On a Mission to the Beach   4 comments

Next stop Mission Beach

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

I was looking forward to Mission Beach. Everyone asked us our plans while we were in Queensland and when we mentioned it they all said “you’ll love Mission Beach”. Expectations were high and it didn’t disappoint.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

We were staying at the Ecovillage Resort (review here) which was a superb base. As soon as we checked in we were off to the beach a few yards through the forest. It’s a cracker.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

A classic long strand of golden sand backed by palm trees with the mountainous Dunk Island just off the coast. Like most of the beaches in North Queensland it was deserted

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

The hotel was tucked into a dense pocket of rainforest growing on Clump Point, an outcrop of dark black volcanic rock. Due to its peculiar mineral content it supports a very localised and very diverse ecosystem and the forest is lush, dark and luxuriant. Now anyone that knows me is aware that I’m not big on spiders and I was a little edgy about how I’d cope with rainforest and it’s plentiful 8-legged beasties. Just outside reception there was a sizeable Golden Orb Spider maybe 6 inches across. They are one of the famous residents of Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) and really rather beautiful

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

I went to tell the family but TBF, no doubt with a sly grin said “you think that’s big, take a look up”

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

This one was at a conservative estimate 12 inches across, hard to tell as he was hanging out several feet up in the palm trees. Safe to say he was enormous and I was a little taken aback (for that read I jumped ten feet back and screamed like a girl). They are harmless in terms of venom but their fangs are big so they can give a painful bite. Apparently they are relatively shy and reticent and will climb away from you if you are unfortunate enough to get too close. I didn’t take any comfort from that and made a mental note to close all the windows and tuck my trousers into my socks. After a while you realise they rarely move other than the occasional lazy stretch of a leg and you get used to their presence.

The next day was taken up with much lazy walking and exploring the area. We had a fine walk down the beach to the centre of “town” – just a few shops and restaurants.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

Back to our rainforest home for a swim in their rather splendid free form pool and lunch on the patio

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

In the afternoon we took a stroll along the Kennedy Boardwalk past Lugger Cove.We had our very first sight of the sign that warns you are in the domain of one of the worlds oldest predators. Adds a certain sense of adventure to a walk don’t think

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

It was one of the highlights of the trip for me. There was just something about the forest and the deserted beach that struck a chord. That and wondering whether I was going to be on the menu at any point

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

We decided not to see what was on the other side of the headland as that’s where the crocs hang out

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

The area is called the Cassowary Coast after the large and prehistoric flightless bird, with its razor sharp and lethal claw, that calls the area home. They are under threat and are very protected. They lost a lot of their habitat and food after Cyclone Yasi in 2011 that devastated this piece of coastline. They eat pretty much all the fruit in the forest so by their natural digestive process they are a vital part of the forest growth in the way they spread the seeds around. Unfortunately in the search for food they tend to wander onto the roads and get run over (more Cassowaries were killed in road accidents than by any other means). Consequently there are signs everywhere warning you to watch for them and be “Casso-wary”. By looking at the signs you expect to see them at every turn, taking up car park spaces, pushing in front of you in the queue at the supermarket, that sort of thing. We were even told by the hotel that it was very common to see one in the car park or in the grounds. We were in the area for nearly three days and the nearest we got was some suspicious looking poop.

After a wander around the beautiful (and Cassowary-free) Licuala State Forest we took another evening stroll on the increasingly windy beach.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

Mission accomplished! 🙂

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4 responses to “On a Mission to the Beach

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  1. I’m trying to think of another to say this, but struggling – looks amazing. I think I would enjoy the spiders, but the sign about crocs would have definitely freaked me out. Large predators don’t really appeal. What does one do if you do find yourself ‘on the menu’, hope that you can out run your children?
    The swimming pool video is a bit freaky. Had you been indulging in XXXX?
    That has to be a heavily remixed version of Song of Life? I shall have to listen to it now, just to check.

    Like

    beatingthebounds
    • The Crocs are not too much of a worry if you listen to the locals. They hang out primarily in the estuary creeks (they are also known as Estuarine Crocs) so you just don’t go exploring up there or worse still swim in the estuaries – not an attractive option anyway as they are muddy. Most of attacks are on Fishermen dangling their feet in the water or fishing from the shore or in little tinny boats. Some Croc encounters to come in a later post.
      The pool video is TJFs work not mine hence the rather mixed quality. I had to do some serious editing. She had some extended video of parts of TBF that Im pretty sure she wouldn’t want exposed to the world 🙂
      The version of Song of Life is the one from the album

      Like

  2. I’ve just been looking at spiders on Mark’s blog; is there a conspiracy going on here?

    I remember lots of Florida holidays where you just happen to come across alligators in picnic areas, crossing the roads etc. Could take you by surprise!

    Like

    • The thought of crocs is a little unnerving especially when you see them up close. Have to wait till next week for that post 🙂

      I jumped more at the sight of very large yet, relatively harmless spider……

      Like

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