Millstream, Halls Falls and Lake Tinaroo / by Ethan Astall

We’ve both managed to score full time jobs up here in far North Queensland, and have settled down into the grind for the next few months in Mossman - making the mossmoney to fuel the following years of adventures. Which we’re both stoked about!

Theres also worse places in the world to be stuck settled down. From Mossman North Queensland, on days off - you could literally set your direction North, south or west (east if you have a boat…which were investing in an explorer 3000 so watch this space). South of where we are sets compass for the many waterfalls and hikes surround cairns; north, gets you towards Cooktown and cape York (aka bogan fisherman) country, but lately, most of our days off have been east- in the Atherton tablelands.

The Atherton tablelands have endless things to explore, the best weekends out here start at the Mareeba drive in and find us somewhere along the road in a new spot. We started this weekend with the new lion king at the drive in (which in our opinion, should be kept as a cartoon, it’s some weird take on Nat geo they’ve put voice overs too, way less funny then the previous YouTube animal voice over sensations that scream ALLEN) and continued on through to mill stream falls outside Ravenshoe (apparently the widest single drop falls in Aus). Disappointingly though very tricky to actually get down to the water for a dip, but we managed to get somewhat near the bottom. So we jumped on wiki camps (the almighty saviour) and found ourselves down a dirt road heading to halls falls - an unreal three tier drop fall with an ice cold swimming hole in the middle, a true cure for my mid winter flu blues.

The most surprising thing about the whole travels is the absolute love we’ve found for the oldest and quirkiest towns, whether it’s the old pubs and the strange characters within wearing the first Akubras every made, the local history including the stories that are entirely made up or the community feel and vibe of people that actually say GDAY as you walk down the street, these towns are the real Australian icons. We managed to find the oldest town out in the tablelands called Herberton. This place was originally founded for mining tin ore and became the richest tin mining field in Australia. Boasting 17 dusty miner filled pubs back in its hay day, this would of been the place to live, earn a buck and have a drop during the early 19th century. Today, the town has a historic village, a pub, an op shop and a collectors store and had a magic early 1900s feel to it.

We topped the weekend off with the last nights camp at lake Tinaroo, this place boasts unreal camp sites on the edge of a beautiful lake, in thick pine forest surrounded by mountains.

But to save the best for last, was a strange bird aviary site we found on wiki camps, if you’re in the area do yourself a favour and go to Lilly’s aviary (Lilly is a macaw that lives there, so this goes to show what you’re in for), down a dirt drive way. Through the front gate that you mustn’t enter until you’ve read the sign on the door that basically says if you get attacked it’s your own fault, lives a couple who have interbred every bird under the Australian sun to create many mutated species of lorikeet and various other exotic birds. Once sold to makes ends meat they have now opened there home to tourists to make a quick buck. These people have built an entire walk in aviary INSIDE their house, with macaws, parrots of every kind, Australian native birds including the best of all the GANG GANG Cockatoo (if you haven’t seen one, YouTube it these birds have the most character of any living animal and are the greatest). The couple will also wrangle you into holding their Pythons, looking at their fish and playing with their many dogs their also breeding, the weird experiences, are the best ones.