Gone camping

Campsite

A couple of weekends ago we packed up and went camping. Actually The Surfer did the camping packing and the food shopping. I just had to get myself and JJ organised. We didn’t get to leave Adelaide until about 4pm and as the ute was being backed out of my driveway I saw water leaking out from the luggage. It turned out to be a water container leaking which meant our mattress got a bit wet but luckily I noticed it as it could have been wetter and we could have been minus some water.

We arrived at the campsite around 10pm and setup the two tents. The two boys did really well considering the late hour and we eventually got to bed. We had stopped for dinner on the way at a pub which delayed us some more.

Going to great lengths to keep flies at bay

See the flies on my son’s hoody? He had it done up like this to keep them off his face. Next time I go camping in the country I’m getting some netting to keep the flies off my face. They were way too high in numbers, and way to friendly.

But, that and the sad state of the camping toilets aside, there’s something to be said for camping. I like the change in routine. I like not being around home where I feel obligated to be doing something. There’s always something.

I had a great time catching up with friends who came away with us and friends who live nearby and nearby-ish. It’s great when you introduce friends to other friends who’ve never met but they get on very well.

The lad tried some fishing. No bites, but it was worth a shot.

No fish biting

There’s always some shy wildlife around the place.

IMG_1634

Look at the holes in this. There were bees nesting in there.

There's bees in there

I can’t help myself. I’ve got to take photos of the flora.

Plantlife

Flower

Apart from the flies I had a great time but we only had two full days there and it was time pack up and head back to Adelaide.

Until next time ey?

 

Our day trip to Cape Tribulation

Interesting tree

I’d had plans to update this blog more frequently while we were away and we even had ‘fast broadband’ in our apartment. Except it wasn’t fast broadband. It was more like dialup speed so uploading my photos to Flickr took FOOOOREVER so I just didn’t do it.  Also I was usually knackered by the end of the day when I had a bit of time to do it.

The above photo was taken on our day trip to Cape Tribulation. These trees are really interesting and you see a few of them up in that area where the original tree has been taken over by another plant to make that criss-cross pattern.

Mangroves

Swamp

I didn’t really have a plan for our Cape Tribulation day trip so we did a stop on the way when we felt like it and did a walk through these mangrove swamps. The water really was that green.

Cape Tribulation

The plant-life near the beaches is so different to our beaches down south. I like that you could go to the beach and have this shade so handy. The weather wasn’t really beach weather so we didn’t stop that long.

We ended up booking a jungle surfing trip. Jungle surfing is a fancy name for zip-lining through the rainforest canopy. You get harnessed up, then hooked up and zoom over to another tree to do it all over again.

Getting harnessed

On his way through the canopy

Jungle surfing

My little adventurer loved it and I enjoyed it too once I got over the fact that we were fairly high up. On the last tree you can hang upside down if you want. JJ had been on about wanting to do it and I thought there’s no way that I would. I got hooked up and the guy asked me if I wanted to hang upside down. When I hesitated he encouraged me so I thought what the heck, and let go of the green rope, flipped over and hung upside down while going to the last tree. JJ couldn’t believe I actually did it, and neither could I. Unfortunately the person who was supposed to be operating my camera stuffed it up and I got no photos.

We dropped into the Daintree icecream factory on the way back and had a taste of their offerings before heading back to the Daintree River ferry which we had to wait for this time. There was a fairly long line but quite a few cars fit on the ferry so it didn’t take too long.

Waiting for the Daintree River ferry

Holiday. What holiday?

This time two weeks ago I was complaining about bedbug bites. Now I’m back in the cold and my bedbug bites are mostly well and truly covered up.

The hotel gave me a bottle of bubbly to ‘apologise for the inconvenience’. I opened it on our last night there and had a couple of small glasses and through the rest of it away. It was revolting. You’d think that if you were trying to apologise to someone that you’d give them a decent bottle of plonk, not one that tasted like vinegar.

I duly posted a review to Trip Advisor about the hotel and their management of the bedbugs. It wasn’t all negative, I did include the positive things.

Overall we had a great holiday and while the bedbugs incident did put a dampener on things it didn’t take over, although I was annoyed that I couldn’t wear some of the clothes I took there because it would have meant exposing my unsightly pussy bites to the public which I didn’t want to do.

I’m glad I hired a car while there. Yes it did add that extra expense of a few hundred dollars but it was really worth it. Our Port Douglas accommodation wasn’t central so it was much easier to hop in the car and drive to the shops. We also had the freedom of doing the tourist thing without having to pay for transport either locally or on a tour.

Our day trip to Kuranda didn’t leave us enough time to see the Birdworld and the Butterfly World – not sure of exact names. Plus it was a lovely town so we drove back there one day. This would have been harder to do without a car. We also took the inland route rather than the coastal route, just for something different.

JJ had an interesting experience with a bird who must have sussed out that maybe JJ doesn’t clean his teeth as well as he should?

Cleaning his teeth

Going in for a kiss

Inspecting his mouth

IMG_1460

Jules and the bird

Or he just wanted a kiss from a cute boy? I don’t know but it was funny to watch.

This Macaw was friendly but neither of us had a go of him sitting on our shoulder. Some people just hogged him.

Maccaw

So now our holiday is a memory. A good one though. When people ask JJ what his favourite part of the holiday one he says very sarcastically while rolling his eyes, ‘spending time with my mum’. Even though he’s dripping with sarcasm I think he really means it. Apart from a couple of little mother/son niggles we travelled well together and it’s something I’ll always treasure. I hope he does too.

 

 

Not all beer and skittles

So it turns out my bites were bed bugs. Nice huh! Not….. They were unlike any mosquito bites I’d ever had and I kept getting them at night despite spraying the room and myself.

I insisted to the hotel that something was wrong. Housekeeping came along to inspect my room and initially didn’t find anything. I was thinking I was going mad and thinking I would insist on changing rooms anyway. Then after he’d inspected the mattress he began on the ensemble base and when he turned it over he found some bugs. Those little critters ate a lot of me. I have bites on my forehead, one on my face, a couple on my neck and heaps on my arms. I’ve had to buy long sleeved tops to cover them up as they look so hideous.

We did change rooms and I had a much better sleep last night. They checked the bed out before I moved in as well apparently.

So covered up I’ve been in this lovely weather while in Adelaide it’s freezing.

But back to the holiday in hand, we went on the Sky Rail the other day.

Can't wait to get on

It was fun (ahem) leaving the station and being suspended in mid air by a cable while your 12 year old son repeats that we’re going to die. Fun I tell ya.

Looking back down the Sky Rail

Once he got over his anxiety about being on the sky rail he really began to enjoy himself and when we got on after the first stop the girls we shared the gondola with noticed his excitement.

On the Sky Rail

The view was spectacular and we noticed the train travelling up the hill.

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Kuranda was a lovely – albeit very touristy – town and we could have spent longer there looking around but I’d booked the earlier train to go back down the hill. JJ bought himself a crocodile skin hat and yes, those are real crocodile teeth he’s got on the hat.

Hi Mr Dundee

We hopped on the train for the one and a half hour trip down the hill and I listened to some of the commentary about how the railway was built. The terrain is very challenging and building a railway back then would have been really hard work. The workers had to supply their own tools. There were a number of pubs built around the area to keep the workers in beer after a hard day’s work. Sounds like they deserved it.

Looking out the train window

Eating out in Cairns – or how not to run a restaurant

In the rainforest

After a day of sight-seeing the other day we met a friend who happened to be in Cairns and went out for dinner. Not being from the area we thought we’d wing it and walked along the Esplanade for some inspiration.

We came to one place – a middle eastern restaurant – looked at the menu, thought we’d stay and asked for a table for three. The waiter said that they were quite busy at the moment and we could sit outside and wait for 20 minutes until we could be seated.

My friend looked inside and noticed that there were quite a few tables vacant and mentioned this to him. He said that it was a really busy time and we’d still have to wait for 20 minutes.

It was getting on a bit and I wanted to eat and head back to Port Douglas before I got too tired so we moved on.

We ended up at a cafe and ordered our meals. My friend and I ordered the same dish – an oriental chicken salad. JJ ordered the usual fish and chips.

The meals came out and our salads didn’t look that great and when my friend tasted the fried noodles she said they were stale. I tasted mine and they were definitely stale. I had a bit of the chicken and it had been bathed in balsamic vinegar and wasn’t that tasty either. Neither of us are in the habit of sending things back but we had to with these meals.

We ordered something different and had to wait for quite some time. We finally got our replacement meals after JJ had finished eating his and the meals were a lot better this time.

In the meantime we’d been offered nothing while we waited – even a drink would have been good.

As soon as we finished eating I asked for the bill and when we received it our sent back meals were on it in addition to our replacement meals.

Of course we mentioned this and the waitress said that she’d made up a new bill for us without those meals. Why we weren’t given that in the first place I don’t know.

As we walked out we said that we’d never be back and after having a look at their reviews on Trip Advisor others haven’t given them good reviews either. I’ve now added my own review.

If I was the waiter in the first restaurant I would have seated us and mentioned that the meals might take a little bit longer than normal due to them being busy. As it was we probably would have gotten out sooner if we’d stayed there. The fact that he couldn’t seat us for dinner just yet was a bit strange.

In the second place I would have offered us at least a drink for giving us stale food. I think we should have been compensated in some way for the inconvenience. They obviously don’t care about maintaining any sort of standards maybe due to the high number of drop-in tourists? But surely if they took more care with their food they’d have better reviews on Trip Advisor etc and be more popular.

The photo at the top has nothing to do with our food, but it was serene in the rain forest earlier that day.

Taking a step back

Plantlife

I’ve been contracting for work for just over two years now. Contracting is stressful because you never know if your current contract will be extended or not. I’ve been lucky for these two years because I was with the same organisation and the last contract was for nearly a year. It was great not to have to worry about looking for more work for that time. As I knew I was finishing up in the middle of the year I thought, bugger it, I’m booking a holiday and hang the job situation.

So while having a holiday to look forward to, I’ve also been hussling my wares on the job front. It wasn’t going so well and I only had two more weeks left of work. Then I saw an advertised job – another contract – that looked promising. Then my work asked if I could stay on for another 2-4 weeks. I also applied for another two jobs and got interviews for both of them. It was all a bit much. People close to me were confused about what job I was talking about that minute and I don’t blame them. I’ve got some work to go back to, so that’s a load off my mind.

But during all of this I had a holiday to look forward to. Unfortunately when we left I had a migraine so I tried to sleep on the flight here and had an early night last night.

Excited to be here

We’re staying in a very green spot inland from Port Douglas in a friend’s brother’s house for a couple of nights before we hit the bright lights of Port Douglas. It didn’t take long for JJ to declare he thought it was fantastic and go off exploring with the resident dog.

Getting a dog fix

The house is what I think is a typical Queenslander. I’m sitting on the balcony typing this and the vista is amazing.

Queenslander

Our accommodation

There is another guest staying here, but he’s fairly quiet and thankfully keeps to himself.

Resident spider

A couple of times JJ has gone off into the ‘forest’ and a couple of times I’ve gone into try and find him. We’ve both had a fairly good explore. Not sure if we went onto someone else’s property, but we probably did.

Canopy

Sometimes you can sneak up on the resident fauna.

Scaring the nightlife

And you can see them in their element.

Enjoying

Coming from the south where it’s pretty dry most of the time, you really notice somewhere different having different vegetation.

 

Sun through the trees

But it doesn’t take long to relax and I’m thinking I should have loaded my Kindle up with more books. Maybe I’ll even splash out and buy a magazine to read. I’m so glad I booked this holiday.

Doesn't take too long to relax

An oasis on the way

When I was learning to drive one of the first things my dad made me do was learn how to change a tyre because we had no roadside assistance. He also taught me to check the radiator and the tyres for air. So tyres filled with the appropriate amount of air meant we were ready for our little road trip. Old habits die hard.

We were on our way to visit my sister who lives nearly two hours away. It’s normally a pretty boring drive with not that much to look at along the way.

Port Wakefield is about half way from here to there so it’s a good place to stop, have a toilet break, a stretch, and maybe buy something to eat. There’s petrol and food stations all along the highway part of Port Wakefield and normally I don’t stop there for very long. It’s not the most attractive place.

It does, however, have a really good bakery which I often stop at. Normally I eat my purchase at the bakery then hop back in the car to be on my way.

But if you take a left just past the bakery as you’re heading north, and keep driving a bit you’ll get to a lovely spot to get out the car and eat your lunch.

The first thing JJ did was go and sit on the boardwalk that spanned this river and eat his pie. I stayed with Monty while I ate my pasty. Then we both went for a bit of a wander.

I think we stayed for about half an hour which is something I’m normally in too much of a rush, for whatever stupid reason, to do. Why is it that once I start driving, I need to be at my destination as quickly as possible following speed limits and so on of course.

Sometimes I make a conscious effort to not stress about taking some extra time out of the journey to enjoy what’s along the journey. Sometimes I don’t take the freeway, but the back roads up the Hills to enjoy the autumn colour. And I’m always glad when I do.

I know JJ really appreciated it. He loves pottering around in or near water. There’s always a good stick to be found that will be used to prod things. Monty got to get out and have a bit of a stretch too.

And with a nearby toilet it’s quite perfect really.

And being able to climb a canon and pretend you’re shooting stuff is the ultimate.

We hopped in the car after lunch and it was like the previous driving to get  there hadn’t happened at all as we were refreshed enough to be on our way.

What about you? Do you stop along the way to enjoy the scenery or must you get to your destination as quickly as possible.