This Australia Day we have planned our usual trip to Paradise Lagoon, about 45 mins. north of Townsville. Even on the hottest day the water is cool – it really is paradise. Townsville, tends to be a dry place, in fact it has been known as Brownsville! But, if the weather man has his way, it will be raining this Australia Day.
Townsville is in a rain shadow – something to do with the angle of the coastline, which runs parallel to the south-east trade winds that bring the rain, so that it blows right on past. This means, that even with persistent forecasts of rain, it usually doesn’t happen. Townsvillites are so blase, that clothes are optimistically hung out on lines to dry year round, despite forecasts. Then when it does rain, and the clothes get drenched, we become indignant – Well, we didn’t really think it WOULD rain!
In 2011 we did manage our usual pilgrimage, despite the unusually wet year we had. The friendliness of Aussies came to the fore when the day use area’s two gas BBQ’s refused to work. The place was packed and only a few groups had brought a BBQ along, but they shared them with others.
As quite often happens, a metre long prehistoric goanna, made its way from the gully and slowly stalked through the area, before climbing a tree. These goannas are capable of running extremely fast and can even run up people instead of trees! Luckily this one behaved. We even had a couple of Kookaburras start up a slow raucous cackle, and there is nothing like a Kookaburra’s laugh to make me feel patriotic.
The lagoon is a short trek from the day use area on a gravel track with some steps. Before lunch and again in the afternoon, the trek is made down to the lagoon. Flotation devices, towels, babies, cameras and eskies (coolers for the non-Aussies in the audience) are lugged down onto the grey/black rocks that surround the water. No bottles are allowed in this area.
A sheer rock face juts up conveniently near the deepest part of the lagoon and it is a favourite jumping off point for dare-devils young and old. I always hold my breath in case someone slips or jumps on top of someone else. Fingers crossed X. Touching wood!
If we get rained out this year, we will adjourn to the Rollingstone Hotel, (back on the Bruce Highway), for a Counter Meal, which is nearly as good as a BBQ for the big day! The hotel has a large covered jumping pillow out front, to keep Junior Aussies entertained.
I wonder what it will be this year – BBQ or Counter Meal?
What are you doing this Australia Day?