Thursday 30th August, (Airlie Beach).
We have arrived in Airlie Beach, or Cannonvale at least just before Airlie Beach, and parked in a park called Seabreeze. This park was a mistake in selection due to my assuming it was a Big4, which is in fact way out of town, but this one will suit the purpose and is as good a park as one would want, being the closest one, in general, to everything we need to frequent.
A quick look around and I think we are glad that we didn’t stay in Airlie Beach proper as it seams to be another one of those touristy towns that are bent on extracting a dollar from everybody. The area we are in will suit us for a week to do what we intend while we are here.
Wednesday 29th August, (Bowen).
A very unpleasant night was had by myself last night, and Linda as a result, after suffering multiple bites on my legs and arms from sand flies. The problem with these bites is that one does not feel the actual bite and feels nothing until one goes to bed the bites itch with a burning feeling, bad enough to keep one awake all evening. I did notice that if I sat up uncovered, the cool night air gave great relief, but one froze all evening and is now suffering those consequences. The park management gave me a recipe for cure and repellent, which I tried and so far it seems to work, but over night tonight will tell. The formula is as follows: Equal parts of Dettol and baby oil with 25% of that volume of Teatree oil, shake well before use, apply liberally and rub into the affected areas or all exposed areas.
The gasman came today and after explaining what I wanted a quote was given to do the job and I declined, as it would be far cheaper to buy extra gas bottles. He was a help though as he informed me that one can purchase an adapter to convert from the large gas bottle outlet to the small one, so my problems will be solved by purchasing one of these and obtaining an additional 4 1/2 kilo gas bottle with the large outlet. This way I could use the new bottle for the fridge and as a spare for the caravan and keep my small bottle for a fridge spare.
Tuesday 28th August, (Bowen).
The centenary celebrations on the weekend were quite enjoyable and well presented for a small township as that of Bowen. We caught some of the activities in the streets on Saturday afternoon, like races, a novel race regularly held here is the tomato carrying race where contestants race carrying a large bucket of tomatoes in each hand over a predetermined distance without spilling any. If any are spilled either he or a team member has to pick up the spilled fruit and replace it in the bucket before race completion. There was also several entertainment displays. We visited the park in the evening where the festivities continued and sat through a show given by John Williamson, the Australian country singer, which we both found quite entertaining.
Sunday was a day for me sitting under the awning with the TV on the table watching the car racing, the Queensland 500 V8 racing was on and was a thrilling race compared to the other two or so at this venue in previous years. Linda had a day of relaxation, reading her books, when she wasn’t doing normal chores such as washing.
Monday was the day to get the power steering on the car fixed and a service while it was at the shop, so after delivering the car and before picking it up we went for a lengthy ride, for Linda anyway, on our cycles and decided that we had to have a good look around the area in the car when we get it back. The vehicle was repaired and I took possession of it again on Monday so today we had our look around the area. Several scenic lookouts give a very good appreciation and views of the countryside surrounding the township and also of some of the northern most islands of the Whitsunday group, quite spectacular. There are also a couple of rather nice small beaches on the western side of the town that are well patronised.
If the Whitsunday area is anything like this we are going to enjoy our stay at Airlie Beach next week. I figure Airlie Beach is behind the land area behind Linda’s head in the picture above.
I have arranged for a plumber to visit in the morning to discuss the possibility of fitting another gas feed from the bottle on the front of the caravan to the outside of the van, near the door, for connection to the outside fridge to eliminate the need for extra gas bottles and give us an outlet for running other things such as barbeque etc. I am not sure if such an addition would even be legal, but this is the reason for discussion before a decision is made to complete the installation.
Thursday 23rd August, (Bowen).
We have now moved on to Bowen, about 200km from Townsville, near Ayr.
I am sure now why people have suggested to travel Australia in an anti-clockwise direction to travel with the wind; since we left Cairns to travel back south the vehicle has not been performing as well as expected and I can only suppose that on the way up we mostly had a tail wind, when there was a breeze, and on the way south we have had a head wind on all days of travel. If one takes notice of the weather pattern in TV reports, one would notice that generally the upper most part of Australia has a constant high pressure area in the centre so, as the wind travels around a high in an anti-clockwise direction, then prevailing winds would be exactly what we have been experiencing.
We have only just settled in Bowen and have not yet had a chance to see anything, so more to follow later.
Friday 24th August, (Bowen).
A small drama that showed at a rather opportune time today, as one of the other campers at the park informed me that while I was parking the caravan he noticed oil leaking from under the panel-van. Upon inspection it was discovered that the power steering reservoir was void of fluid, so if he hadn’t noticed it would have only been a matter of time before I would have lost power in steering. Not having a great deal of experience with power steering I am not sure how much steering one would have if the power control is lost, so I am rather thankful that this gentleman noticed the leak rather than the steering failing while having the caravan on the back.
We will have to leave our sight seeing till later next week as I can’t get the problem fixed until at least Monday, and we may have to be prepared to extend our stay here for another couple of days depending on repairs.
We found out today that the centenary celebrations are being held in Bowen this week and culminating tomorrow with a street parade and functions, including fireworks, in the evening in the local park around the corner from the caravan park. As it turns out it was fortunate that we chose this caravan park as all the others are way over the other side of town and without a vehicle we may have missed the event.
Tuesday 21st August, (Townsville).
Narrelle and Matthew got away yesterday with no problems, which is more than what I can say for returning the rental car. When I booked the car I asked for a small cheapy and they quoted me a Corolla at $135.00 odd. When we picked up the car we had been upgraded to a Commodore, which we thought was great until we returned the car yesterday. A bill was given to me of $268.99 that I immediately queried and all the girl at the desk would do is give me a phone number to ring. To cut a long story short, it turned out that our quote was for a weekend special, which I was aware of, but we returned the vehicle at 1300 and we were billed a default full rate because we returned the vehicle later than midday, the time limit for the special. After explaining that I was not informed of the return deadline, and seeing we were only 1 hour late they decided to only charge us the original quote, so all worked out in the end.
Relaxation for the remainder of yesterday and today as stiffness has set in the legs after the long walk around Magnetic Island on Sunday and hopefully all will be better tomorrow to ease with packing up for a move on Thursday. We will be travelling on to Bowen from here, about 200km south on the coast.
We will be studying our future travels when we get to Bowen as Matthew emailed last night to say that they would not be going to Brisbane in October as planned, so we can now change our travel plans to bypass Brisbane and head inland earlier if we so desire.