Month end Odo reading: 29,272
June 2010
Km's for the Month: 3,546
Odo reading at month start : 25,726
1 June     Distance:  376
Clairview Rest Area #89  to Rest Area #52 at Guthalangra (+- 50kms north of Bowen), via Mackay, Prosperpine and Bowen.
 
Another long day without much to see along the way, except for the marina area of Bowen, where we stopped for lunch.
 
The beachfront esplanade is coconut tree lined which really gives the beachfront a tropical island feel. We are now in the Whitsundays area.
 
Spent the night at a pleasant rest area, alongside a truck stop.
10 - 11 June Distance:   281

Cooktown to Port Douglas, via Mt Molloy and Mossman. Staying at Pandanus Van Park. We were originally going to the Big4, but it's 8kms south of Port Douglas, whereas we are now only 1.2km from the town centre.
 
From Mt Molloy to Mossman is a stunning drive, extremely scenic and through many tropical forests. The road is very twisty and an incredibly steep downhill, when leaving the tablelands down to the coast. It was amazing to see how the topography and vegetation changed within 5 kilometres once we turned towards Mossman, from Mt Molloy.
 
It appears Port Douglas has grown a lot more since we were here last, there seem even more resorts and new restaurants in the main street (Macrossan Street). In some ways it appears it may be heading the same way as Noosa, which would be a shame. It used to have a real laid-back seaside resort feel about it, now it's a busy, bustling shopping/eating resort.
 
I decided to drive up to the lookout overlooking Port Douglas, although we had been warned the road is VERY steep - it is, but the Mercedes went up no problem at all. It's great never having to worry about enough power for any situation!
View site north of Cairns
The Art Deco Catholic church in Rankin Street
The big crab, Cardwell
Panoramic view of Cooktown & Endeavour River
Market at Airlie Beach
Our Paradise Liberty is no longer ours, we sold it to a couple from Tasmania & now we are experiencing a serious dose of sellers remorse
Cairns beach at low tide
Home Hill rest area, as many RV's are parked behind me as in front of me. Great spot!
Interesting tree in downtown Cairns
Yvonne's one leg, showing the sandfly bites. The back of her legs and her arms look like this!
Sunset at Broadwaters Tourist Park on the Gold Coast. 29 June 2010
Guthalangra rest area sunset
One of Townsville beaches, note stinger net!
2 - 5  June     Distance:  164
Rest Area #52 to Townsville, via Ayr. Staying at Rowes Bay Caravan Park
 
Our initial impression of Townsville wasn't that favourable, just another large Aussie town, but once we made our way to The Strand (along the beachfront) our views changed. It's a very scenic palm tree lined, nicely grassed area of a few kilometres long. After checking into the camp we rode the 5km long bike track along the beachfront, to Anzac Parade. Great beachfront except for the stingers and stinger warning signs everywhere. I stopped and spoke to a lifeguard about the stinger protection nets, he said people are still stung inside the nets - great!
 
It'll be great to relax & chill for 2 days after the driving the last few days. We've had to extend our stay in Townsville, due to a medical problem which means I have to stay close to a city in case of complications.  Went into downtown Townsville this morning, (Saturday), it's like a ghost town, We've never seen such deserted streets and City Mall was like a morgue.
6 June     Distance:  307
Townsville to Innisfail, via Ingham, Tully, Mission Beach & Bingil Bay. Staying at Mango Tree Tourist Park (Big4). A bit noisy being next to Bruce Highway, the owner Mike is very helpful and has plenty information to share.
 
We left Townsville - being Sunday morning Townsville felt even more deserted than yesterday. Mind you, Ingham, a smallish town famous for its Italian settlers, about 100kms north of Townsville, wasn't much better - even the BP petrol station on Bruce highway was closed? No supermarkets were open except the IGA - feels like we're back in Perth where all supermarkets except IGA are prohibited from opening on Sundays.
 
Mission Beach feels like a hippie, arty-farty beach resort town, really laid back with many art galleries selling all sorts of art. It is does however have a distinctive charm. The drive along the beach from Mission Beach to Bingil Bay is worth doing. A much more interesting drive today, through forests and ever changing agricultural scenery.
 
Innisfail was totally devastated by Cyclone Larry in 2006 but earlier cyclones in the 1920's and 1930's also did damage to many buildings and as a result many were rebuilt in Art Deco style, prevalent at the time.
7 June     Distance:  169
Innisfail to Mareeba, via Millaa Millaa, Atherton and Tolga. Staying at Tropical Caravan Park.
 
Beautiful scenery today through mainly forests, some really steep mountain roads to get to the top of the Tablelands, but very interesting. We stopped at Millaa Millaa for morning tea, then we visited the local history museum, which was really interesting. This certainly one the best days scenery since leaving Brisbane.
8 - 9 June     Distance:  269
Mareeba to Cooktown, via Mount Molloy. Staying at Cooktown Holiday Park(Big4). A very well laid out camp and our particular site is large with plants either side, affording us plenty shade and privacy.  Sensibly, the amenities are all uni-sex, all exceptionally spotless and modern.
 
We left Mareeba fairly early (for us), as I thought it was going to be a long day, however, as there was very little to see along the way we arrived in Cooktown just after 11am.
 
On the way we stopped at the Byerstown Range lookout, the view from the top was stunning.
 
A short distance further on we stopped at the foot of Black Mountain, a granite volcanic rock-covered mountain.
 
Cooktown is not what we envisaged, it's much smaller and a fair bit less interesting from a nautical viewpoint than I thought it would be. But, we have not yet visited the James Cook museum, that's on the agenda for tomorrow morning, only "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" here, it's hot and quite humid, albeit winter. We are now only 15o south, well into the tropics. It's 27o today.
 
At the height of Cooktown's gold-rush era (1870's) it had a population of over 30,000, almost half being Chinese. It boasted 37 hotels and as many brothels. Today the population is only 2,000, hence it's sleepy laid-back feel. It appears it's kept economically viable by fishermen and RV-ers (caravans in the main, motorhomes & 4WD vehicles). This is as far north in Queensland once can drive on sealed roads, from here north to Cape York it strictly 4WD in the dry season and only serious 4WD vehicles in the 'wet, but even then many roads are closed to traffic when it rains.
 
A very unique & quirky bit of local history: In April 1885, the Cooktown council sent a wire to the Queensland Premier voicing their concern they were at risk of being attacked by the Russians. In response they were sent; A cannon cast 82 years earlier, 3 cannonballs, 2 rifles and 1 officer. The Premier couldn't have thought much about the Russians fighting prowess. (see image on right)
 
The James Cook museum certainly was worth the visit, as was the original Bank building.  Both had large exhibits and information about the early days, and chequered history of early and recent Cooktown.
 
The museum has the original anchor as well as a cannon from Capt. Cook's ship on display.
View from Byerstown Range
Black Mountain
Captain Cook
Quirky history, see left.
12 - 16 June Distance:   80

Port Douglas to Cairns. Staying at Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
 
It's a scenic drive from Port Douglas to Cairns and the road is vastly improved since we drove along this road a few years back. From memory it was very bumpy with plenty repaired potholes, now it a pretty good surface, with some really scenic views. We enjoyed our time in Port Douglas, it has a pleasant laid-back feel about it. We had an excellent meal at one of the many restaurants in the main street.
 
Cairns seems much better than our previous view of the city, we drove along the Esplanade, stopped and had morning tea parked on the northern end of the Esplanade. We saw a totally different side of Cairns today.  It was a bit of a weird day today, we were stopped by a woman just outside Cairns who asked heaps of questions about our motorhome, then again in the city, where a guy phoned me and asked me to pull over, so he could look at our m/h, he ended up spending nearly a half-hour checking it out.  So far, we have had around 30 calls about it.
 
For those who know Mike & Maureen Cox, they fly into Cairns tonight to visit their daughter, Sandra and their grandchildren. We hope to see them tomorrow and hopefully on a few more occasions before we leave Cairns. The camp is 8kms from downtown Cairns but there is a courtesy shuttle bus one can catch to town which we plan to do tomorrow to see Rusty's market.
17 June Distance:   462

Cairns to Home Hill # 47 (Comfort Stop)
 
Stayed at Sandra's house last night in Bentley Park, just south of Cairns. Had a great time with Mike & Maureen Cox, it's been 2 years since we last saw them. It was really great catching up again. We enjoyed a couple of really good meals at Sandra's house, and they joined us for dinner one night at the restaurant in the camp. The food was  very good, especially the spare ribs. On the morning we left, we dropped Kayla off at school then headed south, headed for somewhere south of Townsville.  Drove much further than normal today, all the way to Home Hill, where we are staying at the most impressive rest area we have stayed at, anywhere in the world. There must be at least 40-50 RV's parked here, the toilets and showers are great, plus there is a fantastic kitchen area complete with stainless steel stoves and free BBQ's.  Extremely impressive!
 
We are absolutely amazed and delighted, a Dutch couple (Cor & Maria) who we met last year going up the middle are parked here as well. What a small world! They are heading North.  We had a really super happy hour with them and another couple also going North. This is what we love about travelling, the unexpected chance meeting with people we never thought we would meet again.
18 -19 June Distance:   201

Home Hill to Airlie Beach (Whitsundays). Staying at Airlie Cove Resort (Big4)
 
Airlie Beach is a typical beach resort town, bustling with tourists and backpackers with an over-abundance of travel & tour agents, clothing boutiques, restaurants and the normal tourist shops. Before checking into the camp we drove to Shute Harbour, where it appears the ferries leave from.  The are plenty large marinas, many yacht charter companies use the area as there charter base for the Whitsundays. The sand-flies here are the worst we have encountered - anywhere! Our legs look like we have chickenpox. We can't wait to leave here!!
20 June Distance:   490

Airlie Beach to near Rockhampton (#140 in Camps Australia), just SE of Rockhampton, alongside a lake.
 
A long & boring drive today, both our legs are still burning and we had to get some anti-histamine for Yvonne welts. Nasty little critters, those midges, sandflies or no-seeums (as they call them in the 'states).
 
This "rest area" has signs threatening a $500 fine for overnight parking, but it's in the Camps Australia 4 book, plus there are 2 other caravans here tonight as well, so we will chance it.
21 June Distance:   404

Rockhampton to Tiaro rest area #155
 
Another boring & long drive, but we are eating up the miles. Bought some smoked bacon at the same butcher in Tiaro as a few weeks ago, can't wait to have it for brekkie next Sunday morning.
22 - 25 June Distance:   167

Tiaro rest area #155 to Maroochydore, via Noosaville, Noosa Heads and Coolum Beach. Staying at Cotton Tree Caravan Park (yet again)
 
Compared to the last few days, today was an easy drive - funny, normally this would be our normal daily drive, today it felt like "just down the road a piece" - as South Carolinians would say.
 
When we arrived at the camp we had a bit of a panic as we could not find a site big enough for us, thankfully, the eighth site we looked at was big enough and its position suited us.
 
Yvonne & I went for a stroll in the freezing sea (well, freezing for me anyway) to see if our sandfly bites would stop itching, Yvonne has a theory sea water cures the stinging and itching - we'll see!
 
25th  -  Another chapter of our travel adventures closed today - we have sold our motorhome to a charming couple from Low Head in Tasmania. They flew here yesterday and today they decided to "do the deal". We really hope they have the same amount of fun we had in our Paradise Liberty.
26 June to 11 July Distance:   176

Maroochydore to Southport. Staying at Broadwater Tourist Park (Top Tourist). We've lost count how many times we have stayed here, we started our OZ adventure here and now we are ending it here.
 
We have been asked to take David & Suzie's motorhome to Southport, they will fly back to the mainland on the 11th July to take delivery of their new motorhome from us at Southport, on the Gold Coast.
 
Arrived safe & sound at Broadwaters, Southport after stopping off to fill up with diesel for the 'home and food for us.
 
Spent  few days with Peter & Marion, they left here on the 29th and are also going back to NZ.