• Keef Hellinger

Blog 163 HOLIDAY1995 Trip downunder includes a motorhome Queensland (recreated 2021 a retrospective)

Updated: Mar 20

By keef and annie hellinger, Dec 1 2021 07.30 am

As Moonfruit died on 7th December 2021 my previous HOLIDAY2007-8 site which contained our 1st trip down under in 1995 was migrated by Yell to WIX. I have decided to incorporate it here into my motorhometravelsblog site as an insurance against Yell increasing site charges quite substantially once a year is up, it will then be easy to remove the migrated site.

Note this is intrinsically linked to Blog 81, see the 3 associated blogs at end of post, thanks


That's what you call thinking ahead... anyhow for your enjoyment here is 1995!


UPDATE Jan 2022 put a lot of effort into resurrecting HOLIDAY 2007-8 so if you wish to look at the reworked original as well feel free click HERE


MENU

  1. Read the Full Diary

  2. Listen to the Audiobook of the Diary if you prefer

  3. See the Calendar and Route Map

  4. See the Full slideshow with audiobook intro

  5. See the Slideshows

  6. Listen to the Talkies Video


OUR HOLIDAY "DOWN UNDER" - 1995

Including Family in Sydney, New South Wales, Victoria & Queensland


Summary: AUSTRALIA 5 weeks between 6/8/1995 - 2/9/1995

On the old website photos were arranged in batches of 50 via the gallery to make it quicker to load them and easier to navigate through them. In 2020 you can now use the filmstrip bar at the bottom to run across them. All You Tube videos from that trip are available via the Playlist button below. Enjoy! This is a visual summary of out family trip to Australia in 1995. What lovely memories! We were supposed to have 2 stops on route, Kuwait City & Jakarta but in the end stopped at those and Changi airport, Singapore & Denpasar, Indonesia as well. 48 hours travel to save the cost of one child's flight. We would not do that again, far too tiring. Whilst in Oz we visited Sydney, Hunter Valley wine area, Great Ocean Road, Canberra, Melbourne and Queensland especially Cairns, Green Island and the Atherton Tableland. By 2020 including living there as a child / teenager respectively we have been 5 times and still have rellies / friends living there, love the place! By 2017 we had in essence travelled from Caernarvon high up on the west coast all the way around up to Cooktown high on the east coast plus thru the red centre from Darwin to Adelaide including Alice Springs, plus Broome & Kunannarra both high up in Western Australia, oh and all the way around the island of Tasmania, would have lived there way back in the late 80s if my company had given me the job in the rocks area Sydney but in the end they decided it was cheaper to give the job to an aussie rather than pay for a whole Brit family to be shipped out there, shame, but travel & life is still fun.


Besides seeing kapukai the aboriginal dance band we travelled on the fabulous Kuranda Railway in far north Queensland, we also sadly saw the oppression of aboriginals in Mossman, when we returned in 2007-8 (Blog 162) they had even been banished to the outskirts of the town and in Alice springs Kevin Rudd the then Prime Minister of Australia issued a formal apology for the way they had been treated, to this day I personally don't believe this issue is yet resolved #sosad #scary


us on the big cat off green island, queensland, 1995
us on the big cat off green island, queensland, 1995

Calendars


image of the boys,, that green island classic photo we had in their playroom #nostalgia, blog 163 motorhome-travels blog
the boys, that green island classic photo we had in their playroom #nostalgia

old style 6 birth motorhome c 1995
our queensland hire 6 berth motorhome, had fun getting up hills, double declutch ;)

#vanswelove

HISTORY


Have a look at the diaries and the travel map above, below is what the old website looked like, it had various revisions since its inception in 2008 but was the earliest site I ever created starting created via Coppermine with Craigs then Moonfruit V6, HTML5, responsive code and now on WIX (what a journey of discovery and I've loved every moment) #nerd #majorholidaytrip


our old HOLIDAY2007-8 website 1995 page image, died dec21
our old HOLIDAY2007-8 website 1995 page image

With Audiobook


Slideshows





The Talkies

This is what the original slideshow page looked like


b163 1995 original slideshow page
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.33MB

Diary

1995 Diary 5 weeks in Australia with the Family


Initially staying with family in Sydney but then other parts of New South Wales, Canberra the capital in Australian Capital Territory, Victoria before flying up to Queensland and hiring our mega 6 berth motorhome with antiquated double declutch gears and no power steering, our first experience in a motorhome and yet we continue to this day despite the battle to drive her, tee-hee.


By way of a Summary, we spent 5 weeks in Australia and were away between 3/8/1995 - 5/9/1995, have a look at our calendar why don’t you, thanks for looking.

Bit of nostalgia for you website browsers, on the old website photos were arranged in batches of 50 via the gallery to make it quicker to load them and easier to navigate through them. In 2020 we updated this so you can now use the slider feature under the 1995 images menu to run across them or click one and then just tab thru, up to you. All You Tube videos from that trip are available via the Playlist buttons above. Enjoy! This is a visual summary of our family trip to Australia in 1995. What lovely memories! We were supposed to have 2 stops on route, Kuwait City & Jakarta but in the end stopped at those and Changi airport, Singapore (where in fairness since 1995 we have been often as our family now live in Singapore, but that’s a different story) plus Denpasar airport, Bali, Indonesia, where we saw a lovely lady doing Batik and Keef filmed her for prosperity, just a fabulous skill and creation, note is also a mecca for Aussie surfers which would have given us and issue on the return journey if we hadn't arrived at Kingsford Smith early as unbeknown to us apparently they always overbook flights, we would worst case scenario have to get the next one and miss our connections, which is not fair plane by the airlines in our humble opinion #badnews. 48 hours travel to save the cost of one child's flight. We would not do that again, far too tiring. Whilst in Oz we visited Sydney, Hunter Valley wine area, travelled the Pacific highway to Hawkesbury River , French's Forest and Annie's old haunts, Hard Rock Café Sydney (defunct for a bit but now reopened at Circular Quay), Used the now defunct Sydney Monorail, visited Waratah Zoo, Botany Bay, Etamogah pubs so unique, ate at Doyle's Watson Bay (why wouldn't you?), Great Ocean Road , Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles, this was in the days when you could just park opposite them, no longer, now a huge tourist site, think it was better back then, Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament house, Melbourne, Mornington peninsular, Keef's old haunts, Philip Island and Japanese tourist who just did not understand "no flash" please!, Ballarat gold panning at Sovereign Hill, Ned Kelly's at Beechworth, Glenrowan, Hopkins Falls near Warrnambool, Melba Gully Glowworms, Cascade Falls, South Gippsland's Earthworm experience and zoo, and Queensland especially Cairns, Fishery Falls campsite, Mossman Gorge, Gordonvale, Gillies Range, Green Island, the fab Kuranda Railway, Tapuki Aboriginal dance troop, Port Douglas, 7 mile beach, stinger stations, Daintree River croc and snake boat trip, Doug spotted a huge crocodile, Hartley's Crocodile Farm (now closed) and the Atherton Tableland. By 2020 including living there as a child / teenager respectively we have been 5 times and still have rellies / friends living there, love the place! By 2017 we had in essence travelled from Caernarvon high up on the west coast all the way around up to Cooktown high on the east coast plus thru the red centre from Darwin to Adelaide including Alice Springs, plus Broome & Kunannarra both high up in Western Australia, oh and all the way around the island of Tasmania, and travelled on 2 of the great world railway experiences, The Ghan from Darwin to Alice Springs, and the Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide across the Nullarbor plain which we have also done in a motorhome in 2013. We would have lived in Sydney as a family way back in the late 80s if my company (Boots UK) had given me the job in the rocks area but in the end, they decided it was cheaper to give the job to an Aussie rather than pay for a whole British family to be shipped out there, shame, but travel & life is still fun. Indeed, my pal Peter and his family did do the job in the Rocks, he so loved it when Boots dragged him back to the UK he resigned and returned to Brisbane , where just outside in warner he and his family now live, we have visited them, snakes in the pool and all, ha-ha.

Anyway, to the Diary detail.

Thursday 3rd August 1995

Finish work, travel to London, stay overnight at Mum & Dad’s. We had booked all our flights via the Ilkeston Co-op and planned to snooze either at airports or on the plane, big mistake, we soon learnt that kipping on a plane is not easy with all the distractions around you.

Friday 4th August 1995

Linda drives us to Heathrow, leave Mum & Dad’s at 8 a.m. Linda is having our car for the duration of our time away, I put her on the insurance. Got to Heathrow about 9.30 a.m., heavy traffic understandably. Our first flight was at 11.30 a.m. to Kuwait City in Kuwait. We got there about 22.30 p.m. It was amazingly hot. There gave us a voucher for a drink and sandwich in the transfer area. A guy told me it had been 52 degrees centigrade at lunch that day, the 45 at almost midnight was more than enough for all of us and the jet lag was already kicking in. We looked out of the big glass windows at the airport it was just sand everywhere, even the roads looked like sand crop circles if that makes sense.

We left Kuwait City at about 23.30 p.m.

Saturday 5th August 1995

We were on the Indonesian airline Garuda which at the time had the worst safety record in the world, which did play on your mind a bit, and tried to sleep on the plane, it landed at Changi Airport , Singapore for refuelling, I remember they woke me to ask if I wanted yet more food, I shooed them away and tried to sleep. Unsuccessfully I might add. The Garuda airline then touched down at its headquarters at 14.40 p.m. i.e., Denpasar airport, we were there for almost 5 hours at the airport, which meant we could stretch our legs, see all the wonderful palm trees and lady doing Batik, which Keef filmed. You will see that on the way back (2nd September) we finally got let out into Indonesia , what an interesting place, in Jakarta the capital of the island of Java.

We finally left Denpasar at 19.30 p.m. local time and flew on to Sydney overnight using the then Australian Ansett Airlines (they folded in September 2001), well and truly jet lagged by now after our epic journey with far more stops than Ilkeston Co-op had booked us, I even remember trying to sleep on a bench at Denpasar airport, it just didn’t work, the kids however seemed quite happy.

Sunday 6th August 1995

We arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith International airport at 8.45 a.m. early morning Australian time, exhausted from travel but happy to be here. We waited for the sweet shop to open and bought a disgusting Australian chocolate honeycomb bar that was supposed to be the equivalent of a crunchy bar, it wasn’t. Anyhow the logic was to get some coins to ring Brian to say we had arrived and could he come at pick us up. After some lovely greeting he drove us back to their abode at x where we were greeted by Anne, Laura, and Leo, so nice to see them all again. Brian’s company (BT) provided both accommodation and a car for the family, they lived at 30/1 New Street, West Balgowlah Heights, Sydney, Australia, NSW 2093 just overlooking Spit Bridge if you went out the front of their house. As a family we tried staying awake to get into Australian time and went out for a meal with B&A down at the harbour’s edge. I remember seeing our 1st Kookaburra and me having fish curry for my meal which on reflection was not a wise move, and it paid me back for at least a couple of days in ways I don’t wish to write about, ha-ha.

Monday 7th August 1995

Lazy day recovering from Jet Lag, spent it at B&A’s. Brian was at work in the city centre, a fab journey to work on the sea cat or ferry across to circular quay from the Spit, what more could you ask for? The boys played basketball with L&L and we all took a little stroll along the road outside to have a look at spit bridge and the harbour, nice.

Tuesday 8th August 1995

Brian drove us to pick up our hire car, a white holden, which we will keep for 15-16 days and drop off at Melbourne airport before we fly up to Cairns and pick up our motorhome. The car in Sydney gave us the flexibility to go out exploring as a family independent of B&A but we also did stuff with them as well. In the evening we all went to Doyle’s at Watson Bay, our first encounter of many at this fine fish establishment, we also had a bit of a stroll around Manly and the Corso, so remember all those Norfolk pines. As Brian had the day off, we visited Laura and the Blue Mountains, quite an experience with views to die for, we had a snack in a café in Laura to calm our nerves after an eventful go on the funicular railway, the kids loved it. It was called the Katoomba railway.

Wednesday 9th August 1995

Sydney and the surrounding area. We took our car into Balgowlah to get used to it and had another look around, on the 1st day we had used the bus from here to get around and Brian picked us up from the bus stop. In the evening we all went to Clontarf, Sandy Bay and Castle Rocks, great fun and oh so warm’ later met the Jones at Waratah Zoo to feast our eyes on all the wonderful Aussie animals and birds, especially the Koala’s a firm favourite forever. We also saw wombats, kangaroos and dingoes. It is worth noting that we used a combination of both open topped bus and our hire car to get around, car parking not being cheap or accessible often.

Thursday 10th August 1995

Sydney and the surrounding area, used the Manly ferry today and kept the ticket as a souvenir, in the day we visited the Chinese Gardens, so tranquil, Keef dressed up in traditional costume for photos, boy it was hot in that garb, plus strolled to the Botanic gardens up Macquarie Street (the ex NSW governor way back when it was a colony) where we saw Ibis and a whole lot more, some fascinating tropical plants that were a feast for the eyes, and then we finally went to Bondi beach in the evening and had the obligatory ice cream along the promenade. We also got views of the fab Pittwater and visited the posh houses at Palm Beach, allegedly at the time Russell Crowe owned something there as well as Home & Away / Neighbours being filmed on the beach there, so glad Kylie took up singing instead ha-ha.

Friday 11th August 1995

Sydney and the surrounding area, Manly ferry to Circular quay again, love this area, listening to the trad aboriginal playing didge (indeed the same guy was still there in many future years when we returned) and some street theatre under the high-level railway arches. We even used the monorail to get around, quite and experience and great views. It closed in June 2013. We went up the Sydney sky tower and got some great views and photos of the dense panorama, including out over the harbour, we both love Sydney. We also had a look around the harbourside shopping mall but bought nothing bar ice-creams, some of the days Ann came out with us when she was feeling up to it, B&A’s kids were at school during the day, following the “slip-slop” mantra.

Saturday 12th August 1995

Brian had hired a large people mover and we set off early north through New South Wales towards the Hawkesbury River which in 2017 when we were staying at Beacon Hill in our lovely apartment with pool, we travelled alongside on the train to visit Annie’s cousin Susan at Newcastle.

Sadly, Brian picked up the obligatory speeding fine this time for too fast on the motorway out of Sydney i.e., the Pacific highway

Sunday 13th August 1995

We went with Brian, Ann, and family into Sydney centre by ferry, saw the Rocks market, harbour bridge, Opera house and went to the then Hard Rock Café with its huge hanging American car, not surprisingly Keef bought the T-shirt. We also went of the Sydney aquarium and later in the week for a look around, when we went into Manly via Fairlight Ann took our boys into the one there near the wharf. We all had a good look around before returning late in the evening tired and happy to bed.

Monday 14th August 1995

Sydney and the surrounding area. Redid some of the things we had already done in the city centre but we so love it, including using the Tourist hop on hop off bus to get around the sites, much easier than driving into a very busy Sydney centre, we are getting to know our way around now and well and truly over jet lag.

Tuesday 15th August 1995

Sydney and the surrounding area. Went with Ann to the North Heads area. In the evening had a nice family meal as we are off on our travels from tomorrow.

Wednesday 16th August 1995

Said our goodbyes, we will see them later in the month, and left Sydney heading out towards Goulburn on the Hume Highway (M31) through Liverpool, Campbelltown, Mittagong and Marulan (we did see these in more detail in 2017) which we didn’t stop at but saw as we drove through, we stopped after Goulburn at Yass for a rest. We travelled onto the Australian Capital Territory to our hotel in Canberra through Murrumbateman, an interesting place.

Thursday 17th August 1995

We spent the whole day in Canberra visiting lake Burley Griffin and taking a boat trip out on the lake which gave us extensive views of the surrounds. Keef did quite a bit of videoing on his old fashioned (but at the time top tech) camcorder. We went up the Canberra sky tower and got some amazing views, most of which however was bush. We then visited the Australian parliament and did the tour which we adults found fascinating, less sure about the kids. Canberra in our humble opinion is quite a weird place, people seem to drive in for work and drive out in the evening, we had an evening meal out in what now seemed like a ghost town before returning to the motel and bed, a hugely interesting day, tick.

Friday 18th August 1995

Set off quite early in the morning after breakfast to avoid some of the heat whilst travelling, even though the car had air conditioning. Visited Gundagai whose past inhabitant Horatio Wills is credited with inventing Aussie rules and the 1st aboriginal cricket team. Some fame. We then went thru Wagga Wagga, just because we love the name. Stopped at Albury to see the historic department store and the paddle steamer on the Murray, this being the NSW / Victoria border. The mighty Murray runs into Lake Hume nearby. We then went to Glenrowan and Beechworth to see some history on Ned Kelly. We finally arrived at Melbourne and our hotel quite late in the evening having seen Seymour and its station, we have returned there since in 2017.

Saturday 19th August 1995

Today we went on a Keef Nostalgia tour after seeing the city centre cathedral. You must be so careful with trams when driving. You must stop alongside when they stop or get fined, a good safety idea. We parked in a central car park undercover and then caught the free trams around the sights of Melbourne. Flinders Street station, Greek area etc. We then took the car to Lalor to find Keef’s old house and then onto the Mornington peninsular, Elwood and Pine Avenue, another Hellinger haunt, and then onto Philip Island and Nobbies point to see the fairy penguins land on shore and hobble up the cliff side, just magical. We visited San Remo, Ventnor, Ryll and Cowes on Philip Island as well, how original eh? We returned to our motel late evening , a fun packed day.

Sunday 20th August 1995

Today we went out through Southern Cross to Ballarat and spent the whole wonderful day at Sovereign Hill both seeing a re-enactment of a gold mining village and doing some gold panning ourselves, in the evening there was a show with lights and sounds, a fab day which I think the boys will remember forever. We stayed in a motel at Ballarat overnight.

Monday 21st August 1995

We set off early in the morning for Warnambool passing through Darlington and Ellerslie. Stopping on route at Hopkins Falls and having a gave of footie as well as seeing the falls. Sadly it was renamed as Doug did have a fall and badly grazed himself. We called in at Warnambool hospital to have him patched up. He was in a bit of pain, but we went to see if we could see any southern right whales nearby at Logan’s beech from the viewing platform, we saw a Mum and cub, wonderful. We stayed overnight in a motel here.

Tuesday 22nd August 1995

Today we left Warnambool and started travelling along the absolutely world class Great Ocean Road coming off the Princes Highway where we could travel along the roads edging the Bass Straits and see some of the truly sublime scenery and sandstone rock stacks that edge this coast. We saw amongst others The Grotto, Loch Ard Gorge, where we and the boys descended much of the available staircases to the viewing platforms, great views, London Bridge ,which in fairness over the years we have visited “has fallen down” with a huge chunk eroding away into the sea, however in 1995 it was all in one piece and of course the truly magnificent 12 Apostles. In 1995 it was not so touristy, so we were able to pull the car up right near by and had the whole view to ourselves, truly magnificent. After the 12 apostles we went onto Melba Gully where we chose our guest house. The chap who ran it took us along with torches later in the evening into the rainforest gully nearby to see the glow worms, magical stuff, and something we all remember to this day.

Wednesday 23rd August 1995

Packed up early from the guest house and said goodbye to the incredibly kind owner who had taken us down into the Gully last night to see the glow worms. We returned to the Gully and walked up to Anne’s Cascades along Madsen’s track, how appropriately named are those falls. It did feel like we were in a rainforest. It was only about an 8-minute walk, but you seriously thought you were on a different continent, maybe the Brazilian rain forests, not that we have been there. After that we travelled further along the Great Ocean Road through Johanna, Glenaire, the Great Otway National Park (we returned in 2017 to look for koala’s there) and Marengo before stopping at Apollo Bay briefly. Quite a touristy town but with a fab beach. From Otway to Torquay , the eastern end it is called the Surf coast. From Otway back to Warnambool , the western end, it is called the shipwreck coast. We saw Lorne and stopped at Moggs creek to see some of the amazing exclusive residences that were architect designed overlooking the Great Ocean Road and the Surf coast. We then went onto Torquay. In 2008 when we went onto Torquay and were lucky enough to see one of the car rally old vehicles just going under the Eastern wooden arch and Keef managed to snap it. It is also a monument to the soldiers who built the whole of the Great Ocean Road. At Torquay we went down to the beach to watch the surfers doing their thing in the sun. After Torquay we used the Princes Highway to travel on up to Gippsland , going around the outskirts of Melbourne, at South Gippsland we visited the Giant Earthworm Museum and zoo. Fascinating stuff. The boys petted a few kangaroos there as well as learning about Giant earth worms, not sure I would want to come across one of those. After Gippsland we returned to the Melbourne airport area and stayed in a motel there overnight. I think it was Sunbury, but my memory is a little hazy on that.

Thursday 24th August 1995

Up latish as no great rush this morning, had breakfast and packed the car up and headed off to the car rental company on the outskirts of Melbourne airport at Tullamarine. We handed back the car and then they transported us to the internal flights’ terminal. We flew Quantas internal which back in 1995 took 4 hours 40 minutes, nowadays (2022) the journey is only 3 hours 30 minutes on average. In Cairns we took a taxi to our motel which was fairly near the airport and had a bit of a look around the area we were in.

Friday 25th August 1995

Awoke in Cairns, Queensland on the Coral Coast, just so tropical and humid. A delight for the senses. We really liked Cairns and have returned since. Rumour has it that when my Dad was out in Australia as a single guy in the early 50s he was offered a strip of land on the coast in Queensland which he could easily have afforded but he turned it down not knowing where his future lay, what a shame that sort of real estate would be worth a fortune now, and what a fab coast line it is. Anyhow we got a taxi to the motorhome company in Cairns where we picked up our Country Club Maui 6 berth motorhome, the 1st we had ever hired. We drove out of Cairns learning to master this beast in terms of driving and looking forward to seeing all the sugar cane fields and coast had to offer, well excited. We stayed in our first campsite not far down the coast visiting Gordonvale on route and staying at fishery falls, a fabulous campsite with lovely tropical flowers that we have returned to on future trips.

Saturday 26th August 1995

Today we had a look around the Fishery falls area and then drove onto Innisfail. After that we used highway 25 through the amazing Wooroonooran National Park to Millaa Millaa and then on through the Crater lakes National Park to camp at Dunbulla.

Sunday 27th August 1995

Up early before it got too hot, we went to see the amazing Cathedral Fig tree nearby, it was truly amazing we used the board walk to get there and took lots of pictures. After this we visited Yungaburra which is about where the Atherton Tablelands start on the Gillies Range Road, the terrain was definitely getting steeper to the point where I had a queue a mile long behind the motorhome and in double-declutched lowest gear I really thought we weren’t going to get up the incline but with patience and time we did thank goodness, the Aussie behind were tooting supportively NOT! Ha-ha. We stopped at Atherton for a good look around the town with interesting trees , monuments, and shops. Bought some provisions and stayed at the campsite there. The campsite was quite modern, and we had wallabies watching us which was fun.

Monday 28th August 1995

Left the delightful site at Atherton and used the Bruce Highway, the Australian National Highway 1, to travel through Mareeba, with its lovely Jacaranda trees (and pods which we collected). We passed through Mount Molloy and the Mount Lewis National Park onto Mossman Gorge. We camped here but not before exploring the river , gorge, and rain forest. We went for a bit of a walk across the gorge swing bridge , seeing Boyd Tree frogs and a whole lot more wildlife and fauna, a magical place. The town of Mossman was quite sad with aboriginals drunk already outside the local taverns quite early in the day, in later years when we have returned to Mossman they had moved the whole aboriginal community into buildings on the outskirts of town, still drunk sadly, not sure they have integrated as a culture very well into modern western life, indeed for the most part I can safely say they haven’t , it’s just so sad across Australia and is still a very big issue to sort. The campsite at Mossman we liked a lot, especially the green tree frogs in the flap on the electric hook up posts. Oh and the magnificent tree palms everywhere.

Tuesday 29th August 1995

Left the campsite at Mossman early and travelled up to Daintree Village where we did the Daintree River cruise , the river is a UNESCO world heritage site as it is a Wet Tropics example. Doug spotted a huge crocodile and we saw quite a few on the banks. The boat captain told us, we were the only ones in the boat, that sometimes the crocs pull cattle from the banks if they stray too close. Doug also spotted a tree snake sitting up high, what amazing eyesight he has. We then went onto Port Douglas and had a rally good look around, such a nice place, so nice we have returned later when the ferry across the Daintree to Cape tribulation was open. Whilst here went to the Flagstaff hill lighthouse and 7-mile beach where we saw the stations to help eradicate the pain of being stung by one of the stinger jellyfish that frequent that coastline. We had quite a nice walk on 7-mile beach, not the whole 7, however. We stayed at a campsite just outside Port Douglas.

Wednesday 30th August 1995

We left our campsite at Port Douglas and used the Captain Cook Highway through the Thala beach nature reserve and the very interesting Macalister Range National Park down to Wangetti on the coast. We turned off there up to Harley’s creek where we spent much of the day at the Hartley’s creek crocodile farm, watching amongst others Bruce and his black snake devouring a live mouse (yuk!), numerous crocodile feeding shows, “he’s behind you”, and learning about exactly how many pounds pressure a crocs jaw can impose, not with this and their roll if you ever get caught by one I don’t envy your chances. Beside crocs and there were lots of them, there were other traditional Aussie animals, notably the very dangerous Cassowary. I remember going through the town of Cassowary on our way from Atherton to Port Douglas. We stayed almost until the park closed and then drove again on the Captain Cook highway along past numerous beaches to Yorkey’s Knob campsite, right on the beach and we got an end slot with fabulous views and were able to watch the sun go down.

Thursday 31st August 1995

We left the wonderfully named Yorkey’s knob campsite and drove the short distance to the Freshwater railway station where we parked up the van and bought our tickets for the Kuranda Railway, an almost 2-hour journey with the lovely Simone as our guide and waitress up to the rainforest town of Kuranda. It stops for 10 minutes both ways at Barron falls , a majestic fast flowing and extremely high falls, vaguely reminds me of the Bridal Veil falls in New South Wales Blue Mountains. We had a few hours to both look at the historic station, tropical plants everywhere, stroll around town and see an aboriginal dance show (bit touristy) but with dreamtime stories presented by the troop known as Tapuki. We collected some of their marketing memorabilia which for many a year we displayed on the boy’s playroom wall. They were impressive especially the didge playing which I still haven’t mastered despite owning one. It was a wonderful day, we found a campsite in North Cairns to stay at overnight.

Friday 1st September 1995

On the way back to the motorhome hire company near Cairns airport we briefly called in at the AJ Hackett sky park bungee jumping place to see and hear the mad fools jumping, you wouldn’t get me doing that. So, we then cleaned up the van packed our stuff away in our cases and checked the van back in leaving any leftover provisions at the office for other campers, this is a great gratuity we have taken advantage of over the years, it gets you started. We then got the free shuttle to the airport and flew back to Sydney via Brisbane, seeing the Brisbane River out of the window whilst we touched down to let travellers off briefly. The whole flight into Sydney only took 2 hours 50 minutes. We then got a taxi from Sydney airport back to Brian and Ann’s in Balgowlah. Lovely to see them all again.

Saturday 2nd September 1995

We were all up early to say our fond farewells and thank them for all their kind hospitality but then it was off to Sydney airport. We got a taxi at 6.30 a.m. and arrived at the airport at 7 a.m. We left on time and flew to Jakarta, Java, Indonesia 1t 14.10 p.m. where we had a few hours checked out in the town. We caught a taxi for our excursion and sightseeing, after Keef had crossed off 3 trailing noughts from the guys Rupiah quote (would have been a years salary for him, tee-hee) we saw a lot, I remember how busy it was, folk having to do press ups by the road side enforced by the police because they had been jay walking, people hanging off the back of very over crowded buses, buying our wooden fruit bowl in a department store, watching people doing wood carving in back streets with the blades shaving towards their bare feet, frightening but it is and was the way. All in all a very interesting visit. We then had to get back on the plane.

Sunday 3rd September 1995

At 00.10 a.m. we finally flew out of Jakarta onto Kuwait City which we arrived at 8.15 in the morning local time. This was both a refuelling and leg stretching stop, we were in the transfer lounge for about 3 hours finally flying on to the UK departing from Kuwait City at midday local time. We arrived back at Heathrow at 16.30 p.m. After getting through customs and border control we got a taxi back to Mum & Dads, had a brief catch up and all crashed out exhausted after all the time travel.

Monday 4th September 1995

Caught up a little more with Mum & Dad, told them how we had visited all our old Australian homes in the Victoria area, thanked them for putting us up, said our fond farewells and having retrieved our car from Linda who popped round drove back home to Nottingham. We were still all jet lagged so went to bed.

Tuesday 5th September 1995

Back to normal life, Keef to work but the boys had an extra day off to further recover, a great family holiday.

Audio Diary



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