“Would you like another Wonga” said Pixie, who has an aversion to solids and considers a cocktail as a food group. A ‘Wonga’ has four parts Vodka with a large sploosh of chilled Orange Juice with a couple of large chunks of ice – after two of these hearty snifters the day takes on a very ‘Wonga-esque’ pace.
Wonga is a tiny sleepy hamlet of a few hundred sozzled souls around 17ks outside of Mossman, the nearest town and set in lush rolling cane fields with soaring green mountains topped with light white blankets of cloud. It’s the classic North Queensland landscape.
The Esplanade (main street) runs parallel to the palm-fringed beach with Snapper Island and the Low Isles shimmering on the Barrier Reef horizon. As tantalising as the ocean looks it’s out of bounds for everyone at this time of the year. If the Salt Water Crocs don’t get you then the deadly Irukandji and Box Jelly Fish will. Hardly inviting.
Houses along the Esplanade are wonderfully named such as ‘Dunromin’ and ‘Gunnadoo’ or more prosaically, ‘Brian and Joy’. I wonder what we’d call our house (shack) if we bought the waterfront house next door which is on the market for just AUD$420,000….’The Sea Section’, ‘Fanta Sea’ or perhaps ‘Seas the Day’. Suggestions welcome. Answers on a postcard please….
The local servo has a hand-written sign that says ‘last fuel for Trib’ – a useful tip given Cape Tribulation is around 50ks north, across the crocodile-infested Daintree River and up towards the ‘end of the line’ before it becomes a 4-wheel drive only dirt track up towards Cook Town in the York Peninsula.
Not surprisingly, it’s incredibly hot and sticky here with a near constant 34 degrees so doing pretty much anything is exhausting, so if you need us, we’ll be in the pool.
We did go for a pre-dawn walk along the beach the other morning but thoughts turned to the potential lurking dangers. Wonga is a well-known Crocodile habitat, with sightings common. One large Croc was spotted walking along the Esplanade this year. In an attempt to allay local fears, the Queensland Department of Environment issued a notice that read ‘Large Croc spotted. No aggressive behaviour reported. Croc likely to be passing through the area. Monitoring for further sighting reports.’ I’m not sure that would give me any peace of mind. Drilling further into the website it states that there have been 14 sightings at Wonga Beach since December.
Visitors to Wonga are invited to be ‘Croc Aware’ with the following guidelines:
- Expect crocodiles in ALL far northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
- Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe
- Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
- Stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating
- The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
- Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure
- Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
- Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country
- Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372