Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mt. Carbine

Mt. Carbine was at last dry! We opened every window and vent in the van and car and let out all the damp and wetness from Bramston go. The caravan park was just what we liked, laid back and casual with a good washing machine.
Two nights gave us time to enjoy the fantastic bird life (feathered variety only), great mountain scenery and a fascinating two and a half hour talk and walk from the owner of the park. It is incredible that there is a connection to Shepparton with the lady who co-owns the park having a brother who lives in Shepparton. The area is well known for mining so we were able to learn quite a lot about the rise and fall of mining in this area. The park is located at what was originally a mining town, and for such a remote location had excellent facilities. Mt Carbine itself comprises a pub, store/petrol station and a rodeo facility, but no mountain.
Our walk and talk took us high up on the property and just at the right time for sunset which Ian has captured so well. We also have a photo of some seeds which we were told were used by the indigenous women to induce an abortion if they had had the misfortune to fall pregnant to a man from the wrong tribe. Traditionally these women would be speared to death so the abortion pill which gave them a 50/50 chance of survival was a better option!
A short drive with the weather again looking grim finds us in Cooktown which is nearly as far north as we can practically go with the van and we have some exciting sightseeing and walks to go on so stay tuned!
Thanks to everyone for your sympathetic responses to our poor weather! We will remember all of you when we return.

Bramston Beach

After we left Townsville we travelled up towards Bramston Beach passing through Tully and stopping overnight in Babinda. The reason I mention these two towns is that there is a bit of controversy between these two as to who has the highest rainfall in Australia. Well, it seemed that for our visit they planned to put the sceptics to rest and have it out once and for all! After a night in the free camp in Babinda we travelled down to Bramston Beach which is one of our all time favourite beach spots where we usually camp only 30 metres from the ocean with the most spectacular views and beautiful sands which we love to walk along ……. If it ever stops raining that is !!!
True to form we had our beach front and it rained the whole five days sometimes harder than others but enough to soak everything. We tried to stay hoping for a return to the fantastic weather of Townsville but when we heard the weather forecast for another week of the same we gave in.
The one bright spark during our stay was the trip into Cairns for the Tanks Market which is a really great adaptation of the original water supply tanks for Cairns which are now adapted into a fantastic art space and also encompass the Botanical gardens which are magnificent in their tropical splendour. We’ve put a photo on today of one of the flowers and also one from Bramston Beach and you can add the sunshine yourself! We also managed a visit to the Mungali Dairy for lunch and to purchase some of the organic yoghurts and milks which are without doubt the best ever.
We will return however another year and just hope the feud is settled before we arrive!
We also lost the use of our van battery which meant we were dependant on the generator, as the water is available (litres and litres of it!) but not the power. So all in all it was time to move on and into Cairns first for the fitting of a new battery, again draining the childrens’ inheritance–although Kate says this expenditure comes from Peter’s inheritance for reasons unclear and Pete says Kate is pregnant and not capable of making financial decisions. It’s wonderful to hear how well our children get along with each other!
Anyway, we’re happy with our new battery and found a great park in Mount Carbine for the night and will travel to Cooktown on Thursday, which looks really interesting.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Townsville with Kate and Warwick

It was “important” to spend Monday with Kate and Warwick checking out the baby shops we (or Suey!) had just “happened” to notice prior to their arrival and to make a list of all the things necessary and some not so necessary for Baby Long. It was a great day which we all enjoyed. Following that, we decided to spend the last day with Kate and Warwick at Paluma Rainforest which was beautiful. The cameras went into overdrive and after much editing we have attached a couple. The weather was beautiful throughout Kate & Waz’s stay. Their cabin was located beside the pool and we enjoyed sitting and dangling our feet in the water which was quite cold but refreshing nonetheless. Warwick and Suey had a water fight which showed great maturity from both of them. It was very difficult to see them leave, especially for them knowing the cold weather they would face on their return. The departure at Townsville airport on Wednesday was not a very cheery one, but they now have a toilet in their house so are very excited.
We left the park on Thursday morning travelling in the general direction of Bramston Beach where we have previously enjoyed a few weeks parked right beside the ocean. After a pleasant trip through Ingham, Cardwell, Tully and Innisfail we reached Babinda in the afternoon and stopped at the free camp for the night. We visited the Tourist Information Centre as I’m sure you will all be very distressed to know the good weather has departed and we have actually put on long pants as it is only 22 degrees and overcast. Unfortunately it is not expected to improve for a week or so we will have to find some tourist attractions to occupy our time. The Mungalli Dairy is close by and is a favourite of Ian’s with their orange chocolate cheesecake so I’m sure we’ll make our way there. There are also a couple of great markets to check out at the weekend so filling in our time won’t be a problem. Now we just have to hope there is room at Bramston Beach …. of course we haven’t booked but if not there, we’ll find somewhere else!

Monday, 19 July 2010

A Wedding in Townsville

Our visit to Townsville has been made especially memorable for a number of reasons. Firstly we had the V8 car races which were very exciting. Then Kate and Warwick arrived (with Krispy Kremes in hand, very good for scoring points with Ian!) and then the wedding of Simon and Emma on Magnetic Island which was such an unexpected delight for us especially. Emma (and Simon of course!) looked wonderful, just as a bride and groom should and the setting on the beach was beautiful. The weather … well I’m so sorry for all of you in the coooooler part of the nation, it was fantastic! Kate and Warwick thawed out quite quickly and have settled into the warmth and summer clothes have come out again for them too. I’ve attached a couple of wedding pics for you to see what a great time we had. We have a couple more days with Kate and Warwick before they head back to the cold so today is retail therapy day for Kate and me to do some very important baby shopping and probably some washing (boring, but we still have to do it!). Tomorrow some sightseeing and then on Wednesday we’ll be just us again which will be sad but who knows what lies in store on our next stop. We’ve started a bit of a plan but not too much detail – just to move further north.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


We arrived in Townsville on Thursday night and of course we hadn’t booked (do we ever learn!). Fortuitously Ian decided to call in at the Visitor Information Centre to enquire where we should go. We were nearly told where to go but the very nice volunteers found us the only Caravan Park that had space (did we not know it was the Townsville 400 Race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday …. of course we did!). We headed off to Black River Stadium where the rodeos are held, making sure we were there by 6pm because they lock the gates then! However it proved to be a great place to stay and we were very grateful for the power and water to restock.
Off to the race on Sunday after Ian initially decided it wasn’t really all that important. Can you believe I had to talk him into going! I must have scored a zillion patchwork points for that one! We were able to pre purchase our tickets on Saturday which made life a lot easier especially when I noticed that there was a bus service available to take us there and return. What a service. Townsville really know how to do it well. We walked straight onto a bus which took us right to the gate and picked us up after the event and returned us to the car at the end of the day. No queuing at either end. Hooray! It would certainly make you go again just for the service.
Now for the race. You will see from the photos that Ian’s interest was immediate when he saw the Jack Daniel Girls. We had to have a picture especially for our friend Scott. Ian remarked to the attractive young ladies that the photo was for the benefit of his friend! He otherwise would not have bothered at all ---- yeah right! They were a lot less attractive than many of the others, but I took a hit for the team, and Scott, anyway!!
The day was full on from when we arrived with lots of activity on the track before the main event which began at 1.30pm. There were a number of races to enjoy and this one with the Mini Coopers was particularly enjoyable right up to the point when one of the cars came into the concrete wall right in front of us. It certainly was spectacular but I suspect not a lot of fun for the driver. Within minutes, all the debris had been cleared, the driver escorted away in the medical car and the race back underway. We posted this picture for David and Diane because David is such a fan of the minis and we thought of them!
The main race was really exciting and as Ian was sporting his new Ford shirt we hoped for the right result. We’ve never had the opportunity to go to a race like this one and it certainly was exciting and the drivers are amazing at negotiating the curves of the track so close to each other as the commentator said “there’s not even room for a chamois between these cars!” On many occasions the commentators kept us very amused.
We also had a big screen right in front of us so we could watch the progress around the track which was terrific although once the main race began there were cars in front of us most of the time. I had no idea who was winning but tried to look as though I did! However at the end of the day Ford did win so that made a good day a great one. It’s a funny thing though I did notice a number of times when the screen featured things off the track like all the gorgeous girls who work for the various sponsors and I did reflect to Ian that I wondered if it wasn’t time for some women to be operating the cameras. I might have a chat to Kate and Wazza’s best man Billy who is a camera man about that when we return.
Anyway it was a fantastic day which we both enjoyed immensely and now we have a couple of days to do some sightseeing before Kate and Wazza arrive.

Smalleys Beach

What a lovely surprise Smalleys Beach was. The campsites were absolutely huge and only 50 metres to the beach via our own walkway. The beach was lovely and we enjoyed our walks around the area. When the tide goes out it really goes out as far as you can see so that in itself is something to see. On our first night we had a visitor, the possum who is in the photo attached to this blog. It was not a small possum at all and really enjoyed the ‘apple core we left out. We expected a return the following night but didn’t see it again during our visit. The kookaburra’s were having a great time, but I felt it unnecessary to give them a snack as I am still very unhappy about the ‘friendly’ kookaburra who took advantage of my kind nature and took a fish from my pond. Henceforth all kookaburras are not my favourites!
We revisited the park at Seaforth where we have stayed a couple on our previous visits through the area and were very glad we had found Smalleys as Seaforth was well and truly occupied with school holiday makers and just not anywhere near as nice as Smalleys.
We also revisited the tea house we had been to from Seaforth and the Devonshire Tea was fantastic as we had remembered. Ian also purchased a pot of the raspberry jam which is the ‘best ever tasted’.
On to Townsville, the car race, Kate and Warwick and …….a wedding on Magnetic Island …. No not one of us but we’ll tell you more later!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Last Day in Yeppoon

Just a short entry tonight to let everyone know that we are on the road tomorrow after our long stay here. We’ve finished our visit with the market today, breakfast at Maggy’s CafĂ© and then fish and chips on the beach with our hosts David and Elaine who we are very sad to leave. We have invited them to visit us but the strange thing is that very few Queenslanders think much of visiting Victoria and won’t entertain the thought unless its summer. Somehow after our visit here in their winter it’s really no surprise!
The van is pretty much packed, and all is in readiness for a quick connection to the car in the morning and off.
Ian took this lovely sunset photo to illustrate how beautiful it is here. We’ll be sending our next blog from Townsville in a week so we’ll have lots of news then.