Here we are at the General Gordon Hotel http://www.gdaypubs.com.au/QLD/homebush/54745/general-gordon-hotel.html and it feels like a year since we left Funnel Bay and the market at Airlie Beach – kept it easy and did a normal take then on to Bowen where we had time to do a big set-up and exhausted ourselves. I have never been as tired as I was on Sunday night. I did most of the packing up from my chair as my back wouldn’t hold me on my feet! Al sweated out at least a month’s rations of the amber fluid.
We drove back to Cannonvale (5 km from Airlie Beach) and pulled up next to a cane railway line at 6.30 pm and were asleep immediately. We started our set up again at 7.00am at Airlie Beach for the cruise ship market (always a market on when they dock) but were ready for the first ‘cruisers’ at 9 – ish… We experimented this time with 11 big tables and 3 card tables but only linen, books and the boxes with jewellery and bits and bobs… so made it easy and of course took less than we would have otherwise, but it added to an altogether decent weekend. This time we met Deni, a lovely lady who sold books and her own handmade cards – which were truly of great distinction, delicately painted images of indigenous flowers with their related fairies and other delightful things. I am not usually a card person but when I see something as fine and lovely as these I do rave on…
The big thing about the weekend though was the amazing people we met, including Deni… there was Warwick and Debbie, two Kiwis from Bowen who were kind enough to invite us to use their shower on Saturday and again on Sunday – what a difference that made – they made and sold omelettes, the best we have ever eaten, and waffles. They spend the summer in NZ and winters in Bowen and live by doing the markets and otherwise enjoying their lives and having adventures. Drop outs like us!!
Then on Monday we were heading for the forest camp at Cutha Forest on the worst road in Australia and a stone did for a tyre on the van – Alan put on the spare but it was too flat to drive on it – so RACQ to the rescue (again) – wonderful organisation – and we headed on into the forest – in the pitch dark by this time… Another small complication was that we had completely run out of water except for some drops in a drinking bottle… and there was no water in the tap at the campsite, nor, in the dark could we see the loos – we fled back to Calen Motors, the RACQ man had said we could if we wanted use his place for water and sleep over. So we did. So kind. He offered unprompted. Makes one think of the stable owner who gave Mary and Joseph a bed for the night.
The tyre repair was “touch & go” as there was some damage on the wall of the tyre and we were not guaranteed success. Unfortunately this prediction came true and 30km later (also on our way to another camping area) we had a repeat performance. Fortunately this time the spare was not flat. Deciding “Murphy” was on the job and did not wish us to enjoy the great outdoors this week, we back tracked and went straight to the nearest tyre retailer and purchased a new one.
A little research on Wikimaps found this place (no dirt roads this time!!) and so here we are in the canefields where we pay $5 each to stay the night and use the showers and loos in the pub. Cheap enough but there is a decided lack of quality in the cleanliness of the facilities.
I do somewhat long for the Golden Hole though – where we stopped after Babinda before Airlie Beach…
We only spent one night there but truly a little piece of paradise in spite of the resonance of the name with oriental courtesans. We didn’t risk the river – signs everywhere warning of crocodiles – but Bella swam and had a lovely time, my injured rib was still too sore to allow much exploring but we did walk a little way upstream and enjoyed it immensely the link to all the pics follows this:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105183160149035139526/Walkabout25CairnsToMackay We could see Mt Sir Bartle Frere from here, shrouded in cloud for a while, the highest mountain in Queensland.
This spot is next to Josephine Falls which, like Millstream are beautifully presented in terms of accessibility and safety and wonderful to see in their rainforest setting. Truly food for the soul. We went on from there to Innisfail,a cute place where Al’s brief and inglorious army career was centered, did some op shopping there and went on to Airlie Beach. The pictures will give some clearer sequence and tell the story better than words could. I was sad to leave the rainforests though – seems my soul does well in that sort of environment. We plan to go to Agnes Water again to restore Al’s soul in the surf and I might try and swim a bit too. It is surely warm enough now.
The update on the culinary delights of this adventure……. the food at the General Gordon is not really to be recommended, bit like Yandaran, but wonderful people. However, Warwick of “The Wafels” of Airlie Beach/Bowen Markets cooks the best value meal we have had at any market on our travels so far. His speciality is omelettes and they are brilliant. Also try the 5 fruit smoothie. There is also a truly amazing Gelato (Ice Cream) stall with flavours to die for.
One more bit of advice…. If you drink booze, buy it before you get to Bowen!!! My last carton of Crown Lager (Crownies for us OZ types and one of the nicest beers anywhere) cost $45 and I refused to pay $63.99 for a the same in Bowen. All other brands were at least $10 dearer than anywhere else we have been.