I don’t remember what day it was, but it was pretty early in the morning when I woke up in tropical Queensland. It was pouring like crazy, so humid and hot but of course nothing compared to the destructive tropical cyclones that can occur between January and April.
But I didn’t care about the weather. I mean, seriously, complaining about the weather when you are abroad – this is so European and so darn unimportant. I’ve been travelling along the coast, through the hinterland and rainforest for quite some time now and can already feel that I am so down to earth – I noticed that I can actually refocus over here. I don’t remember the last time I felt so close to nature, so grounded – even though I did not get much sleep, I woke up with a smile on my face feeling all peaceful and relaxed. – Hm, nope, I did not eat any toxic plants last night, had no alcohol, didn’t take any drugs, I am not dehydrated – it must be the spirit of pure, untouched nature over here in Queensland.
The rainforest is calling
I was so up for a challenge and more than ready to let myself experience true, untouched nature. The warm rain showers left this amazing smell on the trees and I already felt all relaxed and so down to earth. But hundreds of mosquitoes made sure it wasn’t too perfect. We all sprayed tons of insect repellant on our clothes and body and thus added a rather personal fragrance to the rainforest :-)
– Btw: these insect repellants didn’t work for me. I counted 23 mosquito bites the next morning. –
We are a group of four, all looking kind of ridiculous with our wannabe-outdoor clothing and gear: shorts, sandals or sneakers and all muffled up in our rain jackets. I mean we weren’t dressed up or anything, the ladies did not put any make-up on or something like that, but I’d say we looked like wannabe hikers, all soaking wet and probably made any outdoor enthusiast laugh. Regarding my personal style: well, this is probably as awful as it can get. Lucky us there was no one out there. You don’t believe me? Well, these two snapshots definitely prove it :-).
Tully, here we are!
Tully is a small town in the Cassowary Coast region tropical Queensland – the Tully River (previously known as the Mackay River) was named after Surveyor-General William Alcock Tully in the 1870s. The town of Tully was then named after the river (previously it had been known as Banyan). With an average annual rainfall exceeding 4,000 millimetres (160 in), and the highest ever annual rainfall in a populated area of Australia (7,900 millimetres (310 in) in 1950), Tully is said the wettest town in Australia. Well, I won’t argue on this one – it was definitely pretty wet ;-). In 2003 a giant gumboot (the “Golden Gumboot”) was erected as a monument to the town’s climate; it also serves as a museum documenting past floods, as well as displaying the current rainfall for the year. But the rain still does not bother me.
The perfect time to meet our indigenous tour guide
Our guide from Ingan Tours is a member of the Jirrbal tribe. He possesses remarkable skills and knowledge, knowing his way around without having to use any map or compass. His tribe knows about the effect of a woomera without studying science, how to make fire without studying the laws of friction, how to remove poison from black beans without studying chemistry or nutrition and they perfected the shape of boomerang without pen or paper or computer-assisted drawing.
When our tour guide told us his personal life story, I got goosebumps all over. For us it is already pretty uncommon that a person is brought up not only by his parents but also by a whole community. But there is so much more to it. You can read about the different tribes and their culture further below to get a broad idea about their way of life. It is pretty complex and you could write a dissertation on it, but I think it is right and proper to learn at least a little bit about a country’s culture and their inhabitants. Anything else would just make me an ignorant, narrow minded and pretty selfish traveller.
Our guide left his family and community pretty early to join the army. He was still a young boy, so innocent, brought up in a peaceful environment – but back then he thought, joining the army could be a huge opportunity. Due to his amazing skills he learned from the elderly people, he had the most incredible survival instinct and probably knew more about gathering particular foods, how to prepare them for eating and how to actually survive in the outback with almost nothing than anybody else. My breath stopped for a second when he told us that he joined special forces. Three of us were sitting in the back of the car and we immediately got all quiet. And then he told us his personal war stories, how he gathered intelligence, tracked people down and much more… I immediatley pictured all these Hollywood interpretations on CIA operatives or special forces units in my head, which now sounded so real and far worse. Out of respect I won’t publish further details, but let me tell you: You could tell by the look in his eyes that these events left a mark on him, which was actually the reason why he came back to Tully and decided to pick a different career.
And that was just the beginning of our trip. From that moment onwards, I forgot all 1st world problems, forgot about my work, almost anything, ’cause it all just seemed so unimportant.
Thank you, tropical North Queensland for this amazing experience!
photo credentials: V’s World, special thanks to Nelson for this amazing group shot of us walking along the rainforest trail
video: V’s World, shot with a GoPro
I travelled with Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia and Tourism & Events Queensland.