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carmel’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 12 Jul 2006

Location: Bowen, Qld, Australia

MapSaturday, 8/7/06

We headed off to Townsville this morning, but weren’t able to stay. All of the caravan parks close in to the CBD were booked out. I would have liked to at least stay to go for a drive up Castle Hill, but, at least we got to have a look at the Strand. There was no way we could have pulled the van up Castle Hill.

The scenery isn’t as interesting now. Firstly, the effects of the drought are starting to show – little or no water in the creeks, and the ground cover very brown. Also, up until Home Hill, sugarcane was the main crop, after that, it was predominantly cattle. However there were still the mountain ranges in the distance.

The next major town after Townsville was Ayr, I preferred it – Townsville is just so big. Next came Home Hill, which is almost an outer suburb of Ayr. And I think the residents must also treat it as such, there were a lot of empty shops. And on two farms, all of the implements were lined up as though preparing for a clearing sale – not a good sign if I am right.

So we are now at Bowen. We also had trouble getting into a park here, but managed to get into one about 5kms out of town. Bowen, and especially Queen’s Beach seems a really nice area, so we intend staying here for a week.

Sunday, 09 July 2006

We are having a quiet day today. We went to a market this morning, but that’s it for the day. The weather is also dulling over.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

We did Gold Arrows Tour of Bowen yesterday. It took a few hours – surprising for such a (relatively) small place. If anything, the beaches here are even better than Mission Beach. Bowen is very hilly so there are lookouts you get to on the tour, which, of course, guarantee great views. Queens Beach is the main beach, but there are also several bays- Queens Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Grays Bay, Murray Bay and Rose Bay. There is also Kings Beach, but we haven’t got there yet. Queens Beach, Grays Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Rose Bay are all award winners. There are 74 islands in the Whitsunday group, but, according to the Interpretive Centre at the Flagstaff Hill Lookout, only 6 are inhabited. I’d have thought there were more.

Today, we went for a walk along Queens Beach. I liked it, but Barrie reckons it was much nicer 40 years ago. On the way there is a sign ‘Men exercise on the beach by pulling in their gut each time they see a bikini’.

We also went to the post office to organise our mail. I stayed in the car to read while Barrie went in. Not much later, he jumped back in the car and, without looking up, I asked ‘Any problems’. Next thing ‘Barrie’ jumped out. It was a chap whose grey car was parked further up. He had just seen a grey car and hopped in. The poor chap, he was so embarrassed. He waved as he drove past.

We now realise we are coming into new towns on the wrong day. When we did the tour yesterday, the caravan parks had vacancies. Now we know. Also, there is one big problem with this caravan park. The majority of the campers here are back packers, and, it seems, most of them are here for the picking season. The problem is they all go off about 6.00am each morning and continually open and close their car doors before they leave. I can’t work out why they have to do it so many times. My other complaint (I’m getting old and crotchety) is they leave the amenity block so messy, and Barrie said the gents is the same.

We are going to do the town murals tour tomorrow, and I’ll get the e-mailing done.