Week 13

Sorry BG for being late. I’ll try to get back into the swings of things 🙂

Hervey Bay

Hi its Wayno writing this town as Griffo has to prepare herself to write about Fraser Island.

Another peaceful little town, we stayed at the Big 4 again about 300 metres from the beach. The kids enjoyed the jumping pillow and pool etc.. until the magpies came to spoil the party. Poor Sarah was beside herself, the bloody thing seemed to let every other kid through on a bike or scooter until Sarah or Liv came through. Then it would swoop and swoop!!

Like a lot of these towns where swimming in the ocean is a no-no at certain times of the year, they had a free water park “Wet Side”. It was very cool, plenty of water jets, slides and even a wave machine, good for us to sit and have coffee while the kids get wet. Frankie practiced her walking across the water jets in the baby area, very cute.

The foreshore also hosts weekend markets which were small but big enough for Sarah to find donuts. We also tried one of those bicycle karts, 4 wheels, seats three and has the canopy over top. It didnt take long before the legs were full of acid. Sarah just wanted to steer and Livy ended up pushing the kart along after my pedal fell off. Too much like hard work for my liking, I’d ended up making a track and had the kids taking turns racing around it to kill time. Livy wanted to hire it for another hour, bugger that, I’d already told her the hour was up 15 minutes early to get rid of the thing. She moved on to the public exercise machines on the beach, not sure where she gets the energy or genetic’s!! Certainly not me, maybe Griffo??? Anyway a couple of pics

Whale Of A Time

I Can Do It

Bike Kart

Hervey Bay

 

Fraser Island 

Where to begin ? I’ve never ever wanted to visit Fraser Island and for this reason haven’t given it much thought. I knew something about Dingoes and assumed it was for real ‘campers’. As we were already in Hervey Bay and we didn’t get across to the Whitsunday Islands, Wayne thought he’d book us a ferry ride over for the day. Turned out that there were a heap of specials going on over on Fraser Island and we managed to book into an apartment for the night. You can imagine my delight at the thought of a nice warm bubble bath and a bedroom with a door !

We didn’t tell the kids that we were staying overnight until we were almost on the Barge going over. They were pretty excited, Olivia more so than Sarah. The Barge took about 35 minutes and before we knew it we were on the Island. We had read that you needed a 4wd to get access to the part of the Island that we were going to but we both didn’t realise how full on the drive was. Pretty much you’re straight into 4WD-ing the minute you’re on the island. Wayne didn’t even get time to let down the tyres as it was totally unexpected. The girls of course thought this was ‘wicked and sick’ and were squealing their little heads off. I was indifferent. The apartment was 16 km’s away and I was looking forward to having an afternoon bath with a glass of bubbly ! why not ? After about 30 mins of driving and not getting very far, the sand was getting thicker and softer, we came across 2 cars that were pulled off to the side of the road. I immediately thought ‘uh oh they are bogged’ We kept driving another 20 mtrs or so and then Wayne stopped so he could let down the tyres. While he was doing that, one of the guys from the car that was pulled off came up and asked Wayne a million questions about the road, the tyre pressure and the conditions etc. He sounded nervous and was annoyed that they weren’t forewarned about the type of vehicle you should have etc. They were driving a Vitara and an X-trail and it seemed that they were getting bogged constantly. Wayne had a quick chat and gave them some tips and that was that.

Until we started to drive away and got bogged ourselves. Embarrassing !

I look around and the 4 people from the 2 cars are running up the sand mountain to help us out (now who’s helping who ?) and finally a snatch strap was pulled out and we were jolted to safety. Wayne was stunned for about 2  minutes and then excitement took over his body. He lives for this stuff.

So, now we were 3 cars stuck and there were lots of talks (and shovels) & dare I say LAUGHTER ! Olivia and Sarah were out of the car at this point, happiness oozing from their little bodies. Me ? Well, I wasn’t in the mood for chatter, I just wanted my BATH. After about 20 mins, everyone still letting tyres down, it was decided that the X-Trail would go first, if she got stuck (‘she’ being a nurse from QLD) then her friends (The 2 young Dr’s from London) would snatch strap her out of there, with the help of the WA bloke called Wayne. She reversed (I want to say 1km but I don’t know exactly – a long way) and then she fanged it up the hill. There were a lot of whoops and whistling and clapping and we thought she did it, until she didn’t and  I saw her reverse lights come on and down she came 😦

More shovels, more shaking of heads and words of wisdom, followed by laughter. I look up and see Wayne’s face, he’s all ‘how cool is this shit’ and he even motioned for me to take some pictures ??? (which I did).. He got back in the car  as it was decided that we should go first this time and maybe prepare the road for the other cars to follow, and I said to him ‘look how happy you are’ ? he had the grace to laugh and admit that he was ‘loving it’. The comradery!!! I couldn’t help but laugh with him (at him).

Eventually we all made it past this ‘hurdle’ and we continued on. We were 3rd in line again as Wayne wanted to make sure they didn’t get stuck. They did… time and time again. These next few times though were a little more difficult as there were now 3 or more convoy’s behind us that were being stopped because of an X-trail (that shouldn’t be on the island – courtesy of the tour guide that was driving the monster truck behind us).. All in all though, it seems that most men love a good bogging because they came in droves to help. Some with cigga’s, some with back packers, some with 15 tourists taking pictures (and a leak).. At one point there were about 25 people helping, and Wayne of course was relishing the brotherhood of mateship.

Finally we were all system’s go and Wayne ever so kindly said ‘ maybe the 3 of us should pull off so the cars behind us can go’ ? I had to point out that there was NO 3 of US ?? There was 1 of us and we didn’t even know the other people’s names….Of course I’m not that harsh though, so after making fun of him for saying that I agreed with him. I think the Landcruisers, the Patrols and the monster trucks were happy to pass us. One man said to the X Trail driving Nurse ‘Luv, you need to drive it like you stole it’ (a term that was later said by Wayno about a hundred times over the course of the 2 days)she listened and she managed to make it all the way back. So did we.. it only took 3 and a bit hours. We bid farewell to our new travelling companions, they were super lovely and and grateful and they were really sweet to Sarah and Lulu.. Wayne will miss them !

At this point in time we were a little frayed. The driving became pretty full on, and I’m not just saying that. My head hit the roof of the car more than once, and even Wayne apologised to the girls… the excitement was wearing thin once they realised that their little sister Frankie was as white as a ghost and their little bodies were being flung around. One of the tour guides did mention that the conditions at the moment were the worst they’d been in a while as there had been no rain for months. That explained a lot.

FInally we got to our apartment and I had joked that I bet the bathroom only has one of those triangle baths at the bottom of the shower. Wayne was looking worried and nervous so I became very quiet. . As we entered the room Wayne and Olivia went straight to the bathroom and within seconds I heard ‘it’s all good griffo, the baths a decent size’.. relief washed over me and within minutes I was soaking in it !!

Guess what ? It rained… and rained and rained and rained. We hung out in the apartment lounging on lounges, Frankie walked around and loved it as she had space to move. The girls played in their ‘new’ bedroom and eventually we dragged ourselves to dinner.

The following day I didn’t know what to expect. We had to be back at the Barge at 5pm so we had a lot of hours to explore the Island. We were told that the beach driving was amazing and there was lots of things to see, such as the shipwreck, Eli Creek and the Champagne Pools. All of which we did, a much easier drive than the day before. We saw a lot more people this day, lots of 4xxxx drinking footy mates cooking snags on the beach, lots of lone hard-core fisherman and the odd bikini babe and their posse. It was interesting and exactly like I imagined.

Dingoes were everywhere, so we were told time and time again, although we only saw 2 (and we were in the car thankfully) Sarah and myself got into a mild panic after reading all the signs about the dingoes on Fraser Island. The wording wasn’t that friendly ‘if you’re attacked, defend yourself aggressively as you are fighting for your LIFE’. Needless to say, Wayne had to go with us to the toilet more than once

Would I go back to Fraser Island ? Not in a million years, but very glad we did it. Wayne had a great time and I think it’s something he’d like to do with his mates. Eli Creek and the Champagne Pools were picturesque but still has nothing on Pinkies Beach at Rotto 🙂

Back to the barge, and it was windy and cold by this time. A very long day driving along the beach all day and then back on the boat, more driving back to the caravan park… you can Imagine Frankie.. she was Cranky Frankie 100%.. We all slept well and I hate to say it, but it was ‘good to be home, back in the van’ .. I managed to have 2 hot baths though !! and Wayne celebrated his b’day on Fraser Island too… it wasn’t all bad !

Fraser Island Barge

Fraser Island

Tyre Pressure Down

Did she make it

Shes Stuck

Shes Stuck Again

 

75 Mile Beach – Fraser Island

 

Maheno Shipwreck – Fraser Island

Eli Creek – Fraser Island

Eli Creek – Fraser Island

 

 

This brings me to the end of week 13…. off to Noosa next and I think that next weeks Blog will be about me loving it and Wayne wishing he was back on Fraser Island, away from the shops and the markets and the hustle !! Opposites attract don’t they say ?

Take care everyone…

The Travelling Morrells x

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Week 12

A little late.. almost a week late in fact.

Airlie Beach 

Does anyone know how come the sea is iridescent in colour around the Whitsunday ? Is it because the sand is so White ? I’m not sure but that’s the first we noticed when we drove into Airlie Beach. How could you not, it’s the brightest clearest blue I’ve ever seen and something I couldn’t stop looking at. So far on our travels, the beaches haven’t even come close to our magnificent WA beaches, but the blue/aqua coral sea is something that I’ll remember that’s for sure.

We checked in at the ever faithful BIG 4 caravan park, with playgrounds/swimming pools and jumping pillows galore and set off to see what Airlie Beach was about. In a word – BACKPACKERS and lots of them ! Driving around Airlie and it’s surrounds we decided very quickly that YES we could live here also. High on a hill, surrounded by tress overlooking the coral sea. Sounds good to me !

We had 4 days to spend in Airlie Beach and we pretty much just swam, relaxed, shopped a little and spent a lot of time down at the Airlie Lagoon. unfortunately we didn’t get over to any of the Islands. We were debating whether to go to Hamilton or Daydream but on the days that we could the weather was really windy. After having just spent a full day at Green Island and noticing how it is a little (just a little) hard on Frankie we decided to give it a miss. Regret ? Possibly.. but can’t do everything and I think I’ll put HAYMAN ISLAND on my wish list for Wayne and I later !

Wayne once again spent a lot time taking pictures, he was in his element. Every corner he was presented with another photo opportunity. As always he promised himself that he would get up at 5am (best light to take pictures) so he could capture the beauty of it all, but alas the alarm only woke ME up. He did manage to get out during acid hour though and take some amazing pictures as sunset was approaching.. (also the best light to take pictures). Airlie Beach was beautiful and here are some pictures to prove it.

Airlie Cove

Airlie Cove

Airlie Cove

Bikini Babes

Airlie Cove

Airlie Cove Stitch

 

Shute Harbour

Mackay 

Honestly, after Airlie Beach I wasn’t that keen to hit Mackay but we had to go via there anyway so we decided to stop at a ‘free camp’ for a night or 2. We haven’t done nearly as much free camping as we (Wayne) had hoped, in fact the free camps book that we purchased still hasn’t paid for itself in that regard 🙂 .

Wayne had researched a bit where the best place was but as we were getting closer we realised that we hadn’t really driven a long enough distance and we could probably keep going another hour or 2. We should have just stopped and stayed where we had planned because for the next 4 hours we basically drove around in circles, trying to find a place that we could fit the van in. There was 1 place that I refused to stay in, another place that I was OK with, I just wouldn’t go to the toilet for 2 days and then the 3rd place we actually went to set up but we couldn’t get the van in the tiny space we were given. After all this mucking about we ended up in a caravan park in downtown Mackay ! It was a long and tiring day..

The next morning we decided  NOT to go to the Marina Village, but instead we would make Wayne’s dreams come true and visit a sugar mill. Since we first arrived in Port Douglas Wayne has been interested (I say obsessed) with Sugar Cane Farming. In fact we (he) spends a lot of time talking about it, asking himself questions such as ‘I wonder how hard it is to run a cane farm’ ? ‘How hard can it be’ ? ‘How much money would they earn’ ? It’s endless (relentless) and I was keen to let him learn and find out all about CANE and then move on with our lives.

We arrived at the Sarina Sugar Shed and a lovely man named Neville was our tour guide. We were lucky (and a little unlucky) as we were the only ones on the tour which meant he had more time to talk.. about an extra 45 mins to be exact. The mill is set up for tourists and it’s basically a MINI sugar mill. They do everything the big mills do but obviously on a much smaller scale. The gift shop there stocks everything they make, such as chutney, schnapps, and salad dressings. Wayne was enjoying it. At one point he even felt the need to weigh in on time management issues with the farmers, to which Neville politely responded with ‘sounds good, but that’s impossible’. Just for the record, Wayne has NO sugar cane farming experience whatsoever !

The girls weren’t that impressed, until we got to the end of the tour and 2 things happened. We finally were able to see real cane get fed through the machine and out popped sugar juice (sweet but nice) and then Neville took the girls out to the fairy floss machine (where dreams are made of) and they were able to choose their flavor. I wanted a stick of floss as well, but had to be an adult and got stuck tasting bbq sauce and the like.. until Neville took pity on me and let me have some too 🙂

After this experience we checked out the local arts and craft village and then went onto the Coal docks. The woman in the information bay had told Wayne earlier that he MUST take the girls out to see the COAL being loaded up onto the ships. Frankie by this stage had fallen asleep so I had to take one for the team and stay in the car with her. Next time..

A quick visit into Mackay itself, where we hit the shops and then it was back to the caravan park to load up the van and get ready for our next stop – Rockhampton.

Sarina Sugar Shed

Sarina Sugar Shed

 

Rocky (Causeway Lake) 

Instead of staying in Rockhampton we chose a caravan park that was pretty basic but was right on the lake where Wayne could Kayak and of course take more pictures ! He did just that. He even managed to get up this time before 5am and take the kayak out. I didn’t even realise he had gone so it must have been early. We stayed here for 3 nights and spent time in Yeppoon and also Rockhampton itself. More on that next week (I’m days behind with this blog – sorry).

It’s taken me a few tries to get this blog up and running. 1st draft wasn’t saved and then we’ve had trouble with our wi-fi. Finally back on track, but really I just want to be watching the end of Sons of Anarchy !! God love Apple TV!!

Finally I’d like to dedicate this blog entry to our gorgeous daughter Sarah.. Thanks to some woman who told her that she was the ‘odd one out in our family’ and ‘the different one’ because she has brown hair and doesn’t look like Lulu or Frankie. For a 6-year-old to be told that she’s different from her family from a perfect stranger is wrong and it made me very angry and hurt. Sarah is the glue that holds this family together most days, with her constant helping out, cleaning up and making lunches for us all.Her laugh is infectious and we all love her so much !

Until next time & yes, Wayne is itching to write next weeks blog.. The Morrells x

Week 11

It seems that this blog is now a Jo and Wayne collaboration, but it’s back to me (Jo) this week.

Palm Cove / Green Island 

We ended our stay in Palm Cove by finally doing a reef cruise. We were waiting on the wind to stop and finally on Tuesday it did. The day was so perfect that the charter company decided to redo their advertising package and sent a chopper to take pictures of the Island and the boat etc, so we were thankful that we waited around. The boat trip was pretty uneventful over to Green Island. Usually Sarah is sea-sick but she managed to keep her 1 weetbix down (poor kid was starving, but that’s all we allowed to her have, just in case). Frankie as usual was running around the boat in “frankie fashion” which means screaming and squealing and generally just not sitting still. We were supposed to dock at Green Island at 10am, but because the chopper was taking pictures, we had to hang around a little which means we didn’t actually get off the boat until after 10.30am. This was a problem because we had booked a Semi Submarine tour at 11.30 and we needed to snorkel before then and then be back at the boat for the tour which went for 30 mins and then back to the boat for the lunch we paid for. Had we known that Green Island itself catered for tourists and their starving stomachs, we probably wouldn’t have included the lunch on the boat as part of our package. It made the first pay of the day a little rushed and stressed..

We all had our snorkel gear and flippers and headed for the part of the beach that was for ‘serious snorkelers’ ie : NO lifeguards ! The water was beautiful and clear and walking along the boardwalk you could clearly see the fish and the turtles. Once we got down to the beach the planning begins. Obviously one of us has to stay with Frankie, Sarah was unsure if she wanted to snorkel, Olivia was keen as mustard to get her little legs swimming away and I was a little indifferent. It was at this time that the realisation of Wayne NOT being able to “hold my arm under water and gently guide me through the reeds til we got to the good stuff” that I became very nervous. Still I thought ‘I can do this’. It was decided that I would go with Lulu and Wayne would do it after lunch, in the meantime he would sit with Sarah and Frankie and build sand castles. I lasted about 50 mtrs.. I got as far as the edge of the sandbank and where the reeds meet (a few fish in-between) and then I kind of froze. Well ok, I froze. I just couldn’t get past the reeds to get to the coral. I’ve done it before, when we were in Exmouth and Coral Bay and I thought I did good. The difference was that Wayne was with me and I feel safe with him. Oh well, it wasn’t to be at this point in time. I made my way back to Wayne and we swapped parenting duties ! Liv wasn’t bothered either way, her daddy takes her on big adventures and she loves it. I stayed with our 2 little girls and played in the water. It was still fun 🙂

We then hurried back to the boat where we did our semi submarine tour. That was fantastic. We were all very squished and it becomes very clear that we are under water within about 10 secs upon entering the vessel, but seeing the coral and the masses of fish soon makes you forget. I’m so glad we did this, mainly because Sarah was worried that she wouldn’t SEE the Great Barrier Reef if she didn’t snorkel. We had told her that there were many ways to see the Reef and this was the best way. Once again Wayne took a million pics and I think out of all of us, he loved this the most..

After the tour, we went back to the boat again for our ‘buffet of succulent dishes’ that we paid for as part of our tour package. Let’s just say I wish we hadn’t already paid $100 for it, I would have preferred to grab a sandwich on the Island. Lots of sweaty, wet and sandy people standing in line waiting to pick their food.. it was worse than a Sizzler Salad Bar.. At least at Sizzlers you are DRY and wearing clothing !

After lunch we decided to check out the  Island and we were really surprised that there was a resort. It seems that we aren’t researching or asking the right questions about the places we are visiting. Wayne kept saying ‘If I had known this, I would have booked us a couple of nights’. (We shall see about this.. heading to Airlie Beach soon, the gateway to the Whitsunday.. the proof will be determined very soon). We walked around a bit, had an ice-cream and then went to the patrolled beach which was perfect. I snorkelled a little bit here but by this time I had a huge headache (and no pain relief) and the mask was hurting my head, so I hired a deck lounge chair and umbrella and the kids played in the beach, Wayne and Liv snorkelled again. Pretty soon it was time to head back to the boat and make the long journey home (long because I had a bad headache by this time and spent the hour and 15 mins with my head in my hands) Poor Wayne and had to look after Frankie by himself and by this time she was over-tired cranky and a little crraazzzzy. Finally got back to the van around 6pm.

Impressions of Green Island ? Lovely, but in Wayne’s words ‘Rotto is heaps better’… We also thought that Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef in WA) is pretty spectacular and that we are lucky to live in a State where the oceans and reefs are amazing..Great Barrier Reef is of course huge and we have so far only seen 1 small part of it. I’m sure when you get closer to the outer reefs it becomes even more colourful and spectacular, but we’ll have to see how we manage that with Frankie. Green Island was perfect because we could walk around, lie on the beach, hang out on the boat etc.. we had a few family friendly options !

Some pictures..

View from the beach.. stunning !

Photo was taken from the Semi Sub..

Patrolled beach..

More fish..

Innisfail 

Not a great time was had in Innisfail, in fact we spent most of it in hospital with Olivia. We arrived in town about 2pm and after setting up the van headed into town to get some groceries. After being in Woolworth’s for about 10 mins Olivia was complaining of a tummy ache. I didn’t think any of it as someone always seems to have a tummy ache but after about 5 mins I turn around to find her on the floor in agony and Wayne on the phone to the hospital. It happened so quickly and within about 15 mins we were in emergency. Turns out she had a serious case of constipation and if you’ve had it as an Adult you know how painful it can be. It was horrible and heartbreaking seeing her in so much pain. The Dr’s were unsure what to do for her at first, so x-rays were taken, 2 sets of bloods, a horrible procedure that you can imagine and finally some morphine and a drip to help ease her pain. I don’t think I’ve heard her scream or cry that loud or for that long before.. After about 3 hours she started to settle down a little and after about 5 hours we were able to go home.

The next day we decided to stay put in the caravan park and just lay low so she could recover. We were given some child friendly laxatives for her to take and were told they were ‘fast acting’ so we wanted to stay close to the bathrooms. However, nothing was fast acting and she remained a little sore for most of the day. It’s also hard on the family when we just sit around and do nothing, everyone gets on everyone’s nerves, Frankie becomes restless etc.. thankfully the park where we stayed had a pool so we were able to lie around in that for a while.

The next day the plan was to go and see Josephine Falls and then pack up and head towards to Townsville. Olivia still felt a little sore though as she still hadn’t managed to go to the bathroom, so Sarah, Frankie and Wayne went to the falls. About 30 mins after they left, Olivia and I walked over to the bathrooms to clean our teeth etc. I was walking back to the van to tidy up when I heard her screaming and I ran back to find her on the floor again. Quickly went up to reception to call a cab so they could take us to hospital, but the caravan owner was very sweet and quickly drove us in instead. This time the nurses spent more time with her, and gave her heat packs, a concoction of ‘who knows what’ but something that would surely make her pass a motion soon.. After about 2 hours she needed to use the bathroom and we finally had success !!! Wayne had rushed back from the falls in the meantime (with a pillow pet as a present) and as I followed Liv out of the bathrooms we were doing high fives behind her back.. who would have thought POO could be so exhilarating ? We were sent home with medication and lots of promises to drink more water, eat more pears and a herbal laxative now and again. .

A little smile from Lulu xx

Hanging out in Innisfail Caravan Park with Frankie.. I missed her after being in hospital all night x

Josephine Falls 

In Wayne’s words : Josephine Falls is about 20kms North from Innisfail. It was a short walk to the falls and it was beautiful. Surrounded by rainforest.

The Falls

Sweet Sarah x

Townsville 

We decided to only stay 1 night in Townsville instead of the 3 that we had originally planned. After our impromptu stay at Palm Cove for 5 days we needed to cut back on some days through this part of QLD. Wayne convinced us to do a FREE camp this night so we found a pleasant spot that had WATER and TOILETS. There was also a park and it backed onto an oval. It was pretty nice I admit, for an overnighter. Olivia was feeling better, although still a little crampy but we felt comfortable that she would be able to sleep well etc. We set up and then went into Townsville to check it out. Another water park along the foreshore seemed to be the place to start. Similar to Cairns Water Park and it was PACKED, being a Saturday afternoon ! The girls all got wet had a play and then we walked along the boardwalk for a bit. After a coffee stop we all got back in the car and drove around. Townsville is a lot bigger than what I had thought and the houses that are dotted all around the mountain were beautiful. We drove up to the lookout, which was about 3km long and very windy and hilly. Lots of women and men exercising along here. Wayne’s answer to my questions of ‘WHY are there so many beautiful women in Townsville running’. ARMY Jo, they either work for the Army, training for the Army or need to get a promotion in the Army…mmm really Wayno ? Couldn’t they just be addicted to exercise itself ? Just because we aren’t.. NO way Jo.. ARMY ! (I love this man).

The view was once again lovely.. We’ve seen so many views from various lookouts now.. but still breathtaking..

“Gonna take you for a ride in a red sea plane”

View from the TOP !

Check out the house ! Olivia and Wayne were fascinated.

Wayne took this photo with his new lens. He sat outside in the paddock, with his chair, his headphones and his beer and managed to get this beautiful shot. I love it.

Bowen 

Goodbye Townsville and hello Airlie Beach..or so we thought. We were about 30 kms from Airlie when we noticed a Fire in the distance. A few people had pulled off the side of the road and we thought we’d better put our two-way radio on. Found out quite quickly that the roads were closed, so we beaded back into Bowen instead. We were planning on just driving into Bowen one day from Airlie as Wayne has a family friend that lives there, but we ended up staying 1 night. The whole town of Bowen had no power for a few hours, so it was a like a ghost town. We set up the van once again and by this time it was late in the afternoon. The big news about BOWEN of course is that the Baz Luhrmann’ film AUSTRALIA was filmed here. It’s amazing to think that they transformed this town to look like Darwin. There is a cleared field I guess you could call it, across from the Jetty and this is where the stockyards and the township in the movie were filmed. Everything was made only for the movie and pulled down after filming. Bowen itself looks like a really pretty town and if we had more time we may have stayed another night. Wayne’s friend lives just out of Bowen towards Airlie so we headed there for a visit and a cuppa. They live on 2 and a half acres and it’s so different to where we live in Perth. Very quiet, serene and peaceful. .

Hollywood comes to Bowen !

So that’s about it for this past week.. Still enjoying it, we have become more relaxed in some instances and more anxious in others (mainly my disgust with public toilets – I HATE THEM).. I’ll get over it.. maybe..

Take care everyone, until next week

TTM

x

Week 10 (and part of 11)

Handing this one over to Wayne again……..

Sorry we are a few days late again, but its hard to get to the computer with all the lazing about to do!

Cairns 

Well the pace of this holiday has definitely changed now, we are crawling compared to the ground we covered in the early weeks crossing the Nullarbor and up the centre. We haven’t filled the car in a week and yet I still hit the sack each night feeling knackered.  Griffo and I see all the retired couples sitting peacefully outside their immaculately polished and well organised Caravans or Winebago’s. In the morning’s they are drinking cups of tea, reading the paper or their favourite mills and boon. The afternoon brings on a bottle of wine, biscuits, crackers and cheese whilst the roast dinner cooks in the mini gas webber’s (they smell great!). They are having a ball and so are we, but it would be nice to find some of that extended peace for a change, not sure the kids agree. That said most of the old dears look at the kids, particularly Frankie and reminisce about their grand children back home who they miss desperately.

Well Griffo has already detailed the Cairns Coconut Caravan Park and Cairns esplanade etc.. Not a great deal to add other than poor Sarah had her backpack stolen from Cairns McDonalds. Pretty much my fault I forgot to ensure she had it on the way out and by the time we went back in the store it was gone. Poor thing was very disappointed, it contained her DS-lite, her camera and a few other precious things.Interestingly the thing she was most upset about was the photographs on the camera, she realised that she could never get them back, I didnt think that would hit home so quickly… I hope this is the sum of things we lose over the holiday, fingers crossed….

Well we did manage to get out of coconut land a couple of times. We headed up the mountain to Kuranda on the Skyrail. It was a dodgy day, raining with a lot of low lying cloud. But it never took away from the amazing Skyrail. Ive been on Skyrails before, one very dodgy one in Dalat, Vietnam but not like this. It just kept going up and up and up, there were a few nervous moments. Particularly as the cart transversed  the rollers at each support pole. Its all the more nerve racking when you cant see through the clouds to where your going and you don’t like heights. But Frankie and I made small talk and it was all good. One of the stops on the way to Kuranda village was at a Barron Falls lookout, not a bad view.

Looking back towards Cairns

Up, Up and Up

Barron Falls

Look Mum this thing spins!

Kuranda Village is a nice place, well adjusted for the tourist. Unfortunately the rain spoiled the day a little, but it was still nice to wander through the market stalls, shops have lunch at a pleasant cafe. It was also my first chance to play with my new 70-300mm lens, which was not suited to the day at all, but needed to be played with.

To get down the mountain we took the Heritage Train which was a lovely trip. The view from the train in some places as we came down the hill was breath taking. Some of the places people have built their houses is amazing. I can imagine in this region there must be some houses which enjoy spectacular views all year round!

Kuranda

Kuranda Market Stall

Cairns / Kuranda Rail

Our Carriage

Down, Down and Down

Palm Cove

On one of our days exploring the various bays of Cairns, we drove into Palm Cove and immediately liked it. Whats not to like, theres strip of expensive shops and restaurants which Griffo loves. Theres a jetty for fishing and a boat ramp to make it easy to get the kayak in the water which suits me.  Theres a playground on the beach strip which suits the kids and a caravan park opposite the water, happy days, and so it was… It was little windy for the first couple of days but then it came good and it was magic.

We got into the habit of walking down the strip each morning for coffee and hot chocolates for the kids, before hitting the playground and watching the day go buy. We also indulged a bit more than we usually do, but heh the cars not taking all our money for petrol these days so why the hell not.

Then there was BIG news, I caught my first fish, good thing I bought a zoom lens. I didnt even take a photo of the sucker, I immediately stuck a large hook through it and flicked out as live bait hoping to catch the monster. No more luck, but I did get to sit on my lazy chair and enjoy a couple of beers with the rod in the water, gold!!! The next day I put the yak in, the water was glassed off like a lake, a pleasure to be out. I flicked the lure about and trawled for a bit but no luck. It was more fun towing the kids on their boggie boards. Another beautiful day.

Palm Cove Dusk

Morning Hot Chocolate!

Playground

Playground

Palm Cove

A few people had mentioned a Butterfly Sanctuary at Kuranda so we thought we would take a drive and have a look. It was excellent, they breed and release 1500-2000 butterfly’s into the aviary each week, so it was jam  packed with fluttering colour. The butterfly’s are attracted to bright colours and they loved Olivia’s straw hat. Frankie kept kicking at them as they landed on her white shoes.

Whilst there we also took in some more markets and local coffee. Olivia was wrapped when found a second hand book seller with two Roald Dahl books that she doesn’t have. Both for the reasonable sum of $6, bargain. Hopefully we will have most of the Olivia’s Dahl collection sorted by the end of this trip. I just wish he wrote five and six hundred pages per book rather than two hundred, she’s reading them in a night!!! Little miss Sarah continues to spend her pocket money on everyone but herself, she seems to really love giving to others. It was a nice moment to see Sarah get a new bag to replace the stolen one, she’s very happy with it. Olivia is always broke and continues to make the most of Sarah’s giving nature, what are siblings for, right……

Butterfly Sanctuary

Butterfly Sanctuary

Butterfly Sanctuary

Sarah’s New Bag

Well thats about it for the week.We decided to stay in Palm Cove for a few more days and pick up a barrier reef tour next week, until then enjoy the 9-5 gigs.

Cheers

Wayno

Week 9

Wow, can’t believe it’s October already ! This year is certainly buzzing by and it will be Christmas before we know it. Already our girls are wondering how Santa will find them in the caravan, and Olivia especially is suspicious. Her suspicions started when we did a tour of Uluru and the guide made a comparison (can’t remember exactly what though) between ‘something’ and Santa. I couldn’t believe he said it and I quickly looked at Sarah who didn’t pick up on it and then I felt her eyes boring into the back of my head.. I turn around and Olivia is staring at me.. Later that day she asked both Wayne and I (separately) if Santa was real like the ‘tooth fairy and the easter bunny’ ? Both of which she no longer believes in. Wayne and I got something right though, as our response was the same :

IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE, YOU DON’T RECEIVE… That kept her quiet… for now !

The last week and a bit we have been in Port Douglas and Cairns. .

Port Douglas 

We arrived in Port Douglas after leaving Cooktown and immediately had such a great vibe about the place. Can’t explain it really, like many places up this way it’s just so peaceful and vibrant. We were a little disappointed about the Caravan Park being a little way out of PD itself (a whole 8 km’s) but the park itself was really nice with a slide in the pool and a jumping pillow so for us it was a done deal. When we checked in we noticed a site was free right beside the pool, the caretaker tried to talk us out of it as there wasn’t much shade, but we have an awning and there were trees and after quickly weighing up that we could see the kids (Lulu and Sarah) in the pool from the caravan window, we decided to brave the heat and we snapped it up. Turned out it was perfect anyway. The girls made lots of little friends here and they were kept entertained.

We were in Port Douglas for 5 days. The first 3 days were spent just going into town, eating and shopping, checking out the famous markets on Sunday and spending time in the pool at the caravan park. Everyday was sunny and hot. The last 2 we spent exploring the Daintree (as much as we could by car) and going to Mossman Gorge.

Mossman Gorge was spectacular. It was crammed with people (again – school holidays) and hard to get a spot to sit down. We had planned on taking a picnic down there but ended up having our picnic where the bus departs just at the top of the gorge. Glad we did, otherwise we would have eaten standing up. The Gorge itself was ice-cold, but what a place. . Something we’ll never forget.

Port Douglas

Mossman Gorge

Daintree

Cairns 

Arrived in Cairns a few days ago. This is the place that we have talked about since we left home in August and it’s all due to the Caravan Park ! Sounds silly I know but some of the parks we’ve stayed at haven’t had much in the way of ‘things to do’ for the girls. Mainly at the overnighters that we’ve used, so we’ve continued to say ‘wait til we get to Cairns and Coconuts’.. then I remembered that we hadn’t actually booked a spot and it was school holidays. Thankfully we were lucky and managed to get a ‘bus site’ (lucky for us our van is considered a ‘large’ rig although it doesn’t feel like that when you’re living in it 24/7). I’ve never stayed in a park like this before, and its safe to say that Wayne hasn’t either. When we checked in we were told to leave the car and van and they took us around the park in a golf buggy (but with a frog on top) so they could give us a tour of the park. Lucky they did or we would have been lost within minutes. The park is like Disneyland. . slight exaggeration and I’ve never been to Disneyland but it feels like it. There are 3 pools, each with slides and wading pools for babies, there’s a huge playground with an interactive bike trail that runs around the edge for scooters and bmx bandits etc (Sarah fallen off a few times) 2 huge jumping pillows, a water splash park that is the #1 attraction. Outdoor movie nights, indoor movies throughout the day, all day everyday. Free pancakes on Thursday’s and not just a pancake slapped on a paper plate either. They set up tables and chairs in the ‘garden pool’ and they have lucky door prizes AND sugar, lemon and maple syrup.. I mean c’mon! Then there’s the tennis, the mini golf, the table tennis, the fire engine truck that comes around every 2nd day, the water aerobics and the cafe on site and the snorkelling lessons,honesty… the kids are in heaven so we’ve not left the park much. .

We have been into Cairns though, spent some time along the Esplanade and the Cairns Lagoon. I thought Perth was pretty well set up for the great outdoors, but not compared to this place. Perth Foreshore could take a hint or 2 from this place. The Muddys playground is H U G E and so is the Lagoon that is right in the middle of Cairns CBD. You can’t swim in the water so why not make a man-made beach ? Sounds pretty simple.. Have to add though, the beaches up here are not much compared to Perth/WA.. We are pretty spoilt and I feel a little guilty for slamming the place I live and love 🙂

We drove out to Palm Cove yesterday.  I liked Palm Cove even more than Cairns and we are going to stay there for 4 nights after Coconuts. A little shire run caravan park, right opposite the beach and right in the middle of the cafe/shopping precinct. Wayne’s happy that there is a jetty, I’m happy because there are cute little boutiques everywhere and a million places to have a coffee. I could see myself living in a place like Palm Cove. Sarah still not up for a ‘sea change’ however. We are supposed to be heading south down the coast, but after driving to PC and loving it for the 2 hours we spent there, we thought ‘why not’ we have nowhere to be for a couple of months.. It’s good to be this free.

We were planning on doing the Skyrail and the Reef tour while we were in Cairns, but had a few little hiccups (nothing major) so we will do it from Palm Cove now.. All in all, we are all feeling very chilled and relaxed in this part of the world.

Cairns lagoon.. (pic not that great, taken on my iphone)

Cairns Esplanade.. and Wayne telling fibs about a red cone in the mudflats being dinosaurs remains. Kids believed him too.

SPLASH park.. the kids are there at the moment so I can write this blog in peace actually !

Lulu and Sarah x

(Wayne has taken some amazing photo’s of Cairns and Port Douglas, but I’ve been unable to upload them as the file is too large).

I know I’ve dedicated a lot this blog to Coconuts and at the end of the day it’s just a caravan park, but it still doesn’t stop us from singing all the time ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of Coconuts’…

I think we’ve finally slowed down a little.  We are not just on this trip for a month, we have 8 months so it’s ok to have a few days where we do absolutely nothing. Today it’s hot but cloudy and a little rainy. I think we will go on a bike ride later this afternoon but for now the girls are in the pool with Wayne and I’m here in the van writing this blog while Frankie has a little sleep and then I’ll think about maybe making a Banana cake.

Until next time…

TTM x