19 August, 2012

To the ocean

Yes, we have a large state!
(Thursday 26th July)

Yes, we reached the ocean three and a half days after leaving the sentimental “centre of Australia” (not the actual centre of Australia, that is about 200km north of Alice Springs).

This morning we woke up on the beautiful Australian bushland, surrounded by gum trees and birds, and a river flowing just a couple of hundred metres away. It was a beautiful place to begin, unfortunately, much like most of our trip, we couldn’t stay long to enjoy it, we had to “make tracks”. We continued to drive east through Charters Towers and down to Townsville.

Bigger trees, definitely a wetter climate here west of
Charters Towers.
In Townsville we’d arranged to meet someone David taught in his last couple of years of teaching in Australia. This “young man” is now an ordained minister and at the end of the year to be working as an army chaplain. I’ve not met him before, but it was a pleasurable couple of hours where he treated the whole family to beverages from The Coffee Club, and we sat in a green grassy park and ate lunch next to the beach. After lunch we let the boys go down to the beach and touch the ocean. It is the first time in over two years that we’ve been to the beach. The boys loved it. Our eldest even showed our “new” friend some wrestling moves after he’d shown some interest in them. Wrestling on a beach, however, is a very gritty affair. They both came away a bit like lamingtons — covered in sand, but both happy.

This is why Australia's national colours are green and
gold. The most common colour (aside from yellowed
grass) is the green of eucalyptus. Then you see these
stunning flowered bushes: yellow wattle, our national

?Near Townsville. A lot different terrain than what we'd
become accustomed to seeing.

The boys, and in fact all of us, would have loved to stay longer, but again, we had to leave before we were satisfied. We’d organised to stay with friends in Mackay, 300 or so km to the south.

It has been interesting to watching the geography change as we’ve driven to the coast. It is so green and wet and so variable after what we saw hour after hour in central Australia.

City driving terrified me after all the long straight country
driving we'd done. It didn't help that we were driving
a large box-shaped vehicle! I let David do this bit.
A common thread throughout our whole journey is that almost everywhere we’ve stayed and many places we’ve driven through we’d like to have stayed just a bit longer. I can imagine happily doing this same journey over a month rather than 16 days. I’m not sure whether the boys would have been happy too, but then perhaps they would have been. We’ve really had to neglect the E of our EF parenting philosophy. Exercise has been sadly lacking in our long driving days, and we’re seeing the effects of that now, with very ratty boys by the end of the day. Thankfully we only have two more long travelling days to go.

The Beach! 
Tomorrow we leave early again and travel to Rockhampton to see David’s mum’s new house. Then we’ll travel on to Bundaberg to see some more friends who we haven’t seen for three years. We’re nearly at the end of our marathon journey.

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