire pays de CairnsComing out of my editing cave to say Hi. Today is our last in Townsville. Tomorrow we travel back to the Atherton Tablelands. The next day will be taken up by the Memorial service and I fly home on Wednesday.

It’s strange coming from deep in the editing cave in 1850 back to reality. I appreciate more what they had to do in the days when there were no cars and planes, where a trip to town was an all day event. A journey like the one we will take tomorrow of approximately 330 kilometres over a few hours, in those days would have taken months. Even worse, the flight from Cairns to Brisbane which now takes just over two hours would have been an epic journey of 1680 kilometres or over 1,000 miles – I can’t even think how long that would have taken; it’s still from 22 hours upward to drive on the roads we have now.

I remember the days when any of the roads up from the coastal plains to the Atherton Tablelands (approximately 732 metres or 2,402 feet above sea level) was an adventure. On the Kuranda or Gillies ranges there were so many hairpin bends you would more likely than not to get carsick and the Rex was a gravel road. The others are not too much changed we came down the Palmerston on Wednesday and appreciated it was completely changed.

In the days when I was a child we were grateful for the trees either side of the road because that road was narrow because it was mostly on a ridge with a sheer drop on either side. To add to the danger, a lot of the milk from the tableland dairy country was transported by road to places as far as Townsville where it was processed and bottled. Meeting a milk tanker unexpectedly on a one lane road was more than a little scary, especially when I was the driver with precious passengers aboard. These days you wouldn’t know it was the same road and about the only clue as to the height is at Crawfords lookout.

The Atherton Tableland is a beautiful part of the world with its rainforest, crater lakes and waterfalls. And it was my Mum’s home both as a girl and up to the day she died. One of these days I’ll set one of my “New Horizons” books up there. There were plenty, including Mum’s Finnish and English parents who settled in the area when it was dense rainforest. But that’s a story for another time.