Memoires of a tour of Australia
Latest highlight of the trip
Left the UK at about 9:30pm, although the flight was late taking off as it should have left at ten to. Destination Brisbane, via Dubai.
The flight to Dubai was OK, not too long at 9hrs and we arrived in reasonably good condition. Matt had to go for a shower though as he was pretty sweaty from the flight. Found a nice one in the hotel in the airport and got a shower for $15US, which included all shampoo, shower gels and towel, so not too bad really. Had some breakfast and waited for the next leg to begin.
The airport at Dubai was amazing. So fresh and new, absolutely massive, and something to look at everywhere.
Landed at Brisbane airport at about 6:30am and we were both exhausted, having had virtually no sleep on the way over. Armed with our customs cards we lined up at the customs desk awaiting our fate, after already having to pass through a flu-detecting camera. At the desk we were pleasantly surprised to be told that everything we had declared on our cards was fine and we picked up our bags and exited onto Australian soil proper.
Got to our hotel via taxi and had a quick sleep. Big mistake and we felt even worse when we got up. But we had an appointment at the bank to get to, so we had to crack on. What a difference that was to the UK; great service, everything ready and waiting for us, and all done in less than an hour. We can recommend CommBank. Gobsmacked by peoples kindness, generosity, and general friendly nature, even in a big city. Went to bed early as were extremely tires by that point!
Got up about 8am and had breakfast in the hotel. We were very excited as today was the day for finally seeing our motorhome and paying the balance to make it officially ours. Got to KEA and found the van – very impressed, although it doesn’t have a water filter tap so Han is disappointed. Staff are very friendly and helpful and we met an English chap called Steve, from Leeds, with the strongest Yorkshire accent you have ever heard, especially as he has lived in Oz for nearly 3 years.
Headed into Brisbane again and had dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Quite pricey but very good food, the best squid Han has ever tasted. Had a beer each and headed back to the hotel through the park, which is amazing; botanic gardens, streams, cafe's, benches everywhere, a stage and so clean and tidy everywhere.
The motorhome when we picked it up
Got up and checked out of the hotel, leaving our baggage in their storage room. Went down to the south bank again and it is stunning! A lovely promenade running up the side of the Brisbane river, a man made beach and swimming pools, surrounded by café’s and restaurants – really was lovely. Got back to the hotel and got a taxi to KEA again to pick up the motorhome. Now was the moment Han was dreading, and I was both excited and apprehensive about – the big trip was about to begin. Started the engine, and what do you know, a full tank of fuel – only in OZ! Called in at the supermarket on route to our first site; blown away by the freshness of everything. Had to drive in the dark to the campsite, and could only find space on one 200km's away at such short notice. We were thrown straight in at the deep end again! Driving on unfamiliar roads, in the dark, in a vehicle we had never driven before, of a size we had never driven, in a country we had only just landed in - what a start!
Got up about 10 – lazy I know, but still tired from the flight. Paid for the pitch and even got a free lift to the local market by the site owner, Marion. People are so friendly and generous here. We bought a hat each and some wine from a local vineyard that had a stall. Had a good look around but we were again very tired and headed back. Had breakfast, unpacked everything, and straightened up the van. I then did all my checks – oil levels, tyre condition (new by the way), water levels, spare tyre location, found the jack, discovered we were missing some essentials like a fire extinguisher though. Made a list and will call KEA when we get past the bank holiday weekend.
Our first experience of a caravan park in Australia has been a very good one. Everything clean and tidy, facilities good and well looked after, staff friendly, and pitches of a good size.
Our aim for today was to make it to Rockhampton, which was about 550 km’s north. Roads were good, not too busy and generally easy going. There were exceptions though, where some roads needed re-surfacing and the van was shaken almost to pieces. We had to stop twice too, as there were some terrible rattles coming from the back (inside). We determined that it was a mixture of the TV cabinet, the grill pan and grill door. We moved the grill pan but cant do anything with the TV cabinet or the grill door until we get to Cairns (we can call in to the KEA depot there for them to have a look). Didn’t make Rockhampton, as after 7 hours motoring with only an hours stop off for lunch, Matt was flagging. We decided to stop at an overnight rest area just south of Gladstone. Nice enough, safe feeling and clean and tidy. Dinner in the motorhome consisted of pasta, a tomato sauce and some chorizo sausage and it was lovely – with a nice bottle of white.
Woke up at 8 as usual, having been disturbed during the night by a very strange noise on the roof. We still are not sure what it was, initially we thought it was a bird. We will soon see, if it is there this evening!! During breakfast Matt came out with a few corker comments, which didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. He blamed this on the numerous bumps to the head the day before. They occurred when he continuously cracked his head on the Luton above the cab!! Not funny!! Han drove the first leg until lunch, much easier than first thought. Stopped for lunch about 12.30, re-fuelled and had some fruit and cheese. Matt then took over and we headed for Mackay. It was saddening how much road kill we encountered (roo’s mainly), seems roo bars are a must!! One entertaining thing we did see on the roadside was the “Driver Reviver”, a free coffee at intervals along the Bruce highway. We have finally arrived at St Helens Gardens Caravan Park. Fantastic location with lush greenery and lots of wildlife.
Today is the 8th anniversary of us meeting, although to be honest we only remembered about midday whilst we were driving up the Bruce Highway. Got everything packed up and set off for Townsville for about 10. We were hoping to find a camping shop to buy some new chairs, a table and a BBQ, but because of a new bypass around Townsville, which we did not know about, we missed it entirely and carried on north. During the long drive we did manage to calculate, quite roughly, that by the time we had driven from Brisbane to Cairns, we will have done the equivalent of driving to London and back almost three times. This country is truly massive. After a drive of about 6 hrs today we arrived at a rest stop that Han had picked out at Balgal Beach. It is absolutely stunning. The beach is fabulous and runs for miles, very clean and tidy and good sand too. There is a small wooden restaurant called 'Fisherman's Landing' which we had a delicious evening meal at; fish and chips. They say that there are three croc’s that regularly visit the waters directly behind it, so we wont be having a dip!
We awoke today a little bit earlier at 7:30am, to the sound of the sea crashing and people starting to rise around us. Matt got up first and put the kettle on. Then I asked him to open all the blinds to let the van warm up before I got up – just what a man is for! We set off for Cairns at about 9:30, and had about 300km’s to go. We called ahead for a camp site, but the closest one to town was 36 dollars a night, so we decided to only stay a few days on it rather than the week we had originally planned. The trip to Cairns took about 4 hours with only a quick stop to fill up on diesel and then a stop in Cairns to buy some new camp chairs and some toilet chemicals. The camp chairs we were given with the van stank to high heaven of sweat and wee, so we are throwing them away. We had a shower after sitting out on the new chairs for an hour or so, watching the amazing array of birds messing about and fighting with each other, and then headed in to make dinner.
Woke up this morning in the knowledge that we had nowhere to go, which was a great feeling after all the driving. Matt called the dept for Transport to enquire about registering the Motorhome, and came off the phone with a very worried look on his face. It seems we have to have a Queensland address, and proof we live there to register it, which obviously we don’t have. At the dep’t for Transport we found out that the address was not an issue, just a receipt from the campsite would do, but encountered a much larger problem – the way the van had been sold to us by KEA was illegal! They should have removed the extg rego before selling it to us. We were gobsmacked. But hopefully it is all now sorted, all we have to do is get KEA to complete a transfer form, rather than a cancellation form, and we will be back in business. Kea have agreed to do this and we are going there tomorrow to get it sorted. We are also hoping to get some bikes and a BBQ whilst we are out.
Got up today with a slight feeling of trepidation, after what happened yesterday when we tried to register the van. Would it all get sorted or not? We had time for a quick breakfast then off to KEA to collect the transfer form, which I emailed to them last night, to keep the ball rolling. In the end the rego only took about ten minutes all tolled, and was a much more pleasant experience than yesterday. When we got back to KEA, everything with the van was sorted, all fixed and ready to roll.
It seems that a real hornets nest was stirred up at the Transport office, with the whole rego issue, as the woman we saw yesterday had called KEA to reprimand them. KEA could not have been more apologetic to us for the whole issue and have been excellent. We managed to get some shopping, buy a bike each and get a BBQ whilst we were out and about, so overall a very productive day.
We decided to head down into Cairns on the bikes today, riding along the promenade, which was very enjoyable and there are cycle lanes everywhere. It was very busy, being as it was Saturday, but we found a good spot to secure the bikes. We then headed to the public pool area on the front, to get some sun time in. Had lunch in town, looked around a few shops and cycled back to the van park to get a shower. We went back into town for a few drinks and a meal. Had a drink at a bar on the main road and then went down to the marina. We found a new development called ‘The Pier’, which had some great bars and restaurants and obviously some very nice yachts that we are big fans of. We had a drink in a posh looking sports bar, and it was 2 for 1 happy hour, so we both had two sparkling wines each! Then off to the Thai restaurant next door, which was serving Thai tapas – it was truly amazing and good value too. It cost us £35, including a large glass of house wine each. Then off to the 'Salt House' at the marina for a few and back to the park sozzled.
Woke up this morning feeling slightly worse for wear, but feeling that we had a fantastic night. We had already decided that today was going to be a quiet one, as Sundays should be. After having a leisurely breakfast we set about washing sheets, bedding and clothes, which proved more difficult than expected as the whole park seemed to be washing. We did manage to get it done and hung out. The rest of the day consisted of chilling out and sunbathing. At around 3pm we decided to ‘spark up the barbie’ and sit out with a beer. Unfortunately this didn’t go to plan as the coals on the Barbie seemed to go cold very quickly and we ended up finishing it off in the van. We are still waiting to see if either of us are ill this evening as we were unsure if the chicken legs were cooked. On top of this we had an ant infestation, I don’t mean British sized ants, Aussie ants are huge, yellow and green coloured and they bite!! They had climbed all the way up the awning legs and on to the awning in their thousands. After much spraying, brushing and panicking, we sorted it. Just having a cuppa and biscuit then off to bed.
It was our last day at the Cairns Holiday Park today, so we awoke early to get things sorted – bits and bobs packed up etc. Thankfully we were both feeling fine after the chicken last night.
This park is $36 per night, and although it has the best toilet and shower facilities we have come across so far, it is still not worth the money. I have managed to find another park, just up the road, which is only $25 per night. We got to the Carinsvilla & Leisure Park at about 12, and were given a pitch at the far end. We pulled up and I got accosted by an old boy Aussie, drinking a can of 4X – nice work if you can get it eh!
We had lunch and headed into town on the bikes again. There are cycle lanes everywhere so it is pretty safe, although everyone seems to drive very fast everywhere! We had a walk around the marina looking at the lovely boats and wondered what life might be like on one of them – maybe one day eh. We headed back and decided that this site just wasn’t quite right for us – too much shade and the facilities weren’t up to much (you get better at some of the free rest stops). So we had a cycle round the whole park and found that there was a nice new bit on the far side with better facilities – we had been done. So off I went to reception to get us moved, and we are now on nice big sunny pitch at the new end, overlooking the swimming pool – nice! Only downside for Hannah is that is it is right next to the children’s play area!!
Awoke about 8:30, but could not bring ourselves to get out of bed. It is very difficult to wake up at the moment and we are feeling quite tired, quite often – we are putting it down to the fresh air, change of climate and exercise.
Nice simple day today, had breakfast (I had fruit salad that I made last night, and Han had cereal with fruit salad on it), then we headed down to the esplanade on the bikes. We are both really enjoying riding the bikes around Cairns, as it very flat, very warm and there is a nice breeze too. There are so many bikes around so it is very well catered for.
We found a notice on the Cairns Yacht Club yesterday, which was advertising WAGS sailing. It doesn’t mean the same here as it does in the UK – it means Wednesday Afternoon Gentleman’s Sailing, which basically is where people with boats volunteer to take the general public out for an afternoons sailing for a fee of $15 each. Obviously we were both dead keen, so we headed to the yacht club again. We got the details and we have to ring tomorrow after 11am to book in – so we will on the phone as soon as the cloak strikes 11! We had a lovely lunch in the ‘Salt House’ restaurant, which is part of the bar we were at the other night, and looks out over the marina. We also did some sunbathing, and Hannah is very jealous of the fit and tanned young ladies that seem to be everywhere. There aren’t that many fit young men, so she tells me. Hannah made bruchetta for tea, which was delicious, although she thought the onions were very strong and a bit over-powering, which all onions in OZ seem to be, although I like it that way.
Had breakfast and got suited up in boaty type clothing (nice shirt, shorts etc), just in case we managed to get on the WAGS. Headed into town on the bikes again, and then went for a coffee to wait for the clock to strike 11.
I called at just past eleven and the guy on the phone said it was already very full but he would try to get us on, just had to be at the boat shed before 12:30. Had a coffee whilst we waited. Got to the boat shed, to find out that we had got onto a boat crew – absolutely ecstatic and could not wait to go.
Our Skipper turned up at 1, and we all went off for a pre-race drink and introductions. Then onto the yacht for the race - it was a 32’ racing yacht, about three years old, was all white, with a nice galley and 4 berths below, and ropes everywhere! It was called ‘Groove’, for reasons we were about to find out!
The whole thing was truly amazing. The boat went at what felt like a quick pace, and went along at an angle that meant one side was just on the water line, then when we needed to turn, the boom came over and the other side was in the water. Both Hannah and I felt sure that at any minute we could end up in the drink! We drank champagne, provided by our skipper, came third in the race and had a fabulous day. Someone even fired up a doobie on board, but we refrained. We berthed up, had drinks at the 'Salt House' and cycled back to camp, smiling all the way. Back at camp a traveling circus act was practicing right outside our window, juggling with fire etc. A great end to a great day.
Had a quick breakfast and headed to KEA in the van for some minor repairs. We left the van with them and headed down to the prom on the bikes again. It was very cloudy today so we decided to head up to the botanical gardens for a walk around. It was about a twenty-minute bike ride. We got to the gardens for about twelve, secured the bikes and had a nice walk around, but after half an hour we had seen enough plants, and were getting hungry. The café on site was quite expensive so we headed back to the prom for lunch. We found an indoor food court with Chinese buffet stalls all around the perimeter, and decided to give one a try. We got it in a tub so we could take it outside and eat at one of the picnic benches that are everywhere in Cairns. The food was OK but not great – maybe buffet food is the same the world over.
We got back to KEA for about two and the van was ready. They even said we could have another new sat nav as the one they has given us last time was not updatable on the web – we just had to wait ‘til next Tuesday and then swap them over – great service again!
Got back to camp to find that it had been taken over by travelers, who looked very dodgy to say the least. We have been warned several times to keep things locked up around nomad travelers, and so were feeling very uncomfortable. There were at least twenty of them and they had literally taken over; their things were everywhere. We decided to move on, and not risk anything. We took ourselves off to Cairns Holiday Park for the night and we would then head to Port Douglas.
We left Cairns today and headed for Port Douglas, which we have been told is a lovely little place and cannot be missed. It is about an hour and a half’s drive from Cairns up the Captain Cook Highway, which is a very windy little road that runs up the coast and most of the way is literally a stone’s throw from the sea.
We arrived at the van park at about 11, and got checked in for four nights. We got a great site, definitely the best we have had so far anywhere that we have been. It has the power, water and waste just where they are needed for this van, which is the first time yet – usually we can’t connect the water or the waste.
The beach was apparently just 3 minutes walk to the rear of the park, so off we went. We had decided to have lunch out so walked along the beach and into town. It was amazing – little boutique shops lining the main street, interspersed with restaurants, chique bars and café’s. Again everything so clean and tidy, the people very friendly and so far service has been excellent. Had lunch in the 'Courthouse' bar, steak sandwich and chips each - fabulous and very big portion.
Back to the van for dinner, a glass of wine, and off to bed, vowing to eat as healthily as possible, and walk every day – Australia really does inspire it.
Awoke to the sound of birds chirping and running all over the van roof again – cheeky little beggars! We went off to find a bakery that we had seen on our travels yesterday, to get some bread for lunch – it was lovely. Great fresh bread, buns and cakes (we didn’t buy the buns or cakes – we are not healthy enough yet).
Had breakfast, sun creamed up, made up a nice healthy lunch and headed for the beach. It was quite busy as it is Saturday and all the locals come out to play, but on ‘Four Mile Beach’ there is space for everyone. It is an amazing beach, palm tree lined, with soft white sand for the first 10 to 20 metres and then about 30m of wet flat sand before you hit the sea. And the sun is out today, the first time since last Thursday I think, and not a cloud in the sky – paradise!
Back to the van about half two, to have a shower and get ready – we are heading into town for dinner tonight, with pre-dinner drinks whilst we watch the sunset. Full report tomorrow no doubt.
Woke up around 8:20, but with a bit of a head from last night. Plenty of sparkling wine consumed and not the best quality I don’t think, so maybe a lesson learned there. The meal was very good though. We ate at Bistro 3; I had a lovely soup followed by a really good fillet steak, and Han had a trout starter followed by Duck - we were both very impressed.
Anyway, had breakfast out in town on our way to the Sunday markets, which are held up by the seafront at the opposite end of town (although that’s only about fifteen minutes walk). Breakfast consisted of very fresh waffles, ice cream, maple syrup and a coffee each, so not too healthy but everyone falls of the wagon at some point!
The markets were very good, and had all sorts of things including clothes, fruit and veg, all kinds of wooden bits and bobs, art (one wooden bowl was $1250!), juices, coffee etc etc. We didn’t buy anything, although I was tempted by a gnarly looking wooden fruit bowl. We spent the afternoon on the beach trying to get a nice tan, but so far we cant get anywhere near the colour of the Aussie’s – they are all like bronze statues!
Came back to the van about three to get out of the sun, which has been the hottest since we got to OZ. Showered and about to have a late lunch/early dinner in the van before we head into town to try to watch the Grand Prix. We have had to have the air conditioning on in the van for the first time today. Usually we can just about manage by opening all the windows to catch a bit of breeze, but today it was just too hot.
Found it very difficult to wake up today as I had been up until about 1am watching the grand prix. We couldn’t watch it in town because apparently the channel that carries it live is only available in the cities for now, so we had to watch a re-run in the van. That didn’t start until about half eleven, so I was a little bit annoyed! But then I did get to watch it, so it wasn’t all bad. Hannah didn’t manage to stay up past half eleven, she watched the start and then went to bed. The coverage was just like watching it on ITV last year; full of commercial breaks. The presenters were poor too, but thankfully the Aussie’s use the BBC commentary, so we got to hear Martin Brundle and the new chappy.
We have been trying to decide what boat trip to book to go out onto the reef, and have collected five or six different brochures. We are looking for a small intimate boat with not too many tourists, and a more personal service. Anyway, we have found such a vessel and booked it this morning. We go on Thursday, and cant wait. We decided to have another walk around and find the marina today, to have a look at all the lovely boats etc. Hannah fell in love with a power yacht that must have been all of 50ft and was pretty stunning. It was available for private charter, but we daren’t ask how much – not cheap I imagine. When we got back to the van we sat outside reading books and got chatting to a chap from Victoria, and not far from Melbourne. He was lovely, and offered some excellent advice. He even gave us his address, phone number and email address so that when we get to Melbourne, we can drop in. How generous.
Had breakfast outside today for the first time– chocolate croissants from the bakers up the road – it was lovely!
Had our first dip in the sea today – was sunny all morning but got cloudy later on. Han went in up to her knees but no further. She vowed that tomorrow would be her day, as long as it was warmer than today. The beach was lovely and we had a walk along it, as we usually do, to break the boredom of the sunbathing a bit.
We had a lovely meal out in a specialist fish restaurant tonight too, which was excellent even for me, not what you would call an avid fish man! I had a ‘large mouth Nannygai’ – very appropriate for me I thought. Han had a Coral Trout, and we both had them done ‘Chefs Special’, which meant a black pepper and macadamia nut crust, on a bed of noodles and Asian veg - beautiful. And we had our first bottle of red wine too; a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Barossa Valley; also beautiful.
We had breakfast outside again today and thoroughly enjoyed it – getting very into that now; can’t see us going back.
We spent all morning at the beach today, trying to get the sunbathing in whilst the sun was at its hottest, as it does tend to get quite chilly on the beach after about 4. We had two dips in the sea, which wasn’t as warm as yesterday, and as such prohibited Han from going in past her belly – but that is still further than yesterday, so progress it still being made.
We spent all afternoon shopping in the lovely boutique style shops of PD. I bought some new swim shorts, Han bought a dress and a cardi, and then we bought some bright and cheery cushions for the van. We had seen them previously and loved them immediately, but needed to make sure they were right for the van – I can report that they are perfect and really look well.
We had dinner in the van but went out after to watch the big match – Queensland v NSW rugby league, which is a massive game in OZ. However, could not find a pub where we could actually see the TV, such were the crowds. So we decided to watch it in the van with some snack foods for me, which we got from Coles on the way back. Then disaster; we could not get a decent picture, of the channel that was showing it, on the box in the van. We had to miss the match and watch a zoo program instead. It was good though so were reasonably happy.
Off to bed, very much looking forward to the boat trip tomorrow.
Left; New cushins for the van
Right; A view of Macrossan Street, Port Douglas
Well where do we start with today? Fantastic from beginning to end.
Although, the bus was ten minutes late picking us up, but all was forgiven when we got to the boat. We arrived to be greeted with pastries and coffee, served on the back of the catamaran. Then almost immediately, we were off, under power rather than sail. It took about two hours to get out to the reef whilst Han and I laid out on the nets at the front of the cat. When we arrived at the reef (not that we could see anything from the boat) we all got off the back, and started to swim out towards a light blue band of water. Hannah was struggling with the whole snorkeling idea, so we had to stay near the boat whilst she tried to get the hang of it. She was threatening to get out and give up, in usual Hannah style, but to her credit she stuck with it, got the hang of it, and loved it. She even ventured out about fifty, maybe sixty feet, from the boat. When we got back to the boat, we were met with a huge Moiri Rass, with lips like Mick Jagger, and which apparently comes up to the boat every day. Lunch was truly amazing; we had a BBQ of chicken, nannygai fish, prawns and salad. Then it was time for the snorkel tour, led by our skipper. It was brilliant and we saw all sorts of coral and sea life – it was just me though, Han stayed on the boat for that one. We sailed back past the Low Isles, which is where Steve Irwin, who was Australia’s wildest wild man, died a few years ago at the hands, or rather tail, of a sting-ray.
A truly amazing day that we wont forget for a long time. The only photo's I have of today are the underwater ones, which are yet to be developed, so watch this space.
Today was shopping day, as we had run out of just about everything. Coles, the supermarket, is excellent compared to what you get in the UK; everything is so fresh, the meat is good quality, and the prices are good too.
We decided to have egg muffins for breakfast, and what a triumph. Just toasted and buttered English muffins, and a fried egg; very simple but lovely just the same.
The sky was absolutely clear, not one cloud, so we headed down to the beach to catch some rays. It was wonderful, and not too busy either.
I decided to have another go at the BBQ and this time put as much charcoal on it as I could fit. The fire was roaring in minutes. Finally I had it working properly and managed to cook some fillet steaks and chicken drummers on it. Must have been me being too miserly with the charcoal that failed it last time.
Awoken today at about twenty to eight by the birds singing again. It is a beautiful thing to hear of a morning, but I cant help thinking that it would be better if they sang a little bit later.
We got a message (left on our outside chairs by the park manager), to call one of the couples we met on the ‘Synergy’ trip on Thursday. I called them and they wanted to drop off a video of the trip that they had done for us. They were going to leave it with the park manager for us.
Sun creamed up for about eleven and off to the beach again, which was stunning as usual; bright blue sky, clear water and not a wave in sight – it was like a millpond. We sunbathed for an hour and then decided to go for a swim. Just as we got to the edge of the sea we heard a call from behind ‘no poms allowed in the sea’. It was Graham and Wendy from the Synergy trip – they had been to the van and seen that we were not there, so had come to the beach to find us. We chatted for a while and they even offered to put us up and lend us a car when we get to the Blue Mountains near Sydney – how generous is that. Hannah even got in the sea and had a swim finally!
Tonight we went to the Nautilus restaurant, which is supposed to be ‘the dining experience’ of Port Douglas.It is set in the tree tops on the hill side and is a stunning location. The started was excellent; tiger prawns. The mains were not; over cooked and we waited an hour for them. Didn't bother with desert and made our feelings known. Left disappointed.
This morning we were woken at about half seven, not by the birds this time, but rather by the older generation that surrounds us on the site. They get up very early – not sure why, but they all seem to do it.
Had a walk to the market at the other end of town again and bought some fruit. There were some lovely wooden chopping boards and bits like that, which would be lovely in a house, but we can’t fit them in the motorhome. It’s a real shame, but we were both sure everything was overpriced, being as Port Douglas is a very touristy area, and so we can probably get everything cheaper elsewhere anyway.
Got a few bits of shopping on the way back, and then we sat outside the motorhome on the concrete slab, enjoying yet another marvelous day of sunshine, although it was very hot. So hot that we really struggled to walk around, and I even sat in the van with the air-con on for an hour or so just to try to cool down a bit. The heat is very hard to get used to, and really takes it out of you. How anyone works in this heat is beyond me.
We got talking to a chap from over the way, who gave us some great advice on what to do and see in Sydney, and even recommended a caravan park close to the city for us to stay at. We are now thinking that we will find it easier to find work in Sydney, rather than in Brisbane, as Queensland seems to been hit harder than the other states by the global downturn. We had a good look on the web and found a few leads.
We awoke today at about half eight, put the kettle on and fired up the laptop to start another round of job searching. We have been doing this for the last week and a half, but so far have had no luck. So we have had to change the plan a bit. We are now going to start making our way down to Sydney when we leave Port Douglas, and not stop at Brisbane for more than a night or two. I have seen lots more jobs in Sydney than in Brisbane on the internet, as has Hannah. And when we speak to people we generally get the same reaction.
Anyway, after a couple of hours job searching, with a bit of success, at least in finding positions to apply for, we headed down to the beach for a bit of relaxation. It was another glorious day with bright blue sky, calm waters and a nice breeze. The sun was ferocious again today, but a dip in the sea soon sorted that out. This afternoon we went for a walk into town again, and took some photo’s of the marina and the main street for the website, which is coming on well. Should be up and running within a week or so. We stopped at a little fish and chip shop for lunch and both had the special; fresh reef fish, chips and a glass of wine (I had the beer instead). All in it was $29, what a bargain, and it was delicious. I then had an ice cream, or gelato as the locals call it (Italian I presume), and we walked back to continue the job search and plan the trip to Sydney. Dinner in the van, a few glasses of wine and map in hand, we wiled the night away in paradise again.
Had breakfast at about nine and decided not to bother with the beach today, as it was already so hot outside. So we did some washing to get caught up on that, and sat outside under the awning doing some more job searching, planning and more work on the web site, which had a total re-design to make it a bit simpler.
We went into town for lunch and found a sushi bar for Hannah to try. She loved it, right up her street. I had a warm chicken and rice bowl, which was OK apart from the fact that they warmed it in the microwave, which killed it really. I was on the hunt for some crocs (the shoes), as everyone seems to wear them here, and I am struggling with the cheap flip-flops that I bought the other day. Found some in a shop in town and I must say they are amazingly comfortable, and fully washable too, which helps when you sweat as much as I do in the heat. Only $60 (£30), what a bargain.
Had dinner in the motorhome, and then went into town to watch a movie on the open air cinema at the ‘Central Hotel’, which was free. They were showing ‘The Wild’, an animated movie, which looked to be identical to ‘Madagascar’ to us, so we watched about an hour, and left. Called in at ‘Rehab’, a coffee and cake shop, on the way home – delicious. Again we sat outside, which is very much the theme here, and all the better for it.