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  • Day5

    Mother's Day

    May 12, 2019 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

    We had a great day - a Mother's Day lunch and gathering. We started the day with a special breakfast from Miles - waffles, fruit - strawberries, kiwifruit and raspberries - and cream too. We gave Mum a bunch of flowers. Before everyone arrived we visited Nathan & Caroline's new flat, which is just around the corner on a canal. Then we visited the new house that Meghan & Dominic have just moved too.
    For lunch we had all of the above and Caroline's parents. We have a big lunch - roast, vegies etc.

    It was great to see them all and catch up.
    Tomorrow we leave for Noosaville, but before that we need to pick up Mark & Penny at the Brisbane airport.
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  • Day26


    November 6, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Up early to get down to the department for transport to register Bertha in our name. Again, very painless, but not as painless as the UK system of doing it online. Having said that, how easy is it for a foreigner to buy and register a vehicle in UK?

    We came home and I picked up the bunch of keys and sorted them. While we have 4 or 5 copies of some keys, we only have 1 copy of our main deadlock for Bertha. One of the door locks could probably be opened using a wooden lolly stick! We then washed everything we had collected the day before, sorted into what we would keep and what to send to the charity shop.

    With loads of stuff and lots of places to put it, we decided to go to the enormous DIY/trade store called Bunnings. As I’ve said befor, it has everything and makes a large B&Q look a bit insignificant. The plan was simple, park in their car park, start packing the stuff away and if we had a problem to go into Bunings and find a solution.

    In reality the plan worked well except they didn’t have something I wanted that I felt sure I would find in B&Q. Sometimes the language barrier is too high and I can’t make myself understood; never mind.

    The evening was spent continuing to pack and squirrel everything away. Now we just need to put our clothes in, buy some food and be on our way.

    First stop will be Bribie Island, a staggering 40 miles away north of Brisbane. “Bribie Island is the smallest and most northerly of three major sand islands forming the coastline sheltering the northern part of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. The others are Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island. Bribie Island is 34 kilometres long, and 8 kilometres at its widest”. The island was connected to the mainland by a bridge in 1963. It is believed that the name of the island came from a corruption of a mainland word for it; “Boorabee” meaning 'koala bear'.

    We are meeting a friend who now lives on the island. Hopefully this will give us a chance to see how well Bertha travels full of crockery etc. Earlier today we went over a sleeping policeman and it sounded like everything smashed in the back! It will also be our first night camping!
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  • Day3

    Singapore to Cairns

    January 23 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    The next leg of our journey from Singapore to Cairns in Queensland, Australia was provided by SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines. We were surprised to find that only a soft drink and a small packet of peanuts was offered by way of sustenance on this 7 hour flight, until breakfast just before arrival. This was compounded by the fact that, due to an emergency involving the evacuation of the control tower at Singapore, we sat on the plane for two hours before takeoff. After a bit of pleading with the steward, however, we were given an extra early breakfast. The entertainment too was not as good - there were no back-of-the-seat TV screens, and we were told you had to download their app before accessing movies on your own device (provided you had one). Unfortunately, this was difficult to do with no WiFi on board, and it would have been better if we had known to do this in the airport with its free WiFi before boarding. However, Campbell managed to sort us out with his Hot Spot (don’t ask!). On the plus side, we were assigned extra legroom seats above the wing, which facilitated my frequent nocturnal visits to the loo, thus saving the use of my emergency Tena Man supply (thanks, Rab!).

    Eventually almost 40 hours after we left Glasgow, we arrived in Cairns. Although we were pretty exhausted, we decided to keep going and get into the Aussie time frame. We were booked into the comfortable Mantra Esplanade Hotel, right in the centre of town. After a very welcome shower and change of clothes, we set off to have a look round. Cairns is an attractive holiday town, with numerous travel companies vying for your business to visit the Great Barrier Reef. There was no sign of any fire damage here, and the town was lush with vegetation everywhere. Although the town doesn’t have a beach, there is a beautiful man-made lagoon, complete with sand, right at the sea front just opposite our hotel. I opted however for a swim in the hotel pool in an attempt to cool down - only to find it was like stepping into a warm bath! For dinner, we opted for a Japanese ramen dish in a basic but highly recommended tiny restaurant. By 8pm we are ready for bed - Campbell is already out for the count!
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  • Day7

    Beautiful Brisbane

    January 27 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    Our train arrived at Brisbane’s Roma Street Station at 0950 - only 30 minutes late, which wasn’t too bad after such a long journey. We walked up through a beautiful though very steep park to our hotel - The Pacific. Hoping just to leave our luggage, we were pleasantly surprised to be allowed access to our room, even although it was only 10am. After showering and changing, we set off to explore Brisbane. Today (Monday) was a public holiday in respect of yesterday’s Australia Day. We took a pleasant (but hot) 5 minute walk down to the city centre, and visited the small city museum. We noted that the City of Brisbane was named after Sir Thomas Brisbane who was born in Largs, Ayrshire in 1773. (I remember now that we stayed at the Brisbane Hotel in Largs not so long ago). We then joined the excellent free tour of Brisbane City Hall, the main auditorium of which houses the magnificent Father Henry Willis organ which has more than 4300 pipes. To round off, we took the lift for the Clock Tower Tour, and enjoyed panoramic views of the city.

    Feeling the need to cool off, we then took advantage of the free City Hopper Ferry along the Brisbane River (so far today’s activities have cost us zero!). Seeing this beautiful city from the river was a great way to get your bearings. Visited the South Bank - an amazing complex of cultural buildings - theatres, galleries, museums, as well as beautiful riverside landscaped gardens and an extensive city beach with man-made lagoon. The place was thronged with families swimming, having picnics and generally enjoying themselves. A high quality of life does seem very important to Australians, and Brisbane seems to be a very family-friendly city. I remember our family almost emigrated here in the 1960s under the £10 scheme, and I wonder what life would have been like had we done so.

    We enjoyed a tasty dinner and cold cider at the Plough Inn on the South Bank, busy with locals celebrating Australia Day weekend. My half portion of barbecue ribs could easily have fed half a dozen and even Campbell couldn’t help me finish them off. Back to the hotel for an early night after a lovely day in this most attractive city.
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  • Day8

    Beautiful Brisbane - Day 2

    January 28 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Before our tasty breakfast we did a big washing in the hotel laundry - how can we have got through so many clothes in a few days? We were then joined by my former social work colleague, Kylie, who had offered to meet up with us and show us around. It was great to see her again, and since I worked with her In Glasgow, she has returned to live on the Sunshine Coast with her husband Tam from Govan and their three children. Kylie took us on a trip to Mount Coot-tha, a favourite scenic point, which had fabulous views over the city of Brisbane. We then visited the beautiful Botanic Gardens, enjoying the shade offered by the huge variety of trees in view of the heat. On return to the city, we enjoyed a late tasty Greek lunch, before bidding farewell to Kylie after a most enjoyable day.

    Campbell and I then attended a small exhibition called Bittersweet, about the development of musical theatre in Australia. Although mostly obscure works we had never heard of, it included memorabilia and costumes from shows including The Boy From Oz and, of course, Priscilla. There was also mention of the latest hit musical, Muriel’s Wedding. Although it seems to have had great success here, I am not aware of any proposed productions on Broadway or the West End. The next Runway premiere perhaps? We then visited the much lauded Gallery of Modern Art, and on the way in we saw a pair of old boots on the steps outside. We wondered initially if these were actually one of the art exhibits, I have to say that the contents of the gallery were very highbrow, and we much preferred the architecture of the building to the art works themselves. Bring back Kelvingrove!

    We were planning on going to see the big show in town - The Book of Mormon - but as we both had seen the show before (Campbell twice!), and the fact that our body clock has still not quite adjusted to Australian time, we were worried we would fall asleep at the interval. Instead we settled for a walk round the old, historic quarter, viewing Parliament House, the Old Government Building and the City Botanic Gardens. By the time we walked over the pedestrian bridge over the river and caught the ferry back, it was certainly nearing our bedtime of 9pm.
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  • Day34

    Tannum Sands

    November 14, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Tannum Sands is just south of of the large port and industrial area of Gladstone. We wail visit there, but didn’t want to stay there so opted for a beach site.

    When we drove from Agnes Waters we stopped at a little restaurant called the Getaway Garden Cafe. We drove past it twice before we found it a little way down a side road. The restaurant was set in their lovely gardens. As we’d had a strenuous walk around the paperbark forest we thought we deserved a cup of iced coffee. We hadn’t had any b’fast so maybe a light snack ... but they’d finished serving that so it had to be an early lunch 😊. Jolly good it was too.

    We didn’t take the same road as we had travelled yesterday so no more photos ... never mind.

    During the journey I found out that Bertha can out accelerate a transporter with a huge digger on the back, but that catches us up on the flat!

    Before finding a caravan park, we spent an hour or so on the beach. Having seen the sign near the beach we went for a swim in the shallows before finding a caravan park, then off to the supermarket having decided that we would have a BBQ at one of the public BBQ sites. These sites are frequent along the parks near the beach. They are usually spotless gas BBQs with flat plates rathe than the usual grill rungs. Nearby there are tables and often a set of toilets. At one we walked through there was a small portable gas cooker too, We commented that it would have probably been stolen within 5 minutes where we live.

    Having eaten the BBQ we went back to the caravan park, parked up and will soon be off to be after a shower to get rid of the salt water, sunscreen and insect repellent.
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  • Day46

    Mon Repos

    November 26, 2019 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    This was one of those experiences when I wasn’t sure whether I was part of the problem or the solution. AUS $23million had been spent on refurbishing the education centre. The information was great, beautiful videos about radio-tagged turtles and their journeys and photos, information sheets, interactive things for kids etc.

    The process is that we were all collected from a car park that is situated about 1 mile from the centre using a shuttle bus driving with no lights on. Once everyone arrived outside the centre (around 7:00) we were allowed in via a process of checking tickets etc. There is a small cafe, gift shop, education stuff etc. We were divided into two groups. I was told that there can be up to 60 people in each group. We were badge numbers 31 and 32 of group 2. Then we wait until a turtle comes up onto t(e beach where rangers are patrolling to spot them. Once a turtle is up and found a nesting spot, the group are taken to watch. The public cannot approach until the turtle is nesting as she won’t abandon her nest after she has started laying, but may abandon it if simply digging it.

    There were a lot of rules, no torches, no taking photographs until told, no devices that illuminate (smart-watches, phones etc)) stay behind the ranger, do as you’re told.

    The risk is that no turtles come onto the beach. I’m not sure if you lose your money 😩. More likely, they don’t arrive until 11 or 12:00 by which time everyone has spent their life savings at the cafe or gift shop and the young children are so fractious that there is a lynch party out to take them from their parents and lock them in a cupboard.

    Fortunately the first group were called at about 7:30 and then our group around 8:00. We were taken out of the centre and told that we would have to walk along a walkway, down to the beach. Be quiet, no torches etc. We spent a short while to get our “night vision” and then set off. A short way along the walkway there was a strobe light that flashed and immediately blinded you if you’d been looking in that direction. Night vision totally lost, we walked into each other, trampled the old and infirm underfoot until we could see again when .... flash - another strobe light. Who designed this? After a series of regaining night vision and then being blinded, those of us who had not fallen by the wayside stumbled off the walkway onto the beach where we regrouped.

    We were taken along the beach and handed over to another ranger. Taken further along the beach to a big blob that we were told was a turtle that had dug her nest and conveniently had laid an LED light in the nest! All of us had to stand behind her (she was facing up the beach), with the front row kneeling, the next row standing, the short people at the back not seeing anything and getting frustrated.

    Once she had finished laying we formed a circle around her while the ranger and an assistant bought eggs around for us to try, well, touch, eating turtle eggs is frowned upon.

    The rangers each took her measurements for precision, checked the tag numbers, called HQ and were told to re-tag her. I put tags in our sheep’s ears and that makes me wince, but a tag in a turtle fin, ouch. I think it made her eyes water too. The rangers were quick to point out that their eyes always run, making it look like they are crying.

    She flicked sand over us as she buried the eggs and scampered down to the see with us all trailing behind her.

    There were a lot of anti-plastic, anti ambient light messages etc. There is a lot of conservation and attempts to ensure the eggs have the best chance to hatch, being relocated if laid in a bad place, and that the hatchlings get to the sea. As we walked back being intermittently blinded,

    Back at the centre we were given information about the turtle we had seen, how many times she had laid eggs etc. They mate with multiple turtles and store the sperm. They then beach to lay eggs 3 to 6 times at approx 2 week intervals, during a laying year; each time having to haul themselves onto the beach and dig a hole. She may lay again after 3 or 4 or more years.

    It struck me as a bit of a circus that I was contributing to. I just wondered if I was contributing to their survival or their demise. If I was that turtle I would never go back on land again.
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  • Day28

    Snorkling in the outer Barrier reef

    May 3, 2019 ⋅ 🌬 26 °C

    The last day at the east coast we spent on a Catemaran at the edge of the continental shelf in the outer Barrier reef. We were snorkling on three different reef sites and had seen quite some fishes and big turtles 🐢. But compared to 28 years ago the reef looks about like a cemetary. Still nice but with lots of dead corals. Unfortunately no scuba diving for me today because we will fly to Perth in the evening. Hope the cat will bring us back to Cairns on time 😬.Read more

  • Day157


    January 31 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Comment dire... 🤔
    On a loupé notre vol Singapour / Brisbane? ✈️
    Et bien oui ! 😑

    Résumé de ces derniers jours :

    - il pleut à Singapour le 29 Janvier 🌧️

    - les pharmacies sont en rupture de stock de masques à cause d'un certain Coronavirus 😷

    - arrivée à l'aéroport : notre vol était le 28 Janvier, on doit repayer des billets plein pot 💵
    #boulets #deconnection #sanspression

    - durant le vol de 8h : notre voisin et sa femme n'ont pas arrêté de tousser. Vraiment pas rassurant à cause du virus, on a peu dormi 🤒

    - arrivée à Brisbane : on récupère enfin notre van et c'est parti pour l'aventure ! 🚐

    - on fait nos courses, on roule vers un "campground" au nord de Brisbane et on passe une bonne nuit après avoir pris une bonne douche 🚿🙏😀

    - le lendemain, on continue de monter sur la Sunshine coast pour une journée plage à Coolum Beach ⛱️

    Bisous de nous 😘
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  • Day36

    Yeppoon at night

    November 16, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    When we drove through Yeppoon on Friday evening, we commented that it was the busiest place we had come across beyond Brisbane. OK, there may have been an influx of people going on to the island for the music festival, but it still looked busy.

    We had been recommended a Thai restaurant on the esplanade. We walked the mile to Yeppoon and came across a tree where Lorikeets were gathering for the night; the loudness of their chatter was quite extraordinary.

    The meal was lovely, the esplanade was full of people out eating and the beach still had families walking along it.

    As we walked past the tree with the lorikeets in, Bun said she couldn’t see any. I stopped under the tree to spot the little rascals when one pooped on me, in the eye and down the shirt. A lovely end to a lovely day 🤮
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You might also know this place by the following names:

State of Queensland, Queensland, QLD, Квинсленд

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