Todd & Fletchers Travels
Dining with Bill Clintion and sleeping with ants! Ok so Clinton didn't dine with Bill Clinton but as a last night treat from Tony and Lenore they took us to a very exclusive (Bill Clinton has eaten there!) Seafood restaurant on the water front in Port Douglas, we finally got to wear our glad rags. I'm not going to say too much except amazing food and good company, oh and dad get your wallet ready, this will be what i want as birthday treat in March in Sydney! Besides the everyday food you'd expect of King Prawns and Squid, others included, Cray fish, Sushi, Whole Baby Octopus and Bugs. What we'll say here is that Bugs as you'd imagine loom pretty ugly but are nothing like their name-they taste delicious-seriously! Tuesday 16th August-a hard mornings work (Bum, b*****, s*** as Lenore would say) , car packed, tyre pressure checked, a trip to Wooly's for fresh food, and the drive through grog shop for the obvious, cool banana's we're off. With Tonys map at hand we headed for our first destination, somewhere new up in the tablelands. It was great driving through all the towns we had already visited knowing we weren't going back, so much so that we lost track of the time and our first disaster hit just past Malanda, we hadn't checked the time! So its getting on for 4pm and it get darks in an hour, we need to find a creek to camp on, not a problem! Or so we thought an hour later heading towards Topaz ( a town of less than 200) we found ourselves having searched every possible road to a creek and finding nothing in a bit of a dilemma-it was dark. We decided to convince ourselves that perhaps 'No through road' in Australia means something different, only to have to reverse back down a narrow, wooded path with headlights coming towards us-oops. Luckily the Census guy driving the car after telling us in we were in some of the roughest terrain in Australia, quite happily directed us to a campsite....back in Malanda. Sorry Tony, mission failed, we retired to the Malanda Caravan Park paying $16 for both if, not a bad price. We soon forgot our mistake when we eating chicken stirfry-its the only thing i can cook! and sharing it with possums...a little later we get annoyed with these and retire to the great aussie rule that they are vermin as they never leave you alone when they smell your food! Morning broke and we ate breakfast with Cassowraies and Parrots. After checking out the waterfalls in Malanda we head to Milla Milla for more waterfalls and a walk around the circuit, the heights are amazing. We drove in a circle (we missed the most direct route...it will take a while to get used to all these roads we think!) and headed to Mount Hypipamee National Park where we viewed the crater. A big hole in the middle of the ground filled with green gunk that looks a little like something out of star-trek,but worth a look? We did another 800m walk around the Dinner falls and decided we'd stay in Mila Milla seen as we were a bit tired now. The weather is pretty cool up in the tablelands so we decided we'd drive some distance and head inland tomorrow (Nath is getting worried about his tan fading you see), also alot of the scenery is like the UK, green hills and cows everywhere but the vastness is still breathtaking. A note here for other good buys: A gift of the Lonely Planet Guide-its our bible, Tony's atlas-now we are learning to Navigate better, Nathan's Grandma gave us a pack of cards on the day we left-fantastic way to pass a few hours at night, only thing is we only know one game of rummy, if anyone knows any other card games feel free to email us the instructions. And finally my Roxy money bag, i have to admit i packed it thinking i'd never use it mum, but it is actually the next best thing since sliced bread it keeps all our passports, money, camera etc together, is discreet and best of all trendy, only thing is i wish it wasn't pink as Nathan wont be seen dead holding it so i get lumbered with everything lol. We journey on stopping at Innot Hot Springs- Nettle Creek that is hot all the time-very strange! Passing through the small town of Mount Garnet, joined the Kennedy Highway and 40 mile scub (fig and gum trees-but nothing else) and arrived at our next destination, Undara Volcanic National Park. A point to make re the highway is how disturbing it is to be in the middle of nowhere and passing one lone biker-PUSH BIKE-are these people insane? Undara in aboriginal language means 'a long way' which is true as we traveled a long way to et here . All around are volcanoes, but the main attraction of the park are the lava tubes. We decided against a trip to venture inside them, mainly because of the prices, we have to stick to budgets lol, but also as after speaking to a few people we reasoned that they'd be similar to the caves we had previously visited and that there was an equally good walking track that offered the same info as the guide would tell us-and this was free. So off we went around the 'Kalkani Crater Walk' a 10 minute walk supposedly (i need to be a bit fitter to fit into this category-it was steep though!) to the rim and an hour around the edge with sights as far as the eye could see. What was particularly funny was half way round bumping into an elderly couple that just happened to originally be from Grimsby-how small the world can be! Next morning we awoke to see Kangaroos extremely close to our camp and even more moving was seeing that a mother still had her joey in her pouch-this joey came out to play and was amazing to watch-lets just say breakfast went cold lol and the photos we got were pretty cool to say how close they were. A note here is that Nathan is struggling with lighting camp fires, it seems that after 3 different attempts something is going wrong as they wont stay alight...Tony please help, i cant bear another night of Nathan trying endlessly to make it work..top efforts though on gathering the wood and trying haha-at least we have another 10 and half months to keep trying. We have traveled through Greenvale, Charters Towers and Ayr. All small towns, friendly enough and a good place to refuel. We did manage to spend our first night in between these camping for free at a spot we found called, rather appropriately, Fletchers Creek. You so know we couldnt just pass through lol. There were a few other people camped for the night so it wasn't quite all to ourselves but still pretty nice, we would have stayed another night but we ran out of grog! And besides this this i would have needed a number2 eventually and i still havent plucked up the courage to dig a hole! We traveled through Ayr, and arrived at Bowen where we had a bit if a dilemma. Bowen is notably a great place to stop, the beaches are amazing, but it is still an hour from Airlie Beach (the best place to see the Whitsundays) and we didn't fancy traveling again, so decided we'd risk it and stay at Airlie Beach. Driving into Airlie Beach was lovely as its Hahn's Yacht festival at the mo so they are all out in full force. After investigating a dismal backpacker caravan park, and a rather nice one that was too far out we settled on the Whitsundays Gardens, a half hour walk into Airlie Beach, at only $18 a night, with a pool and great toilet/shower blocks we were pretty happy. So apart from sunbathing on the esplanade, not driving for a while, fixing the gas bottle (this was a bonus though as it meant we met Jane in the camp kitchen, Jane is from NZ and a helpx host who has offered us work at her b&b on the south island-great), getting eaten to death by ants at night, writing this, having a few tinnys we did the obvious and booked a value for money trip to the whitsundays for $99 each. What can we say here but truly amazing, at first we were apprehensive as they packed 47 of us eager beavers, and 3 crew members on a not too large boat, but as we set sail they opened top deck and everyone moved around. The first stop was Montaray Bay to snorkel, the water was a little cold but the fish more than made up for it-some of the largest we've seen yet, and friendly jelly fish-if you can believe that-i chose to still swim away! We passed by Daydream Island and then taken ashore by a dingy to the Hill Inlet Lookout, 650m upwards through national park, but once we arrived seriously breathtaking, jaw dropping, dribbling amazing-for miles nothing but gorgeous silica white sands and clear blue ocean. I've never got down a hill so quick knowing that this was our next stop. Whitehaven beach....just leave us here was our thoughts! Especially as we were hand in hand with a 4x gold and a large glass of wine :-) As you walk on the sand it squeaks its that clean, they even make telescopes out of this stuff, along with that fact that you can clean your jewelry in it? All the hard saving worth while, if you said i had to come home know i would have been happy having been on this beach, not that we have to come home i hope. A luxurious BBQ, fresh fish and fruits and 2 hours later we swam back to the boat. We headed back to Airlie Beach via Hamilton Island and South Molle Island, the cheese platter they offered was merely a cracker with a lump of cheese but i don't think anyone could have complained the magic of the day was stuck with everyone. And this is where we leave you for now, next stop Mackay and maybe a little light work. We hope all is well with you and all and are loving seeing you on the website, it makes our day. Take care for now.