13th Jun 2008
Airlie Beach to Townsville.

Fri 13th Jun

Left camp about 9:15am for our 275kms jaunt to Townsville.
We stopped at Bowen for some money, just in case our MasterCard was stuffed, but all ok. We drove down to the beach and Yacht club and took some photos. After a brief rest, we continued on our way to Ayr, stopped for lunch, finally arriving at Rowes Bay CP (Townsville) approx 2:30pm.
Thank god another uneventful drive. I like those.
As we setup camp at Rowes Bay CP, 4 F18 hornets left Townsville airport and gave me an excellent show.

Us at Bowen (the tide is out).

Bowen beach and jetty.

Bowen beach and jetty.

14th & 15th Jun 2008
Townsville - Time with Kitty and Julian.

Sat 14th Jun

Marg's sister Kitty arrived about 9am to say Hi and see our camp and left just before 10am as she had a Pilates class.
Marg and I set out for Castletown (Townsville's equivalent to Southland.) We set TomTom and it is only a 3.4 km trip. After 9km we re-evaluated where we were. Technically, we were not lost. I just made a wrong turn. We finally got to Castletown.

In the afternoon, I sat on the Internet for a few hours to book our next couple of stops. Palm Cove, a beachside CP 30kms north of Cairns is booked out until end of Sept. We finally are booked in at Crystal Cascades in Cairns for 5 nights and 4 nights at Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria - a leisurely 780kms west of Cairns. Gees, Queensland is huge.

Kitty and her partner Julian invited us for dinner. Roast pork and vegies - yumma.

Sun 15th Jun

We met Kitty and Julian at Odyssey's restaurant for breaky. It was on the Strand, overlooking the bay, with views of Magnetic Island.
After breakfast, Marg and I drove to the Ferry terminal and booked our Reef cruise for tomorrow.
Kitty and Julian came around about 11:45am to show Julian our camp. He was suitably impressed. The four of us then went to Alligator Creek NP for a picnic lunch. We had a top day, with Julian driving us around. It was great. Loved those gates Julian!

Picnic at Alligator Creek - Sun 15th Jun.

Picnic at Alligator Creek

Picnic at Alligator Creek

A big eel.

Picnic at Alligator Creek.

Scenic view from our mystery drive - Thanks Julian.

16th Jun 2008
Townsville - Snorkelling at Kelso reef.

Mon 16th Jun

We had to be at the Townsville-Magnetic Island Ferry terminal by 7:45am for check in, so we were up just after 6am.
We were going out to Kelso reef, approx 60kms due east of Townsville, for a day of snorkelling. The Good Ship ReefCat was our vessel and it was approx 100ft long and 33ft wide with 2 main decks and a sun deck on top. It can handle 140 people at its maximum, so 26 people for our trip was brilliant. There were approx 10 crew and 26 divers, including us. We left the terminal at 8:30 and proceeded to Magnetic Island (Maggy Island to us locals), where we picked up another 2 passengers. It took 2 hours travelling at 25 knots to get to Kelso reef. I thought that it was an island, but all you can see is water and a glass bottom boat moored there in the middle of nowhere.

The weather was warm but cloudy and overcast. I thought as we were anchoring the cat, that this wouldn't be that good but as soon as you entered the water, another world opened and I was in awe of it. It was so beautiful. We went on a guided tour of the reef with Travis. The tour lasted about 40 minutes. When the tour was finished, Marg and I had lunch, which consisted of cold meats, prawns, and salads which were very yummy. We ate our lunch up on the sun deck which was windy, but nice. After lunch 6 of us went in the glass bottom boat which again was very good even though the photos didn't turn out that well.

Now it was time for another snorkel. this time Marg didn't wear her wetsuit as it was cramping her style. So she swam near the boat and I, carrying the underwater camera, swam about 50m from the boat. It felt weird swimming in the middle of nowhere, but most of the time it was only 1 to 2 meters deep. In some areas I nearly touched the coral, which is a big no no. Sometimes I tried to dive down and get closer to the fish but each time that I tried, I bobbed up like a cork. (It must be that little bit of flab that I carry.) After another hour of snorkelling, I was buggered, so it was time to finish for the day. I took the camera back to Ian to have my photos put on a CD. 208 photos later, I had my CD, full of memories. It was now time for the Good Ship Reefcat to leave and head back to Townsville. The ride was a bit rough, one woman was sick and feeling very second hand. I went to the bar and got a VB ($3.90 a can) a lot better than the Good Ship Voyager cruise. As Marg didn't want any alcohol (a first), it was a 2 can trip. After some tossing and turning, we arrived safely back at Townsville and had fish and chips for dinner and asleep by 7pm. We were both knackered.

A great day and it shows that Great Barrier Reef is the place to go snorkelling, as opposed to Hook Island that is subject to the rains etc.

Our dive area, out in the wild blue yonder. 60kms from Townsville due East.

Barred rabbitfish.

Moorish Idol fish.

Marg getting in the water.

Marg in the water.

Blue Sea Star.

Don't leave me, I haven't done a deal with 60 minutes yet.

I can't swim. I know how those Yanks feel.

Oh well. If I am left here, I may as well enjoy the scenery.

17th Jun 2008
Townsville - Touring around.

Tue 17th Jun

Both of us had a good night sleep after yesterday's snorkelling. We were buggered.
We went to Castletown for some shopping and lunch. Went looking for USB cable, so we could connect our PC to the TV as a monitor. Finally found one at IT warehouse just over the road from RAAF Townsville. After connecting the USB cable between the PC and TV, I found out that I needed a monitor cable and not a USB cable.

Shit happens again.

Maggy island.

our Beach.

Our camp.

My prawn cocktail.

Another of our camp.

The Twins.

View from Castle Hill.

Maggy island from Castle Hill.

Where are the hornets?

18th Jun 2008
Townsville - Visited Billabong Sanctuary.

Wed 18th Jun

Marg and I visited the Billabong Sanctuary today, arriving about 11:30am. It was brilliant.

I cuddled a snake, Marg fed the turtles and numerous roos and birds. It is similar to Australia Zoo but different and better in its own way.

Welcome to Billabong Sanctuary.

Me and the Fierce snake. Ok it's not.

Marg feeding the Turtles.

Crocs in the wild.

Marg feeding the roos.

Fierce Snake.

20th Jun 2008
Townsville to Cairns.

Fri 20th Jun

Left camp about 9:15am for our 254kms jaunt to Crystal Cascades CP at Cairns - well Redlynch.
We stopped at Ingham for some money, just in case, our MasterCard was stuffed, but all ok. We drove on to Cardwell, which is on the beach. What a magnificent view. Then onto Innisfail for our lunch stop. Finally arrived at Crystal Cascades CP, set in between the hills, arriving approx 3pm.
Thank god another uneventful drive. I like those.
We setup camp on their largest site without a concrete slab. We have space to burn.

Us in Cardwell.

View from Cardwell beach.

View from Cardwell beach.

21st - 24th Jun 2008
Touring around Cairns.

Sat 21st Jun

Marg and I visited Peter who owns Replicars Model shop in Cairns. I have been known to purchase some 'toy cars' from Peter.
Off to Cairns Central, then to the Beach and Marina. At the marina, Marg went to the Street Market and I went to see the boats, and there were some magnificent yachts. Check out the photos. For example, 'Laurel' is a 240ft motor yacht. I spoke to the crew, but he wouldn't tell me who owns it, so I went onto the internet to see if I could find out and am awaiting a reply. Tomorrow, we hope to drive to Kuranda.

Cairns Marina.

Cairns Marina.




Cairns Marina.

22nd Jun 2008
Touring Kuranda.

Sun 22nd Jun

Marg and I visited Kuranda and Barron Falls. Believe it or not, Kuranda has changed heaps since we were last here in 1981. We walked to Barron Falls through rainforest. It was beautiful scenery. We arrived in Kuranda at about 9:20 and the place was deserted, so we had coffee and donuts. After we came out of one shop, the place was jumping. The train had arrived and there were people everywhere. In Kuranda, I bought a kangaroo skin hat and 6 prints by a Kuranda artist (Ian Stephens). I still have not bought a crocodile, but time is running out.

Tomorrow, I have to go to the NAB and hopefully my new Visacard has arrived and then we are off to Port Douglas, which is 70 kms north of Cairns.

Barron Falls.

Marg on the walkover.

Walk through the wilderness.

Kuranda's main street before the train arrives.

Marg in the main street in Kuranda.

Kuranda Railway Station.

Mon 23rd Jun

Now I ask you who would bank with that bloody establishment called NAB.
As you may know from reading above, my Visacard has been comprised by some lowlife. Thank you NAB for bringing this to my attention.
After a lengthy phone call with the NAB Fraud department, it was agreed that my new Visacard would be sent to the Cairns branch, because allowing for the time to create the card and send it, Cairns is where we would be. So today, I was that close to driving the 30kms to and from Cairns branch, it wasn't funny, but I thought that I would ring the Cairns branch and check if it was there. Well, some genius a while ago, decided that it is better not to publish the branch's individual phone numbers and that all customers should ring 13 22 65. Bloody mental giant.
Now bear this in mind, all I want is the phone number of the NAB Cairns branch, not real difficult. You wanna bet? So I ring 13 22 65. I then have to put in my telephone banking account number. I push the menu options so that I can speak to a human. Robot lady gives me my balance. Great if I wanted a balance, but I don't! I want a phone number! I am starting to lose it with Robot lady, when finally a human answers. I tell her my predicament and that I don't want to drive 30kms if the card hasn't arrived, so can she give me Cairns' phone number? You guessed it. No. She only has an extension and she will ring and ask on my behalf.

Now bear this in mind also, I told the Fraud Dept that my Visacard does not have a PIN number and I want the card sent to Cairns, because I am touring Queensland. No problems says Fraud lady. Bullshit! At present, my PIN number, which I don't use or need, is sitting at Cairns branch and my Visacard is at Collins St, MELBOURNE.
How the f..... am I meant to pick it up when I am over 4,000kms away and leaving Cairns on Wednesday.

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment. Will Frosty and his new Visacard come together in Cloncurry Branch of the National Australia Bank? Who knows...?

Tue 24th Jun

We left camp about 9am for a drive up to Mossman and Port Douglas.
On the way, we saw a sign Mossman Sugar mill tours. We arrived at the Mills after a pitstop in downtown Mossman, but bad news, the Mill doesn't start up again until 7th July. So we dipped out.
Back to Port Douglas. Correct me if I am wrong but didn't Chrisopher Skase and Mirage build this town, because it is way over the top with big expensive Resorts? Needless to say we didn't like the town one bit. Sorry to Barry and Anna who we met at Cowes CP and live in Port Douglas. We lost your address.
Tomorrow we leave Cairns and head inland up and over the mountain range, this should be fun.

*2008 - Index page*

**NEXT - Heading to Innot Hot Springs**