Follow the travel diary of Val and Rosney (The Man) as they travel from Brisbane to Cairns. First travelling by tilt train from Brisbane to Hervey Bay – where they pick up a rental car and continue on an unhurried drive to Cairns.
Airlie to Townsville:
Weather fine with high temperatures.
We shared the driving to Townsville (population 180,000) with an entertaining stop at Bowen where we inspected the movie set-up for ‘Australia’ (starring Nicole Kidman) and talked with some locals about the ‘goings-on ‘(plenty of them). Afterwards, we sampled some absolute yums from an award winning bakery. Bowen is exactly what I figured an outback town would look like, wide streets, slow-moving traffic, brown earth, lots of seats for locals to park themselves on to ‘visitor-watch.’
Back on the road, The Man navigated into Townsville and we had no trouble finding our accommodation – I had splurged price-wise on this stopover, an award winning motel with laid-back restaurant, immaculate gardens/rooms and overall presentation.
First up we took a drive to the main beaches, then UP the hill – which is ever so high and impressive, deep red rock, huge boulders, a narrow access road sprinkled with mad-dog-walkers. The view from the top is spectacular. It was then off to explore the CBD and once again we find main street shopping has near died while the malls thrive – bright, busy and air-conditioned, which I guess is what draws the folks in off the hot streets.
And on the subject of weather, it is real hot and windy, skin needs lots of moisturiser.
Early evening, we go to the Casino which I thought was first class. The Man thought it too noisy, after losing our gambling allowance we had a first rate meal, after which we headed home for a good night’s sleep, only to find some rude/ignorant/stupid woman accompanied by some male dill brains had parked themselves on the chairs and table outside our bedroom for a drinking session. We let them go for a time, but we finally lost patience and The Man put his head out the door and politely suggested they shut-up. For the rest of the night, the stupid woman stationed herself on the balcony above our room and loudly re-lived all the emotional torments of her life. I decide I do not like this woman, and no wonder her life has been so miserable as she has no respect for others or good manners.
Up early after a bad night, after a discussion with the management about our disturbed night’s sleep, we started the day afresh with a walk to town along the waterfront. Seeing it’s a no-swim zone, they have created a sweet-as children’s playing area along the way. Lots of water-play, lots of climbing, sliding, laughter and general fun. This good, this is fun, this is family fun, New Zealand needs more of this.
Wandering further down town we then went to Coral Tropical Aquarium. We were ever so delighted with the aquarium, which was beautifully presented with a brilliant selection of fish/coral and bits and pieces. The staff were enthusiastic and ready to assist with information. Would have like to have spent longer there, but needed to heave-ho to catch the Ferry to Magnetic Island. The wind was still gusty and so it was wee-ruffy trip out there, but at only 20 minutes of sea-time, no worries.
Magnetic was as promised quaint, interesting and boulder-filled. There were only three of us on the tour bus, plus two drivers so we got the royal treatment. I got to pat a possum, a wallaby, scrummed an afternoon tea of hot scones, before going to the butterfly glade which had a million blue butterfly in residence, gorgeous, fluttering here’s and there filling the sky with blue, an amazing sight.
The wind had dropped and it was calm on the way home. We decided to eat at our accommodation, and it was beaut. We took note that management had removed the table and chairs from outside our room but once again party-goers who had gathered around the pool kept us awake until the early hours. This is a motel that promises excellence and charges for it, but I feel it could, and should, do better in the noise-control department. Townsville, yes, I loved it – it has much to offer the holiday maker, and sure is my kind of town…
To be continued….
By Val Bird