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Steve & Helen's Great Escape

Bingo .......

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 31 July 2011 | Views [345]

I will tell you why Bingo at the end, but it has been a good end to the day.

Had a good evening and day in Cooktown - was actually really interesting as it was geared up to tell us all about the adventures of Cpt Cook and the local museum had the actual anchor and some of the canons that they threw overboard when they got stuck on the reef.  Apparently at one point Cooktown used to be one of the biggest cities within Queensland, driven by the goldrush, which saw the influx of thousands of Chinese looking to make a few bob.

On the way back from Cooktown we had a beer in the Lion Den's hotel, another interesting outback hotel, which apparently you used to be able to run a tab by writing down what you owed on the wall.  I can imagine that the more that was drunk the less the list would get!

Spent a couple of nights in Cairns and we were both surprised with the town itself as we was not expecting a great deal.  The town was actually quite lively, with a few nice touches like the lagoon, although as you can imagine there were tons of English backpackers.  Maybe if we had went there straight from Syndey or London we may have found it a little quiet, but given for the last two weeks we have been in towns with populations from 2 to 1,000 it was the biggest city in the world for us in those couple of days.  We ended up doing  a couple of tours.  Firstly the trip to Kuranda on the scenic railway, where we saw some more gorges (that's about 2000 now), markets, which to be honest we both got a bit bored of, and a trip back down on the skyrail through the rain forrest.  As ever on the first tour we got stuck with some interesting old people, telling us what we had to see and what we were missing out on by not spending 5 weeks in a tiny town - I am sure they love us two, but honestly we don't really care about their medical problems which were freely shared with us and the fact that their sons / daughters are the best at whatever they do - surely that can't be right as the previous couple we spoke to had a son / daughter that was the best at the - I am confused!  Anyway enough of the rant, I am sure when we have kids we will be the same. 

Our second trip was to Green Island to do a bit of more snorkling.  This time we hired a digital camera, so as you can imagine I was terrorising fish around a reef trying to make the most out of the hire time.  Unfortunately for the man who had to process the pictures I managed to take over 600 pics - I guess I kept him busy for the afternoon as he had to upload the pictures on a disk for us.

We ended up the evening in mission beach, still looking for a cassowary, unfortunately we failed.  The beach was pretty nice but you could still see a lot of devestation from the cyclon that passed through earlier in the year.  In fact there was actually a US navay ship that had docked in Cairns and some of its crew was at Mission beach to help do some gardening.

After Mission beach we headed down to Townsville, stopping off at Australia's largest waterfall (by water drop distance), which was by the side of another gorge (now 2001 gorges seen).  It was a great view though so I can't complain and another chance to see more rain forrest. 

The night in Townsville was spent going to the Cowboys game, very funny dancing cow for entertainment, which was better than the rugby to be honest - the Cowboys won't be winning the grand final.  Managed to be put in amongst the Penrith (away fans), all 20 of them, thankfully this is not like a football match where we would have been getting tons of stick all game despite being a neutral.  Other than the cow the most interesting thing was the local women shouting Kill them boys every time there was a tackle - kind of got a bit boring after a while.  Spent the morning in Townsville having a look around some more markets and the views from the hill in the center of town, which we felt guilty driving up as most people in townsville were walking up - I think the town is full of fitness freaks as this hill was about a 10% gradient for around 3km.

Spent the rest of the day trucking down to Mackay, where finally we had success on the animal front, with seeing not one but two platypus (bingo).  Awesome it was and they put on a faily good show, I'll upload some pictures. 

So we are now in Mackay, with less than 2 weeks left.  Back inland tommorrow, heading towards Longreach, a town that we were only around 100km from a week or so ago.

Steve & Helen

PS - there is tons of Sugar Cane around these part - incase you did not know already

Also - sorry for being a bit moany - the majority of people we have met in Queensland thus far just have not been our cup of tea

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