Posted by: Ted | January 19, 2008

Yungaburra and Princess Fiona

Yungaburra, Australia        November 23-24, 2007

Rolling into Yungaburra we settle into a hostel called On The Wallaby, the best place we scouted for local digs. There are nicer more expensive options but this one offers the best value with cool, friendly staff and great guests. When you walk in the door and feel the vibe, you just know this is your place and it was. They also offer an $8 BBQ dinner option which we declined the first night and regretted. The experiences you learn from traveling make you reluctant and skeptical about such a deal so there was no way we would get decent food for $8 each in Australia. Wrong. We spent $35 at the local market buying meat, salad and vegetables to cook our own dinner. Hours later we found ourselves eating exactly the same thing as the other guests, for twice the price. Next night we got smart, bought the dinner option and enjoyed grilled sausages, steak, sushi, salad, coleslaw and veggies.

Lake Eacham is a nearby “swimming hole” that is a must visit in Yungaburra. Over and over we find the best things are free and it is true. This is a community lake-front swimming area with grassy areas to lay in the sun and well formed steps into the cool water for swimmers. On our last day we visited the monthly market forming in the local town center where tents begin popping up before dawn. Good bargains on hats, shirts and other items you might need. This is where the concept for a new business came to us and Heather immediately purchased the dot-com name in anticipation of starting a business in the future. No secrets will be revealed here but you might look for it sometime in the not-too-distant future.

On The Wallaby is also where we met Fiona, a fellow backpacker from the U.K taking a break from school to experience the world. No she’s not a princess or royalty (as far as we know) and probably hates the Shrek reference but it’s a funny title so get over it.


We immediately hit it off with Fiona and she fell into traveling with us for a couple of weeks. We were headed the same direction, had the same dates in mind and just seemed to “click” together. Don’t you love spending time with people who are an “easy hang”, are flexible and view the world with the right amount of optimism, sarcasm and humor?

If you push hard enough, you can get three adults, three large backpacks, two enormous rolling duffels, a 23-liter cooler full of drinks and several supermarket bags full of food to fit in a Mazda 121.


The engine will protest on every hill and the suspension will bottom out with every bump but it can be done. We depart Yungaburra for Cape Tribulation with high hopes of sandy white beach time and more rainforest fun. Good news: Our Federal Express of summer clothes and personal items (36 pounds) just arrived in Cairns so we can pick it up along the way heading north again. Since we have limited space, we packed this box before leaving home with the plan of having it shipped to our first warm weather destination. We still can’t understand how we got another box in that Mazda 121 but it felt like Christmas came early so we were determined to make it fit. Since arriving in Australia we were making due with two short sleeve shirts and one pair of shorts each while dragging around sweaters, thermal underwear and fleece. We finally had summer clothes to wear and best of all, we could ditch all the winter togs.

Heading north from Cairns, we stopped at yet another waterfall with big boulders for some pictures with Fiona.



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