Blog Day 145 Wed 28th September 2011
This morning we are woken up by a very rare natural occurrence in Australia ………………. RAIN. We were under the impression that such a thing didn't happen in this country. Turns out we were wrong. We sit for a while and watch the other campers going about their morning business as we sit and write a little shopping list. It doesn't take long to pack things away and we are back on the highway heading for Townsville.
First impressions are that this place is just a sleepier version of Cairns. We have met a ton of people that have told us just to pass it by as there is nothing really to do here. However we have so much time before we need to be in Airlie beach that this is going to be our home for the next few nights.
Our first stop is at Woolworths to carry out our shopping chores. After that we are kind of at a loose end. After a quick look in the guide book we see that one of the top things to do is head up Castle Hill and admire the view. This sound like a great idea, as it's free. After a few wrong turns and heated words (thanks to Trish's superb map reading skills) we find ourselves at the top of Castle Hill. The drive up the hill takes around 10 minutes and we pass so many people who are walking up it in the spandex kit and walking shoes, we decide we don't envy them as we are out of breath just driving up here! The 360 degree view is stunning and it also gives us a chance to get our bearings on where everything is.
Next we decide to head on down to the Strand where there is a mixture of a beach area, park area, play area, Barbeque area and even a rock pool. Palm trees line the streets and its seems like a really great family area. We finish our little drive at Flinders Street which is where the shopping area is. Here we have a walk around before diving into a little café for some brunch. We also pop into the tourist info centre to see what Townsville has to offer and whether there are any free campsites about. We find out here that the campsite we were going to stay at doesn't let people stay there any longer. It was at a BP truck stop and many of the people that had stayed there before were found to be lighting camper fires………. at a BP 'petrol' stop!!.......DUMBASSES! So it looks like we are either going to have to go back out of town to Saunders Beach or find a quiet little side road somewhere. However with our stomachs satisfied we decide to cross that bridge when we come to it and head back down to the esplanade to catch up on some sun bathing and blog writing.
A few hours pass and before we know it 5pm is upon us. Earlier in the day we had sent Jamieson (Renee's friend who we met in Cairns) a txt seeing if he wanted to meet up for a bite to eat and a beer. He was more than up for this and we were due to meet him at his place, which is about 10 minutes out of town, at 6pm. A quick change of clothes and splash of water at the public showers later and we are headed to Jamieson's place.
Trish does better on the map reading this time around and we find the house with ease. Jamieson is chuffed to see us and before we even set foot in the door he asks if we are staying the night. On hearing about our little dilemma with were to sleep he insists we stay at his for as long as we want. So with good company, a hot shower and free internet we can see ourselves staying until we are kicked out.
Jamieson is renting a lovely 4 bedroom open plan house with 2 other girls, Jackie and Jess. Jackie is coming out with us tonight, and Jess we will meet tomorrow. After a few beers at the house Jamieson drives us all back to the Strand to a place called Jamaica Joes. Here we have a fantastic evening. Dan has a bloody great big steak (first one since South Africa), and Trish shares a bottle of wine with Jackie. The two of them are great fun and to our surprise Jamieson insists on picking up the bill. Not being ones to argue we say that we shall cook them a curry one evening as a thank you. Jackie also books herself in for a massage, after hearing what Trish's job was back home.
We tell Jamieson that we don't mind sleeping in the van but before we can say 'van' he has set up a bed in the spare room and is showing us where all the necessities are, things like toilet, fridge, beer etc.
As we lie in bed that night surrounded by pink walls with a Winnie the Pooh boarder (we don't remember seeing any kids or babies around), we can't help but think how lucky we are and how great it is when things just, work out.