Today we went to the Barra Fun Park which had family dams with small Barra and a big dam with bigger ones. It also had Cable Skiing and a Water Fun Dam. Both the Vince’s and us started at the family dam with the Vince’s hooking and landing many barra and Felicity landed 2. Lucy hooked a turtle! After a while the boys (Matt & David) were “released” to fish the big barra dam while all others went to the water park. Now David and I are aware (for those who fish) that catching a barra in a dam “doesn’t count” but that didn’t make it not fun! While David & I kept hooking big barra the rest of the family were going down blow up slides and other cool inflatable equipment.
Today we sampled the free water activities on the Strand in Townsville. We met the Vinces there, then let the kids loose on the water park where they ran riot with the giant bucket etc etc, then we had lunch and visited the rock pool where there were iceblocks for the kids and coffee for the adults. That night we went to Geoff and Cherry’s sons house (Lindsay & Monica Ward) had a swim and made our own pizza.
In Townsville there is a big aquarium called Reef HQ which has many many things to do. We got to watch the sharks get fed as well as see a turtle hospital. The main two reasons turtles get brought in is because they eat plastic bags (they look like jellyfish) and because boats accidentally run over them causing shell damage. We got to go to the “turtle hospital” and see a 60 year old turtle, one that was only a month old or so along with a two juvenile turtles. They mentioned that this was a rare occurrence to have all three ages in at the same time. They had also that day sent a turtle back to Bowen to be released back into the wild too.
Next door to Reef HQ there is a museum that has a whole floor dedicated to the history and wreck of the SS Pandora. This was fascinating and the interactive stuff kept the kids interested as well as finding all the birds in the museum. After that we drove up to the top of Castle Hill Mountain, which provided a 360 degree views of the Townsville. So many people park at the bottom and walk or run up to the top and back. This hill is the equivalent to our Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty summit walk (but longer). People do this everyday for exercise!!
Once again the weather played havoc with Matt’s charter bookings meaning that instead of fishing out on the reefs with David and scoring tea we were forced to flick lures all day in and around the creeks and backwaters of Hinchinbrook Island. This was good fun, and cod, small trevally, barramundi and one mangrove jack (good job David) were caught.
This was certainly not what Dave & I wanted but that’s life… at least I’ve caught a “real” barramundi in the wild!
While the boys were away Felicity took Hayley and the kids to the swimming Lagoon 20 mins walk from Cherry and Geoff Wards place. The kids had a ball swimming in this large…FREE…pool, complete with lifeguards. What followed was a play on a giant fort, which was on our walk home. After lunch the girls were involved in the filming of a show called “Sally and Possum”. Ashton Ward (Cherry and Geoff’s eldest son) has been creating a show for deaf children. The whole program is in sign language with voice-overs so it can be used in schools to teach others about signing. Throughout the episodes there are snippets pf children doing different activities. Ashton was up in Townsville filming these segments, so the girls were able to be involved. They were so so excited.
Today we drove to Airlie Beach but not before saying some big good byes to Cherry, Geoff and Ashton. It was fantastic eating 5 star food cooked by Geoff each night completed with a wine that suited and Cherry’s crafts kept the kids fascinated and tired! Back to caravan life again!!!
Our reef trip with the Vince’s was good weather… we had to go via Hamilton Island to pick up others but that was ok. The reef was a bit further out than at Cairns but it wasn’t too rough. The kids enjoyed doing colouring sheets and journals which the staff gave out to the children. On arrival we got into our stinger suits and headed out again. This part of the reef was more like a ledge that dropped away so you swam along it which was different to the Whitsundays. We saw more Nemo’s than before and lots more clams. In the semi-submersible we saw “Charlie” the resident turtle. We ate a wonderful lunch then got back out there again.
Today we were able to go to Daydream Island for free as a result of Felicity seeing a special booking deal. So we jumped over to daydream, where Naomi was lucky enough to do the “Stingray Splash” where she could hand feed stingrays.
Naomi (being Naomi) was in her element as you can see in the photos. Everyone enjoyed Lovers Cove where we fed the fish and the girls lounged about. David Vince/Attenborough played wildlife expert to a French couple when a wallaby arrived.
As we left Airle Beach we thought we were going to do a long drive as we needed to be in Noosa by the Friday….but we only ended up driving 150ks to Cape Hillsborough which is about 1 hour north of Mackay. This was a beautiful caravan park too so we ended up booking two nights. Lots of Sandflies though…so we had to remember the fly spray. We walked to Wedge Island (not the same Wedge as in SA and a lot less fish) at low tide on the first day and the girls found “cowrie cove” as they found 32 cowrie shells in about an hour of hunting. The girls could of stayed there for hours they love shell hunting. Back to the park the girls had a quick swim and we settled in for the night.
We waited for the turn of the tide and we headed to the beach to fish. We tried one end of the beach, but it was really windy so we tried the other end, which was a little more sheltered. While the parents fished the girls loved exploring the rocks and caves on the shore. Felicity actually caught two whiting, which were tiny!! Sad/amazing thing is our next-door neighbor’s gave us some vacuum-sealed Spanish Mac & Fingermark fillets. That was very generous and tasted amazing.
After lunch we went on “Andrews Walk” a walk, which took about 2hrs. There were several lookouts on the way. At turtle lookout we did not see any, but apparently on calm days you can see heaps!! The scenery on the walk was awesome though.