Thursday, 12 July 2012

Question: When is the 'Dry Season' in Queensland?

Answer: Any time Colin's not there.

Yes folks, it's raining the proverbial cats and dogs here in sunny Queensland. And it hasn't let up since we got here. The locals are amazed - up here in the Whitsundays they've had five times the average July rainfall, and it's only the 12th of the month.

Me, I'm not in the least bit surprised. I've always had this uncanny ability to bring bad weather. Ask anyone who knows me. I turn up, and the rain clouds follow.

I'm really popular at summer picnics and barbecues.

It's not all bad though. We've driven so far north that it's finally warm. Well, warmish anyway.

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn the other day - 23 degrees south of equator - at Rockhampton, or Rocky as it's affectionately known and officially entered subtropical Queensland. It was pissing down at the time.

Rocky is a funny place, all V8s and cowboy hats. Unsurprising, given it's the beef capital of Australia. I bet you didn't know there were 2.5 million cows within a 200km radius of Rockhampton. Well, now you do.

We pretty much drove straight through anyway, since we were on the way to Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsundays, or the Wetsundays as I've decided to call them.

Koumala, on the Bruce Highway

It's raining so hard though that we can't get our boat out to Whitehaven Island, where we've booked five nights in a Queensland national parks campsite - the whole wilderness experience.

It sounds great. You have to take everything with you, even your own drinking water. And you have to take everything out too. And I mean everything.

The beach looks incredible too. At least, it does in the brochure. I'll let you know if we actually see it.

After we left Fraser Island, we treated ourselves to a night in a backpackers at Rainbow Beach (I can't believe I just wrote that) which is a sleepy little town at Inskip Point, which is where you take the barge to Fraser Island, before hightailing it north to Bundaberg. Yes, that's where they make the ginger beer. And the rum.

We had a bit of an enforced stop in Bundaberg, owing to this rather large crack in our windscreen that grew as the miles progressed. It might have had something to do with a creek that the girl "didn't see'' in the dark, which we hit with a wee bit of a bang.

Or it might not.

Anyway, we got Chuckie a new windscreen and headed on up to Agnes Water, a gorgeous little pinprick of a town a couple of hundred km north of Bundaberg. It's also the very last place you can go surfing on Australia's eastern seaboard. After that, the Great Barrier reef stops you. And the sharks, stingers, and crocs.

So of course we had to have a quick surf, even though it was still raining!

Me after a hiding in the surf

Then it was back on the Bruce Highway (I love the names Australians give their roads - Bruce Highway, Stuart Highway, Murray Highway...Gidday Bruce, Stu, Muzza...) and north to Airlie.

Airlie Beach is one of those resort towns where everyone's waiting to leave. As the gateway to the Whitsundays, there's not a lot to do here when it's raining. Besides drink, and watch the rain.

My girlfriend Katie shows how it's done

We did have some light entertainment last night when the tent's awning collapsed under the weight of all the water. It fell on top of our gas lantern, simultaneously smashing the light and burning a nice lantern-shaped hole in the tent awning. Whoops.

Fingers crossed it finally stops raining tomorrow so we can go live out our desert island dream.

Small town Queensland

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