Monday 24th November 2014
It was a bit noisy during the night; the schoolies deciding that chatting in the early hours was preferable to sleep. Fortunately the wax earplugs I’d bought did the trick and was soon back to sleep. I woke early and wrote up some diary before getting up and preparing to pack up ready for our next move on. When we arrived at the hotel we hadn’t bothered unpacking as we were only there for two nights and this would be the pattern for the remainder of the holiday, living out of suitcases.
After loading the car, I settled the hotel bill and we then departed South, back on the A1 Bruce Highway again. The weather was warm but overcast and so driving was quite pleasant at that time. We intended to stop in Prosperpine to fuel up, but when we got there it was a tiny town so ploughed on southwards towards Mackay. Here we filled up and grabbed coffees before driving a further ten minutes and stopped somewhere suitable to drink them.
The landscape from Airlie Beach was similar all the way down, either fields of cane plants or wooded areas. Tina and I agreed that we would do a ‘let’s see how many creatures we could spot’ game but we didn’t manage many other than horses, cows and a few different species of birds. Of course we did see lots of dead animals in the road, but they didn’t count.
We drove onwards, still seeing lots of cane fields; we didn’t realise this part of Australia was sugar country. We even spotted a couple of museums dedicated to the stuff, but passed them by, far too sweet for us 🙂
Occasionally we spotted the refineries, with the chimneys smoking away, I assumed boiling up the sugar cane and drying it out ready for refining. We also saw lots of wagons loaded with the canes, ready to be transported, it really was the main industry of the area.
We continued on until we came to a small section of the A1 that ran parallel to the coast so stopped for a break. The sea was an incredible blue/green colour and so I took a few photos as the views were so picturesque. I also spotted an ants nest next to the spot I’d parked the car which looked like coral but was in fact made from a wax like material. Beautiful.
By 3pm we were getting into cattle country, so stopped at a small township called Marlborough, which had a post office, hotel, bar and supermarket. The bar had stopped serving food at 2pm so the barman steered us towards the supermarket. The lady serving made Tina a cheese sandwich but couldn’t offer me a gf option so a bag of crisps sufficed. We ate in the car, used the public toilets and then set off again. The car temperature gauge read 37 degrees. Still, we only had around 100km to go, about an hours drive, so onward we progressed. As we drove on we observed warning signs of wild koala’s; now they would be a good spot in the trees but alas it wasn’t to be. We did see large ants or termites nests build half way up trees though. Amazing.
Eventually we arrived in Rockhampton and soon found the hotel, our home for the next two nights. Our room was on the 6th floor but unfortunately not on the riverside but still afforded great views of the city. We rested and showered before venturing out early to explore and find a restaurant.
Directly across the road was the Fitzroy River, really wide, at least as wide as the Thames is in London but the waterline was down, apparently as it is tidal. We walked south adjacent the river until we came upon a steakhouse and ordered our food. We both agreed that we should both have steak, in what is the main beef producing part of Australia. We then strolled along the riverbank walk until we got back to the hotel, where we had a drink. Whilst looking out of the hotel window, we finally confirmed something I’d been meaning to check since we arrived down under and that was the direction the moon moves across the sky when in the southern hemisphere. I had heard it goes the opposite way to the northern hemisphere, but due to the many cloudy nights we’d not actually been able to check. Finally we saw the new moon and watched it’s progress in the sky… going right to left. I was right it did go backwards. Content with observing this I went to bed.