Miz Lizzie Adventures: Mackay to Townsville

Today was the first full day of holiday.

We arrived fairly early and got set up quickly. It’s a beautiful caravan park, and as it’s low season, we have the place almost to ourselves.

I was tired after yesterday’s packing and travelling, and after a delicious supper of grilled pork chops and pineapple (grown about a kilometre away), a brief walk on the beach 20 metres away and a catch up on what was happening in blogland, we both put head to pillow and were out like a light. I woke early to the most wonderful sunrise over the sea, and a very peaceful sound from the waves at high tide.

I’d booked my sewing machine in for a service in Townsville as I don’t much care for the local technician in Mackay. Need I say there was a very modest fabric purchase….? We also paid a visit to the Honda motorbike shop across the road (how’s that for convenience?) to see if we could find a handlebar mount for the satnav, but no luck, or it would have been even scores for me and the Husband. Then off to our first planned visit, the Heritage Tea Rooms, up the high and winding Herveys Range Road, just north of the city.

It’s gorgeous. A settler-style cottage, built of wood, with high ceilings, verandahs and a tin roof, it’s still filled with original furniture, zinc tubs, old mangles, dressers (hutches) filled with lovely old crockery, original floorboards and fascinating photos of people and scenes from 100 years ago and more. And the food… well. I had two huge batch scones (buttermilk biscuits), fresh butter and home made plum jam. The Husband went blokey and had a beef pie and a sausage roll (and the half scone I couldn’t manage!), washed down with an excellent iced latte. Delicious, home made, and enjoyed in the shady garden surrounds of the Tea Rooms.

Then back down Herveys Range, stopping for a photo of the stunning view from the top, with Mt Cataract in the middle and Townsville and the sea in the distance, and back to Rollingstone and the purchase of some beautiful locally-caught banana prawns and another very local pineapple for our dinner.

Not a cloud in the sky all day, 34°C/93°F, and as soon as I’ve written this, I’m heading for the swimming pool for an afternoon dip. It’s hell, but someone has to do it. Tomorrow we’re packing up in the morning and heading north once again, to Cairns and Far North Queensland. Plenty more to do there, but it struck us today that now we have Bill, we’d be able to head up to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation, something we couldn’t do in our previous car due to the roughness of the road. Something to think about… it’s nearly 18 years since I last visited the Cape.

See you in FNQ 🙂

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Miz Lizzie Adventures: Wagons roll…

Our time on the Tablelands has drawn to a close, sadly.

It was a wet night, and we rejoiced at being warm and dry, and most of all, at not having a huge bundle of wet tent to take down, clean off, fold, roll and pack – and then air out at the other end. Coffee, showers, breakfast, and then stowing everything securely, taking down the pop-top, detaching all the lines, hooking her up to the car, and away we go. We’re learning to work together at the process, so it goes more quickly each time we have to do it. Rain all the way down (but it IS the Wet season, so to be expected), and because it’s mid-week, traffic not too heavy. We are in Townsville tonight.

sea-eagle-nestThe trip was remarkable only for being very, very wet, and one other thing. We saw a sea-eagle’s nest right beside the road, and were fortunately able to stop in time to take a photo without causing a pile-up. The nest is about a metre across, a dense but fairly informal construction, more of a platform, really. You can see more about the Australian White-Bellied Sea Eagle here. They’re big, impressive birds; sadly we weren’t quick enough to capture that with the camera too….

We’re waiting to hear from some friends about the possibility of getting together for a meal tonight. Keeping one eye on the skies, I might add, which are interestingly half blue and half black. And then tomorrow, it’s packing up again, and on the road for home.

This short break has gone fast, too fast. Something I rarely say about wet camping trips in a tent!

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Waterfalls, Weather and Walsh’s Pyramid

We knew we were in for some rain today.

We were right. It’s been soggy on and off all day. But it didn’t stop us, and indeed, we decided to add still more water to the equation by doing the Waterfall Circuit, a 15km loop drive which takes in three of the Tableland’s more notable falls. Without further ado, then, I bring you Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls.

millaa-millaa-falls zillie-falls ellinjaa-falls

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the cloud and downpour got too heavy for us to enjoy the scenery, and we descended from the plateau down to sea level and into sunshine.

En route, we saw some pretty amazing evidence of just how fast and how heavily rain in the tropics can develop, as a thick roll of dark cloud built up out of nowhere above Mount Bartle Frere, teetered briefly at the top and then tipped itself over the edge. You can’t even see the top of the mountain, and it’s the highest in Queensland!

weather-1

Rolling down over the mountain top, having appeared out of a clear, innocent blue sky….

weather-2

… and dropping its load in a sheer curtain of water.  Ten paces from the cloud’s edge, the ground was dry!

On our way into Cairns for a bit of shopping and a bloody fine curry at our favourite Indian restaurant, we passed the peak which is the ‘gateway to Cairns’, known as Walsh’s Pyramid. Well, you can see why, can’t you?

walshs-pyramidThis remarkable peak is the location of one of the most gruelling mountain runs in the southern Hemisphere. It’s 922 metres or 3,025 feet high, and the run consists of 6 km (3.7 miles) of road and 6km of sheer mountain; up, and then down again at headlong speed. If you’re interested, you can go here to read the history, stats and records for the race. And why do they do it? Because it’s there….

We did a fair bit more than I’ve documented here, but it’ll have to wait for another day.

 

 

Miz Lizzie 2: a pile of goodies

It turns out I won’t get to play with her over the weekend, boo!

They’ve tested the aircon, which is working fine, but the brackets the unit’s mounted on inside its cupboard are worn and the thing makes a huge din when it’s working. New brackets will take till Monday to arrive, so while we’ll get the handover and electric braking fitted to the car on Friday, Miz Lizzie herself will not be available till Monday afternoon. It’s good the problem’s getting fixed, but not so good that I have to wait, as patience is not my strong suit…

Meanwhile, I went to Spotlight to buy fabric for seat covers and curtains, based on what I could remember of the sizes. Their 20% off sale finished yesterday, so I had to do it quickly to get the reduction. I’ve got the fabrics I wanted, ticking for the seat covers and a lovely seaside themed print for the curtains. Luckily I remembered the sizes quite well, as when I went back the next day to measure the actual seats and windows, it turns out I’ve got just about enough. I can always get a metre or so more at full price if I run short.

curtain-cushion-fabricscurtain-fabric-scaleWhile we were standing in the queue for the cutting desk, clutching the two huge rolls of fabric, the Husband said “Have you seen those tiny little cheap sewing machines over there?  Do you think you could use one for the caravan?” Er, silly question, my darling… you really need to ask? Only $99, too.

lilibetSo here’s my baby Singer, Lilibet. Isn’t she little and cute? She weighs only 4.4kg (9.5 pounds). She’s got straight, zigzag, invisible hemming, edge-finishing and decorative scallop stitches as well as buttonhole stitching. There’s stitch width and length adjustment, and a reverse lever. She has regular, zipper and buttonhole feet, and a cover for the feed dogs for quilting. That’s plenty. She doesn’t have lock stitch or needle down buttons or speed control, but I can work around that. So while we’re gallivanting around the countryside, I can carry on with whatever project I’m currently sewing 🙂 The Husband’s a treasure, isn’t he?

Meanwhile, bloke-type presents are also being bought for our new baby: power cords, amperage converters, that sort of stuff. We have 10 days before we go away, and just about enough time to get everything sorted. I won’t have time to do the curtains and covers, either, but it’ll give me a chance to see whether I’ll need blackout lining, and if the bed cushions need more padding, that sort of thing.

Time to do some proper sewing, I think, instead of petting my fabrics….