Published: July 7th 2008July 6th 2008
Some of the lush waters and sand at Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays
As per usual we have been super busy, and the last week and a bit has been probably our best times in Australia so far. Some good places visited and some nice photos taken along the way! Here you go...
Thursday 27th we woke up in Airlie Beach and got picked up for our tour of the Whitsunday Islands from a local bus stop. The tour was with Mataray and we had a few stops throughout the day at various Islands and areas. On the way out the habour they offered us wetsuits as it was going to be cold in the water and we had some snorkling to do. Nick spotted a turtle in the habour as we were leaving! It was a nice family run business and the Grandad and Gandma of the family who picked us all up waved us out of the habour while the Dad sailed the boat. The first spot we stopped at was Mantaray Bay, we snorkled here and it was great. We saw lots of fish, including one massive fish about 1.5m long! The coral was really nice and there was no need to pay the extra and
Stingray in the shallows...
At Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
do a scubadive as it was all close to the surface. The divers below us did see a shark however - so turns out we were in shark infested waters! Next we headed to Hill Inlet look out at Whitehaven Beach to see one of the best beaches in the world. The sand is 98% silicon (whatever that means!) and the moving tide creates some great low sand areas and possible some of the best views (and photos) we have had. After the view point we headed down to the beach and found we were almost the only people here. The water was crystal clear and we waded out into the middle of the shallow water heading for a small sand island. It wasn't long before we realized the water around us was full of stingrays! Megan had a funny panic as one went towards her adn we told her to stay still. They just cruised around us and it was amazing to share the water with them. We got a long boat ride back to Airlie beach and everyone except us seemed to get sea sick on the journey. We took back some Dvds we had rented out and
This effect is casused by the tide apparently
used the campsite showers seen as they had no codes or locks and we had checked out! We found a big garage with facitilites just short of Townsville and decided to stay for the night. Megan fell asleep while Nick and Adam made crisp and cheese sandwiches. We had a good sleep and it was probably the best day we have had in Australia so far.
Next day we drove into Townsville, there didn't seem like much to do here. The postoffice was shut as it was Saturday so we headed to Castle Hill Lookout. The drive up was very steep and we soon realized the petrol light was on! The lookout was nice and we could see all of the small town and the beautiful ocean - but we spent most of the time looking for a petrol station with the binoculars! After some food at the lookout we rolled all the way back into town and managed to get to some fuel (man those prices are still going up!). We decided to go to the cinema in th afternoon. We watched 'Don't mess with the Zohan', it had a poor start but turned out to be
Megan at Whitehaven beach
At this point she is completly unaware of the stingrays you can make out in the top right!
quite funny. We drove to a rest area on the other side of Townsville. It was absolutly massive and had loads of caravans and campervans in it.
We woke up in the rest area and filled up the van with a water tap there. Hope its drinkable. Our first stop of the day was Big Cyrstal Creek - which turned out to be big, but pretty dry! It doesn't rain so much in winter here (yes its winter) so most of the waterfalls and rivers aren't so good right now. Next we went to Jourama Falls. It was made up of lots of small waterfalls and pools down a mountain side - the lookout was overlooking all of it and was really nice. It did take a long walk through the rainforest to get to, and despite looking hard everyday we still haven't seen a snake, but we did see lots of lizards! After this stop we drove towards Ingham, stopping along the way to steal some sugar cane from the fields for megan to try. The drives are much nicer now we are in the north. We see sugar cane fields for miles and miles then it
Wallaman Falls from the top!
Australia's highest single drop waterfall
switches to banana fields! Ingham seemed like a ghost town, it was Sunday, and the only place open was McDonalds, we obviously went it. For any McDonalds workers reading, if you think you have worked on the shift from hell, you should see this place. We felt embarassed just standing and watching while we waited for our food! The only thing in Ingham mentioned in our guide book was the cemetary, we checked it out but it all felt a bit too strange. We drove out to a rest stop thinking our day was over. Not long after we parked up a blue campervan parked next to us. He was giving us a right odd stare out his window so we shut the curtains. We noticed after a while he had drove off, unfortunatly we seemed to have another problem. He had left a wounded dog next to our van. It was a nice looking dog and had a bowl of water and a sad face. A few people tried to call for help but it was getting late. We named him Rusty and put a blanket over him for the night. We cooked some food and tried ringing the
The walk down to Wallaman falls
Saw this rainbow through the trees!
RSPCA most of the night.
When we woke in the rest area Rusty was gone! Turns out 2 forriegn girls who were camping in the rest rea had him over the other side. We had spoke to them last night and they were also trying to help. It became obviously we'd have to do it all ourselves (RSPCA were rubbish). We got Rusty into the back of our campervan/pet ambulance and drove back to Ingham. Thankfully it was more alive there today and we soon found the vet - who seemed to fall in love with the dog instantly. We left Rusty there in good hands and felt our good deed for the week was done! We popped to Coles (bit like Tesco) for some food, there was a lot of Aboriginees there. We haven't really seen that many of them until now, it must be as we are getting further north. Most of them are living in cities now and have normal lives - although they don't look very happy about it all! We drove out of Ingham and went to Wallaman Falls - Australia's highest single drop waterfall. It was stunning. Adam and Nick did the
rainforest walk to the bottom while Megan waited with camera at the top. The walk needs more warnings on it - we were ok, but it was seriously hard work. At the bottom of the falls we got right up close and saw 2 rainbows at once made by the smashing water. We saw more lizards on the way back up and treated ourselves to curry in the van for lunch. On our drive out of the area we saw a Casowarry (bit like an emu) in the wild, these are an endanged speices, and they will be soon be completley wiped out if they continue to walk in front of our van! Not long after we had to wait for cows to move out the road too, and then a few minutes after that we came across a field full of camels! We spent the rest of the day driving to Mission Beach, it had no camping or rest areas so we found a caravan park and treated ourselves to some showers!
We washed in the campsite then headed to the beach. We spent a few hours relaxing here and used our deck chairs provided with the
This was in the Rainforest Road!
van hire for the first time. We read our books and played frisbee (part of Adam's leg rehab). We saw about 5 sky divers land on the beach (with parachutes!) which was pretty cool. We checked our email at an internet cafe then cooked food by the beach. We went to Josephine Falls next, third waterfall in as many days, it was nice and looked like something out of a disney movie. Next we stopped at Golden Hole, a swimming area at the end of a creek, we didn't fancy a swim - the water wasn't clear and crocs live in these parts! We then visited the Babinda Boulders, it was a big river full of huge boulders, many people had died here so we resisted the temptation to climb around on them. We had spent another full day around nature and walking through forests to see things - still no snakes. We carried on our drive towards Cairns and after a long time looking for a rest area we ended up in a caravan site. It was suprisingly cheap ($38 for a powered site) but turned out to be voted Australia's number 1 campsite, and it was 5 stars.
We've never heard of a 5 star caravan resort, but apparently this is one. We get 2 hours free wireless internet per day and we can play table tennis, bowls, giant chess, badminton, volleyball, mini golf
We woke up in the luxury campsite, we had the last spot availible as it was school holidays and we were pretty much just squeezed behind the display fountain at the front, but that did mean we were closest to everything! Megan did some budgeting (we are all running low on funds! Luckily Adam and Nick start work soon) then we played some minigolf. Adam was on good form and won. Next we found the 'jumping pillow'. Now we have never neen one of these before but apparently this is the biggest one in the world. Its a big like a bouncey castle, except its just one big inflated pillow. Its apparently for all ages so we jumped one once the kids had disapeared and it was great fun, a bit like a trampoline but you can't fall off the side! After this we played table tennis, something we aren't very good at, except Megan who won. Beans on toast was served
Sky diver landing in background!
in the van then we played BOCCE, we weren't sure how to say this so asking for the equipement at reception was something we all tried to avoid! Its bassically bowls on grass but you throw them. Nick won this leaving everything down to the tennis this evening. We went in the pool, which was freezing. Nick won the tennis, we think, we shall never truely know as our line judge (Megan) seemed to lose interest after about the 7th deuce! We then tried to stay up and listen to Wimbledon but due to the rain you are having it got too late and we went to sleep.
We left the campesite the next day and headed into Cairns, we had arrived 10 days to early to return the van - oops. We popped to the post office to check our post. Adam and Nick's tax numbers had arrived ok but no sign of Megan's passport yet. Adam and Nick then set up bank accounts, which was very easy despite them needed 3 types of ID! We got some underwater photos developed from Megan's disposable camera, I think 2 or 3 of the 24 turned out ok. Next
stop was the medical centre for Adam's stitches to be removed. The doctor took 7 of them out and left 4 in to be taken out over the next few days - when will it end! We drove to a place called Mossman north of Cairns which ended up not having the rest area shown on our map (not uncommon!) so we headed to a place called Mount Murray (quite appropiate with the tennis on) and stayed in a nice big rest area. Adam cooked Thai green curry with rice and butterbeans - the van cooking is improving! Got some sleep.
We drove back to Mossman the next day to visit Mossman Creek. There was people swimming in the water and we did the 3.4km rainforest walk there. They was some pretty amazing trees, vines and roots in there - but no snakes! We enjoyed the walk and ate in the van after. Next we went to Mossman Hospital for more stitches out. Adam ended up taking one out himself in the van that had came loose and would have done them all if he knew he was going to have to wait an hour in the hospital.
On one of the rainforest walks we did!
An hour isn't long to wait in the UK, but there wasn't another patient in the hospital as far as I could see! Luckily they had a the Fly Doctor magazine which was quite a good read. The nurse was actually very good and gave Adam a full health check up and some nice bandages. We headed back to the same rest stop for the night.
We woke up about 11am in the rest area and headed to Tolga to check out the rest area. We were looking for a lake called Lake Mitchell on the way but some how missed it, its only 15km long! We went to Hasties Swamp National Park, its basically a big swamp with lots of different bird types on it and a nice lookout over it. We took the binoculars to check them out, and while we saw lots of different types I'd still put them all under the heading 'ducks'. When cooking in the van we noticed Adam had accidentally bought creamed corn instead of corn kernals. This sweetcorn paste turned out to be good stuff - try it on toast with cheese! We then drove to Atherton which turned out
Jimbob in caravan site!
Spoiling the posh founatain view!
to be another town with nothing happening! We saw a sign to the Tinaroo Dam so headed to find it. It was a nice suprise and much bigger than expected. We went to the bottom of it in our van and the power of the water coming was crazy! We found a tourist road around lake Tinaroo that is 28km, we decided to do it tomorrow. We headed back to the rest stop, that was at a war remorial oddly. The caretaker came round to say hello and let us know it was 72 hours max stay, he had the biggest dog any of us had ever seen. We did kick ups in the park until it got dark, Adam managed 122 and Megan improved her best from 3 to 5! Cooked food and slept!
We woke up and donated some money to the rest stop war remorial fund for the nights stay. The tourist drive was along dirt roads and was a fun drive even without the stops. Our first stop was for a rainforest walk, it was 5km long but we decided we had the time! It was pretty uneventful most of the way, although we
did see a really nice red and blue parott. Towards the end we caught up with a few other walkers, there was a water creek blocking the path. Before they had finished saying hello Nick had his socks off and walked through it, Adam and Megan followed leaving the other walkers behind on the other side. It got a bit damp after this and we noticed there was a lot of leaches about, we stopped everynow and then to flick them off as they tried to climb above our socks! The end of the walk had another water creek blocking the path, but this one had a log accross it. Nick lost his balence and ended up stepping in the creek with shoes and socks on! Sadly Adam was too slow with the filming! We ate food then headed to Cathedal Fig Tree, apparently the most visited tree in the world. These trees grow over the top of other trees and use the nutrients from them, the inside tree was long gone here but the roots of the fig tree dangled down from about 20m above us. It looked crazy! We stopped at a few lookouts then went to Coles
to stock up on pasta, rice, bread and beans! We still have 5 days with the van so we headed to the posh campsite by Cairns. We watched the film 'The Beach' again, we really need to buy/rent something new.
We plan to spend the 5 days we have left with the van in the campsite, we have visited everywhere up and down the coast we planned to, and more! In the campsite we don't use any petrol and the activities are free - so it'll work out nice on our wallets too! Plus it gives us a chance to pack up our things, clean out the van and wash all our clothes before we move on to the next part of our trips. In 1 week Megan heads off to New Zealand and Adam and Nick stay in Australia to work for 3 months. The van has been great for flexability and we visited places that we simply couldn't have got to by bus, but I think we will all be happy when we don't have to build our beds everynight or step over each other to get a drink!
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Nick crossing a creek
Seconds before he lost his balence!
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Adam Gibson and Nick Burke
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