I’ve always liked Spot the Difference puzzles. If you were to compare photographs posted three months ago, to those today, I’m sure you’d be able to spot a few differences for yourself. You’ll be too polite to mention that I have put on some weight and my hair is out of shape but you may notice the changing SCENERY.
We have left behind the stunning red dust and entered very lush green pastures. There is no shortage of water in the creeks and lakes and the main crop growing in the fields is sugar cane.
The beaches are attractive, especially fringed with palm trees, but there are warning signs about crocodiles and stingers so very few places for swimming. Most campsites have swimming pools and I continue to make use of these as much as possible but the water is much cooler than I’ve been used to.
This brings me on to the second main difference – THE WEATHER. We Brits love to talk about the weather! Just in case you’re wondering, we are back with comfortable temperatures of around 30 degrees by day, 20 by night. We are still wearing shorts and tee shirts and haven’t needed to get the duvet out just yet. There’s been some rain but it doesn’t last long. We are so pleased to be able to get out on our bikes again. Park Runs are also back on the agenda so hopefully I’ll shift some of the extra weight!
TRAFFIC is another difference we’ve spotted. There’s so much more of it and sadly this means that there is less waving. Mike and I had both perfected our wave to other road users but Queenslanders don’t appear to have the same interest in waving frantically at every passing vehicle!
The other big difference we have spotted has to do with PEOPLE. We were pleasantly surprised at how lovely Townsville was although we weren’t drawn to Magnetic Island (sorry about the pun!). There just isn’t time to do everything but we enjoyed a visit to the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef. We had our own personal guide pointing out interesting facts first and then went to the Predator Dive Show. Whilst in the auditorium listening to a diver underwater talk about the sharks circling him, a child asked him how he lost his finger. I hadn’t even noticed his missing digit but turns out a snake bit him!
We didn’t so much enjoy the bus driver who didn’t have a good word to say to anyone getting on the 204! Cranky pants criticised Mike for not speaking loudly enough, I was told off for turning my back on the approaching bus as he could have taken by head off with his wing mirror, an elderly lady with a shopping trolley was told off for standing too close to the kerb and a student was told not to push her bus pass into his face! You know when things are so awful you eventually find them funny – I started giggling when the old lady began making faces behind his back and zipping her mouth shut with her fingers lol.
Airlie Beach was one of the places we stopped at after leaving Townsville. It was very busy and seems to attract a lot of young backpackers. Not our cup of tea as very touristy. There is definitely an honesty issue round these parts with petrol stations requiring you to hand in ID before filling up. Some even state wives are not accepted as ID because drivers have been known to fill up and drive off without them – honest truth! Other signs that people can’t be trusted included the barber requiring you to pay before he cut your hair and the padlock arrangement in this public toilet!