For the past few weeks I’ve been up visiting my home territory of north Queensland, holidaying around the place and showing the sights to my dear friend, Jess from London. My lovely mother bestowed a gift upon me in the form of a digital SLR camera, so I thought that throughout our travels – just for something different – I’d keep a photo journal of all the interesting toilet-related paraphernalia that we came across. This idea was inspired by another one of my London friends, Rhiannon, who appreciates a good dunny when she sees one
And so I begin my journal in the small township of Tully, about half way between my home in Bluewater and the tropical city of Cairns, where I would meet up with Jess. Tully is known for being one of the wettest towns in Australia, and an eight metre statue of a gumboot was erected at the entrance to the town to signify their highest annual rainfall. It’s also the UFO capital of Australia, with more sightings occurring here than anywhere else.
I stopped at the public toilets located just behind some picturesque gardens on the main street of town, Butler St. I was particularly impressed with the art deco tiling and the dislodged floor tile by the wall:
A few days later we made a stop at Granite Gorge, about 15km west of Mareeba. Here we went for a bushwalk around the spectacularly scenic gorge, taking in the giant volcanic boulders protruding from the earth, a waterhole full of turtles and a crystal clear stream flowing down over the rocks and into the scrub. The highlight was the opportunity to feed the many tame rock wallabies that called this place their home – as many as three at a time would come right up to our hands and eat the feed pellets we were offering them.
The amenities at the privately owned Granite Gorge were very photogenic, and I loved the cute little frog painted onto the base of the urinal:
Later in the day on the way back to Cairns we made a detour down a dirt road just south-east of Mareeba to Emerald Creek Falls, a pristine and seemingly not-too-well-known natural attraction. We walked for half an hour down a deserted bush track, eventually arriving at a lookout where the track officially came to an end, offering superb views of the falls. Being the adventurous types, we continued on past the lookout, through the bush, until we reached the top of the falls and had a swim in the icy-cold waterhole.
The facilities at Emerald Creek Falls would be the first of many drop-toilets that we encountered throughout our travels:
A few days later we passed by a suburb of Cairns with the laughable name of Yorkey’s Knob. Jess climbed a tree, we walked down the beach, and I snapped away at the mural outside the men’s:
I’ve crossed the crocodile-infested Daintree River a number of times in the past but never before had I been to Daintree Village, so we opted to stop there for a quick look around before continuing further up north toward Cape Tribulation. “Village” is the correct terminology for this place; it definitely had a quaint country-town feel, and we enjoyed a coffee at one of the local cafés before I discovered the amusing crocodile banners adorning the outside walls of the local lavatories:
We arrived at Cape Tribulation that evening after spending the day discovering some amazing secluded beaches, walking through the dense rainforest, eating tropical fruit ice cream (jackfruit, wattle seed, soursop and raspberry all in the one cup… yum!), and quietly stalking a small family of cassowaries in the bush to the side of the road. The following day we went jungle surfing, where they harness you up to a flying fox and you swing through the canopy of the forest from platform to platform.
We camped the night at PK’s Jungle Village, who had put a very impressive effort into the tropical mural embellishing the entrance to their outhouse:
Venturing back down south, this time via the inland road, we stopped for a picnic lunch at a camping ground near Mt Molloy. The facilities here were unique in that a donation box was positioned outside both the ladies and the gents, with signs on the toilet walls requesting that we leave a few quid. Some smart-arse (ha, what a pun!) left a suggestion on the sign saying that we should perhaps leave a different type of donation…
We camped the next night along the shores of Lake Tinaroo. First we pulled into the Platypus Rock camping area where I found this large, earthly, redbrick toilet cubicle:
We opted instead to stay at the local scouting campground, which turned out for the best as I was lucky enough to find the one and only toilet through our whole two weeks of travel where I was greeted by a little spidery visitor!
We stopped at the tableland village of Yungaburra the next day and had a delightful lunch at the historic Whistle Stop Café. You can’t get much more Aussie than this:
At an elevation of 930m, Ravenshoe holds the title of being the highest town in Queensland. We had a drink at the Tully Falls Hotel (the highest pub in Queensland), and I was hoping to find some kind of enlightening Godly message inscribed in the toilet walls, seeing as we were so close to the Royal Throne of Heaven itself. Alas, for I was barely able to make out something along the lines of “better guard your ass,” and “stiffy.” :-/
By far the most exquisite toilet block we found was within the grounds of the gorgeous Paronella Park, one of my all-time favourite tourist attractions (so far) in the whole world. Dating from the 1930’s and built by hard working Spanish cane farmer José Paronella, he thoughtfully positioned the restrooms just downstream from the magnificent castle and delicate garden that he constructed for his beloved wife. He even framed the dunny block so that views of the Mena Creek waterfall could be enjoyed whilst whizzing away.
Unfortunately the toilets are no longer in use today, however you can only imagine how exhilarating it would have been to make use of the gravy bowl back in the day:
A couple of days later after visiting Paluma with my brother Jay and his girlfriend Kate, we had a quick look through the quiet riverside township of Rollingstone. Jay and Kate’s eager eyes spotted this happy fellow, Bushy at the Beach, painted on the rear of the local toilet block:
We drove to Charters Towers with my parents, which was once the second-largest city in Queensland during the gold rush of the late-1800’s. These days it’s a quiet town with restored 19th century architecture giving it a very country & western feel, and we headed up to the lookout on Towers Hill to view the streets from above. I especially loved the panorama from the small screen window inside the men’s room:
Ravenswood is another humble mining town, substantially smaller than Charters Towers, and about 100km to the east. With a population of less than 200, you could almost say it was a ghost town, were it not for the spattering of locals who work at the nearby open cut mine, and at the various tourist attractions around the township. We had a beer at the Railway Hotel where I discovered the WC, complete with a handwritten request to “please pull the leaver slowly”:
To my great delight, the final of my Toilets of North Queensland, just down the road from the pub at Ravenswood, turned out to be the penultimate of all pissers! What more could I ask for but a genuine outdoor thunderbox alongside an old miner’s cottage built in the 1800’s? Carefully restored after a cyclone in 1989, the thunderbox proved to be an historic and shitting… err, I mean, fitting… end to this journey, which I sincerely hope you have all enjoyed sharing with me:
Oh, alright then! Because you asked nicely, here are some normal snaps I took along the way of non-toilet-related subjects such as wallabies and waterfalls!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked the lav’s!