At the very edge of the earth
The farther to the north, the more often the special moisture-bearing palms that grow only in Queensland come across. They are a man’s height and have a curly black top – that’s why the first white settlers mistook these trees for Aborigines dumbfounded by surprise and called “black boys”. In our time, such a phrase is politically incorrect, now they say “grass palms.” They grow only one centimeter per year, and by height you can determine how old each tree is – at the same time, three hundred years old is considered very young.
In a fire, these tops burn only the tops. But after a few years two grow on the place of one top. Seeing on a moonlit night a “black boy” with two heads, the British fled in horror. But, getting used to it, they learned how to extract water from the trunks of a grass palm.
Science is simple: you need to cut down a tree, break off the top and filter the moisture into a bowl. In one hour, a meter-long piece of the trunk gives three quarters of a glass of liquid, although with a taste of wood, but clean and perfectly suitable for drinking. You should be aware that in this way water is received in the early morning when the tree has accumulated it during the cool night hours.
In the middle of the forest, in the depths of the primeval tropics, is the Coconut Beach Resort Hotel – two dozen stilt houses, each with wicker furniture, floor mats and ceiling fans. Unusual combination: the jungle is approaching the threshold, and inside – comfort, hot water and coolness. Restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court, beach and the highest level of service – what else is needed for happiness? Probably an adventure.
At night, the most incredible animals can be seen at the doorstep: a luminous green frog, a marsupial cat, a flying fox, and a tree possum. Do you know that these are completely different animals – possum and posum? When Captain Cook traveled along the coast of Queensland, he saw a creature that looked like an opossum in the face and wrote about it in his report. By chance, he missed the first letter. So they began to call Posum a marsupial animal, which has no affinity with the possum, well-known in Europe.
In the first half of the last century, posum was ruthlessly destroyed. For a long time, the most fashionable in the West were fur coats from chinchilla fur – the so-called furriers Possum fur. If it were not for the ban on shooting, we would never have seen a living possum, they simply would not have remained, just as there were no marsupial wolves. Rather, in one of the Queensland zoos, only one living marsupial wolf has survived, and now they want to clone it.
At the very edge of the earth
The road runs further, past deserted beaches and steep cliffs. In 1770, the English sailboat Endeavor ran aground in these parts. The repair took seven weeks, and in memory of the failure, Captain Cook called the treacherous coast of Cape Tribulation, or Cape Napastey. The name is symbolic – from here you should move on already two cars. On one, it’s too risky – if something breaks, you will have to wait a long time for help.
From Cape Tribulation to Cape York, the most extreme point of Queensland (and the whole of Australia), get at least a week. On the way you will have to overcome all kinds of natural barriers: deserts and mountains, forests and waterfalls, chasms and blockages. Cape York is one of the last unexplored territories on the planet. The history of this sparsely populated area goes back to ancient times and the legends of the natives. Here is a real country of adventure, a desert area inhabited by spirits and creatures not known to science. Dangers await at every turn. Here is a poisonous tree whose leaves cannot be touched – death occurs in half an hour, and there is no medical antidote. True, one small flower always grows next to this tree, chewing which one can save a life. Only Aboriginal people know what he looks like, but they keep their knowledge secret.
From November to March, monsoons and cyclones rage in Cape York, water tornadoes fall on the forests and plants “get drunk” from an excess of chlorophyll. It’s impossible to drive on roads even on an all-terrain vehicle, giant toads wink from under the snags, hallucinogen mushrooms appear in the glades. But from May to August, not a drop is spilled, everything around dries up, moisture goes deep underground, and only a wild dingo dog can recognize places where water comes close to the surface.
After traveling through the wilderness, it is especially pleasant to be at Surfers Pardise – the main resort of the Queensland Gold Coast, a vacation spot for surfers, sailing and fishing enthusiasts.
After dark, a pleasure boat departs for a night walk along the Gold Coast. The program includes a dinner with an unlimited number of dishes and drinks, an exotic show and a panorama of the lights of a rugged lagoon.
What could be better than outdoor activities, which is remembered by vivid impressions? If you’re more interested in exotic adventures than treadmill lying on a beach mattress, welcome to the Australian state of Queensland.