Hello, as always we apologise for not writing a blog in a while, it has been a mixed few weeks but we have plenty to tell!
We left Darwin after about a week and headed back down south, after an overnight stop we were on the highway heading east to Queensland. We had lots of wildlife to keep us company, including an emu that stopped us in the middle of the highway, as well as a nice mixture of creatures getting stuck to the front of Jerry, they stain too the b*****s! We stopped over a couple of times, at Mt Isa and Charters Towers, where Jerry decided to pass out on us and refuse to start, arse! One new battery later, $200 lighter, and we were back on the road headed for Townsville on the coast. To be honest, we fell in love with Townsville, despite being a small city with most shops closed down! The centre will be redeveloped at some point but they have already carried out a lot of work on The Strand, the main road along the waterfront. There you get to stroll along the pathway at the edge of the beach, with water parks, parks, lovely picnic and bbq areas and designated safe swimming spots along the way. Our favourite though was The Rockpool, a pool built at the waters edge with filtered sea-water filling it. As it was filtered there was no risk of jellyfish or annoying seaweed, and the water was gorgeous and warm. With the grassy banks to the side of it as well you can imagine we spent a few days there!! In the middle of Townsville is Castle Hill, a craggy hill raising about 600m from the flat surrounding land, giving it a fantastic 360degree view from the top. As we discovered, it was perfect for watching a storm heading straight for us, we escaped in time but unfortunately the rain continued on the coast for many more days after that.
With the arrival of Lucy and Chanel a week away up in Cairns, we figured we would waste some time whilst heading north, we stopped at Mission Beach, but as it carried on raining, and with only a beach there it wasn’t much fun! So we figured we would head up to Cairns to wait for them, and with all the rain we’d had we decided to visit Josephine Falls on the way, a choice well made. Set amongst the rainforest about 8km off the main road, we could barely see the mountains for the low cloud and rain falling, but the rain held off while we walked through to the viewing platforms. The three-tiered falls were stunning with a lot of water rushing down them, on a dryer day I imagine they would be quite peaceful, but we got soaked by the spray coming off them. We left the falls in time for the next onslaught of rain and arrived in Cairns that afternoon. Unfortunately we had torrential rain for the majority of that week and with it being Easter there wasn’t much open or to do. However the weather had picked up by the time the others arrived, and after our free huge pancakes at the campsite we went to meet them by the lagoon (relatively similar to the Rockpool in Townsville) in the middle of Cairns. With the girls now in tow, we decided to go on a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. As we boarded the boat on a beautiful April morning we were given the news that Lucy has a habit of getting a little seasick. After about 90minutes on the boat to get out to the barrier reef and donning the beautiful and fashionable wetsuits that we had been given, we had our first opportunity to snorkel on the great barrier reef. With Helen sceptical as she had never snorkelled before as well as Andy not snorkelling in 11 years, the first dive didn’t go that well. After about 15 minutes in the water bobbing up and down Helen began to get queasy so decided to return to the boat. En route despite 50 or so other people being in the water and it not being stinger (Jellyfish) season Helen managed to be stung on the leg by a bluebottle. After getting back in agony Helen had the remaining part of the tentacle removed and her leg covered in vinegar to reduce the stinging. Unfortunately that ended her day in the water. Despite that trail of events Andy, Lucy and Chanel all had a great time in the water looking at all kinds of exotic fish and corals merely feet away. After a while at that location the boat was driven to a second location to give us an idea of some other types of reef, the second location was even more beautiful, the reef instead of being 10 feet below you was instead 2 feet below you in places so you could really see all manner of fish clearly even a shark or two :o)
After the trip to the reef there wasn’t a lot else to be done in Cairns on our budget (which was getting rather tight!) so we decided to head back south and shockingly enough we decided to head back to Townsville for another few nights with the intention of going to the beautiful Magnetic Island that is just off the coast. We were all packed up and ready to head off for the day to Magnetic Island, when our lovely Jerry decided once again to pass out on us, we weren’t going anywhere! Fortunately when Helen went to inquire at reception about a mobile mechanic one of the residents overheard the conversation and offered his assistance. After checking over our battery (which was flat as a pancake) he gave us a jump start to check the alternator … oh arse! That was the issue in the first place then :o( After some advice on a mechanic who would be able to help us out we took a trip to get it fixed. $560 lighter and no chance at Magnetic Island, expensive day! Time for Brisbane and work we thought.
On our route down towards Brisbane we stopped off at Airlie Beach which is the small town that you cruise the Whitsunday Islands from, when in Rome … We decided on a daytrip to save our pennies and still see a few islands. The day included visits to 3 of the islands, Hook Island, Whitehaven Beach and Daydream Island. The first destination was Hook Island where we had the opportunity to go to an underwater observatory to look at fish as well as a glass bottom boat ride which was disappointing to say the least. However we also had a chance to go snorkelling from the beach to some of the reefs between the Islands. Apprehensively Helen donned her stinger suit (picture enclosed ;o) ) and decided to give it another go, this time she loved it! We even saw a sea turtle. While snorkelling round the bay the crew from the boats would throw pieces of bread in to the water to feed the fish, this meant that you could get up close within inches of hundreds of stunning fish or even have them eating out of your hands, a memory I will not forget. The second island featured Whitehaven Beach the most popular attraction in the Whitsundays, its white sandy beach and warm, shallow and wave-less water make it a perfect setting for some Frisbee and French cricket. Knackered we returned to the boat to make way to our third destination, Daydream Island. From the moment we landed we wish we hadn’t, Daydream was in all intensive purposes an island resort. The resort featured little if you didn’t want to spend a lot of money other than a bar by the pool with a view of the sea. We just grabbed ourselves some sun-loungers and partook of the view until we left. All in all money well spent for the amount we paid.
After leaving Airlie beach and continuing towards Brisbane we had a couple of short stopovers at Rockhampton and Hervey Bay. There isn’t much to say about Rockhampton but Hervey Bay is stunning and we got some great photos, we also went there to price up our trip to Fraser Island which we are planning once we have earned enough money to return and do it properly. We arrived in Brisbane yesterday afternoon with the intention of finding work ASAP, unfortunately because it was Saturday and also a bank holiday on Monday we wont have a chance to do anything constructive until Tuesday. Hopefully we can find something relatively soon though.
Anyway so that is about it so far, hopefully you enjoy the photos we have taken, miss you all xxx