Having found our accommodation in Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, a little small, we decided to leave after the first week instead of staying the planned fortnight. Finding accommodation in the right place and OK price proved somewhat challenging. But as always, God provided and we ended up in a beautiful house in South Mission Beach.
Short drive to the beach
The drive to Mission Beach was only a couple of hours, so we were in no big rush to head off. Having been there last year, we had decided to visit Mungalli Creek Dairy for one of their famous cheesecakes. Somehow, if one makes it breakfast, it doesn’t seem as bad as having it in addition to a meal. We had cheated with a slice of toast before leaving Yungaburra – just to tide us over. We were a little disappointed that the renowned Sicilian Cheesecake – a ricotta-based option – wasn’t available, but ended up very pleased with those we had. The baked cherry cheesecake was suitably sour. Our favourite was definitely the ricotta based one that was on offer. For some reason, the baker didn’t have orange peel so couldn’t make the Sicilian. Not being a big fan of the orange peel, we actually preferred the chocolate and pistachios. Yum!! I’ve managed to find the recipe online so plan to try making it sometime.
Having considered staying in a renovated church in Mena Creek, we decided to at least drive through the little village and check it out. This would also give us the opportunity to see the Mena Creek Falls and the famous, world-heritage listed tourist attraction of Paronella Park. Although it was drizzling, we did stop to check out the falls – from the top via the suspension bridge and from the base via a walk that had crocodile warning signs all the way along it. We didn’t bother with a visit to highly awarded tourist park, but did get to see a glimpse of the decaying structures from the bridge. Enough to satisfy our curiosity.
We’d managed to organise an early check-in at Seafarer Cottage, so were happy to extract the key from the lockbox, unload our luggage from the car and head up to the nearby Woolworths to collect our “direct to boot” groceries that were waiting for us.
Relaxing by the beach
The weather forecast for our stay had not been great – so much so that we’d wondered about going there. We needn’t have worried!! There is no doubt that Mission Beach is in a rain belt. It is a microclimate of lush green rainforest. We did have showers most days – some lighter than others. But being 50m from the beach, we had plenty of time to run and walk along the beach, sit on the deck sipping coffee and wine, do some work and just enjoy the lovely setting. So glad we decided to leave the previous place early!
South Mission Beach is a bit like the place that time forgot. Even the local Woolworths is closed on a Sunday. We took a stroll around the neighbourhood, checking out the properties. It was a real mixed bag – some large and beautiful, others real shacks. What we found most intriguing were the number of pieces of land that had nothing on them but a shed – usually a big one – to house one or more marine “toys”.
With Cairns having just gone into lockdown, we were happy not to go out to too many places that could become hotspots. Hence the grocery shopping using the “direct to boot” service. We thought we’d splash out on some good local beef but the local butcher had closed recently (Covid casualty??). Having seen a billboard along the Bruce Highway advertising the butcher at El Arish, a 25km drive away, we ventured out there. There’s not much else in El Arish! As we left the highway, we spotted a meat truck, so figured we’d be going to the same place. Which we were. The little building looked as though it belonged in South America and almost seemed closed, but on easing the door open tentatively, we were given a warm welcome. As they were unpacking the meat carcasses, we were in the little shop chatting to one of the staff and stocking up on a few meals.
We did venture out to the Bingal Bay Café – a quirky, family run eatery – and were rewarded for our efforts. The staff were so friendly, the ambience was fun and the coffee hit the spot. Our last night we even went there for dinner and the food was top notch. A huge surprise!!
The closest Parkrun was at Cardwell, about 70km and a 50 minute drive south. Will heavy showers forecast, we weren’t too sure of the wisdom of heading out in the dark, but decided to do so anyway. We did narrowly miss a wallaby jumping across the road, but didn’t see any Cassowaries. Mission Beach is known for sighting of the big blue bird, but we didn’t see any during our stay at all. No that we were too sad as nothing could compare to our experience last year – you can read about it here. https://mitchell.news/2020/08/20/special-edition-day-of-the-cassowary/
We were so happy to have made the effort. Not only was the weather perfect, Walter placed first and Glenda second, so that was pretty exciting. We also went to breakfast at a local café with the small group of regulars. Such a lovely morning! And we were rewarded with a bunch of yummy, cheap bananas from our favourite road side stall on our way back to Seafarer Cottage.
We managed to delay the inevitable by adding 1 night to our stay, we still had to face the sad day of leaving the little hamlet.