Our next overnight stop was Rockhampton, more of a stopover as the distances are so immense, stopping on the way at a place for Gladstone for lunch. This was another town that due to the heat looked deserted, it seemed everyone was in the supermarket or a cafe.
We went into a chemist to buy more sunscreen (we’re using a lot) and the conversation went like this:
Assistant “You guys got a busy day today?”
Dawn “Yes we’re driving to Rockhampton”
“Off to Rocky eh, its hot up there”
Dawn “It’s 35 degrees outside!”
Assistant “yeh, but it’s really hot up there!”
The conversation showed 2 things, that everything including temperature is relative (it was 39 degrees in Rockhampton), and Australians love to shorten words, Rockhampton becomes Rocky, Bisbane becomes Brizzy, and McDonalds becomes Mackas (the restaurants even use this name above the door).
Rockhampton is a massive beef town, the tropic of Capricorn, there is a needle outside touris information showing where the tropics start, but the cow behind the office is more interesting, and close enough!
We had a wander around Rockhampton, which again was deserted other than a few aborigines hanging out, it had a very nice historic riverfront with lots of old buildings, but it was all being regenerated, which will look great when it’s done.
Next day it was off to our next port of call, Airlie Beach. A nice little town with a great man made lagoon (posh open air swimming pool) next to the beach so you can swim without the risk of getting stung by the jellyfish. We had a couple of steaks on the camp barbie and hit the sack ready for a tall ship journey the next day.
We went out on a day trip on the Derwent Hunter, a very old sailing ship that plies it’s trade these days on the tourist loop. We spent the morning powering out of harbour under diesel power as their was little wind to speak of. I was amused at the number of people who seemed to be suffering sea sickness, then 30 minutes later I started to feel strange, as if I was going to be sick, I dont think I have had sea sickness before, but it is not very pleasant. Unfortunately, Dawn was fine and didn’t seem to suffer at all.
Wew sailed around a few of the islands and had 2 snorkelling dives on the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef, we even saw a turtle from the ship, sadly it submerged before I got my camera out.
We had another great lunch, this time a buffet, with more food than any of us could eat. As we sailed back the sails were raised ready to get way under wind power, unfortunately there was no wind at all thatt day, so we sat there drifting, pleasant enough, but not exactly what we had hoped, so we dropped the sails, turned on the volvo diesel and had a beer.
Another great day, but 2 days after the Fraser Island cruise we had done our share of sailing, and probably got more sun than in the previous 4 months of travelling.
That evening I cooked the best steak i have ever had (Poterhouse on special from Woolworths), and a couple of glasses of cheap but tasty wine.
The following day we had a bit of a planning session, went to Cedar Creek falls, a waterfall with a swimming hole then grabbed an early night.
We left Airlie beach, stopped of at Townsville for a night on our way up to Cairns. Townsville is a big town but with a nice feel, we went for a long walk on the boardwalk up to the barrack for a great view of the town.
Next day we had a long drive up to Cairns, stopping off at another couple of swimming holes (we only went for a paddle), got lost in Cairns, and finally getting to our Air bnb apartment late in the evening. Sadly only 4 days left in Aus, but we were determined to make the most of them.