Golden Anniversary Tour - Tropical North Queensland

Spirit of Queensland and Home

Friday 3rd August, 2018
Saturday 4th August, 2018
Sunday 5th August, 2018
Monday 6th August, 2018

Friday 3rd August, 2018

The Spirit of Queensland

Spirit of Queensland photograph

Boarding the Spirit of Queensland

Drop Cap p early again for our last breakfast, then checked out with no problems. They called us a cab which came so quickly it almost beat us to the hotel forecourt. We were whisked to the Station to catch "The Spirit of Queensland". This is billed as a "Tilt" train, don't know quite what that means.

Spirit of Queensland  photograph

Mac on Board

Drop Cap he train is very spiffy. Huge seats that convert to beds at night, TV screens and tray tables that rise out of the arms of the chair if you push down on them. Little amenities bags and towels (a shower at the end of the car). We had a steward named Alistair who took our photos before we got on and provided pillows for our backs. It's the closest a train can get to Business Class on a plane. We get main meals brought to our seats and it is all very exciting.


It appears that it is not actually a Tilt train although onboard signage says it is. The Tilt only goes Brisbane/Rockhampton. Perhaps it is something that can be turned on like the rack rails in Swiss trains. Never mind, it is a very classy train.

After Lunch

Spirit of Queensland photograph

Rosemary on Board

Drop Cap unch was brought to our seats, tray tables deployed. The food was in individual packs like aeroplanes, but unlike economy class it was all in china, with metal cutlery and very high quality napkins. We had little bottles of sauvignon blanc, one and a half glasses and water as well. We both chose butter chicken with rice and veges, then I chose caramel mousse and Mac had bread and butter pudding. All good.
It is quite hard to eat and drink while the train is going but we have done it on several continents - it's doable. I will probably have a nap now, I've finished a book and don't want to start another straight away.

Drop Cap e have passed from the rainforest to eucalyptus (which does not grow in real rainforest, according to the expert guide we had yesterday) while heading down the Queensland coast. We have passed Innisfail, and Bowen, Ayr, Tully and Townsville (not in that order) and arrived at Proserpine after dinner.
Roast herb crusted chicken, roast potatoes, broccolini and carrots and a lovely custard tart. Also Moroccan style couscous for entree. Another little bottle of sauvignon blanc and coffee. All quite good.

Spirit of Queensland photograph

Bedtime on the Spirit of Queensland

Drop Cap t is now full dark, so a bit of TV is in order. On the playlist there is a film I would like to see, "Darkest Hour", about Winston Churchill, so I might look at it before bed.
That is an interesting feat in store.

I enjoyed the movie, the acting was superb. Waiting now for the bed to be prepared.

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Saturday, 4th August, 2018

The Gold Coast (1)

Drop Cap to a great night but I got some sleep. The bed was firm but not as hard as on the Indian Pacific. It seemed a very long night though.

with Burgess photograph

Mac with Monica and Warwick

Drop Cap rriving in Brisbane at about 0930, we taxied to the Avis depot and eventually picked up our car, a Holden Astra. Very nice, clean and fairly new. Not as much room as the Mondeo but we didn't need it.

We drove without much problem (except the indicators and wipers were on the opposite sides from the Mondeo, so Mac wiped the screen unnecessarily a few times) to Carrara and Monica and Warwick. Monica was not very well and had been to the doctor that morning. However, they welcomed us and we had a good catch-up, and a cold meat and salad lunch.

Drop Cap e left about 1500 and made our way to Elanora to Chris and Richard. They were well and welcomed us without fuss. We had a meal, cooked by Richard, heavy on veges of course, but with chicken tenders for those of us not vegetarian. Quite nice.

We all fell asleep over the TV so had an early night. Tomorrow I must see if we can get some walking in. I hate to think of my weight!!

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Sunday 5th August, 2018

The Gold Coast (2)

Drop Cap e slept really late for the first time on this break. I slept very well and didn't wake until 0830. We had breakfast and lazed around, catching up with our emails and reading until lunch, a good solid tuna salad sandwich.

Botanic Garden photograph

At the Botanic Garden

Drop Cap fter lunch we went to the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens, of which Richard is a "friend". He is also on the committee and one of their committed volunteers. We walked around part of the garden, taking Hunter the dog for a walk. Unlike many gardens, they do not object to dogs on leads, and even provide an off-lead area. Many people and dogs seemed to be enjoying it.

Mac with the Phillipps photograph

Mac with Richard, Chris and Hunter the Dog

Drop Cap fterwards we returned home for an hour or so then we took Richard and Chris for a Cambodian meal at a restaurant owned by friends of theirs. We had a very interesting and delicious meal. Similar in some ways to Thai and Chinese but subtly different too. The owner/waitress, Ivy, said it was the French influence on Cambodian and Vietnamese food that makes the difference. Anyway, we enjoyed it. Mac and I shared a yellow chicken curry and slow-cooked beef with peanuts and fried rice, both delicious. We shared a small entree of vege spring rolls and prawn and pork balls with Chris and Dick and we all had a quarter of "Ivy's Delight" a dessert of ice cream and semi-sweet jelly rolled in coconut. Unusual.

Came home and went into panic mode because I could not find the air ticket voucher for tomorrow, but we eventually realised it was printed on the back of the car hire voucher which was in the glove box. So that was OK. Time for bed.

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Monday 6th August, 2018

The Gold Coast and Home Again

with Phillipps photograph

Rosemary and Mac with Chris

Drop Cap nother beautiful Gold Coast day. We got up late and breakfasted at about 0830, after Richard had gone for his 5km run!

After breakfast we went for a walk with Richard and Hunter the dog, up and down Westminster Boulevard, up to the water tower, the highest point and down to the nature reserve where koalas are supposed to live. Richard has seen several but they seem to be declining. Some friends of his that we met said they had found a couple in a bad way in the street. Such a shame. We walked about 2 and a half kilometres Richard estimated. So a bit of exercise at least.

I spent most of the morning helping Richard do the crossword in the paper and we got it all out. Then Richard made us a lovely ham and vege omelette, after which we packed ourselves and the luggage into the car and left them with many thanks.

Drop Cap etting to the airport was no hassle but finding the Avis car return depot was. We drove around the airport three times before we spotted it. Still there was no problem and we signed off on it and walked across to the terminal.

Drop Cap t was rather lucky we had left ourselves plenty of time because just as we were going through security (having zoomed through baggage drop and boarding passes very easily) Mac realised he still had his Swiss Army Knife in his pocket. He decided not to just let it be found and showed it to the guy on the security screen and asked him what to do. He was advised to see if he could retrieve his bag from the check-in and put it in there. So he did, and was able to get one of the cases out of airside to get rid of the knife. Then he came back and went through the screen. He didn't see me waiting for him and went into the terminal to try to find me. I had not seen him come through and was getting increasingly alarmed as time was passing. However we found each other at last and got through to wait for the plane.

The plane left right on time and arrived in Sydney an hour and a half later. We were given a small pack of olives, cheese and jatz crackers and a drink and barely had time to eat them. Another "different" offering.

Drop Cap nyway, here we are at Rydges once again and will have our last indulgent meal of the trip. From now on Austerity rules OK!

Home tomorrow, back to Cadfael, back to Weight Watchers EEEK! Back to U3A and the hassles with the Newsletter. I can see we are going to regret volunteering. Oh well! - a lovely warm break - now back to winter!

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