The Adventure Continues South!

Trip Start Aug 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Dunk Island Campervan in Mission Beach
A scary (but FREE!) parking lot in Townsville
Saunders Beach... just north of Townsville
Rowes Bay Campervan Site
Home Hill Comfort Stop just south of Ayr
Horseshoe Bay in Bowen

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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AT LAST! A reliable computer and more than an hour to spend on it! Lucky us! So... it's been more than a week since we've updated all of you. Where to begin?? In short, during the past week, we sat on a beach... then drove to another beach... sat on that beach... drove (or ferried over) to another one... and sat on that beach... and so on. Get the picture?? Yes, life is VERY tough and strenuous here in Oz. It's kind of like retirement... only in our 20's... we're even surrounded by dozens of old (and we mean OLDDDD... like, wrinkly) retirees from Victoria everyday. Oh well, can't complain :)

Last Monday (Sept 8th??), we couldn't wait to get out of Mission Beach and to continue our trek south. We had high-hopes for Mission Beach, but were sorely disappointed by it. A VERY small downtown area... with a few shops and restaurants... but great beaches... but... RAIN! All it did was rain on Sunday and Monday. So much so that it enabled us to discover a massive hole in Rex's roof on Sunday night (lucky Lauren got to be the main victim of the puddle). So, we spent Monday in "downtown" Mission Beach while Rex got his battery replaced and a patched roof. THANK GOD Campervan footed the bill!

We left Mission Beach ASAP Monday evening and drove in the dark/rain (not smart in desolate OZ, by the way) towards our next destination - TOWNSVILLE! We had hopes for Townsville as it has a population of more than 130,000! Wohoooo! Our optimistic motto for this place was "better than Mission Beach"... and it way! We slept Monday evening in a random parking lot and spent Tuesday exploring the outdoor Flinder's Mall and The Strand where the beach is and public restrooms (always a plus for homeless vagabonds!). Tuesday night we tried out some of the bars in "downtown Townsville" and attempted to sleep in Rex on The Strand. After the bars, we came "home" to a note on Rex stating camping was not allowed ANYWHERE in Townsville.... a harsh reality for girls on a budget that we're beginning to see is the case everywhere in Oz. No free camping. Darn it. So, we slept in the free parking lot again that night til we were awaken to a "knock knock" of the parking lot security guards around 6 a.m.... nothing like an early morning play-dead tactic/stealth maneuver over into the driver's seat/quick ride out of the parking lot can't handle!! No ticket for us! Whopee!!

Wednesday we booked our ferry ride over to Magnetic Island, to depart on Thursday 9/11 (happy birthday Mom/Mrs. Hill!!!) at 9 a.m. and come back on Saturday around 1:30 p.m. Magnetic (or "Maggie" Island) is about 10 km or so off the shore of Townsville. It's a mountainous and small island (about 52 square kilometers... thanks Wikipedia) where all there is to do is sleep on the beach... our favorite thing! To help us foot the $160 bill to take Rex over on the ferry.... we stalked 2 Canadians at the Greyhound Station in Townsville and offered to take them over to Magnetic Island for just $20 each (as opposed to $29 each) and give them a ride to our campsite. They were game! Thus, we made 2 new friends from Alberta- Jamie and Matt!

We stayed at Bungalow Bay Koala Village on Thursday and Friday night. We relaxed Thursday night in preparation for our 1st FULL MOON PARTY on this trip! It was Friday night the 12th at X-base hostel on the island from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.. To our surprise... we managed to party til 3:30 in the morning... a huge feat for us retirees that usually go to bed around 9 p.m. (in our defense, it's tough to stay up late when the sun sets at 6 p.m. and you have little to no light in Rex... you can only play so many games of Scrabble til you hit the hay)! A very fun night full of crazy house music and hundreds of other homeless backpackers from all across the globe.

Saturday night we stayed at a free camping parking lot in Saunders Beach just north of Townsville. No showers, but who needs showers when you're BACKPACKING! Sunday the 14th we went to AWESOME Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary ( just 17km south of Townsville. We did and saw it all... held a python, a baby croc... and our favorite part... HELD A KOALA! Probably the 1 thing we've all been looking forward to doing in Oz. All the koalas there are SO small and cute and SMELLY and SLEEPY. Seriously, all they do is sleep and eat all day... sounds frighteningly like us! After also getting to feed kangaroos and watch croc and dingo feedings, we hit the road again to Bowen.

And now... we're in Bowen. We spent all day Monday lounging at the beach (shocking) and all day today, too. Not much to do or see here... but the beaches are perfect and the hiking trails are pretty good. Like 3 intelligent American girls, we managed to get lost on our hike last night and had to climb the rocks on the water back to Horseshoe Bay (a different Horseshoe bay from Magnetic Island... they like to keep things simple here). But, we made it just in time for the sunset!

Next destination tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/16: Airlie Beach/The Whitsundays!!!! Sailing here we come!!

***Pictures to be posted as soon as we find a legit computer****
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