We are now far too hot
and no longer need the coats we bought. Although we are in the
Australian summer, it is also the rainy season that comes all at once
in torrential storms with spectacular lightening. Minutes later its dry
again. We did have to stop off the highway because the rain was so much
the driving was impossible.
After having an idea for a bike rack
that can be swung to one side so that the rear door can be opened,
David asked a small machine shop to make one up. This they did using
thick exhaust pipe and charged 40 pounds. The principle worked ok but
the whole thing was not rigid enough and needed two further mods along
the way to stop the bikes bouncing when we hit a bump. All is now ok
and the bikes are kept outside.
While at one of these places to
get the rack modified, an Aussie asked if we had anywhere to stay that
night and offered us the use of an old ranch house that he was
modernising. He told us where it was and said it was all unlocked and
in the middle of nowhere with a nearby creek for swimming.
only 15 minutes we found it. The location was in the middle of
thousands of acres of grazing land and the house with veranda stood on
a hillside with a gorgeous view. Although it had no drinking water, all
other services were there including a fridge.
Not far away was
another smaller house that we were told was also his and empty. It was
so nice that we took up his offer to stay several days.
evening we walked down to the creek, about half a mile away and sat
watching the water birds and parrots and keeping an eye open for signs
Joan spotted some bubbles coming up and then a platypus
appeared. This was our first ever sighting of a wild one and we watched
it for about 20 minutes before it finally disappeared.
morning we noticed one of the cows was still sitting out in the full
sun when all the rest had moved to shade near the water. When it was
still there in the evening and the following morning we realised all
was not well and telephoned the owner. Meantime, we set up a temporary
sunshade using old ladders, stakes and a tarpaulin. A large bucket of
water was put next to the now sorry looking cow and that was the best
we could do until the vet arrived. The vet gave the cow an injection
and the next morning it was looking much better but still unable to
stand. The problem was apparently a three-day fever that affects the
leg joints of the cow. Another day and we managed to get it to its feet
and our job done we left and continued our journey northwards.
those tiny black things you can hardly see, are a big irritation and
are only deterred by copious application of deterrent. As usual, Joan
suffers more from bites than David.
As we looped towards the
coast and along the Bruce highway, we encountered a tropical storm and
even with the wipers at full pelt it was impossible to see. The roads
flooded and the only solution was to stop until conditions improved.
These conditions are common here and when the roads are unsurfaced it
renders them impassable for a while.
This is now tropical
country. Mid to high thirties centigrade daytime and not much lower at
night. The sea looks inviting but swimming is very risky due to salt
water crocs and deadly jellyfish. Nobody goes in except in netted
areas. A free beachside camping area near Mackay was reached via a firm
sandy road which our Toyota managed easily, But as we attempted to turn
around to camp, our rear wheels got firmly dug in and we were stuck.
Some nearby campers came to our rescue with a spade and some shoving.
David will be a bit more careful where he drives in future.
here are on average about half those in England. Petrol is two and half
times cheaper here, but bread and beer are about the same. Local fruits
are of course much cheaper. A haircut is surprisingly about the same.
report the same things as in the UK – speed cameras, rising cost of
housing and local rates, dis-satisfaction with health services and
schools, teenage driving, government corruption to name a few.
Drivers here are generally good and seem to drive with more consideration than in the UK.
driving about 100 miles up the coast from a Bowen campsite we realised
that we had left two tent poles behind. Too late now. They will have to
be bought. That evening a large camper bus arrived at our site that we
recognised from the previous day, and yes you have guessed it, they had
our tent poles that we left behind!
An even better one. That
evening as David was fishing from the beach, he had a bite and pulled
in a pair of reading glasses that Joan had lost while on a walk that
morning. We thought of buying a lottery ticket.
David’s fishing is improving with two giant stingrays that had to be released by cutting the line instead of beaching them.
We had Australian Salmon for dinner that evening and another fish for breakfast. Both caught from the shore.