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Published: September 22nd 2019
We are back on the road for some distance that I'm driving for the first time. Over the next three blog entries, we'll bring you all the way from Cairns to Surfers Paradise. Been few times to Cairns, and few times to the Gold Coast.....but in between, it is a first.
We landed late in Cairns and staid in what must be one of nicest Ibis Style I ever stay in....imagine, a Jacuzzi and kitchenette with a microwave in this kind of hotel, this is a first for Tanya and I. So before the shop would close, we rushed to the local Coles for some nice food and a bottle of wine to enjoy in our little home for the night. No car tonight, we will pick our new ride tomorrow just after lunch.
In the morning, we are walking the streets of Cairns and checking some aboriginal art. Wow, some of these paintings are superb...the the price tags will break more than one bank account! So we look and don't touch! This time, we are going with Jucy for our car rental. I've read horror stories...but they are the only ones providing a decent rate for
the one way rental to Brisbane....so I took the plunge for a little Fiat Punto. 2600km later, safe bet, we returned the car safely two weeks later at Brisbane airport.
This afternoon, we are doing the 300km ride from Cairns to Townsville. This is rainforrest and sugar cane paradise. We live in South Africa in a sugar cane area.....but let say Australians are way better organized. Most of these areas are connected by a light rail system to collect the cut sugar cane. This means, there roads stay clear of sugar cane...what a pleasure! Did I tell you also that after driving 2600km in tow weeks, I may have encounters less than 10 pot holes...as a total count! If only other countries could keep the condition of their roads the way the Aussie do it! I'm impressed, but maybe I've lived to long in Africa!
We reached Townsville after few stops. First one, I just took a little detour following the sign of "The Boulders". I had no idea, was just 8km out of the highway. We ended up spending some time there....super cool nature walk...wish we had more time ahead of us...but by
know, I knew we would not reach Townsville early! Next it was the next detour to world famous Mission Beach. Nice, and not a safe place to swim due to jellyfishes....they are not really active in the winter...but we were not going to give them a try!
You are going to ask...why this thing about reaching your destination before sunset?!? Answer in simply...these lovely jumping kangaroos tend to jump on the road after sunset...and being hit by your car! If you have a solid SUV it may be ok for your car, still not for the cute animal....but with my Fiat Punto....no way I was giving it a try! So 60km before Townsville....sunset is over...and I know I now have to drive slower...and be on my guards...big time!
Back to the supermarket before closing time...shopping for nice ingredients for another superb meal...and yes some more wine! Next morning, another beautiful day...this time we drive north by the beach...till we reach the car park...and go for a walk to Shelly Beach. Doesn't ring the bell...don't worry, we live in Shelly Beach, KZN, South Africa. There is one Shelly Beach next to Sydney...haven't visited yet...and at
least two of them in Queensland. This is out first for the trip! Beautiful beach!
Next, is our drive south to Ayr and Alva Beach. Never heard of those place...don't worry, it's all about diving the SS Yongala. Never heard about it either...if you don't dive it's normal. If you are a diver, this is the most famous wreck of Australia...The Yongala is a ship that sunk back in 1911. It was long time ago and it is a good 30 years that there is no more penetration of the ship. Put it simply, you don't come here for the wreck itself....but for the fauna and flora that lives on and around the wreck!
Let put it simply...average visibility on the wreck is less than 10 meters. Today we have well over 20 meters and blue waters! It's not about the reef...more about the Queensland groupers, the sea snakes, the few rays and sharks. End of the day, diving is better at home, aka Shelly Beach South Africa. But I can finally claim to have dived the Yongala and I loved it!
Was fun to dive with the owner of the
dive center in South West Rock...NSW...up to today, still my best dive site in Australia! Trust me, today I could check a simple fact, the diving world is a small one...or should I say I'm spoiled with a lot of friends!
Next...no more diving and heading South!
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