We landed at the Townsville airport and walked off the plane to feel the breath sucked out of our lungs as we gasped for air. The heat! The sheer HEAT! Now being from Canada we do get a little bit of hot weather, even up into the 30 degree celsius mark, but it is dry heat. Townsville is humid. Not a little humid. A lot humid. And by the time we reached our hotel we had probably said “Oh my gosh it’s hot” about 104 times during the half our drive. This was also Carolyn’s first experience with driving on the other side of the road. And the first experience of getting lost in Townsville. We are not “map people”, we are more GPS people (which if you read all of these blogs you will find that that doesn’t even always work for us) but we were quite pleased with ourselves once we finally arrive on location. We were looking right out onto the ocean and the scenery was breathtaking. We however, were not. This was the day that we realized that we were destined to look completely disheveled for the rest of our time in Townsville.
We met up with our host Angela from Pinnacles and she was going to show us the way to get to her place. Half way through the trip we figured out that Angela must be planning to be a driver for NASCAR some time in the near future as she drove like she was going for the Sprint Cup. Carolyn was literally sweating, not only as a result of the heat, but also to keep up with Angela and not venture off onto the wrong side of the road. (for the record, she only almost did that once during the trip!)
We arrived at Angelas and she started to show us around her GORGEOUS property. This place was straight out of the movies! The horses, the kangaroos, toads, and a little goat! She introduced us to her family and showed us around and the excitement started to build!
The drive back from Angela’s was a little more difficult. As it turns out, when you are driving on the other side of the road all of your distance perspective from the sides of the road can become a little less in tune. The code word when Carolyn drove a little too close to the edge of the road was Kari yelling “WEEDS!! WEEDS!!” and that code stuck for the rest of the trip.
We had to move around a few course times as a result of the heat, so we ended up having a bit of time to take a look around Townsville. We decided that we should go to see the Billabong Sanctuary. Harvey, Angela’s lovely hubby gave us verbal directions. This was poor decision making. As we mentioned we are not good with maps. We are ESPECIALLY not good with verbal directions!! We made it to the very large traffic circle he directed us to, however the exit that we were supposed to take was a tad bit sketchy in our minds. So initially we went with that we were supposed to go right. We travelled along that road for about 25 min. We were wrong. So 25 min back to the traffic circle and we try the next exit. 15 min down that road and we realized that this is also wrong. Two more trips through the traffic circle and another 2 hours and we finally took the LAST exit and were on our way to the Sanctuary (which turned out to be a mere two minute drive from that point)! We made it to the Sanctuary with about 40 mi of time to see as much as we could see. All we wanted was to hold a Koala so come hell or high water we were going to hold a koala! The lovely lady working there only charged us the kids rate since we were so short on time so we got our tickets and headed in. Now I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we walked around the corner with our little bag of kangaroo food and right in front of us were dozens of kangaroos. We had never seen one in real life before, and if you haven’t seen them walk, it is kind of like a scary crawl as they creep up towards you. Carolyn was freaked! The kept coming and lots of them and closer and closer! Kari was dishing out food as fast as she could as Carolyn finally yelled “just drop the bag!!” Just then, a young couple walked past us, patted the kangaroos on the head. It was then we realized that we are compete losers and made our way further into the park. With moments to spare we were finally able to hold a koala, see a wombat, some ducks, hit the bathroom and head back to the course.
Another note I should mention from this trip is that we complained of the heat the entire time. And in typical Canadian style, we also apologized for complaining repeatedly. Townsville made us realize that there are truly sweat glands all over our bodies. We did not know that we could sweat from our knee caps until visiting Townsville. The first few days we would get up, put on our makeup, and do our hair, only to look like we had landed on the face of the sun 30 seconds after walking out the door. Eventually we gave up on this and stuck to mascara and ponytails as thats how we always ended up at the end of the day anyhow!
Townsville, although super duper hot, is absolutely beautiful. We loved our time there and our facilitators. When the week was done it was hard to say goodbye. After our hugs with everyone we hopped on a plane and headed off to Melbourne.