Wow! A bit slack in doing another Blog! We are now the middle of July and the holiday is well and truely over! Tui has been working for just over 3 weeks now. He is driving for “Qube” carting Cane from Mareeba to Mosman in a B Double. For those of you who don’t know, a B- Double is a BIG Truck. LOL! He has to drive up and down the Rex Range, which is fairly narrow with some tight corners. Not long straight roads, like we have seen heaps of here, but more like NZ conditions.
His shifts are taking a little getting used to, 3.30 to 3.30, 6 nights, 3 days off then 6 days. As they are short of drivers he has also been working his middle day off. Now what else have we been up to! We had planned to do “Cape York”, however while at Mt Molloy free camp we had issues with our batteries so decided to sort it all out while at the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds. A great place to stay, powered site $17 a night and we have met some terrific people here.
Lots of Kangaroos right behind where we are parked.
After 3 days of extensive checking of wiring throughout Tiki Tourer we discovered that our batteries, which were only 18 months old, were buggard! $1200 later, problem solved. This time Tui has bought better quality batteries with a 3 year warranty. Fingers crossed we won’t have anymore problems! There were a few reasons why we made the decision not to do the Cape this year. Firstly we had unseasonal rain, not good for driving on those roads and through the river crossings. The caravan below only got 60kms and had to turn back.
Secondly, we still hadn’t replaced our tent that had been wrecked in a storm when we were at Bindi Bindi and we had nothing to sleep on as Tui had sold our stretchers after Steep Point. We spied a couple parked a few sites along from us that had just returned from the Cape and were drying their camping gear out so Jude approached them to see if they were interested in selling. The result – we now have a tent, stretchers, self inflating mattresses and a ground sheet ready for when we do go camping!
While Jude was waiting for her new washing machine to arrive (the old one wore out) she met Lil, another Kiwi, in the Laundry! Her husband Rob & daughter Rebecca had just started with Qube. She said they were looking for Drivers and told her who to contact etc. This job was something Tui had wanted to do, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to get those extra jobs done with the money he would earn.
Mareeba is a good base as we have found some good deals and have been able to get most of what we want here. If anything is not available locally we are only a short distance away from Cairns. We have even found a good company to replace our awning that was damaged in Emerald. Just waiting on the Insurance Company to give the OK. Yipee, goodbye ugly brown & orange awning! Watch for photos in the next Blog!
Tui has been a busy boy! He has done a lot of work on the Suzuki. He says “It’s not a town car anymore, but a true blue outback 4 x 4! The philosophy being if he can’t have a big 4 x 4 (won’t fit on the trailer) the next best thing is to have the bells & whistles on Suzuki. We now have LED lights inside the Suzuki awning, a Bull Bar, he has modified the roof rack cage, installed spot lights and installed a snorkel.
A dedicated group of campers here have Happy Hour around a fire every day, even when it is raining! Most of them are volunteers that keep the grounds running smoothly and assist when the Rodeo is on. Great people and we join them frequently.
Another couple we have made friends with are Greg & Marg Mann. They are from Pemberton in WA but have sold up and are wanting to settle in this area. We went out to Mt Uncles Distillery one morning for coffee with them. Tui was on Night shift that day so no tastings, but the coffee was great and it is beaut spot.
Ballooning is popular here and most mornings we can clearly see them overhead, with one landing a few metres away from Tiki Tourer. On standby, the campers can fly in one for only $50. Great deal!
Another purchase Tui has made is a cupboard for my washing machine. It is great, holds all my laundry detergent etc. as well. He has mounted it on the trailer above the Motorbike.
On the 28th June it was our mate Annie’s 60th Birthday party in Cairns. Unfortunately Tui was working so Jude headed down on her own and stayed the night at the Clearwater Caravan Park in a cabin where Jock & Annie had their Bus parked. Nice spot!
The party was at Yorkeys Knob Boating club 15 minutes north of Cairns and not far from where we were staying. The multi-million dollar marina club house was completed in October 1995 and is built out over the water with the largest shade sail in the north covering the deck and alfresco dining facilities. Very nice, weather was fantastic! Annie provided finger food, which there was plenty of, and we bought our own drinks.
Next morning Annie & Jude took a look at the fish, turtles & eels in the stream at the Caravan Park before heading into Cairns.
We had a great day meeting up with our friend Renate for lunch at the Pier. Another beautiful view and fantastic food at “Tha Fish”.
Photos recovered by Cairns locals and The Cairns Post newspaper reveal that the esplanade was once a sandy beach, similar to Cairns Northern beaches such as Machans Beach and Holloways Beach. It is believed that the dredging of the Grafton Channel for shipping resulted in mud completely covering the sandy beach because the sediment gathered during the dredging process was dumped offshore and promptly swept back in to silt the inlet and cover the esplanade beach with mud.
This infusion of mud has been great for the mangrove ecosystem, but not great for tourists who would rather see a sandy beach than a muddy tidal swamp. A 4800 sq metre saltwater swimming lagoon offers locals and tourists year round safe swimming. Saltwater is pumped from the inlet and filtered through a state of the art filtration and chlorination system, to meet Australian Standards. It has sandy edges, for children to build sand castles and play in shallow water. On the other side of the Lagoon, visitors can lounge on the timber decks in moderate shade. Shady trees, landscaped gardens and open spaces all contribute to the leisurely atmosphere.
The old Cairns courthouse which was built in 1921 and first used in 1922 was renovated as a Hotel in 1998. It is a beautiful building.
Back up to Mareeba where they were gearing up for the annual rodeo. More about that in the next blog! Until then “Laugh more, live longer”.