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Journals from James Cook University, Australia

2009-10-21 Tablelands and Undara

I spent the last weekend on a field trip for my Biodiversity of Tropical Australia course. The first night we stayed in a small town on the Atherton Tablelands called Yungaburra. After we had eaten dinner in the hostel, the two professors drove us to do a night walk to spot possums and other nocturnal mammals. The night walk was 2 hours, and we saw 8 possums, 1 tree kangaroo (precious and rare mammals), a couple frogs, and dozens of huntsman spiders. The next morning we spent the majority of the day driving inland and south to Undara. We made a couple stops " one at Lake Eachem to do more animal spotting, and another to get directions. I love road trips, and driving in the 25-person bus was a lot of fun, but by the time we arrived in Undara I was ready to stretch my legs. We stayed in small huts, three people to a room. The camp area had a pool, so we took a swim for a bit before going on a walk to the cliffs to watch the sunset. Needless to say, the pool was quite refreshing, especially in the dry heat that consumes Undara. However, the sunset walk was even better. We sat on the cliffs overlooking the dry rain forest, enjoyed some cold beverages that lubricated our dry throats (it was so dry that I woke up with a bloody nose), and watched the brilliant red sunset. That evening we had a campfire with the professors, which was a lot of fun. The next morning we made camp food brekky, and did some bush walking for critters. Unfortunately, we only saw a couple skinks, and no snakes. Then we began our travels back northeast to Cairns. Along the way, we made a detour to Davies Creek, where we splashed around for awhile. The creek itself was quite meagre, but fun (and refreshing) nonetheless. We climbed around large boulders and played in the cold water for a couple hours. It turned out to be one of my favorite places that Ive visited in this area thus far.

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