13.09.2009 - 21.09.2009
Today's report is from the Woodlands Big 4 Caravan Park on the Northern approaches to Townsville. Jenny's outside doing the laundry thing and getting breakfast.
Sunday 14 Sep was spent doing next to nothing and enjoying the bird calls and activities in the park.
Monday 15 Sep we drove to Smithfield and found the Ultra Tune depot where we left the Patrol while we wandered into the local Bunnings and bought some extension cord plugs to replace those that were looking a bit frayed and battered. By the time we walked back the vehicle was ready and we topped up with fuel and provisions and headed back to the Caravan Park. We are finding that the SatNav is very handy in these larger cities although I sometimes question the chosen route.
Tuesday 16 Sep - a short drive down to Innisfail and into the Big 4 Mango Tree Caravan Park on the Southern end of Town. Spent the afternoon driving the "Cane Cutters Way", an interesting scenic and historic route through the cane fields and banana plantations. Called into the "Murdering Point Winery" to taste some interesting ports. Finished the day at Etty Bay where we finally saw the elusive cassowary !!
Wednesday 17 Sep - went into the town centre very early and spent almost two hours following the very well documented "Town Walk". The Art Deco Capital of Australia really lived up to its name. The impressive Catholic Church certainly dominates the skyline. The whole place looked clean and tidy and has almost totally recovered from the devastation of Cyclone Larry in 2005. Perhaps last night's intense 'shower' had freshened the public spaces. Caught up with a local Vietnam Vet for a bite of lunch and returned to prepare for the run to Townsville. An activity which occupies a fair bit of our time is deciding where to go next, which caravan park to try for and how long to stay there. An added complication is the fact that the next two weeks are the Queensland School Holidays and many parks are booked out. We don't like to book ahead because it locks us into a time schedule but it looks like we'll have to bit the bullet and lock in at least the next week !!
Thursday 18 Sep - a new experience for this trip at least - RAIN as we head South to Townsville. The scenery is certainly spectacular, green cane fields, lush vegetation and the hills providing a backdrop. Arrived at our destination before lunch and spent the afternoon doing the essential administration. Two phone calls and we're locked in at Bowen and Mackay.
Friday 19 Sep - decided to visit Charters Towers as we're unlikely to be this far North again. The trip out West was well worth while and we found the town to be interesting and considerably bigger than we had envisaged. The local 'Town Lookout' should be a model for any other small city or town with a domination hill, one of the best we've visited. From Charters Towers we headed North along the Gregory Developmental Road. This narrow 'track' carries a constant stream of 55 meter-long Road Trains bringing ores and concentrates down to the Townsville processing facilities. There are frequent signs to warn you of these monsters but a little common sense goes a long way to making the encounter quite safe. We then turned right and headed back to the park along the Herveys Range Road which was wide, straight and deserted for most of the way.
Saturday 20 Sep - drove North back up the Bruce Highway to visit some of the 'famous' beaches starting at Rollingstone and worked our way back down. I can't work out why people rave over these places !! Most of the beach fronts are littered with signs warning of 'stingers', jellyfish and crocodiles. And the beaches are in no way 'better' than those at home. The ONLY advantage would be the weather - if you like the 30+ degrees and high humidity. Bought some local produce from the road-side stalls along the way and topped that off with a visit to a full-blown shopping mall. I really can do without the big cities, their traffic and impatient people.
Sunday 21 Sep - we plan to drive in to the tourist heart of Townsville and visit the Strand and Finders Mall. Tomorrow we head for Bowen.
PS. we've detected a slow leak in one of the tyres of the Patrol. I had to change it for the 'spare' for the first time in over five years. Those wheels are HEAVY !!
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 5 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".