Friday 17th December

I am still so many months behind, this is appalling. I will try harder!

 

On Tuesday we headed from the rest stop on to Airlie Beach, stopping at a beach at Bowen en route. It was a nice beach with white and black sand (which really burned). We just had a little stop at the beach before continuing onto Airlie Beach. Although we somehow managed to find ourselves on a golf course. After walking along the beach we thought it might be nice to walk back through the park but turned out people were playing golf there. Hmmm better go back to the beach and not get hit by a golf ball. We drove onto Airlie Beach where the water is ridiculously blue. The nicest colour sea I have ever seen! We treated ourselves to fish and chips and managed to get given a huge box of prawns by some people who’d been having some sort of team meeting by the beach and couldn’t finish them. I did try one but I didn’t like the way it was looking at me so didn’t have any more. We managed to pass them on to some travellers having a BBQ who seemed pretty shocked at the amount of prawns we were giving them. I wonder now how many people those prawns got passed along to! After lunch we did a little shopping and I bought 2 pairs of sunglasses to replace those I’d lost in the swimming pool at Townsville. Ryan’s remaining 2 pairs both popped their lenses whilst at Airlie Beach so he also had to buy some more. They were from Primark though so it’s not too surprising they can’t survive the Ozzy heat! We then headed toward Mackay but the squeaking fan belt was back! We were driving towards Eungella and had to call out the RACQ again. It took hours for them to come and then once they had there was no difference in the screeching so we had to call them back. I wondered whether the mechanic was actually a real mechanic as he didn’t seem to know what he was talking about and then proceeded to tie the engine up with cable ties. On his second visit he did manage to work out that it was an issue with the bolt though which no one previously had done. In the morning we took it to the mechanics who told us we had a cracked bolt and replaced it for us. Since then nothing has gone wrong –touch wood!

So after we’d been to the mechanics we drove back to Eungella as the guidebook said it was pretty much guaranteed that we would see a platypus. It was a steep climb up a mountain to get there but the views were beautiful. There is a platypus viewing platform at a place up in the mountain called Broken River. We parked up and went to see if we could spot a platypus. We had no luck at first, but we did see a lot of turtles. We had got there around lunchtime but it was said that the best times to spot a platypus are dawn and dusk so I was worried that we’d driven all the way and would not manage to see one. But when we’d been waiting for about 10 minutes a little platypus did pop up to say hello! He was so cute! He dove down again but then came back again a few minutes later and I managed to take a photo! He didn’t come back after that so we were very lucky to have seen him. It was so exciting! We then drove back towards Mackay where we picked up some sausages to BBQ for lunch but ended up getting completely lost, not even finding the sea and heading back to the highway and driving about 100km to a free campsite at Clairview. They spelt my name wrong. We finally had our hot dogs for dinner! The campsite was right by the beach in a quiet village. In the morning I even drove the van back to the highway (before Ryan took over for the ‘proper driving’.

We had got up early and drove nearly all the way to Rockhampton. We went to the Capricorn Caverns –a dry limestone cave system. When we got there we saw 2 kangaroos just out in the garden. I think they were semi-tame as they were not fenced in but there seemed to be food and water put out for them. I’m not sure if it counts as seeing actual wild kangaroos…. Anyway, I was interested in doing an adventure tour but with the extra cost at $70 I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. So we decided to go on the summer solstice tour at 11am instead and go caving in Wales when we go home. We were lucky as the summer solstice only occurs for 6 weeks of the year. It is when sunlight comes through a hole in one of the caverns roofs between 11-12 from November to January time. We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The tour was very interesting; we saw rock formations in different shapes that resembled other things such as a rhino, Australia, and angels amongst other things. We learnt that we were actually all stood on bat guano and that when the caves were first discovered it was waist deep and has only been compressed so much because the tours have been going on for hundreds of years. In one of the caverns the cathedral cavern they have weddings and opera there! At the end of the tour the guide left us to go through a less ‘spacious’ part of the cave so we had to creep through a narrow corridor in the cave ending up with rope bridges to cross. They don’t do that at Wookey Hole! We were shown one of the entrances for the adventure tour and it was just a small hole that you had to climb in feet first then make your way down but it simply looked like a vertical drop!

After visiting the caves we headed to the Capricorn Coast to find a campsite for the night. They are some very beautiful beaches there and we managed to find a campsite right on the beachfront. While we were looking we saw 2 wild emus just walking along in a field! I had never actually expected to see any Emus as I thought they lived in the desert. I should perhaps have been enlightened when the name of the nearest village was Emu Park though… It was all very exciting! At the campsite we finally got a chance to do some washing and have a bit of a sort out. It was nice to have got all the travelling out of the way early in the day so that we could relax a bit in the afternoon. Yeppoon where we stayed is a nice little town but there’s not much about apart from the beach. I’m not sure what the plan is for today but I’m sure we’ll end up somewhere!

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