09 September 2009

From Hilltop to Mountaintop; Rainforest to River

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

We were determined not to waste a minute of our last day on DDI, so we got up and packed, put on our swimmers and sunscreen, and walked to the other end of the island via the Rainforest Walk.  This little hike took us across the ridgeline of the island where it really was rainforesty.  There were some great views of the water and neighboring islands and we just enjoyed a little more nature. 

We passed the huge water treatment plant (nicely camouflaged) and the staff quarters, and the trail ended at the wedding chapel, which had fantastic views of the water!  A lot for a bride to compete with!!

We saw this incredible spider web and even got to see the spider spin a little bit and mend the web.  We walked back on the sidewalk, past the playground and the rock with the lizard sunning on it. 

Oh, and I totally forgot to mention the bats!  Last night, as we were walking back down this same path after dinner, the sky was filled with what we first thought were birds – until we heard them and watched them a little closer.  From high up on the ridge, wave after wave of bats soared from the trees out across the ocean, evidently going to another island to hunt.  We had looked for signs of them on the rainforest walk but didn’t see any, so who knows where they ‘hang out’ during the daylight hours!  Just as we were getting to the boat dock, we saw a cockatoo devouring a bag of pilfered cashews.  He was so funny, and he must have thought we would take them from him, because he grabbed the bag and flew up to a nearby balcony!

We wandered down to the beach near the mermaids and soaked up a few last rays of sunshine as we waited for Mermaids (the restaurant) to open for breakfast.  One of my favorites, eggs Benedict was on the menu, so that’s what I had.  It turned out to be eggs Florentine/Benedict, but it was still good.  I’m pretty sure Rex had an omelet – as mentioned earlier, the food was the weakest link here on Daydream.  Not bad, but nothing to waste many words on!  After breakfast on the patio, we spent our last hour or so at the pool, just reading and relaxing.  All too soon it was time to get cleaned up and catch the boat for the airport.

We rode on the top deck of the boat and met Ariel, who is from New York.  At the airport, we met her friend Rachel, who had gone to NYU and now lives in Austin – just like our kids – small world, huh?  We didn’t know it, but it was Race Day on Hamilton Island.  The harbor was full of boats and the airstrip was being used as a racetrack in between flights!  Too funny.  The joint was hopping though, and our plane was a bit delayed (perhaps on purpose, for maximum racetrack use) but we were on our way to Brisbane and there before we knew it!

When we arrived at the gate, Jan V was there to meet us.  At the gate!!  It made me realize how nice that is and how much I miss being able to do that in the States any more.  Jan said she saw and recognized Rex (who she’d never met) before she saw me – the advantages of height and white hair!  We passed a coffee shop advertizing iced tea, so we got some.  You know those dome top cup lids they put on top of Icees?  Did you know that if you take one of those lids off of your iced tea so that you can sweeten it, it would be a really bad idea if the guy had filled the dome part with tea?  Well, some things you learn the hard way….  Anyway, it was okay, but it turned out to be peach flavored tea from a bottle.  But it had ice in it!!

We had arrived in Brisbane just at rush hour, so it was slow going as we made our way out of the city.

Jan pointed out some grass trees (they were so cute) and showed us a really beautiful old Queenslander style home - weatherboard, on stilts, shingled roof, nice Victorian looking wrought iron - a house built for the heat of Queensland. 

We drove and drove, and the city became the country and soon we were going up, up, up, until we were at the top of Mt. Coot-tha.  Elinor and Chris were waiting there for us, and what a perfect spot it was!  Incredible views of the city below allowed us to see the meandering Brisbane River wind its way through town.  In the tile flooring of the overlook was a map of the river and its many curves, and to our left was a café and restaurant.  What a perfect place for dinner!  We watched as the twinkling lights of the city came on and we had a lovely meal and got to know Jan, Elinor, and Chris. 

For dinner, I had a delicious salad of greens, pumpkin, goat cheese, and nuts, which I thought I was ordering to share, but which came as an entrée just for me.  And here I thought I had figured out how things worked here – salads had been coming with or after mains and were usually shared…  Anyway, it was so good I was glad I didn’t have to share.  For my main, I had a Javanese noodle dish with prawns, chicken, beef, and pork and everyone else had surf and turf, which was a nice tenderloin and ‘bugs’, which are a crustacean we had been told we had to try.  They’ve been described to us as like shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab – to me it looked like a crayfish shell that was the size of a lobster tail.  Rex gave me a taste – yummy!  I’m pretty sure we shared a dessert, but that was so many meals ago that I don’t remember what it was!

We split up going back to Elinor and Chris’s – Jan, Elinor, and I drove in one car and Rex rode with Chris.  We were really not that far from downtown Brisbane, but we were out in the country.  It was so nice and I was looking forward to seeing the countryside in the light of day.  We girls arrived before the guys, but Elinor’s housekeys were in Chris’s car, so we were locked out.  We sat on the back porch and met their cute little terriers.  It had gotten chilly, so I went looking for my favorite blue CM windbreaker, which was missing in action.  Must have left it on the plane – rats!!  So I snagged Rex’s sweatshirt and we waited for the guys to show up, which they did before too long.  Elinor and Chris showed us around their lovely spacious home, and we settled in for the night.  Big day tomorrow!
I just have to say here how grateful we are to all of the people, strangers until now, who have opened their homes to us, taken time off work to show us around, researched and planned itineraries, fed us, fixed me iced tea (!), washed our clothes, and become our friends.  Sometimes I laugh when I think about how all of this came about and other times I just shake my head and pinch myself.  We are so blessed!  Our everlasting thanks to our new Australian friends who have been so kind – you know who you are!

Feeling mighty lucky and well taken care of!


06 September 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Since we had learned there was no point in getting up early for breakfast, we didn’t!  Today was going to be a fantastic day for me  - it was my spa day!!  Those of you who know me well know that I love a good massage, and I make it a habit to get one especially when we are at a resort with a spa.  The man who developed Daydream Island made his fortune in skin care products, and the spa here is supposed to be one of the best (if not the best) spa in Australia.  Go to www.daydreamisland.com if you want more info about the resort or the spa.  Once I knew that, I decided to splurge!  In addition to getting my all-time favorite hot stone massage, I also opted for a water treatment called Daydream Delight.  I could hardly wait!  First things first though…

We walked down to the South end of the island and took our morning tea/brekky at the bakery, where we ran into our London friends who were leaving later that day.  Rex had a big cinnamon roll, but since there were no scones, I just had tea.  The shops were open, so I found a new bathing suit and by the time I finished that, there were scones!  So we shared a couple – yummo!  We wandered over to the miniature golf course to see how late it stayed open so that we could play later in the day.  It was a cool course – “Around Australia in 19 Holes” – with each hole representing something about the country.  I had fun just taking pictures of all the holes!


We came across one that we didn’t get – it had a bunch of signs that looked sort of like picket signs, and one of them said “Not Happy Jan”!  What, Jan not happy???  I don’t think so!  We would have to investigate!  I’ll report back on our findings later.  OK, here is the link to the TV commercial that made "Not Happy, Jan" a part of Aussie lingo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akt3P8ltLM - it's short and hilarious!

On the walk back, we took our time as I photographed some of the tropical plants and Mr. Big Lizard on the rock.

We still had several hours before spa time, so we decided to visit another of the three pools on the north end of the island.  We grabbed our kindles and slathered on the sunscreen and staked out a place by the pool with a swim up bar.  Duh.  It was another glorious day – I could stay here for a long, long time!  Before too long we were offered drinks (we didn’t even have to get wet!) so I chose a Mojito and Rex had some tropical concoction with mango stuff on the top and blue Curacao on the bottom.  Drink with purpose – cheers!  What a restful day! 

Soon it was spa time!!  Rex stayed out in the sun and at some point went down and rented a jet ski for thirty minutes, while I laid in the lap of luxury for two and a half hours!  My water treatment was sensational – first a light exfoliation, then a mask was painted on me.  I was in a giant white shell that looked like a cryogenesis machine but was really a giant steamer.  I was steamed for twenty minutes, then sprayed with cool water from sprayers inside the steam machine.  Ooooohhh!!!  After I was properly unmasked, I was oiled up.  Oh, almost forgot the most heavenly part!  While I was being steamed, I got a hair treatment and scalp massage.  OMG!!!  Stick a fork in me and call me done!!  Now that I was exfoliated, hydrated, and moisturized, to say nothing of noodle-fied, it was time for my massage.  Like I needed more relaxation!  This was a different hot stone therapy than I’m used to, but I’m not complaining!  They used stones that are fairly uniform thickness and are flat on the top and bottom, and they didn’t do any placing of stones on chakras or between toes or anything delicious like that.  Victoria gives a great massage (MASS-age, as they say here) and I was in nirvana by the time it was done.  Lovely day!

After luxuriating on the balcony overlooking the pool (did I mention that my massage room had a glass wall overlooking the ocean?) and sipping some juice, it was time to rejoin the world and meet Rex for some mini golf.  The course was entertaining and could use some improvement, particularly on the boundaries.  I had a bit of trouble staying within the lines – what a surprise!  Neither of us tore the course up, and I have to report that Rex beat me by one stroke.  Blame it on my nirvanal state!  Anyway, we had fun and then we went in search of food.  We were aiming to eat at the Fish Bowl again, but had to wait for it to open.  It’s beyond me why every restaurant on this resort doesn’t stay open longer than it does!  When opening time came and went with no activity, we investigated and found that we were in for a bit of a barbie!  Rippa!

I’m not sure, but I think this may have qualified for a FULL barbie!  Served buffet style on the beach, we had chicken wings, steak, sausages, pasta salad, tossed salad, potato salad, rolls, and probably more – that’s all I got!  We watched a colorful sunset and simply enjoyed the end of a luxurious day!  I tried not to remember that we would be leaving the island the next day, but to wonder what fun would await us in Brisbane. 

Feeling mighty pampered and delighted!


PS Here are the official descriptions of the spa therapies I had:

Daydream Delight: Sensory Journey

Relish in your time away by immersing yourself in the essence of island luxury. Rebalance your well being with an exquisite exfoliating Salt Glow assisting in smoothing your body contours. Cocoon your soul in a rich and warm body wrap creating serenity followed by a tantalising facial and scalp massage, complete with a deeply hydrating protein hair treatment. Complement your delight at Daydream with a therapeutic and rejuvenating Steam Affussion shower and release all muscle fatigue and stress with a relaxation massage.

    * Aromatic Salt Glow
    * Your therapist will design a treatment to meet your needs from a selection of Botanical wraps from the earth and sea to smooth, soothe, contour and tone
    * Facial and scalp massage with hair treatment
    * Exclusive Hydro-storm Steam Affussion Shower
    * Moisturisation with relaxing body massage

Well Being Rejuvenation

Hot Stone Therapy (1.5 hours)

The pressures of daily life are continuously increasing. Your ongoing drive and fast-paced momentum can quickly result in premature ageing, increased stress, fatigue, and a depleted energy level. Exhale and relax as Sabais therapeutic massage de-stresses your entire being…mind, body and spirit. Feel yourself completely unwind vanquishing fatigue and tension whilst delivering a unique blissful state of relaxation.

    * Combines the use of two micronised minerals, with the finest aromatic essential oils.
    * Alleviate muscular pain and discomfort
    * Increase blood and lymphatic circulation and oxygenation
    * Balance your energy and centre your well-being
    * Hot Stone Massage Therapy

PPS This was not false advertising!

Here are some photos of the beautiful sunset - all shot in color, one right after the other...

On the Sea, in the Sea, by the Sea!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Bright and early we were up, ready to grab a quick bite at the bakery on our way to catch our boat to the Great Barrier Reef.  Wearing our swimmers (bathers if you live in Victoria, swimsuits or bathing suits if you are in the States) and sunnies (sunglasses) and lathered up with sunscreen, we were on our way for a walk from the north end of the island (where our room was) to the south end and the bakery and boat dock.  On the way we passed a huge lizard our sunning himself on a big rock, and we took a look at the kids’ playground (way cool!), the tennis court, and the basketball court.  Once on the south end, there was a small shopping area (souvenirs, apparel, and the bakery), a health food (sort of) shack, another pool, a wedding chapel, a bar & grill called "The Fish Bowl", another live reef, a miniature golf course (more on that later), a water sports center (jet skis, snorkels, etc.), an outdoor movie screen, and the boat dock.

I was psyched for the bakery – they do all of the baking for the island and the breads we’d had so far were yummy.  I was sure there would be scones!  And there might have been, once it opened at 10 AM!!!!  What self-respecting bakery doesn’t open before I wake up?  Since our boat was due at 8:10, it seemed like breakfast might be today’s daydream, and you can probably tell that I hate to miss a meal!  We strolled on down to the dock, sort of expecting a crowd there, even though we were early, but there was no one in sight except for some birds.  I was almost about to think we were in the wrong place when a family of a mom and dad, two young girls, and a little boy arrived, followed closely by a couple with a baby in a stroller.  Before too long, our CruiseWhitsundays boat was pulling up to the dock. We were in the right place, and off to experience one of the seven natural wonders of the world!

It would take us several hours to get to the Knuckle Reef, where there was a huge pontoon anchored as a permanent station full of diving and snorkeling gear.  In addition, there was an underwater observation station, a semi-submersible submarine, and a glass bottom boat.  On the way out, we heard from several crew members (they even had a masseuse!) about what to expect (whales!) and a bit about the nature and wildlife on the reef.  And then it was time for morning tea – we wouldn’t starve after all!  What a spread!  We took our goodies up to the open top deck of the boat and enjoyed the immensity of the Pacific Ocean and the spectrum of colors that surrounded us.  I’ve never seen such deep blues, greens, teals, and everything in between!  It wasn’t long before a few spouts were seen off the port side of the boat.  Whales!  We didn’t get too close though, and never got a good look at those.  Maybe later.  We had a chance to visit with the family we had met on the dock – they were on holiday from London, and their kids were cute and very well-behaved.  As we approached the reef, the color of the water changed again, lightening up as the water got shallower.  It was stunning!

Once we docked next to the pontoon, the divers were scrambling for position – they couldn’t wait to get suited up and in the water!  We got wet suits that fit (gotta grab those long ones first!) and staked out a table.  Most families with kids headed for the glass bottom boat, and there was a line of snorklers jockeying for position, too, so we just wandered down to the underwater observation area.  That was great!  Not only could we see lots of fish and coral, we could see how the pontoon was anchored and then we saw the divers stepping out into the water.  It was cool!  They had displays set up showing the kinds of fish we could expect to see, so that was good, too.  We took the second glass-bottom boat run and got fantastic looks at gigantic clams, multiple varieties of coral, and many schools of fish as well as singles and smaller groups of fish.  Now we could hardly wait to get in ourselves!

We snorkeled for over an hour (water was a little chilly when we first got in, but it wasn’t bad) and covered the whole cordoned off area that we were allowed in.  Words are not enough for this experience – you’ll have to see the photos and/or come see it for yourself!!  Big fish, little fish, colorful fish, scary looking fish, brain coral, branch coral, mushroom coral, anemones – it was spectacular!  Shelley had lent us an underwater camera, so we had fun with it, trying to capture the undersea wonderland beneath us.  We were not disappointed with Knuckle Reef!  Once we got out of the water, we dried off and visited with our London friends, and then we went over to the boat for lunch.  What a spread -again!  Bright pink prawns with heads, cold cuts – roast beef, turkey, and ham – cole slaw, German potato salad, cheeses, tossed salad – there was plenty of food to keep us going for the rest of the afternoon.

Back on the pontoon, we went up to the top deck, where I got comfy and warm and enjoyed a little sunshine and read on my kindle while overlooking the crystal blue and green waters of the reef.  Rex went back in for another short snorkel, and all too soon it was time to head back to the island.  We had excitement on the ride home – we saw lots of whales!!  Not many up close, with one notable exception!  We evidently crossed a pod of about a dozen humpback whales who migrate north to warmer waters from Antarctica, and one of them came up out of the water just off the port side of our boat!!  Thankfully he didn’t come up with the boat on his back and toss us over.  We made some jokes about the “three hour tour” and I swear that I expected to find Gilligan and his mates on one of these exotic tropical islands!   The captain had to practically stop the boat for a while until the whales got safely past us.  And vice versa!  I was sorry that I had not brought my good camera with the big lens on it, but I am thankful that I at least got some spouting shots on Shelley’s camera.  Oh, almost forgot to mention that there was afternoon tea, too!  I don’t know how anyone ever loses weight here!  I have certainly found many of the pounds I just got rid of before I came!!

Once back on land, we cleaned up and tried to get to dinner in time for our movie date.  Our little London friends were insistent that we attend the outdoor showing of “Surf’s Up” with them on the beach.  Talk about the world’s coolest drive in (or walk in) movie – it is on Daydream Island!  We ate supper at The Fish Bowl – I wanted steak and Guinness pie but I got fish and chips, which were tasty and exactly what I expected.  Rex had a chicken Caesar salad – nothing too exciting tonight.  The movie was just underway when we got out there, but all the good seats were taken.  We pulled up some chairs from the patio dining area and laughed ourselves silly.  I think every beach should have a movie screen like this one!  Such fun!  And so ends our day at the Great Barrier Reef.  Rippa!

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea,


05 September 2009

What a Day for a Daydream!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

It was blissful to be able to sleep in this morning, until it occurred to me that we had no idea what time we would be expected to check out!  I have learned that Down Under, check out time is usually 10 AM, compared to around noon in the States, and check in time is generally 2 PM, as opposed to 4 PM at home, so when I was finally feeling like being agile, mobile, and not the least bit hostile, it was almost check out time!  Rex was able to buy me enough time to shower and get ready, and then we went down to Capers (remember the bar/restaurant where we found the night clerk for the hotel?) to have our complimentary brekky.  After some fruit salad, toast (with teeny little packets of vegemite!), and tea, on the patio, we were ready when our taxi arrived to take us to Abel Point Marina for our ride over to Daydream Island.

In the daylight, Airlie Beach was very similar to some of our NC beaches – there were even some shops that reminded me of the ubiquitous Waves!  I have to say that the water is prettier here, though.  Houses were built practically on top of each other going up the hill behind our hotel.  It was a short ride to the marina, and our luggage was whisked away and Rex got our launch tickets while I did a little people watching and photo taking.  It was the most mellow Sunday morning I’ve had in a long time, and before we were even on the launch, I was recalculating our itinerary.  By the time we boarded the boat and headed out to the Whitsunday Islands, I knew that we would be bagging the train (unless we absolutely couldn’t get out of it) and spending an extra night here!

For those of you who have been to Hawai’i, multiply it by about 10 and you have the Whitsundays.  Seventy-four tropical islands, about the same distance below the equator that Hawai’i is above it, make up this island fantasy!  Blue, green, and blue-green waters, sandy shores, coral beaches, palm trees – this is my idea of paradise, hands down!  Most islands are either not inhabited or sparsely inhabited, so there is very little to spoil anything.  As we approached Daydream Island, we realized that the resort and the staff accommodations were all that were on the whole island!  What more could you want?  By now I was sure we would be staying here longer!

As we pulled into the slip, a band serenaded us from the dock and we were greeted with a necklace of shells and a tropical drink.  Pinch me now!  I used up our remaining internet time booking plane tickets and cancelling train tickets while Rex made sure that we could have a room for another night.  Once those details were arranged, I made my spa appointment (supposedly one of the best spas in Australia was here!) and we were off to explore.   DDI has two large living coral reefs filled with fish, coral, stingrays, sharks, starfish, anemones, and more – I wasn’t sure I would make it to the pool because I was so entranced by the reef pools.  But it was getting on in the afternoon, so off we went, in search of lunch and of sunshine!

We had sandwiches at Mermaids, the nicest of the restaurants here on DDI.  Rex had a hamburger (and he even ate the beetroot that is a staple burger condiment here) and fries, while I had a chicken sandwich with avocado and onion jam.  It was tasty, especially the bread, which was a good thing, since there was way more bread than chicken!  Let’s just say the setting and the views far outweighed our first meal here!  I did enjoy my beer though – I tried a honey wheat brew called Beez Neez and loved it.  We simply delighted in the sunshine and watched the birds take care of any leftovers.  There is a bird here called the kerlew, which is a protected species but pretty much of a pest.  They strut around on long skinny legs like they own the place, and they will flat wake you up squawking!  We chatted with our server for a while – she’s from Canada and is in Australia on a year-long work visa, and this is her eighth month here.  What a plum job she has!  The staff can live on the island for about $60 a week (!) and they can run, swim, dive, snorkel, whatever when they are not working.  How great is that?  Live in paradise and get paid for it!

After our rather late lunch, we sat by the pool and read until the sun started setting – on the other side of the island!  So we followed it down to the aptly named Sunset Beach and watched the light on the water.  The temperature got a little cool for me once the sun was gone, so we started back to our room.  I turned the corner on the path and came face to face with about a dozen kangaroos!!  Or so I thought – evidently they were wallabies, but they were cute all the same!  And right in front of us!  What a treat!

On the way back to the room, we stopped again at the reef and watched the fish.  We must have been standing at the place where they get fed, because the rays came gliding right up to us and ‘waving’ at us with their wings (?)  They were humongous!!  So fun to watch – I was mesmerized.  We got settled in – our room was done up in tropical blues and aquas with sunny yellow accents, and we had plenty of space – a king size bed and a sofa and sitting area which opened up via a wall of windows to a beachfront garden (that would be yard for those of you in the States) with a table and chairs on the patio.   We cleaned up a bit for dinner – we had made the latest reservations possible back at Mermaids, but that still had us eating at 8:30.  Clearly Daydream is not the party island, which was fine with us – we just wanted a little fun in the sun time!  Dinner was back on the patio and was not a lot to write about.  I had a nice risotto, wild mushroom I think, and Rex is for some reason unable to remember a meal he only ate a couple of weeks ago!!  I’m pretty sure he had barramundi – I know it was some kind of fish.

We had a big day ahead of us – a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef!! – so we called it a night and I dreamed of fish and the deep blue sea!

Don’t wake me up from this dream life!


01 September 2009

Riding the Rails

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Rex hired a cab to get us to the train station with all of our bags, and he was due to arrive a little after eight, so we were up early getting our suitcases packed in a way that we could get them all on the train.  Funny thing about international travel – if you’re just going to one place, you’re good; if you’re moving around the country, you may have to leave clothes behind, and you sure can’t be picking up souvenirs at every stop!  We found it really strange though, that the train allowed the LEAST amount of baggage.  At any rate, we used our carry-ons as real suitcases so that we could take everything with us!

It was only about a five minute ride to the station, so we checked our bags and walked a few blocks back to a coffee shop to get a bite of breakfast.  Lo and behold, ICED tea was on the menu!  Sadly, the tea was still boiling when it was poured over the ice.  Need I say more?  Anyway, the friends were delicious and they even gave me another cup of ice for my tea.  Back at the station, we had a little bit of a time figuring out what to do – no one had asked for any ID or a ticket (even when we checked our bags) and it turns out you just find the car that you’ve been assigned and hop on.  Guess terrorists do not travel by train!

Our plan was to ride coach class on this leg of our train trip, which was from Cairns to Proserpine, about xxxx km or a twelve hour train ride, and then to ride Queenslander class (with a berth) on Tuesday and Wednesday when we went from Proserpine to Brisbane – about 19 hours!  We were in coach I, two cars behind the club car, and it was like sitting on a bus – two seats on either side of a center aisle, not much legroom, a tray table, and overhead storage.  And there was another place we could have put our carryons…  As it was, I had my purse and my laptop and Rex had his backpack, and we both had our kindles.  All aboard!!

True to form, sitting in the seats behind us were three active young boys, probably ages 4 to 8 or 9, and their mom, who was glad to not be having to pay much attention to them.  Right away, someone whacks me over the head from behind…  I took the teachings of Barney Fife to mind and nipped that action in the bud!  I grabbed the bag I got hit with, rose up over my seat, and gave those little blokes the look.  Strike one!

The trip was largely uneventful.  It was evident right away that sleeping was not going to be much of an option, so I finished my book (Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See – very good!) and then Rex came back from exploring to tell me that he’d found an outlet in the club car.  I grabbed my laptop and took off!  I pretty much spent the rest of the ride sitting on a bar stool working on the blog and chatting with a couple of cute English teenagers who were doing the same thing.  Well, they weren’t blogging, but they were working on their photos!  Don’t need to tell you what we talked about!
At some point, Rex hunted and gathered and brought me a salad of some sort, and on I blogged.  Since I was a week behind, it was great to get almost caught up!  We passed field after field of sugar cane and lots of sugar cane processing plants.  We stopped a few times, but only long enough to get off at Townsville.  I got off to stretch my legs, but the stop was short and we were soon heading south again.  We had a few beers to pass the time, and at dinner time Rex again scored a meal from the dining car and brought it to the club car.  Evidently, that is frowned upon.  It was okay – mine was penne and tomahto sauce (really think and sort of sweet) and Rex had barramundi and chips.  The time passed pretty quickly since I was occupied, and around 9 PM we pulled into the town of Proserpine.  We were to catch a bus to take us to Airlie Beach, so we collected our bags from the sidewalk and hopped on the bus.

With us on the bus (really just a 15 passenger vehicle with a luggage trailer) were the family from England.  They were from Cambridge, and they had been to Sydney and Daintree and were going to be staying in Airlie Beach for a few days and then going back to Sydney.  They had not yet done the Bridge Climb, so we shared our experiences with them.  We enjoyed our conversation with them and wished we had chatted with them more on the train.  The bus ride was pretty humorous – the driver rarely took anyone all the way to where they were going.  She sort of got you almost there, unloaded your bags, and pointed you in the right direction.  But we found our way to our hotel, via the parking lot to the restaurant next door, where we got someone to scrounge up our room key.  By the time we got to the room, about all I did was figure out how to get online so I could upload all of the blog entries I’d done and we were down for the count!

Dreaming about Daydream Island,