As I said all my goodbyes in the UK before heading to make a new life in Australia, many of my family and friends all pledged to come and visit me at some point. Little did I realise the first person to do this would be my exe boyfriend Mick! This came as a bit of a surprise but was fabulous news.
I had lived in Australia now for 6 months with no time off, and after so many changes in my life, I was exhausted and ready for a holiday and I was keen to explore this beautiful country! It is such a vast place that you can barely scratch the surface in 2 weeks off, but I would try my best!
I prepared for the arrival of my first visitor with my usual enthusiasm and penchant for coordinating and planning , and set about producing an itinerary. Then I remembered how I felt when I first arrived here following the long flight from the UK and the jet lag which hit me and worried I had planned too much, particularly as this visitor was 6ft 3, nearly 20% taller than little ol’ me! However, he was only here for 16 nights and I didnt want to waste a minute. I was also keen on exploring a piece of Australia for myself too.
Here is a little diary of my first holiday since moving here, will try to keep the text to the minimum and let the pictures tell the story!!
Mick arrived bang on time and within minutes we arrived at Castle Hill which has a great vantage point for Townsville
A cosy night in that night, and ready to start our Australian mini tour – time for one of our first dips – Crystal Creek. A beautiful area in Paluma Range, just 45 mins drive north of Townsville, a beautiful clear river, waterfall
and rocks you could slide down
The day out was finished off beautifully by making use of one of the public BBq’s where we cooked kangaroo burgers and risked being imprisoned by drinking chilled wine in public (see previous blog….!)
We made it back to Townsville just in time to set sail on my usual Wednesday night twilight sail – what a beauty!
We headed once more into the Paluma Range the following day and made it to the top and found a 10oC difference in temperature from the coast to the hills – Mick found this a blessed relief, but, having lived here for 6 months now, dropping from 31 to 21oC was a shock! It was beautiful up there, with a gorgeous dam (which feeds water to Townsville) and camping area – something to keep in mind for another time!
The finish of a beautiful day, heading back to Townsville to attend a Trivial Night for my dive club.
I take things seriously you know, and took a team with me, we didnt win the quiz, but I won a prize for bringing the most non-members with me – thanks Mick, Mick and Val, Andrea, Sean and Jack!
You can’t visit Townsville without popping on the ferry and visiting Magnetic Island. I have been here before and sailed around it too, but you can never have enough of maggie Island. We stayed at Bungalow Bay, and, being in holiday mode, upgraded at the YHA (I know how to live!!)
It was perfect, a view of the pool, and had its own bathroom – not bad for a hostel, fabulous value. A wonderful spot for relaxation
A quick walk the following afternoon up and around the fortresses completed the trip, stunning views even though we didnt see the resident koala along the way
View from the forts on Magnetic Island
before heading back to Townsville – we had a race the following day – around Maggie itself! We managed a night with my friends Mick and Val, and were just a bit tidily (or was it jet lag?) when we got home!
Time is moving very quickly so its time to leave the local area and head north – we drove to Port Douglas. This involves following the Bruce Highway – the motorway (Hmmm……well, a single carriageway with passing places every few miles or so) to Cairns then follow the Captain Cook Highway (this could only be Australia!) Most of the Bruce Highway is really boring to drive – Ive now driven every bit of it now so I can attest to this! However, the Captain Cook Highway up to Port Douglas is absolutely stunning!
Port Douglas is a gorgeous place
Its a 5 hour drive to take us to a beautiful place and close to the Great Barrier Reef – we came here to scuba dive! Mick hadnt dived since June last year, and we only had one day to dive during this trip so we hired our own guide from Blue Dive in Port Douglas and had a great day diving with Jorg
Can you see the shark??
We were keen to explore the area north of Port Douglas, but I had a lovely surprise ready and didnt want to spend too much time traveling, so we spent a couple of hours at Mosman Gorge.
A little piece of paradise, which I would recommend anyone to visit. Then we took a rainforest walk, unfortunately, we did this without any insect repellent, which I really wouldn’t recommend anyone to do, I was eaten alive!
Our next stop was the Atherton Tablelands, and I had booked us 2 nights at Mt Quincan Crater Resort, near Yungaburra, in a gorgeous treehouse.
Wow, if anyone wants a lovely romantic getaway, this is the place. The owners Barb and Kerry think of everything and leave lots of little treats, and the cabin has stunning views
It seemed such a shame not to spend every minute of our time at the tree house, but we wanted to take a trip on the Kuranda skyrail and railway, and I’m so glad we did, it was amazing
Far too much kissing in this blog!
We dashed back to the tree house as soon as we could, and Mick lit a lovely fire, toasty warm we were!
Barbara knits socks for her guests to wear - very sexy!
We really didnt want to leave there, it was so perfect, but we had our itinerary to complete and next stop was Mission Beach, taking a quick dip along the way. Firstly we took a stroll around the Mt Quincan Crater and had very close encounters with spiders along the way
saw the giant creeping fig
stopped at Lake Eacham, the weather had turned and it had been raining, which meant this place was virtually empty and we had a lake to ourselves
A tad cold, but refreshing and we had found a window in between showers. Next stop was Milla Milla – a stunning waterfall. This speaks for itself
Again very cold, but we had this stunning place (the most photographed waterfall in Australia) to ourselves!
We looked forward to stargazing on Mission Beach, I guess I could control an itinerary but not the weather! Beautiful nonetheless.
and we met some new friends……
Every cloud has a silver lining, and we had a quick change of plan to take account of the weather – I figured we might as well get wet anyway so we headed to Tully Gorge to whitewater raft. A fabulous trip – try it if you never have!
Back to Townsville in time for the next phase of our trip – can you recognise where we landed next?
However, it was dark when we arrived, and, despite the panic I had when we headed into the city and I realised I had left my laptop on plane (thank you to Jet Star for sorting this for me!!), we were impressed by the view from our hotel room
and in the morning…
and a view back at our hotel
Ive done good with booking accommodation so far…..
A day of sightseeing
And a day out in the country to the beautiful Blue Mountains
and after 2 weeks together, Mick is driven to pushing me off a cliff!
with a visit to a wildlife park
With a spot of cultural education and entertainment
and even a spot of boomerang throwing
and a quick stop at the Olympic Park
And our time in Sydney ended far too quickly. Next stop – Brisbane.
A sadness descended us as this was the final part of the trip for Mick and we knew his departure was imminent. I had meticulously planned this trip, and we had stayed at some lovely places, but I certainly made a boob at the end with the final choice of hotel – possibly the smallest ever hotel room
A good job I only had a small bag as we would never have fitted in there if we both had our full luggage allowance. An ensuite toilet where I barely had to step out of bed onto the toilet (enough detail!!)
We splashed out on a lovely meal for our last night together with a lovely view of the gorgeous Story Bridge.
Mick seemed to have a good time in Australia, and Im sure he is planning his return here and future career as a crocodile hunter right now – how could you stay away? Hope you are not too cold back there in Sheffield!
He had to depart at midnight, I went outside to wave him off and turned back with tear-filled eyes to find my key card wouldn’t work and I was locked out of the hotel, with no money nor phone on me, oh joy!!
Woke in the morning and was glad to check out of my miniature room. Just in time to meet Lucy for breakfast. She is the daughter of my old boss from my last job in the UK, and she is due her first baby any time now. She is gorgeous and reminds me of a young version of her mother (yes, I did like my boss!), then headed to my lovely friend Alis house for the night.
A very early start the following morning and a return to Townsville in time for a weekend of sailing. A trip to Herald Island and a barbecue on the beach,
Full moon rising on a tropical island with my gorgeous daughter! Paradise!
little swim at breakfast to help say goodbye to the hang over
sailing the next day to Magnetic Island and a whole heap of fun
Such a lovely way to end my holiday and help me to get over the departure of Mick, in some part any way! Missing you Mick!
Which visitor is next? Does this look enticing enough?
Back to work and to reality, and already planning my next adventure!