Townsville... You lil beaut!

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
1
7
31
Trip End Mar 04, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reluctantly,
we've left Cairns and travelled 6 hours by Greyhound coach to
Townsville, the capital of Queensland and the northern tropics.


The
main attraction of Townsville is The Strand – a 2.2km stretch of
beach and sea front that runs parallel to Magnetic – or 'Maggie'
Island. The Strand has lots of things going for it – from
restaurants, ice cream stalls, fish n chips – a play area for kids
which has a bucket that fills up with water which then tips over everyone
:-) to random pieces of gym equipment, encouraging people to do sit
ups, chin ups etc as they walk/jog around – unfortunately we did
not have time to try any of these out lol...

Our
apartment 'Oaks M on Palmer' was lovely – one of the best suites
we've been in – and we were situated nearby the eateries and pubs –
especially Outback Jacks, which we visited 3 nights out of four! At
around 35 degrees, the weather was perfect for gentle strolls around
town and lazing in the shade – but not so good for mid day walks up
Castle Hill...

On
our first day we orientated ourselves with the town and The Strand
and chilled out – it's very hard work sitting on a bus and being
driven to different places. We used our Chrimbo money from Mum &
Dad to book Australia Open tickets in January in Melbourne – thanks
Mother & Father!!
:-) 

On
the second day (Sunday) we decided to rise early to walk up Castle
Hill – a large hill that overlooked Townsville, Maggie Island and
the ocean. Walking early in the day is recommended to avoid the
mid-day heat – unfortunately we overslept and started our walk at
11am – which meant we were dragging ourselves up very steep hills
when it was very hot – but we made it and saw some spectacular
views. The walk back down was even more pleasant – and we headed
back over the The Strand for burger & chips by the sea :-).

In
the afternoon we headed over to the Aquarium which holds real life
coral and fishes – including Barracudas and Hammerhead sharks –
some really spectacular sights – and then visited the Turtle
Hospital, an add-on to the aquarium that looks after turtles that
have been injured, whether by boats, plastics in the sea or fishing.
One not so little fella called Noah was found floating upside down
near Magnetic Island with a collapsed lung and barnacles over his
shell – and was being looked after in a tub by a lovely girl who
was scrubbing his shell to get rid of the nasty barnacles – and as
turtles have sensitive shells, he loved it when she scratched his
back – wiggling his flippers and turning around so he could scrub
the bottom of his shell – so cute! There was one turtle that had
been hit by a boat and his shell was cut open – and had a collapsed
lung from a fishing hook – so horrible to see... Debs was so taken
with Noah we had to buy a little turtle teddy to remind us of him...
Unfortunately, the hospital didn't have enough money for surgical
equipment so were limited to helping turtles with food, water and TLC
:-(

Day
3 saw a day trip to Magnetic Island – so called because when
Captain Cook 'found' the island in the 1770's, his compass went
skewey and he thought that the island was magnetic – alas it is
not... It was hot on Maggie Island – over 35 degrees with little
wind. After a much better boat ride than the Great Barrier Reef, we
caught a bus to Horseshoe Bay before going on a walk up to The Forts
– which had old WWII military gun placements and 360 panoramic
views over the different bays, beaches, coastline and back to
Townsville. The island wasn't really what we expected – we
expected paradise and to be disappointed with deciding not to stay
overnight – and if we were younger (god that sounds old) or hippies
– I'm sure we would have liked it more...

We
walked from Horseshoe Bay up to a nearby campsite to catch a bus to
the beginning of the Forts Walk – and waited out the hottest part
of the day – then decided to walk to the walk – which we
regretted quite quickly – twas hooootttt!!!!  At the start of the walk we walked up to the... mountain's a little dramatic - but it was way bigger than a common a day hill... and to the various gun
placements that were to protect the coast from Japanese attack during
WWII - and look outs and some more spectacular views around the
different secluded bays. On the way down, I had a 'moment' and was
convinced that the bus stop to take us back to Nelly Bay and the
ferry was down a steep path and dragged us down it – to realise
that Debs was right... the two big bus stops that we passed at the top of the hill were in fact the bus stops we needed.  Alas, I got a
bit confused and we had to walk another 20 minutes to another bus
stop and luckily reached It in time – fair to say that we had
'words'... 

So that was our activities in Townsville - the pace is slowing down a bit now, and we are taking more time to relax and enjoy the East Coast - as opposed to the frantic 3 weeks we started our journey with.  We're starting to relax and take it easy and are adjusting nicely to a slower pace of life :-0

We're
massive fans of Outback Jacks – with the nicest chicken burgers in
Australia (based on a very small sample!) - and their chicken snitzel
with napolina sauce was especially yummy. They also do a lovely
pineapple/orange juice and lemonade – although their tap water
tastes quite funky...

Townsville
is a lovely town, well worth a visit for a few days to soak up some
sun on the Strand or on Magnetic Island, for a walk up Castle Hill
and a visit to the Corals aquarium – but no more than this – the
town, although a 'capital' of Queensland is quite small and doesn't
have the vibe of Cairns – but is nonetheless a very lovely place
:-)

Next
stop is the Whitsundays and more boats! Hoorraaaall!!! With visits
to Whitehaven Beach, Daydream Island and Long Island :-) And more
lovely hot weather (I'm hearing it's pretty chilly at home...)
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