August 2008

August 1 Hydeaway Bay to Bowen 80.06 klms, Avg speed 18.1 kph, Cycling time 4.25 hrs; Total kms 3834.28

We said goodbye to Roz and Charlie and headed to Bowen, a town which we’re looking forward to visiting and staying for a few days.  It’s the oldest town in the State and is surrounded by hills to the west and islands to the east.  Local growers produce a bounty of salad vegetables & fruits (hooray), the most famous of which is the Bowen mango.  The Bowen Tomato Factory produces 17 tonnes of toms each day to satisfy supermarket & export orders & over  300,000 live reef fish is export each year.  The Bowen shire (est pop 2007 13,370) also has mining expanding at an enormous rate & in 2006 there were 11,000 people staying in mining camps, motel & caravan parks.  Coupled with mining expansion and seasonal fruit/vege workers there is virtually no accommodation available here, all caravan parks are full, even for a little tent like ours so we were lucky to find motel accommodation for 2 nights and enjoyed a pretty good feed at the pubs a-la-carte dining room. They even have a wine list, much to Greg’s delight.  If we can’t find additional accommodation for another couple of night we’ll have to shorten our visit.

August 2—7—Bowen

The day started with a thrashing of the washing machine followed by breaky sitting in the sun on the balcony of the motel after which we went for a ride to check out the sights of Bowen. We had an early dinner watching the New Zealand All Blacks humiliate the Wallabies 34 to 10 and then returned to our room in disgust with a bottle of wine and a slab of cheese. We loved Bowen so much we stayed for 7 nights and managed to find accommodation even though we had to change camps 3 times.  How lucky were we to find accommodation for 2 nights at Horseshoe Bay Resort Caravan Park, we even had a great camp site with our own table and chairs with water glimpses.  Nobody leaves this Park, they travel up from Victoria to escape the cold and stay for months.  Horseshoe Bay itself is small and cosy surrounded by large rock formations and is a haven for excellent snorkling, water too cold for us though.  Whilst here we walked to the top of Cape Edgecombe with spectacular views over the bay and Cape Gloucester area.  3 years ago houses were relatively cheap in Bowen, now with the mining boom they have exploded.  Ugly apartments now block most of the views from the Caravan Park, top apartments are listed for $2,500,000, no wonder they’re still for sale!  Most locals are against the expansion of the Abbot Point coal facility (20 klms away) waiting to get the green light which will double annual coal throughout the port to 50 million tonnes.  They know more ugly residential developments are coming together with traffic lights, there isn’t a traffic light in this town, yet.

Day 5 we moved to the other end of town opposite the Marina to the Harbour Lights Caravan Park, tell tale signs of owners waiting to be bought out.  One plus was our neighbour, Ian, he was a delight, a veteran of travelling around Australia and he too escaping the southern state cold.  We had lots of fun talking to him and we dragged him on his first Bowen dinner outing to the Yacht Club where the laughs continued. As usual, we were the last to leave the Club and all three of us were a little sluggish the following morning.

Other delights of Bowen we experienced:-

Riding to the top of Flagstaff Hill and taking in the full panorama of Bowen & Islands, the views & turquoise water did take your breath away.  Greg got a flat tyre on the way down caused by a large thorn and he had to walk home.

Riding around Muller’s Lagoon wetlands full of birds.

Visiting the Museum, fantastic collection, well displayed and great staff too.

Having local Bowen Tiger Prawn sandwiches overlooking Queens Beach—yummy.

Riding around the wide streets of Bowen, apparently made wide so the teams of bullocks could be turned around.

Checking out the 24 historical murals which adorn the walls of the town.

Just lazing around and reading our books, did we feel guilty? NOOOOO!!

For movie buffs—last year Bowen became the centre point for the filming of the movie “Australia”, due to be released later this year, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and directed by Baz Luhrmann.  Their names and faces now adorn the town.. 

Cynthia and Barry called us and also Judy and Jim, new friend met on our travels. They were still travelling around too, and called to see where we were.  It was lovely to hear from them and catch up on their news too. 

August 8 Bowen to Ayr 118.18 klms, Avg speed 21.3 kph, Cycling time 5.31 hrs; Total kms 3952.46

On the road at 8.00am after farewelling Ian.  2 records broken today, our longest ride of 118 klms & fastest average time of 21.3 kph.  We had a tail wind most of the way, busy Bruce Highway with lots of trucks, one plus, the ones going our way pulled us along even faster with their drafts, so fast that the top half of my orange bike flag disappeared!!  Greg had 2 flat tyres along the way, changed tube on the first one and still got another flat, problem finally fixed whilst we stopped for lunch.  We held up traffic as we rode over the narrow Burdekin River Bridge getting a toot from a frustrated truck driver, too bad, it doesn’t cater well for pedestrians or cyclists.  Known locally as the “Silver Link” the bridge took 10 years to build, is longer than Sydney Harbour Bridge & is the only bridge in Australia built without a firm foothold.  We arrived at the Silver Link Caravan Park feeling fine and both said we could have cycled even further.  The Park has lovely gardens, part of the Park sectioned off for the seasonal pickers, that area full of tents, washing, tired looking, and muddy people who’d been picking capsicums, eggplants, zucchini & rockmelons.  Alas the Mangoes from Burdekin, which account to one third of Australia’s market aren’t ready until Nov to Jan.  We saw the pickers working today, they yelled and waved when we rode by, a respite for sure from their back breaking, hot work. Once again, Greg spoiled me by arranging a “courtesy bus” driven by a nice bloke called Lyle to take us to the local RSL Club for dinner. Once again we bought raffle tickets and once again we lost our dough. Dinner was OK, but you’ve gotta eat early, it’s all over by 8.00 o’clock.

Aug 9—10—Ayr

Ayr lies in the Burdekin Shire, population 18,192, major land use Agriculture, major industry Sugar and rainfall 1000mm/year so no drought here.  In fact the Burdekin is built on a coastal aquifer, a huge underground lake of water running just 10 metres below the land’s surface, it’s about 40 times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour. We heard on “Macca’s” radio show Sunday morning that parts of Victoria/NSW had had snow, well we also had snow in the morning except this was “Burdekin Snow” which the locals call the ash from the burning sugar cane, mucky stuff.  The Burdekin is one of the last remaining areas in Australia where green cane is burnt before harvesting to remove excess leaf matter or trash, it was originally introduced to stop the Weil’s disease—a potentially fatal disease spread through the urine of rats!

One of the world’s top wreck dives is here, the SS Yongala sank in 1911 from a cyclone and all 124 people on board + a red Lincolnshire bull + a racehorse called Moonshine were killed.  No trace was found, except Moonshine’s body, until 1958—Dad should find this comment interesting as he lives in Lincolnshire & used to breed these cattle. Ayr has a reasonably large Italian population, legacy of when cane was cut by hand and imported labour was cheap. Consequently, there is a very good delicatessen which also serves very good coffee, a welcome contribution. Greg asked the ladies behind the counter where we should eat that night and they all said in unison that we should go to Townsville 80 odd kilometres away. When he mentioned we were on bikes, they suggested a Tavern 7 klms out of town. We tried to get a table but they were booked out. We were left with no option but to walk the streets of Ayr to look for a drink and a feed. We’re really north now, when Greg went to get me my G & T, they had the G, but the pub didn’t have any T, amazing! I settled for a Southern Comfort and Coke. While we were sitting outside the pub we were entertained by the locals. Here’s how it works in Ayr for the under 30’s on Saturday night. Blokes with big hats, small brains and powerful utes and 4 wheel drives, drive alone into the centre of town at the speed of light and park in the centre of the main road. (They have centre parking here because of the wide streets.)  The chicks, stuffed into a couple of cars, drive around and around the streets with music blaring, whoo hooing and blasting the cars horn when they see the aforementioned blokes with big hats. This starts at dusk and goes on for hours, we couldn’t stay to watch what happens next because we went to the local and very busy Chinese restaurant for the usual fare at about 8.00. 

August 11 Ayr to Townsville 83.71 klms, Avg speed 19.9 kph, Cycling time 4.11 hrs; Total kms 4036.17

Our week off in Bowen caught up with us today as both found the riding tough, uncomfortable in seat (saddle sore, numb bums), variable winds in front & behind.  Very little shoulder on Bruce Highway to Townsville, we’ll both be glad to be off it hopefully after we hit Cairns about 350 klms away.  Having now burst through the 4,000 kilometre mark we now have another week off in Townsville, staying at Walkabout Palms Tourist Park for 4 nights about 5 klms south of city, have arrived early to catch up on admin work then moving into an apartment on The Strand on Friday when Chris & Julia arrive for 4 days—luxury!  Townsville’s a big city pop. 160,000+ and is widely referred to as the Capital of the North, a tropical city with the Great Barrier Reef, Magnetic Island and  rainforests waiting to be explored and equally stunning is the rugged west with its historic mining towns and vast cattle stations.

Aug 12—14—Townsville

Townsville has great cycle paths and it’s easy for us to cycle into town from our camp site.  For a large city it has a nice feel and we’ve checked out the most likely places to get good coffee and meals for this weekend.  We had success with our mail waiting for us at Townsville post office, Greg’s Thermo-A-Rest sleeping mat has been sent down to Sydney for repairs (he’s been sleeping on a large bubble for the past 4 weeks!), ThermARest have kindly sent him a loaned mat, after months of to-ing and fro-ing he’s sent his expensive cycle computer back to the Sydney store, hopefully for a prompt refund and, after almost a 1000 klms since our rear spokes were replaced in Rockhampton with the brand originally specified, we feel confident we have that problem licked.  This is important because as we’ll be turning away from the coast in 5-6 weeks time we’ll need to carry substantially more weight in food and water than we have to date.  Our first dining experience was disappointing to say the least. Greg and I thought we’d just like a simple feed at what looked like a nice pub in one of Townsville’s main dining precinct.  Greg said that he had a bad feeling about the place when he went to the bar to buy our pre dinner drinks, this was born out when our main meals arrived when we were still finishing our entre and the wine Greg had ordered was no where to be seen.  The meals were promptly sent back to the kitchen and the order of events subsequently agreed between Greg and the waitress.  Went to the Court Theatre to see Julia Bowden & Friends, a program that included Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op.  Julia played the piano beautifully, her sister, Debbie, the violin and Natasha Su the cello.  They all looked about 16 and a size 8—far too young to have such talent!

Aug 15—18—Townsville

Chris & Julia arrived and we had 4 days of laughter over many long lunches or dinners either on our apartment balcony or at some of Townsville’s cafes/restaurants including C Bar, Michel’s Cafe & Bar and Cest Ci Non.  Townsville has a reasonably vibrant food and wine scene and we enjoyed some respite from fried food and crappy wine. Greg was like a kid in a lolly shop buying good Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon... He was close to heaven, which is a bit strange for an avid atheist.  Queenslanders eat early, so getting a table a restaurant or cafe between the ours of 5.30 and 7.00 p.m is usually a risky exercise. Fortunately Greg and I still like to eat a little bit later than this and are quite happy to wait until 8.00 or even 8.30 before we see a plate in front of us. Keeping that plate and having them arrive in the correct order seems to be a challenge for many in the hospitality business here, and Greg thinks it’s because they’re used to getting their meals through the drivers side window were everything arrives at the same time. Apart from the above mentioned issue. We’ve had the incorrect wine opened  and then delivered to our table, and consequently sent back, very expensive for the restaurant. We’ve had plates cleared while we are still eating. Meals arrive but with no cutlery to eat them with. Our orders requested, before seeing the menu, and an assortment of other “service” cock ups. We’ve not left a lot of tips in Queensland to date.  It wasn’t all lounging around though, we did exert ourselves the first day and climbed Castle Hill then had leisurely strolls along The Strand. Greg and I really enjoyed our time with Chris and Julia, with discussions and conversations ranging from politics, the economy, business, food, wine, family, the environment and other assorted absurdities. Needless to say the worlds problems have now been solved except for the cure to an overworked liver. It was Julia’s idea to meet us on our travels to celebrate her birthday on the 20th of August, and we both appreciated the effort they’d made to get to Townsville.

August 19 Townsville to Rollingstone 76.66 klms, Avg speed 20.3 kph, Cycling time 3.46 hrs; Total kms 4112.83

Hugs and held back tears all round as we farewelled Julia and Chris who were continuing their break in Brisbane. We’ll now be cycling along “The Great Green Way” a northern stretch of coastal highway spanning from Townsville to Cairns.  The info says it’s a scenic area filled with spectacular beaches, rainforest clad mountains, lush sugar cane fields and divine views over the Coral Sea.

With the wind behind us most of the day we sailed along Highway 1 (still the Bruce Highway) until my bike began to wobble and I had a seriously flat back tyre.  Greg way ahead again although it wasn’t long before he returned when my orange bike flag on the back of my bike disappeared from his view.     He quickly fixed the problem, a big thorn, and we arrived at our lunch spot Balgan Beach for a late lunch before continuing our journey another 10 kilometres to Rollingstone. The camp site is quite exposed to the wind however pleasant views of distant islands and warning signs to be aware of crocodiles!  We caught a lift to the local pub for dinner and had Rissoles and veg washed down with a few beers and wine. Greg, of course slept well, Crocodile dreams ensured a restless sleep for me!!!

August 20 Rollingstone to Ingham 58.72 klms, Avg speed 21.5 kph, Cycling time 2.43 hrs; Total kms 4171.55

Many early settlers in this area were Italian immigrants and in fact 60% of the Hinchinbrook Shire population is of Italian heritage with many settling in Ingham.  It’s town centre is called the Piazza so we were looking forward to a decent coffee and Italian meal that night.  Unfortunately the town lacked very few Italian cafes with none open at night so our Italian fix was at the local RSL club, however, the minestrone soup was delicious as well as our mains of spag boll and chicken Kiev.  Our accommodation that night was camping in the back yard of the Noorla Heritage Resort, a magnificent restored Italian Art Deco building surrounded by 2 acres of garden.  Close to midnight we heard a strange noise, Greg thought it was the air coming out of his sleeping mat, unfortunately no, it was the garden sprinklers spraying us with water including the one we had camped directly over that was buried in the lawn and trying to push it’s way through our tent floor!  Greg put pressure on that one as I madly ran around in the dark in my undies to switch the things off.  Amazingly I found the control system, saw a large blue switch, turned it, held my breath and then heard silence as the water stopped.  Apart from a slightly wet patch under the tent, no damage was done and the gardener laughed as we told him the story the next morning, he’d forgotten to turn the sprinklers off.

August 21 Ingham to Forrest Beach 22.17 klms, Avg speed 16.1 kph, Cycling time 1.22 hrs; Total kms 4193.72

We battled a head wind today so luckily only a short ride passing canfield flanked roads as well as the large Victoria Sugar Mill out of Ingham.  Forrest Beach is off the beaten tourist track and offers all the facilities of a small seaside retreat without the hordes of holidaymakers—perfect!  We ate lunch in the local park where the Forrest Beach Surf Lifesaving Club patrols the beach in the peak season, strange name when there is no “Surf” in North Queensland due to the Great Barrier Reef.  The caravan park was owned by the Forrest Beach Hotel/Motel waiting to undergo a $1million + refurbishment, something the locals aren’t looking forward to.  We met a local identify at the Hotel known as “Cabbage”, he’s worked at the Sugar Mill for 26 years and had a few tales to tell.  We also met an Italian couple on honeymoon, Eric and Christina, also staying at the caravan park.  Eric had brought his coffee machine and coffee with him and invited us over for coffee in the morning which we gladly accepted.  Dinner that night was pasta at the local general store, not the best Italian meal we’ve had however we sat outside to observe the local characters and chatted away to the friendly  owner.  We were commenting on the swarms of mosquitoes and she laughed when were told her we were heading to Lucinda the next day, not only do they have mosquitoes but sandflies as well as the area is surrounded by mangroves.

August 22 Forrest Beach to Lucinda 40.41 klms, Avg speed 18.5 kph, Cycling time 2.10 hrs; Total kms 4234.13

Thank you Eric & Christina, your coffee was delicious.  Our ride to Lucinda was quiet, flat, windless and picturesque stopping off for a coffee break at Halifax where we visited the museum and saw the bike and trailer a local identity used to cycle around Australia in his 70s.  Lucinda is a small sugar growing town and lays claim to having the world’s longest offshore sugar loading facility, a jetty stretching almost 6 kilometres out to sea.  It’s also has some of the best fishing in Queensland and this is evident in our Caravan Park, it is full of small fishing boats & everybody disappears early to launch their boat at Dungeness (1 klm away), catches are low at the moment, the recent unusual cold snap may be the cause.  Lucinda is also the closest access point to Hinchinbrook Island, Australia’s largest island National Park and part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  The island does have a resort + also the 32km Thorsborne Trail covering much of the area and is only open to small groups of walkers at a time.  We saw the island from Dungeness and with some low cloud reminded us of Scotland, it was an amazing sight.

August 23—Lucinda

Ate at the local pub last night, we thought expensive for this area (Sydney prices) & bit lacking on service side, again need to hold onto your plate while still eating before it’s whisked away, not offered dessert menu, not being told about the specials nor about other wines available but not on the wine list.  Gordon Ramsay look out, you’re about to be knocked off your perch.  Admin day today, web updated, dinner at the local fish and chip shop, very good.

August 24 Lucinda to Cardwell 63.75 klms, Avg speed 20.5 kph, Cycling time 3.03 hrs; Total kms 4297.88

Forecast of rain & wind saw us on the road by 8.00am and we hit a relatively steep hill (12%), the first we’d had for a long time, so we were both down to our lowest gear however we whisked down the other side.  A traveller in Townsville had told us about the Mobile Espresso Cart heading in to Cardwell, we’d both forgotten about it so it was a joyous sight and excellent coffee too.  The same traveller also recommended the Cardwell Village Beachcomber Motel & Tourist Park with stunning views of Dunk, Gould & Hinchinbrook Islands across the road.  We chatted to Andrew also staying there, a cyclist heading south to his home in Tasmania from Cairns, where he’s planning his next trip—8in8in8 in 2009—8 states & territories of Aust, their 8 highest peaks in 8 months by kayak, cycle & feet.  This was all too much for us so we took ourselves off to the Motel restaurant for pre dinner drinks overlooking the Islands then devouring their $20 roast dinner including apple crumble, We laughed at the wine on offer marketed especially for the caravan travellers , called Van Vino Wine, varieties such as Tow Bar Rose 2006, on the label a car pulling a caravan and the wording on the back label “we cater for travellers, when everything is in place, the site is perfect, with views, surf crashing, you wouldn’t be here without the Tow Bar etc.!”  Needless to say we chose another wine.

August 25—Cardwell

Overcast day so perfect for not doing much.  Cardwell still maintains that sleepy seaside village atmosphere so after riding along the foreshore we had another coffee at the Espresso Cart before visiting the Bush Telegraph Museum built in 1870 & one of the oldest buildings in Northern Queensland.  Cardwell was the first port in Northern Queensland to be settled & the Shire’s history is preserved in this well documented Post Office & Telegraph Station.  This was followed by a BBQ lunch back at the camp, research for our next day’s ride, watching Tele in the camp kitchen on 2 comfortable sofas whilst I cooked curry for dinner.

August 26 Cardwell to Mission Beach 83.51 klms, Avg speed 19.6 kph, Cycling time 4.15 hrs; Total kms 4381.39.

On the way to Mission Beach we stopped at Tully for coffee, a delightful sugar cane town (the Tully sugar mill is right in the town) and overshadowed by Mount Tyson rising to 640m, a popular hill with walkers.  The first thing you should know about Tully is that is rains a lot and it didn’t disappoint, it rained whilst we were there!  Tully is one of the wettest towns in Australia with an average yearly rainfall of 4490mm, that more than 4 metres!  It also holds the highest recorded annual fall of a whopping 7900mm and the towns biggest status symbol is a giant golden gumboot which stands at 7.9m tall, the exact height of the highest rainfall (see photo).  We had lunch at South Mission Beach, however, not realising it didn’t have a general store & being low on supplies we rode another 8 klms and booked in for 2 nights at the Hideaway Holiday Village right in the centre of the town, a pleasant change as most Caravan Parks are located out of towns.  The Park was surrounded by lush palms, rainforest trees and vines and a stone’s throw away from the beach-perfect.  We ate at an Italian restaurant and had an excellent feed.

August 27—Mission Beach

Mission Beach manages to find the perfect balance between a vibrant bustling community and relaxed seaside town, in fact, we liked it more that we thought we would, not too over developed.  It has 14 klms of golden sandy beaches made up of Bingil Bay, Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach & South Mission Beach.  It is said to be home to more that 60% of Australia’s butterflies (none seen) and the surrounding rainforest to be one of the best places for spotting the endangered & elusive cassowary, our largest flightless bird (elusive it was, none seen).  They can grow up to 2 metres & weigh up to 60 klms & aren’t known for running up to you to give you a hug, advice is to put a tree between yourself and big bird.  Offshore from Mission Beach are 20 tropical islands, Dunk Island is a short 4 klms away & the exclusive Bederra Island nearby.  Bederra is that sort of Island where it costs you a bomb but then you’re fed on lobster & can help yourself to the Moet champagne in the fridge-our kind of place really!  Onshore there are many walking tracks and feeling energetic we walked The Ulysses Link & The Cutten Brothers’ Walking Track—4klms return!  It was an enjoyable walk which meandered through mangroves and lowland rainforest coming out on the beach near Clump Point jetty.  It was all too much for Greg, he had to have an afternoon nap before cooking one of his delicious risottos in the camp kitchen.  Over dinner we swapped travelling tales with a lovely couple from England, Jo and Martin.

August 28 Mission Beach to Innisfail 71.16 klms, Avg speed 19.6 kph, Cycling time 3.37 hrs; Total kms 4452.5

We set off at just after 8.00a.m and rode along the coast and then inland a bit to the lovely Bruce Highway. We stopped at a town called El Arish and bought very good coffee from a road side Coffee Cart. We then turned off the Bruce Hwy at Silkwood past the smallest National Australia Bank branch in Australia. It was built in the late 30’s and closed in August 1999. Opening hours used to be on Tuesdays between 10 and 11 a.m.  We continued our ride through drizzling rain via The Canecutter Way, a 40 kilometre scenic ride following the old Bruce Highway between Silkwood, South Johnstone  & Innisfail showcasing the production & history of the sugar industry as we rode through cane fields & past old cane barracks. At Mena Creek  Greg had yet another front flat tyre, doesn’t know what’s causing so many flats in the one tyre & can’t see a problem with the tyre itself, but under the shelter of a huge tree fixed it never the less. After a quick stop at Stevo’s Fruit Stall for a couple of bananas we forged on. Soon a huge dog came bounding up to Greg whoofing away, luckily Greg could out-cycle him, 2 council workers got out their car to assist me but this dog was more bark than bite & gave up the chase. Our unglamorous arrival into South Johnstone.... When you’re in sugar cane territory you literally cross hundreds of train tracks transporting the cane & when it rains watch out, they’re slippery.  I fish tailed across one, not only giving myself a scare but also the oncoming truck & then later on at South Johnstone Greg did the same but this time SPLAT—he fell heavily on his left side (Greg said where the action of gravity & earth came to a join, with him in the middle!) and lay sprawled on the road, covered in dirt & gravel.  I braked sharply to avoid him and also came off, grazing my knee.  A car stopped to assist Greg (thank you whoever you were) & after cleaning his wounds & confirming no broken bones, we picked up Horsey & Crazy Ruby (both OK). This went on while the sugar cane trains continued to rumble past us and down the middle of the main street. Having provided the afternoons entertainment for the shopkeepers of South Johnstone rode, tenderly, the 9 klms to the Mango Tree Tourist Park at Innisfail.  After setting up camp we both laughed as we hobbled to the showers & then hobbled to the camp kitchen to have dinner.  Greg mentioned a state of drunkenness might help him recover from the shock he’d suffered today, sadly I had to advise him the treatment for shock was no alcohol.  By now my knee had swollen so it was a sore & restless night for both of us.

August 29—Innisfail

No bike riding today, both still too sore and stiff so we caught a bus into Innisfail, pop 9000,  & slowly walked around. The community is a multicultural mix of descendants of migrants, Italians who came to cut cane in the 1880s & Chinese who came to mine in the gold rush days.  One of the first things you notice about Innisfail is the unique art deco architecture, due largely to the fact the town was hit by a cyclone in 1918 & rebuilt in the fashionable style of the time.  Again, in March 2006 one of the most severe tropical cyclones to hit north Queensland in almost 10 years crossed the coast at Innisfail.  With destructive wind gusts of up to 290kph in a 120 km wide radius, Cyclone Larry was a Category 5, the most severe category, causing widespread damage from Cairns in the north to Cardwell in the south.  Mango Tree Tourist Park was badly damaged, Jill and Mike have since planted 4000 new trees and 2.5 years later construction has just begun on their new house/reception.  We had dinner at the local Leagues Club which was fair, with the now familiar question when Greg went to order the wine. “We don’t have a wine list, do you want white or red?”. We were then dropped home by their courtesy bus, the driver, who we believe was the only Gay in the village, was proof positive that not all suicides succeed. He was so depressive that Greg and I felt like running to the tent and slashing our wrists when he finally dropped us back to the Mango Tree Tourist Park. He had lived in Innisfail for all his 45 years, and actually believed that the town had it in for him. He used to be a permanent resident of the same caravan park we were staying in until the owners kicked him out and then he went on to whinge about the busy day he’d had since 4.30p.m. It was 10.00p.m. When he dropped us off, and we were the only ones in the bus, so his previous 5½ hours must have been hell!

August 30-31-Innisfail

My knee is still swollen so we’re staying 2 more nights, will use time to update web, wash bikes, read & relax around the pool.  Greg rode into town to pick up some supplies, the camp kitchen is excellent here, one of the best we’ve seen, so no doubt we’ll dine well over this time too.