Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 28th September 2006 to Saturday 30th September 2006

Thursday 28th September 2006

Cousin Judy was given her 'Last Supper' last night, well maybe it was actually her last dinner with us on this trip as this morning she is off to Melbourne and the AFL Grand Final. The menu consisted of chicken cooked in foil with a little butter, white wine and lemon pepper, chicken seasoned with chicken seasoning (that makes sense doesn't it?) and chicken seasoned with lemon pepper, all cooked on the BBQ and accompanied with a salad selection. This was to be followed with an apple pie and cream, however the 'girls' had concentrated so hard on devouring the chicken that they couldn't find room for the apple pie and cream... Can you believe that????

This morning we woke to a combination of blue sky and those fluffy white clouds, however it was pretty humid and after a shower it didn't take long to be just as wet as we were under the shower when out in the humidity. The first task on hand was to make use of the washing machines and about four machine loads later, all of our bedding and clothing was hanging on the line, flapping in the breeze.

At about 9:20am we loaded up cousin Judy's luggage in the Patrol and set off for the airport, arriving there about 9:35a.m and finding the baggage check in lane was pretty we stood in line for a few minutes until Judy's case was stamped with 'Heavy Article, bend your knees' and then send off hopefully to reach Melbourne. We then sat around in the terminal for a while before it was time for Judy to enter the departure lounge and we said our goodbyes for the last time on this trip. We then waited until the plane arrived in Mackay, running about 15 minutes late, then saw Judy embark via the rear door of the aircraft. At this stage we left the airport terminal and drove around the road to the end of the runway where we watched as the aircraft taxied down to the end where we were waiting, then turned and gained speed on the way back towards the runway then lifted into the sky, taking Judy closer to the AFL grand final.

It was then time for some shopping therapy for 'One of Us' as her drinking partner had just left us (although the 'Other One' thought he was doing a good job of that as well! ), so off we went to North Mackay where we found a shopping centre with a KMart and Coles there. Our first visit was to the KMart store and the 'Other One' refused to buy that pink CD player that 'One of Us' wanted, although there was a couple of electrical cables and some ink refills for the colour printer. Next we visited Coles and and did the usual 'just a couple of items' and walked out with half a trolley full of food.

Having seen a Coles Shell service station we called in there and topped the Patrol up with fuel before calling in to Harvey Norman store, then going next door to 'The Good Guys' where - yes, 'One of Us' ended up with a Sony Radio/CD player (except it isn't pink) that can be used outside the caravan during Happy Hour. With 'One of Us' having sufficient 'therapy' we made our way back to the caravan park for the rest of the day, arriving there about 12:50a.m.

Before settling down we rearranged the patrol seating again now that there is only two of us to fit in and the caravan received a good clean up. Items not needed before we leave in the morning were packed away and the Patrol was even given a bit of a clean out of the interior. Then the website was prepared and preparations made for Happy Hour but it will be a bit strange tonight without cousin Judy joining us.

Tomorrow we are heading off down the Bruce Highway again and intend to pass through Rockhampton as we visited that city in 2004, with our destination for the day planned at Tannum Sands, located about 17 kilometres south of Gladstone.

A last hug before Judy leave us
A last hug before Judy leaves us

Leaving On A Jet Plane
'Leaving On A Jet Plane'
Bound for Melbourne and the AFL Grand Final

Friday 29th September 2006

Waterfalls in a Rockhampton Park
Waterfalls in a Rockhampton Park

With our washing done and everything ready to move, we were packed up, hitched up and on our way out of Mackay by about 7:30a.m. this morning. It took us a short time to wind our way through Mackay but we were soon on the Bruce Highway and heading south once more.

The first town we came to was Sarena, then we passed through many more small communities and some places that were just a service station with a name, or in one case, just a name on a sign. Some of these places were Yukan, Koumala, Carmila, Clairview, Kunwarara, Yaamba, Etna Creek and Rockyview, then we came to Rockhampton which is a large city. On the way through Rockhampton we spotted a waterfall in a park beside the Bruce Highway so we pulled over into a parking area in the park and strolled back to the waterfall to have a better look and take a photograph or two. Then it was back to the Patrol and off down the highway again. As we did spend some time in Rockhampton when we came this way in 2004 we did not see the need to stop here for any length of time on this trip.

As we traveled further south we passed through Bajool, Marmor, Raglan, Ambrose and Mt Larcon then we remained on the Bruce Highway deviating around Gladstone before turning East through Boyne Island before reaching our days destination of Tannum Sands.

Once in the caravan park we set up for the next three nights in what appears to be quite a pleasant location and the park seems quite good as well. There is not a very good TV signal here so the park provides TV connections to plug into at each powered site and all channels appear to be available. Telephone reception is not good and although the CDMA telephone appears to have enough signal strength to operate, the Bigpond Wireless Broadband connection will not work inside the caravan.

The rest of the day was spent getting organised, with any sight seeing around the area to wait until tomorrow and the following day. The town of Seventeen Seventy (the exact location Lt James Cook came ashore on 24th May 1770) is about 120 kilometres south of Tannum Sanbds and a visit to that town is on our agenda in the next couple of days, however right now Happy hour is approaching fast and that is our priority at this time of the day.

Saturday 30th September 2006

Bulk Carriere ship docking in Gladstone Harbour
Bulk Carrier ship docking in Gladstone Harbour
Gladstone Marina
Gladstone Marina
Barney Beach - Gladstone
Barney Beach - Gladstone

The last Saturday in September, that means it is the AFL Grand Final so 'One of Us' will spend part of the day sitting in front of the TV, although it is bound to be a little quieter than when cousin Jude was with us. Maybe we will still hear her cheering the Eagles on even though she will be at the MCG watching the game. The 30th September is also the end of our second full month on the road, sometimes it seems a lot longer but we have seen so much of this great country, an experience that won't be forgotten.

The day dawned with those clear blue sky that we have learned to love out in Central Queensland and maybe a little less humidity than we have experienced further up in the North Coastal areas we have recently visited. As some of the afternoon will be taken up watching the Grand Final, we decided we would just have a look around the Gladstone area this morning and take it easy during the afternoon. Tomorrow we will stray a little further from the caravan, but who has to make decisions like that, it is much easier to just let it happen on the day.

Feeling quite relaxed as we were, we didn't get out of the caravan park until about 9:45a.m. and we made our way straight in to Gladstone City, about thirty five kilometres from Tannum Sands. Our first impressions were that there was not a lot in the city centre in Gladstone, but we found a little more as we drove around a bit and found the main shopping area. Not far from the centre of the city is the harbour and marina, which we stumbled on and were quite impressed with what we saw. The water was very clear and one of the first things we saw in it were some dolphins bobbing up and down in the main channel in between the pleasure craft plying to and from the ocean. There was a sign on the foreshore that showed part images of some of these dolphins and showed how to recognise the different individual resident dolphins. We watched them for a while and they were still showing their fins from time to time when we moved on.

After taking a photo or two of a waterfall that was just behind us on the waterfront, we drove around behind the hill it was flowing down and found a road to the top where we stopped again and had a walk around the top of the hill and to the source of the waterfall. This appears to be an artificially created waterfall and is quite well done. The view from the top of the hill covered a number of islands in the bay, the harbour and marina as well as the city of Gladstone it really was quite magnificent.

From here we drove back down the hill and over a bridge to the Marina for a quick look, then around the city again before finding our way to Barney Beach, which by the signposting, was the only swimming beach around Gladstone city. It wasn't a large beach and the sand was more tan than white, but the water was pretty clear and there were people swimming there so it appears we must be far enough South to be able to swim without the fear of stingers taking their toll.

It was then time to head back toward Tannum Sands so we made our way out of Gladstone and back to Boyne Island where we filled up the Patrol with about 113 litres of diesel, then we continued on to Tannum Sands where 'One of Us' spotted the local Coles store so we had to call in there for a small top up of shopping 'therapy' before returning to the caravan for the rest of the day.

After lunch the TV was the centre of attention with the entertainment prior to the AFL Grand Final game and then it was feet up for the rest of the afternoon. The Eagles started out well and made it look reasonably easy for the first half, but they gave every Eagle supporter a heat attack in the last half, only winning by one point in the end, with the ball in Sydney Swans zone when the siren sounded for the last time for 2006. A great game by both sides, but as we are Western Australians, the result was what we were looking for.

With all that behind us now, tomorrow we plan the drive down to the town of Seventeen Seventy, maybe via an inland road through the mountains, but that decision will be one that will be made in the morning.

Waterfall at waterfornt - Gladstone
Waterfall at the waterfront in Gladstone

Dolphins in the harbour
Dolphins in the harbour

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