Friday, August 19, 2011

Townsville and the Outback (14th - 20th August)

One view from Castle Hill Look-out
We picked up the hire car (a special rental "4WD" Hyundai Getz) on Sunday morning and we are ready to hit the streets.  This isn't as easy as one would seem as we haven't driven a car for over 4 months!  The first stop is the Castle Hill look out which has some excellent views over Townsville and makes you realise just how big and sprawling this county town really is. 

Imperial Hotel
We finally get out of Townsville and travel through Ayr and the Burdekin farming area on our way to Ravenswood which is pretty much a ghost town from the gold mining era.   We stopped at the Imperial Hotel for a quick drink and it is off again to Charters Towers - our destination for the evening. We stayed at a 'ye olde' heritage pub for our first night off the boat since we left Melbourne in April. It was a lovely spot w
ith a big balcony over the main drag and even Juddy managed to make himself comfortable in the king size, 4 poster bed.  Before departing from Charters Towers on Monday morning we head down the the Venus Battery for an excellent tour and insight into this gold crushing mill that continued to operate up until the 1970's

Assay Room, Venus Battery - Charters Towers
We hit the road again along the Gregory Development road which is really in the donga and well frequented by road trains carrying ore and plenty of road kill as well. After quite a few hours on the road and without mobile reception for at least 4 hours we arrive at the Bedrock Caravan Park, Mount Surprise which is around 1hour from the Undara Lava Tubes. We stopped in one of their on-site cabins which was clean and comfy. The caravan park puts on a home cooked meal of an evening and as there are not too many other options in Mount Surprise we figure this could be a good option for our diner. How far do you have to go - the people we sat with for dinner just happen to live at Mt Martha - how bizarre
Undala Lava Tubes
Tuesday morning and we have booked in to do the tour of the Undara Lava Tubes which seems to be on the tourist run for the grey nomads (there are plenty of them still running around out-back Queensland). Prior to the tour neither of us knew much about the Lava Tubes or how they are formed which made it all the more interesting. As well as the amazing colours in the caves they are also inhabited by bats - luckily not too many were around during our visit. After the tour we are back on the road and heading towards Innisfail. The area we have been travelling in is called 'The Savannah' which apparently stands for not many trees and plenty of grass. As we pass through the little town of Ravenshoe (approx 80kms East of Innisfail) the land quickly changes to the lush paddocks and tropical rain forests of the Atherton Table Lands - amazing the difference a bit of water makes!!. As we arrive in Innisfail pretty late in the day we head out to the caravan park at Flying Fish Point for the night. Flying Fish Point is at the entrance to the Johnson River which passes through the township of Innisfail.
Cassowary - Etty Bay
After a good nights sleep we are off to the Australian Sugar Museum to catch up with my old buddy - Margy, who now runs the cafe. Margy and I became friends about 47 years ago when we both used to holiday at the Miami Caravan Park, Safety Beach so it is always good to catch up whenever the opportunity arises. We then travel down to check out Mourilyan Harbour and then out to Etty Bay for a spot of lunch where we happen to come across a couple of local Cassowary's that seem to enjoy checking out every one's lunch and the bins to see if they can find a tasty morsel or two. We have kept the afternoon aside so that we can hit all the op shops and $2 shops we can find in search of trade and donation items for our trip out to the Louisiades - which is now only28 sleeps away- OMG!!!

The 4WD Rental Car
Etty Bay
Thursday morning and we are back on the road to Townsville and just happen to somehow end up in 'The Convoy' that is heading from FNQ to Canberra to protest about the Carbon Tax!!  As well as lots of cars, trucks and utes sporting pick ribbons we are also joined by a pink Winnebago and a pink Helicopter! Luckily we find a way out and stop for a quick coffee and look at the Golden Gum Boot in Tully before we head off again. The Golden Gum Boot award is given to the wettest place in Australia and it is 7.9mts tall which is the height of the largest rainfall ever recorded at Tully. Quite impressive when Melbourne gets on average 300mm per year.

We get back to Townsville latish on Thursday arvo and find that all is as we left it on Sally.  Friday and we are back to the op shops and like in search of more trade goods - we are now very much over op shops and $2 shops although it is amazing the things you can get. On Sunday evening we are hoping to catch up with John and Bev Waugh from SBSC who are up this part of the world in their caravan and then we are on our way northward bound once more on our way to Cairns


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  2. Going through your blog, I was lost in memories of my trip to Australia. I hired a car from and thoroughly enjoyed the road trip with my hired car.

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