My impression about Brisbane, capital of Queensland, was pleasant and nice even though it was very hot. For the first time, I changed my mind about cycling somewhere over the mountain nearby because of the heat so I walked instead. Now I understand the people from Brisbane I met in Tasmania who wanted to stay away from the heat.
The city used to be a huge cowboy town with a serious lack of culture (at least that’s what I’ve heard about it), so they decided in invest in culture. With all these museums, galleries and other stuff (I like this word as it can fit almost anywhere), it seems that Brisbane increased the average Australian’s culture by about two hundred percent.
The South Bank is a great place to chill out, to walk, to look thoughtfully around or to enjoy a swim; especially at night with the amazing lights.
And of course, I went to the botanic gardens and spent some time looking at the mangroves and a massive ficus benjamina.
I wish I had more time to visit Brisbane, but it was only a stopover between the Whitsunday coast and the Australian Capital Territory, so it seems that I will have to come again.
And the mangrove:
City roos Kangaroo and Queensland bottle tree:
I stopped in Mackay for a day and did not find it especially exciting; most people seem to do a stop-over on their way as I did.
Surrounded by those typical tyre repair stores found in general in bigger cities’ suburbs, the centre is about one block and a half where it is difficult to find any food after 7:00 PM.
The botanic gardens are recent and some parts still under construction; also they are very close to the highway from Darwin to Cairns. Since I visited Rockhampton’s gardens first, I guess it’s normal to be somewhat disappointed with these, so let’s give them a few years to grow and absorb urban noise.
At least the weather and the pool at the motel were enjoyable.
I need to know where we should go to show I’ll always love you.
Unfortunately, there’s no you at the moment and paradise is expensive.
It could be called Great Keppel Island, an island enjoying a tropical climate where hiking trails and beaches are numerous. Thus it is a great place to chill out, walk a bit, relax on a beach, swim, then walk on again.
The Great Keppel Island Holiday Village (YHA), also known as the quiet alternative, was one of the best place where I stayed in Aussie; they offer original accommodation where the pleasure of camping meets the comfort of a real bed.
In such a place, we feel out of time.
Sea creatures and sunset over the continent:
The Island is reachable by a ferry boat from Yeppoon and, if you are fortunate, a landing strip allows small aircrafts to land.
Rockhampton is the Australian beef capital and since it’s located near the great barrier reef, many stores call themselves beef ‘n’ reef something. The CBD and city are somewhat strange but it was the cheapest place where I bought a fresh can of Coke. Some parks close at 4:00 PM and the big shopping mall at 5:30.
But I would recommend anyone to stop in Rockhampton to visit the botanic gardens which are definitely worth a visit. The people in charge made an excellent work. Rockhampton is also the gateway to the Great Keppel Island, a place to hike along the trails between beaches where it is great to relax or swim in the coral sea and is not the home of those deadly stinger jellyfishes.
More botanic gardens photos…
Then, I left for a day tour focused on reptiles, spiders, kangaroos, ants and other animals with Capricorn Dave, a fantastic original tour for a walkabout. Jackass Wildboyz seemed to enjoy the tour as well, so if you are in the area I highly recommend you to spend some time with Dave. Let’s have a look at the pictures.
To finish, this is me, looking still on the water, but in fact jumping into it; we had no german tourist around to check if the area was crocodile free…
This is not about the cartoon Powerpuff girls; Townsville is a city named after Robert Towns, founder of the city located in Queensland, Australia.
The city in itself looked quite special and it took me half an hour to walk from the railways station to the city centre. On the first day it looked like a ghost town: no one in the streets and many buildings were for lease, even on the main mall (Flinder Street). This is where I found one of the greatest opened wireless networks during my trip, just on a picnic table near a kiosk where I could get soft drinks and snacks.
A few minutes after my arrival, a shower caused a minor flooding but this did not stop me from visiting the area. I directly went to the marina to look for sailing lessons and the only note I found looked more like a scam quite similar to those who offer you a cheap and quick university degree.
The Strand was a great place to chill around with the historic pool and all kind of attractions for all ages, and a beach that includes a swimming enclosure that protect against stingers so people can swim and avoid the deadly jellyfishes. I played on some of the “rides” and tested my strength and balance
The Museum of Tropical Queensland has a part dedicated to the Pandora Ship Wreck that has been found after two centuries.
Townsville is the gateway to Magnetic Island, an island mostly in a natural park where I hired a push bike, managed to get my first sunburn (despite the rain!). So I cycled and hiked along and between the bays and took many pictures.
Warning signs in Magnetic Island:
Found in the streets of Townsville:
The Strand and around:
Tropical trees taken in Townsville, Queensland, Australia combining flash and a long exposure.
Climate and weather
I always wanted to visit either an equatorial or a tropical area during the humid season, so I took the opportunity to try this time; when I landed I was first very impressed by how green the land and vegetation were.
The second strange (enjoyable) feeling appeared as soon as I got outside from the plane or any air conditioned building: an unexpected heat wave. In Europe this is quite unlikely as rain and humid weather comes with fresh or cold temperatures.
The weather was very similar during my stay: mostly cloudy with isolated rain drops, then once in a while a heavy shower and possibly a few sun rays.
Below: sunset in Cairns and weather forecast.
People visiting Cairns
The city in itself is really a special place with many tourist resorts and a very high percentage of stores are named tourist information and booking centre (understand: travel agents who make a commission of 20% on tours booked). I noticed that the average people visiting Cairns stays in shopping malls that could have been named either New Tokyo or New Berlin due to the amount of Japanese and German tourists crashing around. I believe that Cairns is a good place to open a store as so many of them are not original at all – got my idea :D.
Despite it was the low season, many people had the idea to visit it because it was. Despite it, I was the only person hiking outside the city where the only persons I met on my way were a couple of aboriginal people. At least now I know why they call rainforest rainforest; the experience was awesome despite the extreme humidity. I could not figure out if my outlet was wet because of the rain or my sweat: a shower was so enjoyable afterwards!
Due to the rain, I did not take many pictures, but below a sample is available:
Crocodiles like Germans. Crocodiles may be in this river.
Rainforest, creek, tropical plant and heavy rain:
I caught the train to Townsville and did not know if it would have been on track as it was flooded. Fortunately, everything was fine and I jumped into the Sunlander, a train where the economic class was more like the 1st in European trains with an excellent service like in old fashion trains. In addition, it was almost empty and I shared the car with a youth going to Townsville too who I met twice there! Sugar cane and banana plants were common on the way; in addition the flood was impressive – the rest of Australia is (was) experiencing one of the worst dryness.