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Tuesday 22nd August:
Our first change to the planned schedule happened today. Last night while checking our booking for 2 days in Emerald I discovered that our “Discovery Park” booking was not a caravan park but a huge set of cabins that looked like a prison camp.
The car park was away from the cabins as they were all packed in long rows just like a prisoner of war camp. So a quick revision of our plans and we decided to head up the coast to Sarina, a quaint little town 15 minutes from the beach side. A quick call canceled our Discovery Park booking in Emerald (The lady was very nice and didn’t charge us a late cancellation fee as she was entitled to) and re-booked at Sarina in a very nice cabin at the caravan park.
Nice quiet 3.5 hour drive with a yummy fish lunch at the local RSL and settled in for a quiet afternoon. Booked a sugar mill tour for tomorrow morning.
Wednesday 23rd August:
First thing this morning we took a tour at The Sugar Shed to learn about sugar cane and sugar. Very interesting indeed. Ready to be a sugar cane farmer now…..
Then off wandering along the coast where we visited Sarina, Campwin and Grasstree beaches. Sadly all beaches have warnings about stingers so swimming is not an option. But we did manage to find a great little café in Grasstree Beach that did the best-grilled fish and chips.
Also went to Port of Hay Point that is the largest coal loading facility in the southern hemisphere. We counted 30 ships waiting to load and three in the process of loading. Very impressive but also very sad to see all this coal and what it will do to our planet.
Thursday 24th August:
Left Sarina and headed for Airlie Beach some 3 hours away. Arrived midday and got into our cabin straight away (Normally 2:00pm check in). Unpacked and had a “light” steak lunch at the Jubilee Tavern across the road. I must say it was one of the best steaks we have had on the trip so far.
Back for an afternoon siesta.
Made our way downtown to watch the sunset and get Guy’s mud crab. Well mud crabs seem to be in short supply as we only found one restaurant selling them. Guy picked her crab and was then informed that it would be $120.00. Just a bit to rich for us. We asked the lady at the caravan park about alternate venues and she directed us to some much more reasonable mud crab vendors. We shall check them out tomorrow.
Sad to see all the closed damaged businesses from Cyclone Debbie. About a sixth of the Airlie Beach main drag is still to be repaired.
Friday 25th August:
Went exploring in the Dingo Beach area today. Very nice off the beaten track place to visit. Had lunch at the Cape Gloucester eco resort. They serve awesome food looking over the bay.
Back to the cabin in time for the afternoon bird feeding. Guy fed the birds and didn’t get pooped on. I was just watching and got pooped on twice.
Saturday 26th August:
Sad to leave Airlie Beach as it is a very nice place. Stopped into the local Saturday morning market on the foreshore and Guy made a bag and few clothes purchases. It’s getting warmer as we go north so she “needs” some summer clothes.
Leisurely drive to Townsville and arrived at 1:30pm ish. Off to Sizzler, which just so happens to be a 5-minute walk from the cabin, for our one big meal today.
Our cabin is the first one we have encountered with an outside bathroom. The bathroom is right next to the cabin but you have to come outside to access it. It is half the price ($80 instead of $160) of a full ensuite and as we are only staying overnight we can live with that.
Sunday 27th August:
Left Townsville early and some 6 hours (400 km) later we arrived in Port Douglas to our Airbnb apartment at the Mango Tree apartments. Very nice. It’s the size of a small house.
Now Guy has been hanging out for mud crab. The guy at reception told us of a place downtown that will have them “for sure”. So up we rocked and they are sold out. We tried every other restaurant that we could find and no mud crabs.
Our only option is to ring the first restaurant at 9:00am tomorrow and “if” they have any coming in we can reserve one for lunch. So ring we shall tomorrow.
We did however have some very nice smoked salmon, scallops and a crab linguini for a late lunch. Didn’t make up for the missing mud crabs but came in a close second best.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy