Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Monday 25th September 2006 to Wednesday 27th September 2006

Monday 25th September 2006

This morning we woke to another great morning, with a light breeze blowing past the caravan and the sun shining down through the palm trees, however as the morning wore on cousin Judy brought the rain on once more, Fortunately it was quite light and it wasn't long before the sun came back and dispersed the clouds for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the clouds could not hide the dozens of red splotchy sand fly 'bites' all over the legs of 'One of Us' and although she had some mosquito bites from previous days, they were nothing compared to the colourful pattern the sand flies left from last night. Neither Cousin Judy or the 'Other One' appeared to have been a landing strip for the sand flies up to this time but there can only be so many of these flies and it looks like the lot of them chose Pammy as their favourite meal for the evening.

After a very slow and casual start to the day we drove out to Cannonvale where the girls stated they needed some therapy in the shopping centre located there. Our first call was to be the Woolworths Food Store, however they spotted a record store (the other one made the mistake of stopping beside it) so we eventually left there with our arms full of CD's.

Next we made it into the food store for a "couple" and the 'Other One' staggered out about half an hour later under the load of the additional "we might need some of that too' items as well. Whilst he stacked these items in the car, the 'girls' found their way into a cheap shop which was a little like the 'Chicken Feed' shops in Tasmania, but the 'Other One' can assure everyone they are only cheap if you don't buy very much.... Nothing more need be said in this case.

By this time it was getting close to lunch time so it was off back to the caravan where the morning purchases were put away then lunch was enjoyed sitting out under the awning being cooled by a gentle breeze wafting passed while the thermometer told us it was a very pleasant 26 degrees.

After lunch we left the caravan park again and drove back to the Cannonvale Centro Shopping Centre where 'One of Us' visited the pharmacy to find some relief from the itching sand fly 'bites' and after improving their economy by about $45.00 we headed back through Airlie Beach and on down the road to Shute Harbour where we stopped two or three times to take some more photographs of the harbour and surrounds. From here it was time to return to the caravan park for the afternoon to give us plenty of time to prepare the website and an e-mail or two before happy hour. Cousin Judy has received confirmation that she does have a ticket to the MCC to attend the AFL Grand Final game between the West Coast Eagles and the Sydney Swans this coming weekend so she is really happy and the happy hour hasn't even started yet.

Tomorrow the 'girls' intend to do something different for a change.... They are going to walk up and down the main shopping centre of Airlie Beach where they feel they may find some suitable places to undertake some more of that special therapy that can leave the 'Other One' completely drained, particularly around the area of the wallet....

The Whitsundays

Shute Harbour - Whitsundays
Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour _- Pleasure craft paradise
Pleasure craft paradise

Tuesday 26th September 2006

After T Bone steaks and salad last night that finished off the day well, the morning dawned with grey clouds in the sky and the feeling it was threatening to rain. 'One of us' is suffering from sand fly 'bites' all over her legs and sleeping was a bit of a problem for her due to the warmth of the bed, so when she did manage to fall asleep she stayed that way for as long as she could, so the morning was not started very early. Of course the 'Other One' would have been up a lot earlier but thought he shouldn't disturb her so he just lay quietly in bed until she was awake. (Oh come on... surely you can believe that!).

Around 9:45a.m. we all piled into the Patrol and drive into the Airlie Beach town site where the girls were dropped to start their shopping therapy. The Other One continued through town and drove up onto one of the hills surrounding the town where he was able to get an internet connection on the laptop computer. He then sat with a great view over Airlie Beach whilst his bank account became smaller and smaller as he used Internet BPay to pay a number of bills that had arrived in our letter box at home and details provided to us via e-mail by eldest daughter Kym. If she didn't tell us we wouldn't have to pay the bills!!! But I guess we do want a house with power and all the other 'essential' services connected when we get home.

With a lighter bank balance and not knowing what had happened to the credit card in the main street... It was with trepidation that the 'Other One' made his way back down the hill at about 10:30a.m. and picked the 'girls' up near a swimming pool/lagoon near the beach in town. Then said they weren't eyeing off the young blokes in their Budgie Snugglers around that pool, but the 'Other One' knows better.....

We then started out on a drive to explore a couple of bays that we had seen a turn off to when we came into Airlie Beach with the caravan, but we didn't get far when the caravan park reception staff rang and wanted to know what we were up to because they had us booked out of the caravan park this morning. As we had paid for three nights that was news to us and after a short discussion we started to head back to the caravan park to sort this out. We had only returned a short distance when we received another call from them full of apologies, stating that we had booked three nights but the reception staff member who took the call had not entered the details correctly in the system and they had managed to sort it out. We were no longer required to return to the park and were booked in for the three nights as we had previously paid for. So it was time to do another 'U' turn and back out the road again, heading for Hideaway Bay and Dingo Beach.

This drive took us back toward the Bruce Highway, the same way we had come in to Airlie Beach, but just prior to reaching the highway, we turned North and followed the signs along this road for about 28 kilometres. Although the first part of the drive took us through sugar cane country, the latter part was through cattle grazing land and appeared to be quite a lot drier. On arrival at Hideaway Bay we were very pleasantly surprised with the little community there and the clear turquoise water with islands visible around the bay and out toward the horizon. The beach was sandy, although not really a bright white and the water looked so inviting that the 'girls' took their shoes off and managed to get their feet wet. A swim would have been great but it would also have been pretty risky as there were large signs stating the presence of stingers in the water, some of them potentially fatal if stung. a pity that in such a beautiful spot, swimming is just not worth the risk.

When we left Hideaway Bay we drove around to Dingo Bay which has a tavern and motel as well as a fair collection of houses, ranging from small holiday homes to larger more expensive permanent residences. We stopped at the boat ramp and beach here and there was an enclosed swimming area that was designed to keep the stingers out, however signs did say that although they were very successful, it could not be guaranteed 100 percent successful. There was also large containers of vinegar at strategic locations near these beaches.

It was then time to return to Airlie Beach so we set off in that direction, stopping at one stage near the location of Strathdickie ( One of Us is ammused by this name) to obtain a photograph of a cane field with the 'girls' at the edge of it. Maybe they were attempting to get away with a months supply of sugar, but the 'Other One' caught them in time and prevented any misdemeanors being committed.

When we neared Cannonvale we called in to a Mobil Service Station and filled up with fuel at a cost of 125.9 cents per litre, then the patrol was directed in to the Woolworths shopping centre once more where we had to pick up a jar of apple sauce to go with the pork roast we have planned for tonight. It was another case of the apple sauce being quite expensive as we had to pay about $25 to get out past the checkout.

We arrived back at the caravan park at about 2:p.m. which made the 'Other One' happy as she was in time to watch 'Ready, Steady Cook' on TV whilst she prepared lunch. The rest of the afternoon was used to organise ourselves for our move to Mackay tomorrow and more importantly, be ready for Happy Hour to start at 5:p.m., as we have recently had a few late starts .

Made Made swimming lagoon - Airlie Beach
Man Made swimming lagoon - Airlie Beach

A romp on the beach - Hideaway Bay
A romp on the beach - Hideaway Bay

The islands off Dingo Beach
The islands off Dingo Beach

Stopped in the cane fields near Strathdickie
Stopped in the cane fields near Strathdickie

Wednesday 27th September 2006

It was time to get on the road again this morning, but there was no rush as we were only traveling around 150 kilometres or so down the Bruce Highway to Mackay. After sleeping off a great roast pork cooked in the 'Easy Cooker' and vegetables to go with it, we took our time at getting organised but still managed to get on the road by about 9:a.m.

We made our way out through the sugar cane fields through Strathdickie to Proserpine where we took a detour through the main street of the town and made a passing inspection of the shopping opportunities and although the 'girls' were salivating a little at the shops, the 'Other One' couldn't find a parking space big enough for the Patrol and caravan so his wallet was saved.

Back on the Bruce Highway we headed South, passing through many very small locations (even some just the signs) such as Bloomsbury, Elaroo, St Helens, Pindi Pindi, Calen, Kolijo, Mt Ossa, Jolimont, Kuttabul, Hampden, Leap and Farletgu before arriving on the outskirts of Mackay at about 11:30a.m..

Miss Bossy (Navman) took us through the streets of Mackay until we came to the road on which the caravan park was situated, but as we didn't have the exact street number of the park, we drove the full length of the road and back through the centre of Mackay before we discovered the name of the caravan park in the book that provided the telephone number was different to the name on the signs out the front of the park. We eventually found our way into the park and confirmed our booked accommodation and set up for the next couple of days. Cousin Judy settled into her cabin for the night and then 'One of Us' prepared lunch which was immediately devoured. (The 'Other One' had some lunch too.)

About 2:p.m. we drove out of the park and made a bit of a tour around Mackay city, first finding our way out to the airport in preparation for running cousin Judy there in the morning. Our drive took us to the location of the caravan park we stopped at when we were here in 2004, however all there is there now is some flat ground and machinery preparing the area for more houses or units.

After a fairly extensive drive around the city block and surrounds we returned to the caravan park and put our feet up for the rest of the afternoon. There was a very refreshing cool breeze blowing through the park and conditions were ideal to recharge a bit of energy that these tourist activities seem to sap out of us. Life is getting really tough!!

Tonight the girls plan to crack the top off a bottle of sparkling white wine as a farewell to Judy and dinner will be chicken cooked a couple of different ways on the BBQ with a side salad, followed by apple pie with cream. As Judy's flight doesn't leave until 10:30a.m. in the morning, the 'girls' will have time to sleep in and recover from their respective hangovers before the final farewells take place at the airport.

On the road to Mackay
On the road to Mackay

Riverfront in Mackay
Riverfront in Mackay

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