New Life Day 8 - Sydney to Cairns

Friday, Jul 31, 1998 at 17:27

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Trip meter 2337km

We left Airlie Beach and headed North to Townsville. I was a bit disappointed when we arrived in Townsville but I’d been told by a lady in the camping ground at Airlie to go up Castle Hill. Castle Hill lookout gives a complete aerial view from all directions of Townsville and the surrounding islands and mountains. We found the Mike Ball Dive Expeditions shop but unfortunately he wasn’t even in Australia. We spoke to his training manager about how to cross-over to become a PADI instructor and wasn’t too impressed to learn that the new PADI system would mean that we would need to go back to Dive Master level and be fully tested again. The prize for completing the instructor program however is a free week aboard Spoilsport diving the Coral Sea but they could give no guarantee that David and I would be together on the same trip as obviously the trip would be stand-by.

As it became later in the day we tried to find somewhere suitable to stay. I didn’t like that Townsville had no real beach so we continued heading North. We found a river well populated by other campers and pulled in. Across the highway was a small service station and bait shop. We asked the locals for their advice for fishing and camping for one night away from the tourists. They suggested we go up the road for another 30km or so and at the turnoffs to any of the beaches to the right we would find free council camp grounds on the beachfront. We checked out a few of these and found Balgal Beach. It was like an oasis for us. Although the camping ground was pretty much just a dirt car park there was a boat ramp and a river feeding out into the ocean at the beachfront. The boat ramp was operated by kiosk which on closer inspection revealed a well setup operation complete with outdoor pool table, bar and bistro with 3 meals a day cooked 7 days a week. We had a great night here. We arrived fairly late around 5pm and headed off to fish in the hope of catching a meal. Some of the locals had beaten us to it and were pulling in nice bream. We caught 3 beam but all had to be returned. We then played a few games of pool and had a few drinks from the bar until we were joined by a pair of young guys who were obviously locals. I say them coming and said to David "these two look like they know what they’re doing" as they approached with a pool cue in a box. Unfortunately for them we whipped their arses! It was quite a funny night actually. Jason and Andrew were local pineapple farmers who last week had been thrown out of the town pup and now this was the only watering hole where they were accepted. We enjoyed their farming stories and answered their questions about the ‘big smoke’.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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