Posted on March 8, 2014 by


Tuesday 18 February – From Julia’s Creek, we reached the last outback town before the coast – Charters Towers an old Gold mining town. It had no flies! A dream. And green was now part of the landscape. But the weather had turned. We watched on the news a few days later as a town in the outback we had passed through called Hughenden, had completely flooded. The locals were celebrating with kids dancing in the street, as they had been in drought for about three years. They were loving it, us not so much. We’d reverted back to old times in Europe, when we have to pack up camp in the toilets or kitchen. The American theme continued in Charters Towers. It had arenas for cattle sales, like those you see on TV for a rodeo in America. The houses too were very Louisiana style looking with intricate lattice trimmings and verandas around the entire outskirts. The town was a bit of a mish mash. Looks like they have tried to conserve that look and blend in the new stores but it doesn’t quite work and it looks a bit of a mess.

A week after we left Darwin we made it to the coastal town of Townsville and were now heading south on the Bruce Highway.  We drove straight through Townsville towards Bowen.

There was nothing of particular interest this time of the year, it was just a small seaside town with camping near the beach. It did however have a giant fibreglass mango taking pride of place as you approach the town. The giant mango has since been ‘stolen’ (apparently a publicity stunt by Nandos). If it had been summer we could have gorged on Mango, which is according to a local magazine the most consumed fruit in the world. At the same time, I’m glad we’re not here during the summer – I’ve read it gets brain-deadening hot, such intense heat you want to tear your face off. Not sure it gets hotter than Darwin though, so maybe the Queenslanders are just exaggerating. On the way to Bowen we passed through a lot of sugar cane fields and fruit farms, most of which were flooded. We’d been excited about reaching the coast but at the same time forgot we can’t swim in the sea. Its ‘stinger’ season, lots of box jelly fish in the waters. Also, theres lots of rules about not camping on any government parks or beaches which happen to be the best spots. They do however provide public bbqs nearly everywhere. They are kept really quite clean, so we made our dinner on the beachfront that evening.

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Posted on February 23, 2014 by

Northern Territory

Thursday 13 February – A new blog post means we have the bike yeyy. I’ll just back track a little first. 8 weeks we waited in Darwin. 2 months – that’s longer than it took us to travel across Europe. The Toll group who we shipped with certainly took its Toll on us. We were prepared for a delay but no one can expect five so called ‘scheduled’ boats not to stop in Dili. Toll do not keep you informed at all, even when you have paid your money. They really couldn’t give a crap if or when your cargo gets to you. Just lots of excuses. We were not told of ‘other’ options as it’s their competitors, but to be honest after the 4th week it would have just been the decent thing to do, not mention it 6 weeks later. At one point we found out a Toll vessel would stop at Dili then sail on to Singapore but would then return to Dili on it’s way back to Darwin. We asked for the bike to be put on when it stopped the first time, but were told it was ‘not commercially viable’ and were given a 100% guarantee it would stop on it’s way back. It didn’t. You can imagine it was heart breaking knowing the boat had been to Dili and then showed up in Darwin minus our bike all because Toll group don’t care about their customers – the smaller ones anyway .

The waiting game took it’s toll on us too. Boredom, frustration, living in the most expensive city in Australia had a crappy effect on us both. Spending all day everyday together not really doing anything other than going to library to use the internet, didn’t make for all happy times. Paul woke one morning at 7.30am in anger/insanity and declared he was going to Toll. Off he went, no one was there obviously, so he came back a little calmer after the walk.

We ended up renting floor space at the shipping agent’s home after failing to find somewhere after the first place we were staying. During this time we’d been in contact with another guy shipping his motorcycle a few weeks after us, Dean. He had to get back to work so couldn’t even wait around like us, so would have to waste a lot of money flying around all because of Toll. It would have been cheaper, easier and quicker to ride back to Malaysia and ship from there.

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