A Travellerspoint blog

A pitstop in the city Mackay...

Closed between 3pm Saturday and 8am Monday - would the last person to leave please turn out the lights

sunny 26 °C
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We arrived for a one night stop over at 2pm on Saturday...nuff said!

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Posted by MarknKate 22:32 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Airlie beach

Gateway to the Whitsundays

sunny 26 °C
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Airlie Beach, more backpackers and dirty student types than you can shake a stick at!

We did meet this rather lovely Kookaburra though!

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Posted by MarknKate 22:27 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Magnetic Island

sunny 26 °C
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It would have cost quite a bit to take the van across to the island so we decided to go as foot passengers and booked a little villa in Nelly Bay near the beach. It was a chance for a little luxury after all the communal toilet blocks and dirty showers.

The place was beautiful and very quiet. We arrived to find the key was simply sitting in the lock and we let ourselves in.....There was a mezzanine bedroom that overlooked the lounge diner, a big soft bed, fluffy pillows, a sofa, a massive wide screen tv....all a little bit of an extravegance but we never said we we're going to rough it the whole time : )

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From reading the visitors guide the best place to see Koala's in their natural habitat was on a 4km walk to the top of the island called 'The Forts' It was where all the forts were built in WWII as look out points and some of the ruins remain. The guide said afternoon was best to catch the little fellas, so after spending the morning sunning ourselves at Horseshoe bay we wandered across to start the climb. We started slowly, eyes pealed, continualy looking up, left and right (nevermind what we were steping on! apparently there were 'DEATH ADDERS' in the area which we had to watch out for, you can tell from the name that these weren't friendlys)

After walking up hill, on rough terrain, in the baking afternoon sun for about 1hr and still not seeing a bloody thing we were getting a little bored. Then, typically, as soon as you stop looking I saw one! I glanced across to the right and squinted, firstly it looked like just part of the tree but as I looked harder I could see that it was furry. Our first Koala sighting and not only that, it was a mum and baby! How very exciting and incredibly cute. I was so pleased we got to see them in the wild in their natural habitat rather than a zoo for example. It made the climb all worth it. We continued up to the top but sadly didn't see anymore but then, again while I was not really looking, I saw a furry grey bum hiding in the trees, sadly didn't get to see his face but he was there none the less.

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A really good afternoon spent walking on magnetic island. Oh and the view from the top was bloody amazing too!

We saw more wildlife on magnetic island than we have seen our entire holiday so far, and to think we weren't going to bother going across, I am so pleased that we did.

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Posted by MarknKate 18:41 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Mission (Beach) aborted

To Townsville and don't spare the horses!

sunny 27 °C
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Due to the delay in sorting out the van and the additional time spent in Cairns we were a couple of days behind schedule - we therefore took the decision to miss out a stop and head straight to Townsville the next major stop on our itinerary.

A couple of stops along the way and Kates first spate of driving, we made Townsville in pretty good time (around 6 hours). The roads here are long straight and pretty dull. All along the sides of the roads for vast amounts of miles are fields and fields and fields of sugar cane...literally as far as the eye can see. And if it's not sugar cane then it's banana plantations...get's pretty monotonus! Luckily to keep things interesting the Aussies driving skills keep us on our toes! Let's just say they're not the most patient drivers and will overtake regardless of bends in the road, hills, space in front to pull into or even cars coming in the opposite direction...it's a joy to watch and be a part of.

First port of call in Townsville was finding somewhere to call home for the next few nights. Our first choice site was unfortunately full so we detoured to the next site nearest to the main town. This too didn't have any available powered sites, but the guy kindly let us pull up in front of one of the cabins and plug in there instead...a real big bruiser of a guy, but couldn't have been nicer or more helpful!

That night (Saturday 21st) we drove into Townsville itself for a look around and a spot of dinner. Townsville used to be the largest city in Northern Queensland (back in the 1800's or so) and is currently undergoing a bit of a boom. Lots of construction, new apartments at the marina etc. It's a great place though, a really nice esplande along the beach front with the usual BBQs every 20 minutes or so, countless joggers and the most amazing kids water park i've seen. Was all I could do to stop myself running in and shooting the water canons and riding down the slide they had!

We got our bearings around town ready for coming in the following day for the weekly market in the main shopping precinct and then headed off for some dinner at Jamaica Joes right on the waterfront.

The market was a bit of a let down apart from a slightly amusing site of some old lady doing interpritive dancing to the chap who was playing country music on the bandstand. We couldn't quite work out whether they were together or not, I'm thinking not!!

They have a reef centre at Townsville, 'the largest living reef aquariam' in the world so we decided to pop in there for the afternoon. As we arrived they told us the coral talk was just begining and did we want to join it, sounds a bit boring you might say but actually was really interesting, there were only four of us there so was nice an intimate and the lady showing us round was so enthusiastic she made it all very enjoyable and I feel I learnt quite alot actually!

They had a dangerous preditors talk after that where you sit right infront of the tank and watch all the creatures they are talking about, again very interesting. Then immediatly after they fed them as we were lucky enough to have gone on one of the feeding days.

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The following day we decided that we would take the ferry across to Magnetic Island and spend two nights over there.....

Posted by MarknKate 18:40 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Green Island and a spot of snorkling

Sunshine again!

sunny 27 °C
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Since arriving back in Cairns on Wednesday 18th, the sun has not stopped shining, it's been truely glorious.

We decided to make up for missing our reef trip up north with a day trip out to Green Island on the inner edge of the Great Barrier Reef - not the best spot for diving or snorkling but Kate's sealegs aren't up to much so the 45 minute catamaran journey seemed a good option.

Following the purchase of some travel sickness tablets and those wrist pressure point thingie's we were on our way.

The journey took about 45 minutes and was luckily pretty calm and uneventful. Arriving we took the time for a little recon around the island, it was truly stunning and apart from a group of school kids on a field trip (Damn i wish my school trips were like that!) wasn't too crowded.

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Posted by MarknKate 18:39 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Say hello to Betsy...

Kate's choice not mine :o)


View Mark and Kate's 12 month holiday on MarknKate's travel map.

We got a call on our way back into Cairns informing us that the van was ready for collection - at last after delaying our trip south by around five days we could start making tracks!

Clean, serviced and in better condition than I remembered, Betsy was ready for her test drive. Taking her on a short route down to the marina car park we pulled up and tested various bits, fridge, aircon, radio...you know the essentials, before heading back to sort out the paper work.

Once all sorted we headed over to a nearby camp site for a few nights in order get ourselves together and also test the van out without being too far from where we bought it should anything go wrong. We picked a site that was a member of the Big4 group of sites, they're dotted around the country and really well managed and maintained...we even got ourselves an en-suite site, yeah we're still not really roughing it!

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Posted by MarknKate 18:38 Archived in Australia Tagged transportation Comments (0)

Australian Oddities

The bizarre and the interesting of the Australian way of life.

1. They have no 1 or 2 cent coins anymore. All goods and services are still priced $9.99 and the like, but at the end of the transaction if paying by cash the amount gets rounded up or down.

Altogether a good idea, gets rid of excess shrapnel from your boardies, but why not go the whole hog and just round everything to either 95 cents or a round dollar???

Posted by MarknKate 18:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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