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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-vous 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.

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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.

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A few highlights from today.

Tracking down more street art murals.  In this mix is Brother and Sister on a Swing and Children Playing Basketball by Louis Gan, a Penang-born artist and The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This, a piece from the 101 Lost Kittens project. 

If you happen to be walking down near the wharves, it’s not hard to tell that a new cruise liner has arrived in town.

Penang - cruise ship in town

And a Georgian house, restored to its early 19th century state. The restaurant upstairs in Suffolk House caters for lunches and afternoon teas.

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?