Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
20-21 July 2013

Mount Surprise
These two days at Mount Surprise were a bit of a holiday in that we didn't really do anything. Mount Surprise has developed a variety of tours; the main ones are a trip on the Savannahlander Train which stops at the station a few hundred metres from the caravan park, and day trip to Undara Lava Tubes. We completed both of these tours on previous visits and did not wish to repeat them.

Mount Surprise still operates analogue television transmitters and we had to adjust our thinking to analogue mainly to setting up the aerial which is set differently for analogue and digital signals. The picture was grainy and the sound sometimes reduced to bursts of static but it was adequate for a few days. Much of the time was spent watching television or working on this journal.

The main activity was wandering along a creek running through the property (Elizabeth Creek). This creek is fed by a spring and contained far more water than other creeks around which are increasingly affected by the poor Wet Season. Elizabeth Creek supports numerous large and healthy paperbark trees as well as a variety of other trees.

elizabeth creek Elizabeth Creek flowing past Mount Surprise caravan park - this spring fed watercourse supports a variety of trees as well as the paperbark trees visible here.
The weather remained ideal with about 17°C at 8 o'clock in the morning slowly warming, despite a cool breeze to be in the high 20s or low 30s by mid-afternoon; then a gradual cooling towards, and after, sunset. On the last day cloud came over in mid-afternoon and the temperature dropped early to be 25°C by 8 o'clock.

The caravan park operates a café which served our daily coffee. On one evening we also tried the evening meal provided by the park management and found it to be excellent.

The park had been overflowing on our first night with caravans parked around the entrance waiting for sites to become available next day; the place was uncomfortably full. But a day later more than half the sites were empty and there were few arrivals. When I went into the township to refuel the Pathfinder ready for departure next day the lack of caravans, or indeed of any vehicles at all, was obvious. Reasons for this strange cycle of activity were not obvious.

Mount Surprise - page 2
blue-faced honeyeater Blue-faced Honeyeater feeding in a tree. The bird is hanging upside down to reach a morsel of food and the photograph has been rotated to make it easier to view.
bug Interesting looking bug living in considerable numbers along the creek. Not sure what it is but the colours are enough to prompt avoiding it.
chinee apple Chinee Apple is an introduced plant which has become a weed. The trees are spreading rapidly across the Northern Territory and northern Queensland. The fruit are said to be edible but not particularly palatable.