I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more spectacular sunrise than the one we regularly got at Wonga. The sun quickly rises from the Coral Sea at 5.53am, turning the mackerel sky into a riot of rainbow colour, with the reef shimmering and the Low Isles appearing as a mirage, shape-shifting on the horizon.
Our time is once again up at Wonga – our second year in this tropical paradise and the wonderfully eclectic beach house. Boy has it been hot – like real hot with 38 /40 degrees and 85% humidity – humidity so thick you need a bread knife to carve yourself out of the house and into the day. By 10am we’re well and truly Wonga’d – the term we coined last year when the only way to cool down is to jump in the pool then take an ice-cold shower. There’s hardly been any monsoon rain as would normally be expected at this time of the year, but I’m hearing there’s a low forming in the Coral Sea and a Tropical Cyclone may well form in the days after we’ve left!
Wonga is a truly out-of-the-way place, 17ks from the nearest shop, along the glittering Coral Sea coast that winds its way through the lush Daintree Rainforest, out and across the cane fields with the imposing dividing range looming ever present, often with fluffy white table tops, then across the crocodile invested Mossman River and into the sleepy hamlet of Mossman. It’s a spectacular drive.
The Esplanade (Old Wonga) is the place to be, with just a few homes and beach-shacks set back from the beach. You can walk out of your house, across the garden and onto the beach within seconds with the shimmering blue of the Coral Sea, the swaying coconut palms and the vivid orange of the sprawling Flame Trees – just remember to spray yourself for sandflies….their bite can be particularly itchy and annoying.
During the day the cicadas match the rising heat and humidity with an increasingly deafening chorus. The parrots and other, as yet unidentified birds, screech and squabble in the palms with one particular bird that sits in the flame tree sounding for all the world like a loud Punch & Judy. And at night, Wonga has the most peculiar bird sound of all, the haunting and mournful Beach Stone Curlew that painfully screams and moans all night. Thank goodness for A/C and whirring ceiling fans which drift you off to a sound sleep.
Wonga. We will be back.