20.09.2009 - 27.09.2009
We're still North of the tropic of Capricorn just West of the Whitsunday Islands in beautiful Mackay.
Sunday 20 Sep spent some time at Townsville's waterfront area and found it very busy as there had been a triathlon competition and there were hundreds of competitors and their support teams. Drove to the top of Castle Hill which provided an excellent vantage point with 360 degree views of the city. Back to the van in preparation for departure.
Monday 21 Sep we left early and travelled to Bowen for 3 days. Passed through Ayr on the way and were well impressed. Bowen is very dry and dusty and looks like it could use a coat of paint. The streets are very wide and have a variety of layouts; central parking, central garden, no central divide and traffic on the left and parking on the right. Cross roads with strange entrances and exits. Many expensive yachts in the marina.
Tuesday 22 Sep we drove to Collinsville and visited Darby Munro - 55 AESS/EWPS Vietnam Veteran. His 'camp' in Scottville is interesting and comprises a random collection of all his treasures occupying almost the whole area. Darby introduced us to his watering holes, the Top Pub, then the Mineworkers Club and then the Bowen River Hotel about 30 Km out of town on a tooth-jarring dirt road. Here we're made most welcome and have to work hard to resist staying for dinner. Finally dropped Darby off at another pub in Collinsville and got back to the caravan about 1930.
Wednesday 23 Sep spent most of the morning photographing the many murals and visiting the tourist beaches on Queens Bay. Some very impressive resorts and caravan parks. Back to camp and get things ready for departure.
Thursday 24 Sep we headed South with headlights on !! The dust which hit Sydney and Brisbane yesterday, has found its way up here. We called into Airlie Beach and marvelled at the boats and resort buildings. Sadly the dust wiped all of the sparkle off the place. On to Mackay and the Andergrove Van Park on the Northern approaches. Very large park but with the school holidays we were lucky to get a spot. Set up camp and visited a shopping centre to restock essentials. The dust is effecting Jenny's breathing but she says she's OK.
Friday 25 Sep drove out to the Northern beaches, they're quite impressive but the dust continuous to rob the impressive scenery of any colour. Visited the marina which is a very impressive set-up handling bulk grain and sugar as well as an extensive marina for leisure boats and charter operators. The luxury apartments and restaurants looked very underutilised. Found our way into the CBD and strolled up and down the central streets. Very relaxed, tropical and picturesque.
Saturday 26 Sep decided to hit the road along the Pioneer Valley. It follows the Pioneer River for about 84 Km and climbs the escarpment to Eungella and the National Park. Sugar cane almost the whole way and three sugar mills along the way. Views should have been spectacular but the dust was still hanging around. Drove out to Finch Hatton Gorge and stopped for lunch at the Pinnacle Pub for one of their famous pie and chips - very tasty !!
Sunday 27 Sep our last day here, we're off to walk the botanical gardens and then plan to relax and get ready to leave for Rockhampton on Monday.
Tyre Puncture. The slow leak proved elusive, the tyre bloke in Bowen wasn't able to find it. We left the wheel there at 1100 and agreed to pick it up at 1500. We were back there on time and asked what the outcome had been. Red face behind the counter, what job ?? what name ?? Oooops, THAT wheel was picked up by someone else. Give us 10 minutes and we'll get it back. We strolled around the town for 15 minutes then sat in their waiting room, staff was coming and going and the Patrol was still on the jack. Finally the 'boss' explained that they were unable to find a leak, apologised for wasting our time and wouldn't accept payment. Sometimes things just don't go the way you plan.
Until next week, we hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next 4 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".