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Friday, 7 September 2012


How We Got to “The Tip” – Cape York, Queensland, Australia


Planning ahead was an essential process, including rail and cargo vessel bookings.  We had been told about the opportunity to visit Cap York by way of travelling on a working cargo vessel; and a quick search on the internet revealed a company named Sea Swift provided a passenger service from Cairns to Seisia on the cargo vessel “M.V. Trinity Bay”.  I had a look at the Weather Bureau’s rainfall data and discovered August was the driest month of the year in that part of the world.  Knowing that August would be cool temperature wise helped us make the decision to book a private “en suite” cabin for the 5 night trip.  The trip included a visit to Horn Island and Thursday Island where side tours were available.  At Seisia there was a 4x4 tour available to the very top of Cape York.  Our deposit paid, it was time to decide how best to get to Cairns.  We had several options including driving ourselves, flying, bussing or enjoying a leisurely trip by rail on “The Sunlander” passenger train.  We opted for the latter and made our bookings for a 1st class sleeper.  These arrangements would give us a one day stay in Cairns on the “up” journey; and a two day stay in Cairns on the “return” journey.  We purposely gave ourselves a couple of days in Cairns because the travel information for the “M.V. Trinity Bay” stated the return date to Cairns could not be guaranteed; arrival could be delayed by the weather or loading and unloading requirements.  Next on the list was booking accommodation in Cairns for both legs of the journey.  We choose an apartment at The Tropic Towers Apartments, Sheridan Street, Cairns; which was 5km from the Cairns CBD and on the bus route that would take us into the city.  Having sorted out the travel logistics, we then had to decide what luggage we could carry.  We eventually decided to carry two small bags each, as well as the all important camera slung around my neck.  All was in readiness and now it was just a matter of waiting for the big day.
As it turned out we were able to drive to Brisbane and attend our Grandson Chris’ 18th birthday party on board “The Queenslander” where we enjoyed a cruise on the Brisbane River on the night of the 18 August 2012.  The lights of the bridges and buildings in the CBD were a kaleidoscope of colours and made a perfect backdrop for a great party night.

The Trip Begins:

21-8-2012 (Tuesday)

Having left our car at our daughter’s house we boarded “The Sunlander” at Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane at 1.15pm.  Earlier, whilst waiting for the boarding announcement on the platform I noticed a man board the train without permission.  It did not take long for the conductor to order him off and back onto the platform; this “gentleman” had a few choice words to say and I hoped he would not be seated near us.  At 1.25pm the train slowly pulled out from the station.  Our journey had begun!

                                       The Sunlander – Roma Street Station, Brisbane.
Unfortunately the “gentleman” I referred to earlier, continued to cause trouble on the train and we had only travelled to Caboolture just outside Brisbane, when the train stopped for half and hour whilst the unruly passenger was handed over to police.  I later spoke to the conductor who told me the man had been drinking and had become quite aggressive, having to be physically restrained.  I’m glad he didn’t bother us!
Later that afternoon we went to the dining car to have our evening meal where low and behold I saw a fellow resident of Tin Can Bay who was travelling with his wife and another couple from Tin Can Bay also.  To our amusement it turned out Jack, Irene, Bill and Roz were also taking passage on the “M.V. Trinity Bay” with us!  A small world indeed!
Being a little unwell from a “bug” I picked up in Brisbane, I had no trouble sleeping that night.  The “rock and roll” and “track noise” soon became part of the background and lulled me off to sleep.  Marion slept well also, but woke up every time the train stopped whilst I slept on.
                                          Our 1st Class Sleeper - 2 bunks.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

APRIL 2012

This month saw us travel to Brisbane once again for Jake's 6th Birthday and Chris' ANZAC day march.
The ANZAC day service conducted after the march was very well done with school army cadets taking the role of honour guard and two small "pre-schoolers" laying a wreath; it brought a lump to one's throat to see these little ones march up, lay the wreath and step back and salute.  They would have been 4yrs old.
I have posted some photos hereunder:
Jake's 6th Birthday - ANZAC day 2012.

Chris and the ANZAC day march at Wynnum, Queensland, Australia.  Hundreds of similar marches and services were conducted throughout Australia on this day.

The cross has the head gear of the Royal Australian Navy (Senior Service), Army (note the emu feathers, indicating the Light Horse), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Update 13 December 2011

Well the year is almost over and our caravan trips are but memories to be cherished for the future.  The year 2012 will see a change to our travel plans; we will be making trips to Sydney with Jake and Joel (two of our grandchildren), Cape York and surrounding Islands by boat and a trip to the opal field town of Lightning Ridge.  We are also hoping to get in one more trip south but that has to be planned for.
Cape York is the Northernmost Point of the Australian Continent (yes our Island Home is a Continent!).

Well that's it for now.  We wish all our readers a happy and holy Christmas.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Jake and Luke Williamson our grand children. September 2011.
We have been having fun on the beach and in the park.  Jake went for a ride with Helen on a pedal go cart yesterday.  The camp is all set up and fine tuned now.  Today we are going to put up the pergola over the picnic table the park staff brought to our site for us.  The ducks fascinate Luke and the Rainbow Lorrikets dive bomb us when flying through the camp!  We are enjoying the quiet life.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Saturday 10 September 2011:
After a short 5 hour dive from Brisbane we arrived at the Darlington Beach Resort Caravan Park on Saturday.  We plan staying here for the annual family reunion week, which commences on 17 Sep 2011.  We spent a few hours setting up and then assisted our daughter Helen in setting up her camper trailer also.  We have two of the grand children, Jake and Luke, with us and will have them for this week before their parents, Cathie and Beau, arrive on the 17th.  Once settled in we relaxed and took in the scenery and the wild life which abounds in this park.  We have wild ducks, kangaroos and parrots visiting us looking for a hand out.  Whilst we give the birds some free seeds or bread, we don't feed the kangaroos as they can become quite aggressive and are capable of inflicting serious damage upon humans with the claws on their back legs.  The rule is leave them alone and they will leave you alone.  Helen had one enter her camp and begin to nudge her quite aggressively, begging for food; however, Helen sent it on its way and it has not come back.  Not so long ago a man was killed by a large red kangaroo out west when it attached him and ripped him open with its hind legs; these male kangaroos can stand up to 8 feet tall when they stand upright!  Having said that, we are visited by a mob of Eastern Grey Kangaoos.  These are much smaller than their red cousins and are not aggressive if you leave them alone.  They will let you approach and take photos but they have a "personal space" they won't let humans into; they will just hop away and start feeding on the grass again.
 Marion and our Caravan
 Helen's Camp

Sunday 11 September 2011:
We drove to Woolgoolga about 7km south of our caravan park and after attending mass, did a quick bit of shopping.  After driving back to the camp, we took some photos of Marion feeding the Rainbow Lorrikets at the caravan.  These lovely birds are with us constantly whether we feed them or not.
 Marion and the Rainbow Lorrikets

Whilst we were enjoying the birds we were treated to a vist from a pair of Wood Ducks with their family of ducklings.  They appeared quite unafraid, although wild, and let us feed them some bread.
 Wood Ducks and ducklings

Later that day I decided to stalk some of the Eastern Grey Kangaroos feeding about the park.  They would not let me get too close; however after a patient wait I noticed they let me approach a little closer.  I took some good photographs of mother and joey and some general shots of the mob.
 Eastern Grey and Joey

It was time to do some "fine tuning" around the camp and we finally settled back and  relaxed for the rest of the day.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Update from Bob and Marion

Hi all,
This post is just to let you know we are still around.  We haven't been on any trips recently so have not posted.  The main reason I have posted now is to let you know about a book our very good friends, Martha and Russ Wheelock, in Texas, USA, have recently published and placed on Amazon.  It is called The Voyage of Islita and I can guarantee it is a good read; having read it myself.  I won't waffle on as there are several comments about the book already posted on Amazon.  If you are interested in reading about a couple's adventures whilst sailing around the world in a little yacht, this is a good read.  Enjoy!  The Amazon site to view the book and details is:
 Russ and Martha Wheelock

That's about it for now.  We are planning a trip to South Australia early next year so hope to post some interesting info then.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

2011 Caravan Trip to Cairns & Townsville - Nth Queensland



As promised in my last post to this blog, I have finally put pen to paper with a report on the trip to Cairns and Townsville with three of our grand children, Chris16yrs; Becky 11yrs and Jake 5yrs. This particular trip was somewhat of an experiment, for we had never before taken three of the children away with us; and accommodating them in the caravan annexe was to be an experiment. Fortunately it all turned out well and we had a great trip. It was interesting to see how various caravan parks treated the extra persons in terms of the accommodation costs. Christopher was invariably classed as an "adult"; Rebecca was always a "child" and Jake was sometimes a "child" and sometimes a "baby -free". The majority of caravan parks simply treated all children as extra "persons" and charged the same extra amount for each of the children respectively. Interestingly, Christopher was treated as a "child" at some tourist attractions.


Prior to our departure the children were all delivered to our home and excitement permeated the house as we tried to settle them down for bed the night before we were due to depart. On Saturday 25 June 2011, we awoke at 4.00am for a very early start as we had quite a long way to go before pulling up for the night. We arrived at Mackay in North Queensland just on 3.46pm; and after booking in to our ensuite site, we set about putting the annexe up for the children's sleeping quarters. All went well with the process and whilst Chris assembled the camping stretchers with their "blow up" mattresses, Becky and Jake assisted with the erection of the annexe. Jake undertook the task of winding down the four stabilizers under each corner of the caravan and once again did a great job. He was experienced at this task, having undertaken it on previous trips with us. Onlookers were quite amazed to see a 5 year old boy winding down the stabilizers as if it were a common occurrence. Becky learnt how to hammer in tent pegs and became proficient at this task very quickly. In less than an hour the "camp" was set up and we were all comfortable. The children had learnt the importance of team work and this augured well for the rest of the trip. We let the children off the leash for a while and they went exploring among the local birdlife, including Ibis and Whistler Ducks that abound in the park. There was no playground in the park, which was a surprise as we had believed there was one. There was a pool but it was by now too cold for swimming and consequently that option was ruled out with no objections from the children. We decided to reward our helpers with pizzas for the evening meal, so we all piled into the car and after a visit to the petrol station for fuel we found our way to the pizzeria where we purchased some delicious pizzas which were consumed quick smart! It was soon time for bed as we had another early start in the morning. Three tired children and two tired adults were soon dreaming sweet dreams. We had travelled 787km from Cooloola Cove [home] to Mackay in one day.

Whistler Ducks at Andergrove Caravan Park, Mackay, Queensland.

Sunday 26 June. We were out of bed at 5.00am and to our dismay it had begun to rain! Fortunately the rain eased off for a short time allowing us to pull down the annexe and stow it in the van. It did not matter that it was still wet as we knew it would be going up again that same afternoon. We laid out another small plastic sheet on the floor of the van and stowed the annexe walls on this to prevent water dripping all over the van floor. By 5.45am we were on our way. The rain stayed with us for a couple of hours as we travelled north, however it was not heavy rain and did not cause us any problems. We arrived at Townsville, some 384km north of Mackay, at 10.45am and utilised the relatively new extension to the motorway to bypass the heart of the city and emerge on the northern outskirts in 15 minutes. Stopping at Bluewater picnic grounds for lunch brought back some childhood memories, as I used to go there for picnics with friends many years ago. After lunch we departed feeling refreshed as the children had taken the opportunity to have a good play in the excellent playground provided at Bluewater.

Having passed through Ingham at 12.37pm we arrived at Cardwell at 1.22pm. Fortunately the rain held off for a while whilst we set up the "camp" (as Jake liked to call it). The township and the caravan park bore the "scars" of the recent cyclone named Yasi and it was sad to see the buildings that had been destroyed, as well as the trees in the surrounding bushland which had all be stripped of their leafs by the strong winds. The caravan park managers told me the town was still in recovery mode but things were slowly getting back to normal. We went for a drive to find the Information Centre where, in the past, an excellent display of local marine environments including coral reefs and mangrove fish nurseries had been available free of charge. I particularly wanted the children to see this display as an educational experience; however, to our dismay the building had been all but destroyed by the cyclone and could not be accessed. As we drove around we saw once familiar places lying in ruins. It really brought a lump to one's throat to think about what the residents must have gone through in Cardwell and other small towns along the coast.

Cardwell N.Q. June 2011: A house still in ruins 6mths after Yasi.

Some facts relating to Cyclone Yasi:

Coastal Crossing Details

Crossing time:

12 am - 1am EST, 3 Feb 2011

Crossing location:

Near Mission Beach, 138km S of Cairns

Category when crossing the coast:


Extreme Values During Cyclone Event (estimated)

Maximum Category:


Maximum sustained wind speed:

205 km/hr (estimated)

Maximum wind gust:

285 km/hr (estimated)

Lowest central pressure:

929 hPa

The largest rainfall totals were near and to the south of the cyclone and were generally in the order of 200-300mm in the 24 hours to 9am Thursday. These rainfall totals were experienced in the area between Cairns and Ayr, causing some flooding. The highest totals were; South Mission Beach 471mm, Hawkins Creek 464mm, Zattas 407mm, Bulgun Creek 373mm along the Tully and Herbert River catchments.

{Source: Queensland Bureau of Meteorology}
Of note was the 5 metre tidal storm surge experienced at Cardwell, which caused extensive damage to vessels moored in the Hinchinbrook Marina on the outskirts of the town. The photo hereunder is taken from the Brisbane Times website:

We were quite subdued by the time we got back to the caravan park and to make matters worse we discovered Jake was running a high temperature. He was not well at all and there were no medical centres available in Cardwell. I took him to the local Ambulance Station where fortunately the ambulance bearer was on the ball and confirmed that Jake indeed was running a high temperature. He spoke by telephone to a medical advisor in Ingham and on the doctor's advice administered some medicine to help bring Jake's temperature down. Jake is so irrepressible he did not complain at all but it was obvious to us that he was not well. Back at the caravan park we made a contingency plan to drive to the Ingham Hospital some 52km south of Cardwell should Jake's temperature not abate. Fortunately the medicine worked and he spent a quiet, restful night. He was a lot brighter in the morning with no signs of the temperature we had been so worried about. A blessing indeed!

By now the rain seemed to have set in and we were resigned to the fact that the weather bureau forecasts were correct in predicting on going showers for the rest of the week. At least there were some periods where the rain stopped for a while and let us go about without getting wet.

On Monday 27 June 2011 we arrived at the Coconut Holiday Resort Caravan Park, Cairns just after 10.00am and were soon "set up" and enjoying a well earned rest. Jake was feeling a lot better; however, we confined him to the annexe, watching DVDs and resting, for the remainder of the day. We had planned a rather busy schedule over the forthcoming week and hoped the rain would not dampen our enthusiasim too much. The following day we spent some time going for a drive around the city of Cairns and allowing the children to enjoy the facilities at the caravan park. The caravan park boasted several swimming pools, jumping pillows and playgrounds, giving the children lots of choices to occupy themselves if they wished. Christopher proved invaluable as a supervisor and we were confident we could leave the children in his charge, within the confines of the caravan park.