Sometimes it doesn’t make any difference how much planning you do for a trip. Forces-not-in-your-control can sideline the best of plans. We envisioned long walks in the rain forest on our visit to far northern Queensland. The unseasonable rain, day in and day out, forced us to rethink what we’d do.
We pulled out the map and figured out an alternative day trip. Several folks had recommended Mareeba Wetlands. Internet searches led to little information, but we decided to go for it.
The drive took us out of the deep rainforest and onto the Atherton Tablelands. We turned off the main road, and, with each passing kilometer, the road narrowed and got rougher. Only one car was in the parking lot. Would Mareeba Wetlands be worth it? As soon as we entered, we saw an aviary with Gouldian finches, a rare bird native to this area and possibly Australia’s most beautiful bird.
We paid a nominal entrance fee for a map and a walk in the park. The sky cleared – just a little — as we started down the path. We expected to see wildlife in Wetlands but laughed and raced over to see a 19-meter long stainless steel lizard. The plaque said the lizard was placed in the Mareeba Tropical Savannah and Wetlands Reserve to “highlight the vital importance of biodiversity” as Mareeba is one of the few areas in the world with pure wild rice that has not been contaminated by commercial rice.
We walked by many termite mounds scattered through the high grasses of the savannah.
Little gifts of nature appeared as we walked by.
We reached the lake again at the walks’ end with a view of the pied cormorant and a darter sharing a perch.
The best plans for a trip may have to be tossed when things happen beyond your control. We had planned to walk in the rainforest, but, when we needed to alter our plan, we walked in the savannah instead.