Sunday, 12 August 2018

A Short Visit to Paradise

Last Sunday, 5 August, I joined my neighbours at 3 am for our 1,121 km journey north to Laurel's hometown of Proserpine in the Whitsundays. We took two or three short breaks and arrived at
5.15pm, an average I am told by Reg, of 85 km per hour, over 14 hours. 4 hours of that was through foggy conditions. The time past pleasantly but it was very sad to see the drought conditions for more than half of the journey.

The Proserpine region is both a sugar cane and beef growing area.

Monday morning saw us buying paint, rollers and all the necessities for painting a 3 bedroom home, belonging to Laurel's Mother. The house was empty so we were quickly underway. Thankfully we didn't have to paint the doors or trims and by Friday lunchtime the job was done. Laurel's Mother then visited to inspect and gave us the thumbs up. A tiring but satisfying effort.

I didn't actually wear this outfit, as suggested by my husband but it certainly made me look professional.

Yesterday, Saturday am, we drove the 26 km to beautiful Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsunday Islands.

The northern tropical temperatures had not been at all tropical all week, with cold mornings ranging from 6 to 9C. Yesterday the conditions were magical. I soon understood why the 'Grey Nomads'  of the southern states flock north for winter.

Yachties race week was coming to an end. 

The blue of the sea was magical. I thought I had found paradise, but there was traffic, no parking and people everywhere.

This morning, Sunday, we drove 42 km north to Dingo and Gloucester Beaches. I immediately knew I would be spending the day in Paradise.

Dingo Beach, 9am.

Netted swimming for the months from October to April.

The kookaburras were in full voice.

An hour or so later a short drive took us, via a dirt road, to Gloucester Beach and resort.

Craggy outcrops on the way.

Dry creekbed.

First glimpse.

Bush background to the beach.

Views seen driving into Dingo Beach.

The week hadn't been all painting. A country girl at heart, it was wonderful to be staying in a small country atmosphere town. One evening I went to darts with Laurel's brother Tony. I was partnered with Liz, who also provided a $5 meal of lasagna, salad and garlic bread. I hadn't thrown darts for 3 years and really not much at all before that. It was a fun night with these 20 locals. In the background was their footy team beating the Brisbane footy team in the final minute. Liz and I lost 2 games but we both won on the double, in the other two games. 

Friday night the McNeill family gathered for dinner at the POW - Prince of Wales Hotel. I upset them all by winning the meat tray in the raffle.

A short stroll passed the now closed Irish Pub, took us to the live entertainment of the Metropole.

The country-style singing duo was fantastic but I found the footy screen position just a tad distracting.

It's back to work tomorrow. Curtains to hang while the outside is cleaned by professionals. Tuesday will see the start of its coat of paint. Wednesday however, will see me not grabbing a paintbrush but grabbing my suitcase and heading north to Mossman to visit my brother, on the 6 am train. 

I fully expect to find another small slice of 'paradise' there.

I'd like to add that 'paradise' isn't always as it seems. The sea, for much of Queensland's coastline in the summer months of October to April, is just for looking at because of deadly stingers. Special stocking suits can be worn and enclosures, as at Dingo Beach will protect one. 

With the North's high summer temperatures and humidity, it would be awful not to be able to take a dip at whim, in these idyllic waters.

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