Thursday, October 17, 2013

Butterflies, Dragonflies and March Flies

[Chris] Today was an amazing day, and Michele was kind enough to allow me to be Guest Blogger for the day!  In the next installment of our amazing trip here to Northern Queensland, Michele planned a trip to a beautiful location west of Tully called the Tully Gorge (don't ask why it's called the Tully Gorge if it's west of Tully, these questions cannot be answered).  Oh, and for regular readers of Cassowary Tales, this will entry will sound a bit familiar.

The Tully Gorge is a National Park that caters to campers, hikers, mountain bikers, fishermen and whitewater rafters (as long as they keep an eye out for the crocs, which are in many areas of the Tully River). Once a day the river becomes much more interesting, thanks to a daily release from the Koombooloomba Dam (built to supply enough water to the Kareeya hydroelectric plant) which makes the Tully River a great place for whitewater rafters.  Michele had previously researched the timing of the release (it happens every day at 1:00 PM) as well as the rafters, so we aimed to get to the river just after the rafters left, but while the water was still flowing.  Our docket consisted of a picnic at a campground a few kilometers from the plant, then a short, natural, butterfly walk, followed by a short ride up to a swimming hole with a nice waterfall.  Sounds pretty awesome right?

We arrived at the campground right around noon and unpacked our food.  There's plenty of accommodations, including a picnic table and barbecue under an awning (helpful when it's hot and sunny).  Within moments we were swarmed by March flies
Evil, EVIL March Fly!  
(very much like horse flies from north America).  This was not part of the plan!  We ate quickly, and headed out to the butterfly walk, which was part of this campground.

For those who like butterflies, this would be a highlight of your trip.  The walk promised Ulysses, Blue Triangle, Cairns Birdwing, and several other varieties of butterflies, but we only saw a Ulysses and a couple of others that we couldn't identify, plus a few impressively blue dragonflies.  Butterfly photographers get mad props from us, they are tough to photograph!

Our walk now over, we were again accosted by March flies.  They are simply no fun, so we left for the swimming spot, only 5 minutes up the road.

Michele picked a great location, a small rafters' camp built into the forest next to the river.  Since she timed things so well, the rafters had left and we had the place to ourselves.  We marched the short path down to the river, where we were (you guessed it!) swarmed by more March flies!  I couldn't resist the beautiful, clear water so I changed and jumped into the water.
Tully River Waterfall
Chris swimming in the Tully River
The rest of the crew didn't want to waste such an amazing location, so they checked the scenery while swatting flies as best they could.  After about 10 minutes, we couldn't take the flies anymore so we left, bound for home.

While we were disappointed by the insect issue, the scenery was stunning and we really enjoyed the trip.  The gorge is (wait for it...) gorgeous and the surrounding flora constantly offers something interesting.  Mountains surround the area and we were never at a loss for something to look at while we were driving.  And as if to reward us, we made a new friend on the ride home.  :)
This rather suave fellow just sauntered across the road in front of us.

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