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Published: November 8th 2009
Sunday 25th October
I was the first person at Cairns airport to meet the Sunday morning Qantas flight and Paul seemed to be the last person to come through arrivals. It was good to see him! I showed him his hotel on wheels which I had decided to rename ‘Bruce’. First we drove to the city and stopped at the lagoon to make breakfast on the public BBQ’s which are scattered along the esplanade. After yummy bacon rolls we drove along the coastal road to Port Douglas which I had really enjoyed when I first arrived in Cairns. It had been rainy on and off during the few days before Paul arrived but he brought the sunshine with him so the views along the coastal road were excellent. Although we had the camper van I thought we should have some luxury before we started our road trip , so we stayed in the Shangri-La hotel in Cairns. This is where I have spent may hours sun baking whilst living in Cairns because I get free use of the pool as part of my gym membership.
I n the evening we went for dinner at the restaurant where I have been working.
Definitely the best pizza in Cairns! I said goodbye to the friends I had made at La Pizza. I will miss them but not being a waitress.
Monday 26th October
We went to the Atherton Tablelands. I dropped Paul off at the sky rail station at the bottom and then drove up the range to meet him at the top. Whilst in Kuranda village I managed to stay away from the sweet shop this time and also resisted The German sausage shop. We drove across the Tablelands to Milla Milla falls which is where Peter Andre’s music video Mysterious girl was filmed. There was not much water because it has been so dry but it was pretty and a peaceful place to sit and relax. We bravely went for a swim and the water was freezing! After that we started our decent down the Gillies range. It was a scary drive with 240 bends. In the evening we went to the Jensen’s for a traditional Ozzie BBQ. Their granddaughters had kindly baked us some Anzac biscuits and Rocky Road for our journey.
Tuesday 27th October
After saying goodbye to Myra and Stan our road trip began! First stop was Mission
beach which was only a two hour drive from Cairns. After a quick safety briefing we drove to a small airstrip in Tulley. During the minibus ride my instructor made me nervous with skydiving tales, told me it was his first tandem jump and that he was a narcoleptic! My nerves didn’t kick in until the plane took off. I felt like I was a soldier going out to battle when all 16 people were cramped up next to each other. We jumped from 14,000 ft. Paul was first out and I was third to jump. I loved it!!! My stomach flipped . Many people had told me that the free fall is over really quickly but I felt like I was free falling for ages and when I landed I realsied I was! Although I was third out of 8 to jump I landed last because my instructor was light it took us a long time to reach the ground. I was quite scared when the parachute was released because the sudden lift made me feel like I was going to fall out. The views were fantastic and I enjoyed every second of it. I had been nervous about
landing but it was easy although I did get a sand burn because my shorts were too short.
We camped the night at mission beach in ‘Bruce’. There was a tent which attached to the back of the van which gave 30% extra room and ventilation. This made is much more comfortable and the tent had a window at the top so we could see the stars before we went to sleep. It was fun cooking our first meal although we did have to get John and Gary opposite to help us light the stove but after that we were away and many gourmet meals followed (with a few 4x gold) We had to cook dinner and get the tent up early each night because it got dark by 6:30pm and our small anti mozzi candle and reading light didn’t was not sufficient. So throughout the road trip it was early nights and very early starts. Mission beach was very quiet and at one point we were the only people on the beach. I need the toilet in the middle of the night so woke Paul up to walk with me because I was scared of the Dingoes, so he
protected me by walking in front with the top of our table ready to attack.
Wednesday 28th October
We did a long drive from Mission Beach to Airlie beach. We stopped briefly in Townsville and Bowen which is the setting of the film ‘AUSTRAILIA’. When we arrived at Airlie beach we found a carpark with loads of camper vans and people who seemed to be settled for the night although there were many signs which said ‘no camping’. We parked up and went for dinner but when we came back most of the camper vans were leaving and we were told that ranger patrol the area and fine $200 if caught camping. So we had to drive around until we eventually found a quiet road near the marina.
Thursday 29- Saturday 31st October
Airlie beach is the gateway to The Whitsunday Islands which comprise of 74 islands. In the morning we boarded the Powerplay catamaran to sail around the islands for a couple of days. It rained on the first day but it was still good fun. There were 19 people in our group and 3 staff. The skipper was called Evian, Dylan the dive master and Sophie the cook/mum.
On the first day we went to Tonge Bay and snorkeled. Paul spotted a turtle in the shallow water and we saw many beautiful fish and coral. In the evening we moored up for dinner before going to bed in our snug cabin.
The next morning was an early start. Engines started at 5:30am. We sailed to Whitehaven beach. It is easily the prettiest beach I have ever been to. It is a 6km beach of pure white silicon sand, which was dazzling! In the afternoon we went to another bay to snorkel , relax on the boat and soak in the Jacuzzi on the deck. We were very lucky because we had a really nice group of people on board with us. (John and Cuthbert from Lemington Spa would definitely be in Power Play’s BB final). In the evening we moored up watched the sunset and had a BBQ. Judging by the amount of food which was on offer I am surprised the boat didn’t sink. We had a 2nd night on the boat before sailing back to Shute Harbor at Airlie beach.
After collecting Bruce form the marina we continued driving South. At times we did not see
another car for ages and the scenery now looked how I imagined Australia to look. Bright blue sky, dry and dusty land. We stopped at a campsite south of Mackey which was in the middle of nowhere. The campsite had an eerie feel to it and we were greeted by the receptionist whom I nicknamed the bearded lady. The campsite was right on the beach. In the evening our neighbors, Allan and Joy invited us over for a drink! We had trouble cooking because the wind was so strong so we had to turn the camper van to act as a wind breaker.
Monday 2nd November
We were awoken early by parrots walking on the camper van and a Kookaburra laughing. We waved goodbye to the bearded lady and continued South to Agnes water which is a pretty seaside town and Queensland’s most Northerly surfing beach. We had a day on the beach watching the surfers and then drove around Town of 1770 named in honor of Captain Cook landing the re in 1770. We stayed the night at a sandy rest area which only had a cold outside shower! Fortunately the early sunset kept my dignity . In the
evening we had fish & chips on the beach and watched the sunset.
Tuesday 3rd November
We drove the Hervey bay. We had to stop in a small town called Childers because a fuse had blown which caused the stereo to stop working which is a vital part of any road trip. Luckily Ashley at the local garaged sorted out and restored out tunes. Whilst in Hervey bay we stayed at a caravan park on the seafront.
Wednesday 4th November
We went on a one day tour to Fraser Island. Fraser island is a huge sandbar measuring 120km by 15km created by thousands of years of long shore drift. It is thought that all the sand from the east coast eventually ends up there. We could not decide if we should do the self drive or the guided tour but were soon relieved that we chose the guided when we saw many people on the self drive were getting stuck. After the short ferry ride we got on the huge bus and started touring the island. We only had limited time so it did feel a bit rushed. First we went on a rainforest walk, then sped along 75 mile
beach. Next we stopped at Eli creek, the Pinnicles, coloured sands and the ship wreck Maheno. As we were heading for lunch the driver announced that we had a flat tyre. This took a while to fix but Paul helped out because he was hungry and wanted to get to lunch. Lake Mckensie was the last stop and this was my favorite part of Fraser Island. We went for a swim in the clear water which his meant to make you look 10 years younger.
Thursday 5th November
We drove to Noosa. We had noticed that things seemed to be more modern the further south we travelled. Noosa was very contemporary !!! We stayed at a nice campsite on the river.
Then we did the last part of our road trip to Brisbane. On the way we stopped at Steve Irwin’s zoo. It was fantastic. We fed kangaroos and had cuddle a snake. Then we had a picnic in the Glass mountains. When we arrived in Brisbane we were meant to stay in the camper van that night but we decided to stay in a hotel when we got to the city and it was a good job that
we did because there was a big thunder storm that night.
Friday 6th & 7th November
We spent the days sightseeing and shopping around Brisbane. Paul went home on Saturday and I met up with Jacquie my distant cousin. She took me out for dinner and to a look out.
Now I am in Alice Spring. It is very hot and the temperature is 39 degrees. Tomorrow I am going on a three day camping trip to Ayers rock.
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