On our last day at Palm Cove we thought we’d head inland along the Savannah Way. We’d been out there a few years before, as part of a tour we did up to Cairns and then over to the Gulf of Carpentaria and we’d passed through some interesting little towns.
The first bit of excitement was getting the ants off the car. Where we’d parked was close to a bush and since there had been a bit of very welcome rain about since the previous evening, the green ants went up, looking for a dry, safe spot. I don’t know that our bull bar was the safest spot, but what the hey. If we’d left the car there much longer, I reckon the ants would have claimed it. We brushed off lots and lots before we drove out but a couple hung on to the bull bar at 100kph and one clung to the rear view mirror on my side.
We drove up into the mountains past the Kuranda turnoff, heading for Mareeba. The town turned out to be rather larger than we’d imagined and on this Saturday morning the roads and the city centre were packed. What to do? We’d done the waterfall circuit in the past and given the dryness, despite the showers sweeping through, the waterfalls wouldn’t be much more than a trickle. The ice cream factory where we’d stopped on that earlier trip was closed, so we went back to Kuranda for another wander around. Intermittent showers came through, causing us to stay under cover in one or other of the markets. Nobody was complaining about the wet weather, though.
It’s always interesting listening to the people who live and work in these places. The lady who ran the café where we bought coffee and cake was very happy to share her opinion of the state government in this pandemic year. Kuranda relies on tourism and with the borders to the state closed, there weren’t many of them. Like us, she was surprised that Labor had been returned at the last election – she didn’t know anybody who voted for them.
While Sandy and I had been visiting the butterflies a few days before, Pete and Col had wandered around the markets. They encountered a woman packing up for the day at around 3pm. “Going home early?” “Yes,” she replied. “I’ve sold nothing today. Or yesterday. I haven’t sold anything all week.” “Why do you bother?” Pete asked. She shrugged. “It gives me a reason to get out of bed.”
Says it all, really.
We stopped for lunch at an enormous shopping centre and got back to the hotel around 2pm. The car park was almost full, so more people had evidently arrived for a short stay, which was nice for the hotel. Our room hadn’t been made up, so I went to the desk to remind them it needed to be done. The excuse was all the new people coming in. If I’d been management, after the previous day’s debacle, where our room was missed, I would have made sure that room was done first.
Next morning we were ready to head south. In hindsight we should have gone straight to Airlie Beach but we stopped over for a night in a totally forgettable hotel in Townsville. Allure sounds like it should be nice, but it wasn’t as good as an Ibis hotel. The cheap and nasty furniture was falling apart. The usual tea and coffee making accoutrements were available – along with a sign saying that if they weren’t washed up and put away on leaving, the guest would be charged. The only place to do that was the bathroom sink. I don’t remember seeing any washing up liquid. But the bed looked clean and the air conditioner worked.
Next morning since we had plenty of time we stopped in at Bowen and picked up a good breakfast at the town’s famous pie shop. It was the only place open. We drove around some of the beaches and tried to go up to the lookout, but the road was closed.
We arrived in Airlie Beach around midday and spent a couple of nights with our friend Al, then went straight home.
In case you missed anything, all the posts for this journey are listed at A 2020 Birthday Bash.
I can’t say it was the most wonderful trip we’d ever done but I’m glad we did it for no other reason than to see the impact of the pandemic all the way up the coast. People like us, elderly retirees in Hervey Bay, have hardly been affected at all. Life is pretty much back to ‘normal’. But that’s not true for the businesses and working people who rely on travellers.
Ah well. 2020 is almost over. Perhaps late next year things will have settled down, the vaccine will be available, and we’ll be able to travel again. But I’m not getting my hopes up too high. Our doctor has told us we’ll be lucky to be vaccinated much before the end of next year.
And since this is my last post before Christmas I wish everybody who reads my missives all the very best for the season, however and whatever, you celebrate. Stay safe and do the social distancing thing if you should. There’s no point in contracting a potentially deadly illness for the sake of a holiday. For us, we’ll have a very private Christmas at home, just the two of us. Bugs on the barbie, toesies in the swimming pool, Aldi Turducken for dinner.