So Soon with an update!

Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
Trip End Jan 29, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, October 2, 2011

Well, as we are moving fast now, I have to update a bit faster too. 

We are now in Cairns and the drive here was ... moving... we passed through Caldwell, where you can see all the cyclone damage from Yasi.  Many houses with new roofs, but some still damaged beyond repair.  You can see the trees down, the plantations that were damaged and infrastructure still being put back together.  Happy to stop and spend some money at the local shops and support the economy just a wincy bit.  At Mission beach you can see a hint of what happened, but somehow the beauty of the place tends to distract you from even thinking about the devastation.

However, first Townsville.  Whilst it's good to see a big city, we generally don't like to stop in them.  So have found this wonderful spot calling Rollingstone about 50km north of Townsville, right on the beach and the best part, close to the Puluma ranges and some wonderful rock pools and waterfalls.  Which of course we have been enjoying. 

But before that (are you keeping up??), I must fill you in on the trip from Rockhampton to Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays!  Oh my gosh!!  Just the trip here was refreshing, so lush and tropical.  I know we are now in the tropics and so of course it will be tropical - but it really was!!  (That sounds far too blonde than intended - but if the shoe fits , I can hear you say!!)

In Rockhampton we caught up with Annette, Peter, Cody and Amber Howe again, friends from back home who are settling in Rocky (local speak) for a year.  It was Jack's birthday and he really wanted to spend it with friends and it was great as Annette really pulled out all the stops and made it a very special day for us all.  So, thanks guys.

All too soon though we had to leave, with recommendations from them for the snorkel cruise around the Whitsundays of which we took.  The tour was to go out to Hayman Island and then Langford Island, passing some of the many other Whitsunday islands on the way.  I took all the appropriate medication for seasickness and sat where directed on the catamaran and you'll be happy to know there was no fish feeding from this girl!

We are not really 'organised tour people' but embraced this trip.  They provided all the snorkel gear, including flippers and we were dropped off into the clear blue waters of Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island for two hours.  Beautiful.  The children were off before I had chance to pull on my rashy!

Thanks for the support guys!!  I felt that panic arising again as I put on the snorkel and left the breathing to the plastic tube.  But convinced my mind that all would be well and soon enough entered the world of beauty and tranquility that is underwater.  (There are so many fish down there, that it constantly amazes me that we don't manage to catch more when we are fishing!)

I was doing really well and the children were leading me and showing me all the fish they had spotted.  All of a sudden though, there seemed to be lots of fish all heading towards me, unsettled me a bit, lots and lots of them, all buzzing around me! I had to surface, only to find the captain with a bowl full of fish food throwing in my direction.  My girlie screams and my frantic swim away, may have suggested to him, that this was not his best move.  Luckily others found it appealing and he left me alone and threw in their direction

It was a great experience, I do enjoy it but don't love it like many do.  We relaxed on the cat on the way back and were lucky to be also able to do a spot of whale watching!  A mother and calf were frollicking around the waters of the islands and frankly, why wouldn't you, it is one of the most amazing places that we have seen.  Beautiful warm, crystal clear waters.

The next day we left regretfully and as mentioned previously, moved onto Rollingstone.  The camp site is right on the beach and therefore had a little walk along it yesterday only to have the truth hammered home.  We are in crocodile country again!!  On the beach, the signs are there.  However, children were still playing in the water - it is school holidays here and this is a popular destination for the Townsville people.  Being locals, they tend not to be so freaked out by it all.  We however swam in the pool!

We took a small trip to Big Crystal Creek, whilst the wet season is about to arrive and therefore, not as flourishing as it can get, the rock slides were running and it was lovely.  The children were jumping off the rocks into the deep pools and just loved it. The jumps got higher and higher and I got more and more nervous!!   Jack wanted to leap from so high, it seemed to me like cliff jumping in the end.  Fab gave him the OK and I had to keep repeating to myself. "Let your boy be a boy, let your boy be a boy"!  He did it and loved it.  My knees were shaking so much I felt like singing a song about a 'Green Door'.

We also drove up to Puluma - the town at the top of the Puluma range (there's an hour of our lives that we will never get back!).  We thought we would partake in afternoon tea - we thought wrong.  Nothing was open and there was little to see.  The white knuckle ride up the side of the range - on a road that was built by the unemployed in the 1930s - made us all feel queasy (apart from Fabio) and we were thankful on the way down to stop at Little Crystal Creek and the fabulous old bridge by the side of it.  Another lovely spot and we were all able to get out stomachs back in check and enjoy this little delight with no one else around.

We stayed a day longer here, as our neighbours Tom and Sandy, from Scarborough arrived.  We can't believe that we are about as far away from home as we can be, are both touring the country and have managed to meet up.  It's fabulous to spend some time with them as they are family to us and we are so happy to catch up with them for a few days.

Well, we will start heading west in a few days, it's going to be hot!!!

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Julia Schafer on

Hi Mandy, thanks for sending this link to your blog. It is making us very jealous but it is terrific for Lawson to see where Leila and the boys are and what they are doing. We will keep reading...and hoping that you chose to settle somewhere on the Goldie.
Stay safe x Julia

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