2020 The COVID-19 staycation year travel blog

Dysphania fenestrata caterpillar

Yellow bellied sunbird

Grae being crocwise

Suspension bridge over Mena Falls


Italian cane cutters monument at Innisfail

Mena Falls at Paronella Park

Bamboo forest at Paronella Park




Josephine Falls

Innisfail is on the Cassowary Coast and we were privileged to see one of these magnificent birds crossing the road outside of town. The township is situated at the junction of the North and South Johnstone Rivers both of which have dangerous crocodiles in them. We haven't come across any yet, but have seen the warnings.

Innisfail is a popular destination for backpackers who work in the banana industry, which judging by the large bags around each bunch looks like back breaking work and speaking to locals they told us Australians don't want to do that type of hard work so they absolutely rely on backpackers. There is concern with the COVID-19 travel restrictions that there mightn't be nearly enough of them todo the work. There are also many sugar cane and paw paw farms and a huge sugar cane mill spewing black smoke at South Johnstone which can be seen from miles around.

The town has many beautiful art deco buildings due to the fact that the it was levelled by a cyclone back in 1918 and they had to start from scratch and art deco was the current style at the time.

One night we walked over the bridge to the RSL for dinner, it was a Thai restaurant and there was only us and another couple. On the eleven minute walk back we had to stop and wait for a very loud and threatening local aboriginal man to move along before we could safely cross the bridge. It sounded like he'd had way too much alcohol which meant he was yelling and swearing his head off. Very colourful language and not very nice.

The next morning we visited Paronella Park, a ruined castle near Mena Creek Falls. It is the remains of a castle Jose Paronella, a spanish migrant built and opened up to visitors in 1935, sadly he used the wrong sand.

Today it looks hundreds of years older as the decay and flood damage has certainly taken a massive toll. We spent a few hours wandering around the gardens including a 40 minute guided tour of some of the highlights. We saw some amazing birds and butterflies, including a beautiful iridescent blue Ulysses. Always a privilege to see one.

We also visited Etty Bay Beach and Flying Fish Point on the coast. Etty has cassowaries that patrol the beach, but they must have been changing shift as there weren't there when we visited. It was still a very stunning beach lined with palm trees.

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