The train to Rockhampton
arrived at 11.25pm and the first luggage coach stopped opposite the
small platform with the rest of the train disappearing way into the
distance behind. When booking the train we had been told to turn the
handlebars and remove the pedals, but we deliberately left the bikes as
is complete with panniers. The guard reminded us that the rules
required us to prepare the bikes, but as predicted there was plenty of
room and he accepted them as they were even though we said we were
prepared to strip them down if he insisted. He then asked us to wait on
the platform while the correct passenger carriage was moved up. After
at least twenty carriages passed, the train stopped and we were ushered
to our seats. Five hours later we awoke as the conductor personally
told us we had arrived.
It was 4.30am and just getting light as
we cycled south still with a slight headwind and looking for a suitable
breakfast stop - After about 80 miles we passed an enormous aluminium
factory on the outskirts of Gladstone and another being built on 2000
acres of reclaimed mangrove swamp. The town welcomes industry as it
brings employment and prosperity but there is also the environmental
lobby who object the destruction of large areas of coastal mangrove.
short ride to Lake Awoonga and a tent site overlooking the lake which
was formed by damming the river. It had been stocked with Barramindi
and held many fish over 100 lbs in weight. While we were there only one
was caught and it was at least 4 ft long. The site owners had closed
the cafe for the evening because it had been booked for a birthday
party, but said we could share the food on an all-you-can-eat basis for
only 4 pounds each. The food was wonderful with seafood starters, roast
main meal and cheesecake or pavlova and fruit and cheese and biscuits
etc! Not bad for the price.
At Miiriam Vale, an old colonial
village, we saw a sign on an old wooden balconied hotel offering double
rooms for 30 dollars (about 12 pounds). We decided to treat ourselves.
The room was basic, but had tea making facilities and a balcony
overlooking the street. The soft mattress and pillows gave us a good
General notes (useful for Tinas brother).
Houses are cheaper than England. It is difficult to be accurate, but generally
are about half the English price. Many people live in caravans before
buying as it is easier here to live in temporary accomodation for long
periods. The planning regulations allow it. Food is about half price
except bread and restaurant drinks. Restaurant food is much cheaper,
roast dinners are easily available for two pounds. petrol is one third
that in England and the big car is still the norm here as it is in the
USA. Medical charges are more complicated and most people seem to use a
mixture of private and state systems. Consumer goods such as electrical
goods, tools and furniture are more exspensive as there doesn't seem to
be the variety of imported goods from Taiwan and China.
are cheaper, with the Holden, Australia's own make, selling nearly as
many as the Fords, the best sellers. Japanese cars are common and
European fairly rare.
Dave and Joan