Around Australia Week 12 – Townsville to Palm Cove

Back to Townsville again! All this to-ing and fro-ing… Anyone who has had to wait around for repairs can understand how frustrating it gets. We’re soooo keen to get on the road again! We checked into the Lakes Caravan Park once more for a few days until it was time to leave the 4WD with City Crash Repairs.

You know, I really hated having to leave the van behind. It felt like I was abandoning my home. What to take? What to leave in the van? It was really hard to decide.

In the end, since we were planning to spend the waiting-for-repairs period just north of Cairns, we opted for lightweight clothes and a couple of light jackets, plus sandals and thongs. We reasoned that we wouldn’t need warmer clothes for a few weeks!

All in all, this has been a pretty quiet week. We discovered that Lois and Ralph were still at the Lakes Caravan Park, which was nice – it might only be a few weeks ago that we first met them, but already they felt like old friends! (Lois and Ralph were the couple who tried Forest Flying at Mackay.) We spent a few Happy Hours together, and Lois and I also caught up at morning tea put on by the park owners, Angela and Karl. This was well-attended; obviously much appreciated by the travellers staying at the park. No wonder the regulars keep coming back!

12_01_Ralph_Lois_Marg During this week we also had a bit of time to catch up with Rob’s brother, Ian, and his wife Jill. It was ironic that we are all living out of bags and boxes: us because we’re waiting for repairs; them because they’ve just moved in.

 CB Radio Update

Rob here: You might remember that one of the outcomes of the accident was that we decided to upgrade our CB from small hand-held units to a longer-range, in-car model. That was something else on the ‘to-do’ list this week: I organised a service for the car, then the installation of the CB radio. We opted for a model that showed the display on the handpiece, since this seemed to be the most convenient given the layout of the 4WD’s dashboard.  The aerial was mounted on a front fender.  The radio will give us a longer range of operations than the small hand-held model we had and I’m sure will prove to be a valuable asset to the vehicle.

12_02_CB_radioThursday rolled around very quickly – the day we had to deliver the car to City Crash Repairs and wave goodbye! We hired a sedan for the next 10 days, dropped off the car, and headed out of town, to Palm Cove.

(We drove through Palm Cove a few years ago and thought at the time it might be a relaxing place to spend a few days. And since we are going to be “homeless” for several weeks, what better time than now? So we Googled ‘Wotif’, found some accommodation that looked like a good deal at one of the resorts, and made a booking online.)

So we were back on the road… heading north yet again! I can imagine what our track would look like if you were following us on a GPS. North, south, north, south, north again… we are looking forward to the day when we can head WEST!

It didn’t take us long to take advantage of that lap pool (which beckoned from right underneath the window of our apartment… impossible to resist.)

12_03_lap_pool2We actually hadn’t realised that there was a caravan park at Palm Cove, until we wandered along the main street. It’s a small council-run park, right on the beach – a setting that would appeal to those who like to have sand, surf and cafes all within a few metres.

Another popular caravan park in the area is Ellis Beach, which also has a large number of beachfront cabins. This park is on the beach side of the Bruce Highway, about 10 minutes past Palm Cove. The beach has a stinger net and is patrolled by the local surf lifesaving club.

Using an eBook Reader

Marg speaking here… alias Grandma Geek!

It was on Ellis Beach that I finally got to try out my eBook reader in full sunlight. I’d been thinking about buying an eBook reader for some time: since I always have a novel close at hand, I have the usual problems that caravanners experience – books weigh a lot and take up space! This problem can be partially solved by swapping books with other travellers or simply leaving them in the laundry when finished… but sometimes I’d have liked to hold on to one that I had really enjoyed.

Enter the eBook reader. These are becoming increasingly popular – and increasingly sophisticated – so there are a number of models to choose from. E-ink technology means that you can see the screen clearly even in bright light, unlike a laptop screen. I opted for a Kindle from Amazon.com for a couple of reasons: first, the basic e-reader dropped in price because a newer model was being released, and second, Amazon has a huge range of books to choose from. You can log on to the Amazon site wirelessly without having to pay for an internet connection, and browse the selection of eBooks. If you see something you like, you can download a sample before you buy.

Now I need never run out of books to read: wherever there is 3G phone coverage, I can download a book in seconds. And I can carry a 1,500 book library with me everywhere I go! (Although I’m sure it will take quite some time to buy and read that many books…)

12_04_ebook_reader_Ellis_Beach

Port Douglas

We finished off this week with a visit to Port Douglas – on Sunday, as it happened, so the regular markets were on. Caravan folk do a lot of browsing around markets. While you can certainly get to the ‘see one weekend markets and you’ve seen them all’ stage, often you can pick up something different for a gift – and there’s always fresh fruit & veggies or baked goods. So, we browsed… then finished off with a meal at the Port Douglas Combined Club (popularly known as ‘The Tin Shed’), on the deck overlooking the water.

12_05_Port_Douglas Port Douglas seems to be getting busier and busier. The main street throngs with tourists, and the cafes and restaurants do a roaring trade. If you want to escape the crowds, though, there’s always Four Mile Beach. The closest caravan park to the beach is the Tropic Breeze: walk out of the back gate, through a small park and you’re there. This park is also very handy to town. The Pandanus, a larger park, is just a few streets back (and still only about a four-minute walk from the beach). The Big 4, the Glengarry Holiday Park, is further away from the township, but has a lagoon-style pool and is close to the golf course. With 15 acres of grounds, there’s plenty of space in this park.

There are also several caravan parks just north of Port Douglas at Wonga Beach, and these are enormously popular in peak season.

Next week we plan to explore more of the attractions around this part of the tropics… we’ve heard good things about Coffee Works, and we’re keen to explore Mossman Gorge. See you then! (And we must tell you why Rob was forced to buy a pair of long trousers and new joggers….)


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