Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Atherton Tablelands

We were almost to the sunny east coast of Queensland and almost to our northernmost destination... but first!  A trip across the Atherton Tablelands, just inland from the ocean.

A sign going up this hill warned of fog/low visibility, and it was a permanent sign so we were like "how do they know?" but apparently this happens a lot.

Jucy in the fog on Windy Hill:


The main reason we stopped was to check out the wind farm.  Somewhere in the mist (in the midst of it?), there's a giant wind turbine.  We could hear it!


Info about the wind farm, and I guess they got lucky for the photo (although it's still not a sunny day in the picture, I notice):


Hey - there's one!  And it was super windy up there, looks like a good spot to generate some renewable energy:


Next stop - entertainment of the animal variety at Tarzali Lakes Aquaculture Centre.  $5 entry that includes an informative personal talk about platypus behavior (and our expected behavior around the platypi, um, platypuses), then it was time to head to the pond:


Stand real quiet and they start popping up here and there - they spend most of their time roaming around on the bottom of the pond searching for food, then they occasionally come up top to breathe.  Hello there!


Indeed, they are so small, not sure why I always thought that they're the size of at least a beaver, but they are a good bit smaller:


It was fun watching them float and then "dive! dive!" - so adorable - hard to get a decent photo though:


Here's my (lame) attempt at a platypus video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbpRSwVlYsE

Continuing north, we could have stopped at a dozen other places, but we were suddenly inundated with options (after the desert of the Outback) and needed to start prioritizing.

A place called "Coffee World" in Mareeba seemed like a high priority - instincts were good on that one!


In fact, it went beyond expectations.  You pay an entry fee and then get to sample as much as you want - or really, as much as you can handle.

Starting with the coffee bar.  This was remarkable for having actual urns of coffee, something we saw almost nowhere else in Australia.  There are A LOT of baristas in the country, all making delicious tall blacks and flat whites (my favorite - now at Starbucks!) to order, but no options for a quick cup of drip coffee.  Except at Coffee World!  Lots of great flavors to try:


Not just coffee, but chocolate - what?! - these are the more interesting varieties, we did a number on the more normal dark chocolate pieces as well:


If caffeine and sugar aren't enough, there's a liqueur bar as well...


We hung around the tasting area until we were about maxed out and hopped up, then went to explore the museum to let everything settle.  The museum was fascinating in itself, hundreds (maybe thousands) of coffee-related items that had been collected from all over the world and from various eras.  Plus some occasional disco music - ?

All I want is a proper cup of coffee, made in a proper copper coffee pot (that's even hard to type):


The history of coffee around the world:


I have no idea how this works, but then I haven't figured out the Clover machine at Google yet either:


If you have kangaroos in your country, you should feature them in advertisements:


Not just coffee paraphernalia, but teapots as well (photo for Kathy):


Somehow Einstein and advanced equations are involved in brewing coffee...


Coffee quotes:


A more pleasant sentiment, courtesy of Winston Churchill - and yes, that was one of those great days!  Thank you Coffee World (and platypuses)!


I think I'm wired just writing about that experience...

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