We are at the beginning of the mother of a road trip, destination Cape York.  Our first  few days, before we reach Cairns tomorrow to rendez-cousin with our travelling companions, have been spent visiting family members along the way.  Here is a taste of Days 1-3.

Thursday 22 June

Cool weather and a fine day for the first leg. Just south of Maryborough we spotted the first sugar cane fields. We made a coffee stop in Childers on the main street that boasts many heritage buildings.

Our destination for the night was Moore Park Beach just north of Bundaberg where we made an obligatory stop in homage to a big user of sugar.

It is a rare thing these days to see any cane fires. There was a big one burning as we approached Moore Park, with smoke blowing across our path as the late winter afternoon sun lit up the fields.

Friday 23 June

This morning it was strawberry fields forever as we took off to meet an old friend at the Fingerboard Roadhouse where shutting the bathroom door is a necessity.

Today’s other landscapes included Brahman cattle, coal trains and lagoons.  The many newly-ploughed fields played host to egrets, hawks and crows sharing the spoils.

We pulled into a rest stop at Clairview near Blue Rocks before lobbing into Mackay for the night.


Friday 24 June

Today’s lunchtime stop was Bowen, where from Flagstaff Hill we were treated to some stunning views of the offshore islands. Bowen is the capital of mangoes, tomatoes and salt, given the big low tides that stretch out from the town.

Due to a major traffic accident on the highway about 40 minutes south of Townsville, we had to back track and take the road near Guri across to the A6. Some vehicles got a bonus wash from the irrigation sprinkler.


We ventured further than Georgetown today and took a Hop On Hop Off bus on the beach route, where a whole new world of high-rise apartments lines the north coast of the island. We stopped off at the Tropical Spice Garden for a walk around and had a mid-afternoon lunch of Thai food at the cafe on the grounds.

We sat on the deck overlooking the Strait of Malaka underneath a very large fruiting tree. Any guesses why they named the cafe Tree Monkey?



We took a bus to the base of Penang Hill this morning and then the funicular to the top.

Penang - bus ride to Penang Hill funicular

I took some shots in the garden of David Brown’s restaurant where we had cools drinks and something to energise us for the next leg of this trip.


Instead of getting a return ticket on the funicular, we opted to walk 5 kilometres down the “Jeep Track”, a narrow, winding and steep sealed road. We were rewarded with the sight of a family of Dusky Leaf Monkeys (spectacled langurs) high up in the trees. One for the memory bank as it was too dark for a shot.

Other more common monkeys were plentiful on the way down, grooming and grazing on the side of the road, or just watching the world go by.

We ended the trek at the Botanic Gardens and took a quick trip around in a small tram as the thought of walking had, for some reason, lost its sheen in the heat.