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carmel’s Travel Diary

Friday, 14 Jul 2006

Location: Bowen (still), Australia

MapSaturday, 8/7/06

We headed off to Townsville this morning, but werenít 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 isnít as interesting now. Firstly, the effects of the drought are starting to show Ė 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 Ė 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 Ė 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 Queenís 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 thatís 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 Ė 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 havenít 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. Iíd 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 ĎMen exercise on the beach by pulling in their gut each time they see a bikinií.

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 ĎAny problemsí. Next thing ĎBarrieí 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 canít work out why they have to do it so many times. My other complaint (Iím 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 Iíll get the e-mailing done.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

We didnít get to see the murals yesterday; instead we went to the Information Centre and then looking for some craft pieces for Barrie. Bowen is a nice place to visit, but the lady at the information centre told us itís not so good to live in. The hospital is almost closed down, the 2 dentists are in their late 50s and canít get replacements and so it goes. What a pity as it seems such a nice place.

So today was the day for checking out the town murals. They depict the history of Bowen, there is even 1 by Ken Done. Tomorrow we are going to have another beach day, then we are off to Midge Point (weíve been assured there arenít any midgies there) for a week, then Cape Hillsborough (weíve been warned that they could be there) for a few days, and then on to Nic and Jasonís.

Friday, 14 July 2006

We went to Horseshoe Bay today. Itís the IN place here at Bowen. Itís a small bay bounded by enormous cliffs. Itís very nice, but there are other bays here which we think are just as nice. We tried to see it on Sunday but it was so crowded we just turned around and went to one of the other bays.

Iíve just found out the caravan park here has wireless internet, so Iím using it now. However it doesnít reach our site so Iím sitting in the car at the camp kitchen.