Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 16th May 2004 to Tuesday 18th May 2004

Sunday 16th May 2004

Although still a little tied after the last couple of days, we managed to get ourselves up and underway by about 8:30am this morning and back on the Bruce Highway heading north, with the idea of reaching Mackay after lunch.

The highway was fairly kind to us and remained reasonably flat, although not always smooth. Traffic was reasonably heavy when leaving Rockhampton but soon thinned out and other than a few trucks that were a little faster than us and an old VW Combi Van that was slower in a very winding section of the highway, we did not encounter too many obstacles, although at one stage we did meet a very wide load coming toward us with a police escort. The Police Escort just about ran us off the road, however the load passed us bye without any incident.

Most of the journey was driven between two ranges of mountains (or very high hills) and along the way we passed through Yaamba, Kunwaraka, Marlborough, Clairview, Carmila, Ilibie, Koumala, Yukun, Sarina and Moana before arriving in Mackay at about 12:10pm. Most of these towns were very small or even just a road house in some cases, however Clairview appeared to be set on a very narrow section of the ocean front and stretched for about a kilometre and Serina was a fairly large town with a good sized shopping centre right on the Bruce Highway.

For about ten kilometres before we reached Serina through to Mackay (About 50 kilometres) we were passing through sugar plantations most of the way and at Serina there is a large Plant that converts the sugar cane product into ethanol.

Once in Mackay we made our way to the Beach Tourist Park (Big 4) which it says is on the beach, however we were under the belief that we would find water at the beach but we must have been wrong because we couldn't see any when we walked down to where it should have been. Someone has told us that if we walk down to the beach at 9:pm tonight the water should make an appearance for a while.

Now it is time for a siesta and prepare ourselves for a little sight seeing tomorrow and you never know, 'one of us' thinks maybe even a little shopping.

To the beach......

Anyone for a swim?????

Monday 17th May 2004

Not a lot to report on today as we have made this another rest day, even though 'one of us' insisted that we rise and shine by about 7am. it was a very easy morning with a cup of tea and raisin toast that the toaster decided to burn to a crisp. (The bloody thing has a mind of it's own!!!) The second attempt was a bit more successful thankfully.

Later in the morning we did take a drive into the city but once the Coles Store' came into view, 'one of us' made a bee line for it and a small fix of shopping revitalized her soul. Once we managed that event, we went in search of a Shell Service Station, so that we could make use of the Coles docket to received 4 cents per litre off the diesel required in the Patrol. This mission was also accomplished without a great deal of difficulty so we decided to call this money spending thing it a day before our luck changed.

Once we arrived back at the caravan park we took a look at the beach again and Hey Presto... there was the water that had done the disappearing act last night. I couldn't resist taking a photograph of the Hula Girl (well 'one of us' actually) posing under yet another coconut palm.

Then (under the instructions of 'one of us') we sat outside the caravan and pulled out the pen and paper to work out roughly how long it will be before we arrive home in Kalamunda. After some ernest study of the map and a lot of numbers, we figure it will be about 7187 kilometres of towing the caravan (Sight seeing in the Patrol only will be additional to that) and 19 stops over a period of approximately 37 days. Makes sense doesn't it, arriving home at the start of winter, who would want to remain standing under coconut trees in the warm sunshine when the cold wet weather beckons.

Tomorrow we head of to Townsville for a glimpse of the old army barracks that was home to the 'other one' when he was much younger fitter and training for service in Vietnam with the 6th Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR/NZ)

Pammy and a Palm

Tuesday 18th May 2004

We must have both got a touch of the sun I think because we were both up early this morning and feeling ready to get on the road. After packing up and having a last minute chat or two, we were away from the caravan park by about 7:55am, then it was back onto the Bruce Highway and Townsville here we come!

I'm not sure we were even out of the 80 kmh zone before we came to the first town, Farliegh, then Leap, there was a succession of small places such as Hampden, Kuttabul, Mt Ossa, Kolijo, Calen, Pindi-Pindi, Yalboroo, Elaroo and Bloomsbury before we arrived in Proserpine. Then the towns became quite a lot more sparse as the next one was Bowen, then Merinda, Gumlu, Inkerman and Home Hill before Ayr. There were no more towns between Ayr and Townsville, at which we arrived on the outskirts around 1:00pm.

Then came the saga of finding the caravan park that we had booked into. It was the Rowes Bay Caravan Park situated on (yes, how did you guess) Rowes Bay. We had a small map of where to find it and we managed to drive past the Army Laverack Barracks and find our way on to Ingham Road, that was going okay. Then we drove past Hughs Street that was not mentioned but we were looking out for ???? Street, Well we never found it and after driving right through the centre of the city of Townsville, we ended up having to stop and ask directions in a shop. As it turned out we were originally in the right direction but the map was wrong, the Hughs Street we had seen very early in our search was the one we wanted, the map had just put the wrong name on it..... 'One of us' (The camel driver) said:
"##@@%%##=lets#%@=go$%&#=home!!#@&%" whilst the 'other one' drove through the city centre for a second time with the caravan in tow. However we eventually found it by about 2:pm and settled the van in for the next couple of days.

Next came a trip to the liquor store to buy 'one of us' another cask of white wine as the health of the 'other one' may need it tonight!

The Big Mango - Bowen

Sorry kids - Crocodile got Mum!
On the Caravan Park Foreshore - Townsville