Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Townsville, Ayr and Bowen

We spent a day of leisure in Townsville. The town is the third biggest of Queensland, but don't think of hundreds of thousands. It has a nice center area with a beautiful museum, an art gallery, a reef aquarium, a marina etc. The museum mainly shows the history of the Pandora. This was the ship that the British admiralty sent out in the late 17-hundreds to capture the mutineers of the Bounty. This partly succeeded but the ship ran on a reef and sunk. This is all well documented and the artefacts that have been recovered by diving expeditions are exhibited and they have managed to bring a quite interesting story to life. The art gallery had a travelling exhibition of modern Australian artists and was not bad either. On the Sunday morning there was the weekly market, all kinds of stuff, bric à brac. It was a lively and agreeable place to be.
The caravan park where we were camping was the most expensive one until now and the worst. In the kitchen the fridge was the only working device. No cookers or anything that was not broken and extremely dirty. Not very satisfactory.
After Townsville we rode on. First to Ayr, 90 kms with a very strong headwind. No fun at all. These are the days that I wish I was doing something else. But in the nice caravan park in Ayr we met 2 young Dutch guys, 22 and 30, who both were spending a year on a work/tourist visa in this country and who had had several jobs. The most interesting, worst circumstances and best paid jobs had been in the mines in Port Hedland in the north west. Working 60 hours per week for 2000 dollar per week. Only work, eat, sleep. They both had bought a second hand station car and lived in it during all the time. Now they had saved enough money to be able to travel around (one of them had already over 25000 kms in his car) and to bring money back home to the Netherlands as well.
Then to Bowen, 115 kms. Again there is this headwind. After 50 kms we see a caravan park. It is very dirty, not maintained at all, far worse than the one in Townsville. It seems it has become a haven for dropouts and this kind of people. The good thing though is that they are “fully licensed”, thus the small shop (too big a word for the dump it was) sells, next to simple groceries and cold drinks, cold beer. Fortunately we were prepared for a stop like this, meaning we had bought our food before, so we decided to stop our battle against the wind here. Our speed until then had been so low that we wouldn't have made it till Bowen before dark. So Bowen was postponed for the next day.
Now in Bowen, another too spacious town with too few people in the streets. We bought our food in a supermarket and now, 3 kms out of town, we're in a Caravan Park, in NL we would say a “camping”, that is neat and tidy and where there is wifi. An exception. We found that the internet-infrastructure for tourists is not as well developed here as in Europe.
By the way, today our odometers, giving the total number of kilometers done in this tour, showed more than 1000 kms. On the “Route” page of our homepage I placed a map of the route done so far.

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