The Atherton Tablelands are such a surprise - so green beautiful and mountains (albeit smallish ones). Driving from Undara, the road - Kennedy Highway - continued to be single lane for much of the way but as it gradually rose to the Tablelands it was so refreshing after months of dry, dusty landscapes to see lush green fields and Herefords and Friesan cows. Atherton itself is a nice & tidy little town and our site is very pretty on the edge of the bush with loads of birdlife. We decided to stay here for a few days to catch up with some business but also managed a couple of rounds of golf on the Atherton course which is graced with real grass greens, fairways and tees - oh such joy! It is in a lovely setting and just a pity that our golf does not come up to the same standard!
This is an area where agriculture reigns. One particular crop is coffee and we took the opportunity to visit, first a plantation, and then a roasting plant. The Skybury plantation is in a great setting and the tour was excellent. Skybury coffee - which is high quality - can be had at Sainsburys. Next stop was Coffee Works which roasts Skybury beans as well as 2 other local producers. We had the chance to sample many different roasts and consequently were jumping for most of the day. The area also seem to link coffee with chocolate and at Coffee Works we made real pigs of ourselves tasting various chocolates flavoured with a variety of unusual ingredients. Most notably were lime and cracked pepper, chillies, lemon myrtle. Earlier at Skybury we bought freeze dried strawberries wrapped in dark chocolate which we are savouring as we write this blog!! Yummy!!
We also took a day trip to Herberton, a small former tin mining town that sits nestled in the mountains. One of the unusual attractions is the Camera Museum run by a former Australian secret agent. As a result, apart from the usual display of many interesting cameras, he has accumulated loads of spy cameras. He's an enthusiastic individual who provides a really good tour which made a refreshing change after the many canyons, gorges, caves etc. We know how the Australians will appreciate this because they too become fed up with the European tour - castles, cathedrals, castles, catherdrals......!
We also made arrangements for our onward travel and have booked a flight to Malaysia in December and one to New Zealand at end Februray. Subject to visas, we plan to return to Australia after a second Asian adventure before flying off to NZ. So the long and long awaited Australian adventure is coming quickly to an end.
E M xxxx