Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Turning around and heading South

On the way south we made some stops that the rainy weather prohibited us from doing on our way to Port Douglas. First we followed the long road into the hinterland past lots of waterfalls. Too cold to stop and swim though.

That led us to Mission Beach which is really beautiful because it is under developed. A proper tropical paradise. Would have stayed longer but the camping was $35 per night (our most expensive). Another chance to spot wild Cassawary but I think they were all hiding away for the winter.

Further south and time for a days climbing at Mount Stewart near Townsville. It was great to be back on the rock after such a long break even though we both felt a little weak. The day was only hindered by not being able to find the routes from the topo description and Frankie deciding he hadn't seen an RAC man for a while. We couldn't start the car so had to pay $130 for the RAC man to put the car in neutral, not park as is normal, and start it immediately.

Diving the Yongala a day later was a highlight of the trip. After a quick test at 28m depth we explored the wreck of SS Yongala, seeing the toilets, the masts, the engine room and the `A' of Yongala. But what was most impressive was the fish life. We saw a deadly 3m Bull Shark, a Nurse Shark, got scared by inquisitive sea snakes (6th most poisonous snake in Aus), 2 Eagle rays, flirted with turtles and saw masses of huge fish and corals. Really amazing and the best way to finishing our scuba diving in Australia.

A Kookaburra at Ayre Beach

In the ongoing quest to save money we followed Australia's Grey Nomads and stopped overnight in free rest stops along the Bruce Highway. Some stops were amazing with free hot showers and barbeque's. The Grey Nomads were really friendly too, even offering to make us tea in their caravans in the cool evenings. However being British we said we were fine outside the car in the cold - Yeah right!

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