Goodbye Cairns!!

This morning we left Cairns at an obscene hour. The process of dragging everyone out of bed & packing up at 6:30am was taxing on everyone involved, least of all our very close neighbours who shot death glares at us for having the audacity to make noise before 7am. Can’t say I blame them. I was shitty too at being woken that early. Thankfully I have the good fortune of being able to sleep through anything, so other people’s midnight/early morning noises do not bother me in the slightest (unless of course the noises they are making are directed at me & closely followed by spew, then I am very bothered). 

Ben wanted to leave early so he could take us to Bowen for a look at what he claims to be “the best beach he has ever laid eyes on”.  Anytime anyone makes a claim that something is the “best” I am in like Flynn & 100% dedicated to determining the truth of their claim. Infact today, while stopping for petrol & lunch at a servo out of Townsville, I happened upon a sign in the servo restrooms declaring that this particular servo has the best pies in Australia, then they challenged me directly to try for myself. I was absolutely livid with myself for being so organised & having the foresight to pack breadrolls, ham & salad. It took all my self restraint not to toss me pre-made lunch in the bin in order to buy pies so I could determine whether there was any validity to their claim.  Our lunch was eaten at a picnic table next to the Service Station Septic System. Very serene. 

After lunch we charged on with our very long drive to see Bowens beach. Ben & I, still listening to historical audio books, came to a startling realisation. Ben & I are exactly like Captain Cook & Sir Joseph Banks!!!! Ben is obviously Cook. The sensible navigator, a man with a commitment to a task who was so consumed with his sailors health that he force fed them pickled cabbage and whipped them if they wouldn’t eat it. Serious, determined & diplomatic. Banks on the other hand was a debauncherously overindulged party animal who parasited his way on the Endeavour under the pretense of studying flora & fauna. His elaborate, lavish & insanely comfortable quarters on the Endeavour were far superior to even Cooks quarters. Banks seemed like an awesome bloke!! His passion for science & sociable personality saw him make friends wherever their boat docked. He even picked up two Tahitians on his travels to take back to Britain to keep as live specimens. Alas, they succumbed to some European disease before they made it to his first dinner party.

Kids nodded in agreement. Mummy was totally the Banks & Dad the Cook. Poor old Ben. He then started asking them questions that can only spell disaster (for him). “Well, who do you go to when you are sad about something?” “Mummy” was the unanimous reply. “Well, who do you go to if you are hurt?” “Mummy” again was the quick response. “Who is the most fun?” Ben was digging deep… “Mummy!!!!” The kids answered, as if he’d just asked them the most ridiculous question in the world. “Who’s the funniest?” Ben asked, scrambling. “Ummmm…, Daddy????” They responded, realising that poor old Captain Cook may be getting to the point where hurt feelings were involved. I was sitting smugly on my “tail saver” grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I leaned over to Ben & said “I was going to suggest getting an icecream at the beach. I’m willing to let you be the fun one for the afternoon if you want to suggest & then get them”.  Cook nodded. 

As we drove in to Bowen Ben started telling me about his last trip to Bowen, how much he loved it & how magical it was.  “Sounds good!! Where did you stay?” I asked him.  He responded that he had stayed at a resort on the beach.  “Hmmm….. that sounds very un-Ben like” I thought to myself. Further prompting revealed that he had actually come here on a dirty weekend with one of his ex girlfriends. “Phew” I thought. Now we are even for my faux par earlier in the trip when I showed the kids a picture of a spot in the Wongai Pub on Horn Island and told them that was the spot mummy & daddy had their first kiss. “We didn’t have our first kiss in the pub!!!” Ben exclaimed “We didn’t even kiss in the pub!”. “Oh” I said awkwardly. “Well that’s the spot where mummy had her first kiss with some other pilot in a pub”. This was met with eyerolling & fake wretches from the kids. Kylah looked at me in horror and shook her head. Jazzy seemed pretty sympathetic though. 

Bowen beach was great!!! Ben wants us to move there. It’s a difficult decision. Cooktown or Bowen…. Lucky we’ve got ages till we retire so a long time to think about it. 
We are nearly at our destination so I’d better sign off. Camping tonight in a national park 1 hour South of Bowen. 

Sorry for grammatical & spelling errors. I’ve been writing this on my phone while driving. 

Yours Faithfully 


Bianca Versus Birdworld



We finally arrived back to where our holiday began, Coconut Resort in Cairns. I’ve decided to eradicate the two fecal infested truckstops that originally occupied the first two nights of our trip from my memory so for all intents and purposes our holiday officially began at Big 4 Coconut Resort in Cairns on June 30th 2017.

On our way back to Cairns from Cape Trib, we stopped in at Floravilla Ice Cream Factory, located in the Daintree Village. I was very underwhelmed. I’d ordered mango ice-cream and it tasted more like frozen milk with a bit of mango juice mixed with it. The kids made far more sensible choices, all having picked some variation of chocolate ice-cream. They loved it but to be honest, those kids would eat anything (with the exception of Rohan who will not eat butter…. or cheese).

We next stopped in at Port Douglas, just to say we’d been there. It was beautiful but extremely touristy, which is not to our taste. Ben made comments as we drove around about how ugly all the flashy houses/apartments were. I nodded in agreement while secretly thinking how awesome it would be to own one or at the very least stay in one. Lunch was a picnic on a cliff top watching the hang gliders then we made our way to Cairns.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Rohan was just a tad tickled at the thought of meeting a cassowary and our endeavours to spot one in the wild were fruitless. So we’d promised him a trip to either Birdworld or Hartleys. After spending a few hours pouring over the brochures and contemplating which would be the better option, kids finally decided on Birdworld as you could do a package where you got to go to three animal parks AND the sky cable AND the train back to Cairns for only $49.50 per adult and $24.75 per child….. well at least – thats what we thought!! I will include a picture of the brochure which I think states as clear as mud that those are the inclusions.

When we went to book this package we discovered that that price was only for the animal parks, not the Sky Cable or train. Rohan was not happy. This meant that everyone was unhappy, including anyone in the vicinity of our campsite at the Big 4 who had to witness his unhappiness. Apparently the Sky Cable / train option is an extra $130 per person!!!! I was livid. As far as I was concerned it was blatant false advertising, trickery and misleading to the customer. Birdworld were going to get a call from a very, very unsatisfied customer who was dealing with a very, very unsatisfied Rohan.

The girl at Birdworld was a bit bewildered with my call and didn’t have a scripted response on hand to sort me out. Apparently I’m the only one who has interpreted the brochure this way in the many years that the brochure has been in circulation. I can’t decide whether that makes me a secret genius, or incredibly daft… She quickly told me to ring Hartley’s as they own Birdworld and talk to an owner there.

I rang Hartleys and managed to speak to an owner/manager. He insisted that the brochure clearly states that it is a separate price for the train and sky cable and I begged to differ. As a person with eyes, and an ability to read, I had interpreted their brochure to mean that the Wildlife Experience included the train and sky cable and expected to have the experience that the brochure states. I have no knowledge of the price it costs to go on a train & sky cable and it seemed to me to be a reasonable price. The animal parks at Kuranda are quite small, it’s not like you are going to a huge zoo. We argued for a few minutes before I hung up in frustration. I felt like he was insinuating that I was an idiot (which is a fair call in some situations.. but not this one!!)

He may have thought that was the end of it…. but it wasn’t. Next I rang the Qld Office of Fair Trading and told them the whole story and sent them a pic of the brochure. They agreed that it was misleading and told me I had a case to move forward but that it would take some time. To register a complaint you need to put it in writing then after 10 days you will be assigned a case worker who will negotiate with the company on your behalf for an outcome suitable to you. The person on the phone at the Office of Fair Trading asked me what would be a favourable outcome? “All I want is for my son to see a Cassowary so he’ll shut up about it and move on to obsessing about something else.” I said with a teeny, tiny amount of frustration in my voice. The man on the phone explained that the resolution would take some time (weeks) and he suggested that I try to email Hartleys again and see if we could come to some kind of arrangement.

Now you are probably wondering why we didn’t just drive up to Kuranda to go to Birdworld, Butterfly world and the other one (Koala world???). By this stage not only was Rohan unhappy but Kylah wasn’t well and had decided to bail out of the trip. This meant that I needed the car the next day to ferry Kylah around to her school and the airport so Ben and the three others were carless on our one free day in Cairns. Besides that however, I was a woman who felt she’d been wronged.

I emailed the manager and politely expressed my displeasure at the way the information was presented on the brochure. He replied:

Hello Bianca
Thank you for your email.
It is unfortunate that you have misinterpreted the brochure, though upon re-reading it I believe that it is clear in relation to what is offered. During the years that we have been operating Birdworld we have printed over 250,000 of these brochures and this is the first time that I am aware that such an interpretation as yours has occurred.
As a gesture of goodwill I am prepared to offer ½ price entry for 1 adult and 3 children to either Kuranda Wildlife Experience or Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. If you wish to avail yourself of this offer please ensure that you contact me by return email before 8:30am Tuesday so that I can advise the necessary persons.

So it was resolved, albeit I was very miffed at the response, which I deemed to be a tad condescending. Had the brochure been clearer, we would have taken the kids to visit Hartley’s earlier in the week and made different decisions.



Ben and the kids went on their merry way to Kuranda bright and early and only paid half price for the tickets for the wildlife experience. This sort of made up for the fact that they had to spend a small fortune on the Sky Cable & bus (we ditched the scenic train).

They had a wonderful day!! Ben did comment that he was glad he only had to pay half price as it was definitely not worth the full price. Rohan was delighted that he got to see a Cassowary and Jazzy was thrilled to have a butterfly land on her. They were all excited to spend some of their money on souvenirs and came home with an assortment of junk.

I picked them up in the afternoon still very teary from farewelling Kylah but my mood picked up when Ben showed me all the pictures he’d been sending Kylah in order to torture her. Regular readers of my blog would be aware that Kylah is a bit of a rule follower. You would also be aware that Ben and I jump at any opportunity to “torture” our children by forcing them to eat tinned tuna and listen to historical audio books while driving. Ben has discovered a whole new way to drive Kylah nuts in the form of taking photos of himself breaking rules. This may be by touching something, when there is a sign in the picture clearly saying “Do Not Touch”, or a picture of his barefoot under a sign that says “appropriate footwear must be worn AT ALL TIMES” (this is a sign outside of the bathrooms at Big 4 – much to my delight!!), or a picture of a sign that says “Please do not take photographs in this gallery”. My mind immediately ditched sad sack Bianca and scheming Bianca started thinking of ways that I could also jump on this rule breaking bandwagon.



Our final day in Cairns was met with miserable wet weather. I discovered this morning that I was married to someone who still wore his B-plates. Yep. You guessed correctly. Ben has never played Bingo. In order to fix that I dragged him and the kids off to Bingo this morning at Coconut resort. It was a disaster. Rohan couldn’t keep up and kept panicking that he’d missed a number (when in actual fact he’d missed many numbers), Isabelle was upset that I was making her share her book with me and did not like me ripping the book from under her in order to mark off numbers. I could barely keep my mind on the game because it kept getting bewildered by all the little sayings after the numbers. I totally get 88 being two fat ladies but why is 56 “was she worth it”? Or why does everyone yell out “toot, toot” after 59??? Jazzy was a bingo pro. She may have found her calling. Ben commented that if getting old means you have to play Bingo… then he doesn’t want to get old. Bloody killjoy. Bingo is awesome!! We didn’t win anything but that’s okay. The prizes were shit and we only played because the money raised was going to the Cancer Council (and also because I like Bingo). If anyone is thinking that they will have to definitely visit Coconut Resort today because they have Bingo – don’t bother. Today was their last Bingo game. It has been given the axe. I have no idea why – it seemed really popular!!

After Bingo we went shopping and then all went back to Cairns Distance Ed to have a meeting with a few of Kylah’s teachers.

I caught up with one of my uni friends this afternoon and we are now in the process of packing up to leave bright and early tomorrow morning (did I say we?? I meant Ben. I am sitting on my bed writing my blog, much to his displeasure).

Tomorrow we are headed South and are stopping somewhere halfway between Cairns and Gladstone. My only requirement for our accommodation tomorrow night is that there is no human waste on the ground anywhere near me.

Thanks for reading!!

B xx

Playing bingo – serious business!!

Some pics of Ben torturing Kylah:

Birdworld & Butterfly world:

How to cure homesickness

At the moment I am sitting in Cairns Airport, bawling my eyes out – as Ive done many times before (for very different reasons though). 
One of our tour members had such an acute case of imissmyanimalsandcreaturecomfortsitis that we have had to send her home on a plane. 

Poor old Kylah hasn’t been feeling very well these last few days & nothing in my First Aide kits would work.  Last night I even resorted to buying some double-strength, targeted & specialised medicine to try to fix her but alas it only worked momentarily. (Don’t tell Ben cause he rabbits on with stupid comments about how “food doesn’t fix stuff” when quite obviously there are situations when it definitely does – this is just a really bad case of imissmyanimalsandcreaturecomfortsitis and there is no tonic strong enough). 

When medicine in the form of a chocolate milkshake fails to work then the only real cure for homesickness is going home. This cure does not work on parents who are integral to the trip (in our case that would be Ben. I’m totally expendable) or children too pesky to fly on their own or have a family member take them on for a few days. (No names need to be mentioned here #youknowwho)

I spent the day with Kylah visiting her Distance Education School with her & shopping. My anxiety about Kylah leaving may or may not have caused me to go a bit OTT shopping. I did so much damage on my Credit Card that the bank rang me to check it hadn’t been stolen & that it was I who was making the ludicrous purchases at Cairns souvenier stores & airport. 

Anyway, I’ll write another blog again tonight. I’d better stop bawling & go find Frankie so I can pick up the members of our troop who do not miss home in the slightest & have spent the day up at Kuranda visiting cassowaries. 

Thanks for reading!!

B xxx

P.S. Those of you who are anxiously awaiting postcards & were lured into the false hope that they would be arriving because I texted & asked for your address please note: it appears that there are waaay too many steps involved in the postcard sending business. I thought we had it under control. We bought the cards & the stamps. Kids wrote on them (somewhat illegibly). But now we either can’t find them when we are in the vicinity of a post box, or we can find them but realise that Rohan wrote in erasable pen which magically disappears when heated up. So his postcards are now blank again.  It’s all too hard!!!!!

P.P.S. IMISSKYLAH!!!!! 😭😭😭 (even though she is known as Killjoy Kylah the Rule Following Dictator). I want her to come back & tell me off for crossing the road when it isn’t a green man, or eating a lolly after I’ve brushed my teeth, or not putting sunscreen on. 😭😭😭

Cape Tribulation

Our first morning at Cape Trib was an early start for Ben, Rohan & Jazzy who had decided to conquer Mount Sorrow.  I had ever so thoughtfully packed for them the night before and included lots of water, muesli bars, insect repellent (on account of the mozzies and leeches) and had considerately assembled a mini first aide kit for them to take.  I carefully explained to Jazzy what the first aide kit contained and what it should be used for.  This was met with a lot of eye rolling and groans from Ben, who did not see medical items being essential to the hike.  Lucky for me Jazzy is a bit of a worry wort and happily lapped up all of the useful knowledge I was imparting on her.

Whilst they were off on their hike Isabelle, Kylah and I happily slobbed on the beach. I even managed to squeeze a nap in on the beach.  It was a perfect morning.

The energetic members of our crew arrived back in time for lunch, which was zucchini, tomato and red lentil soup.  Jazzy excitedly told me that the first aide kit had been useful for a number of things.  Rohan, after being told not to touch anything, decided to touch a thorny vine which left prickles in his fingers.  Ben had to dig them out with the splinter digger thing I had put in the kit.  Rohan also had lips so badly cracked that they were bleeding and Ben had used some of the Blistex on them (also a first aide kit item).  I was thrilled!!

Apparently the hike was loooooong and hard.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to stay at camp and vege out on the beach!!  I had a look at the photos they took and it did look nice.  Not nice enough to make me want to hike the mountain though.

Our afternoon was spent lounging on the beach.  Ben and I were plonked in our chairs with our kindles and the kids spent their time burying each other in the sand.   We set up a cheese and dip platter on the beach and gorged ourselves happily while watching the waves.

Ben must have been in a good mood because he challenged the kids to another race, and gave himself a handicap so that they had a good chance of winning the ice-cream factory tour.  The kids won!!  Wahoo!!  They were expecting to be taken immediately to the ice-cream factory but Ben said they’d have to wait till Monday to go.  The excitement was short lived.  Two sleeps is like an eternity when you are 9.


Today was spent exploring Cape Tribulation and it’s many, many boardwalks (or “boredwalks” as Kylah declared them to be).  There is no doubting that Cape Trib, with it’s gorgeous rain forest greenery, is beautiful.  The problem it has however is that it’s over run with tourists swarming everywhere like bees round a hive.  We have been quite spoilt up the Cape, with many of the stunning places limited to those who have the 4wd means of getting to them.  Cape Trib is easily accessible and the constant influx of backpackers and tourists is testament to this.

The board walks were visually stunning. The rainforests at Cape Tribulation are prettier and greener than any I’ve encountered previously in my travels. It almost feels like you are walking through a green tunnel made from interwoven trees, vines, leaves and flowers. Even the moss and fungi are unique and beautiful.

I busied myself snapping pictures of things that struck me. Leaves with tiny holes in them (eaten by some kind of grub) that let sunlight sparkle through, moss that is mottled with a rainbow of colours, the majestic fan palms and unusually shaped fungi. Ben shot me an amused look as he saw me taking close up pictures of fungi. “Don’t laugh.” I told him seriously “that is what will be growing off your feet if you don’t start wearing shoes in public toilets/showers”.

Pictures for me are a very important part of my holiday. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people who take 6 million photos of random things then invite people over to watch a 6 hour slide show (this has been done to me before & I claim it to be akin to torture!!). Generally I have a rule that photos must have a person in them in order to be shared on social media. Occasionally a striking landscape pic or animal pic will sneak through. The photos I take are for myself to help me remember, and adequately describe what I’ve seen.  You see I can’t visualise anything in my mind. When I close my eyes I don’t see anything at all. So when I see something, the minute I turn away from it it’s gone forever. All I am left with is the memory of what I thought about it. My mind is literally filled with words.  Most people find it very weird that I can’t close my eyes and conjure up an image of something/someone. I find it weird that they can!!

My writing is just the flow of thoughts from my mind out of my fingers. Generally I’m quite surprised when people tell me they find it funny. Sometimes I will reread things over & over again looking for the funny bits, which I can never find. But I’m glad my thoughts entertain some of you anyway.

Back to the story… our main aim for the day was to see a cassowary in the wild so we could finally shut Rohan up. I was very dubious about what success we would have. My crew are pretty noisy. Between shoes stomping on the board walk, to coughing, snorting, whinging and shushing each other – the cassowaries would have run a mile before we left the car park. I was right. But it didn’t stop Ben from trying.

After our third boardwalk with not a single animal being sighted, kids and I were ready to give up, go home & eat scones (that I’d baked in my dreampot) on the beach. Undeterred, Ben decided that after dinner we would return to the biggest of the boardwalks & try again at night. Everything you read here tells you about how the rainforest is teeming with animals once dark falls. Surely we’d have more success right?

We ate our dinner back at camp, tidied up, enjoyed our final shower naked in the rainforest & got ready for our night walk. Ben lined all the kids up & put headlights on them. He gave them all very strict instructions on being super quiet and making not a single noise. Kids all nodded solemnly.

The walk started off with Isabelle quietly whimpering while clutching my hand as she wasn’t given the red torch and didn’t want a headlight. As we went on her quiet whimpering grew more intense as she decided she was tired & wanted to go home to bed.  Rohan kept turning around and shushing people (he was as serious about this trip as Ben was) in the process blinding them with his headlight. “Stop looking at me Rohan!” the girls & I would cry out. This would be met with another “SHUSH!!!” from Rohan accompanied by a blinding flash of light.  Then Isabelle discovered that her thong could make very convincing fart noises when dragged along the boardwalk. This kept her happily entertained but absolutely enraged Rohan. “You kids are about as stealthy as a bull in a china shop!” Ben muttered. It’s not often that Ben gives up on an idea but after 40 minutes of my lot noisily tramping around, he admitted defeat.

All was not lost. We saw a rat, a toad, a moth & a fish. Ben claimed that the rat we saw was a very special native rat that is unique to this area. Looked like a rat to me. Jazzy said that the moth we saw was a butterfly so she was happy with her sighting.  Oh!! I almost forgot, a mozzie flew in my ear (the only part of me that wasn’t covered in Insect repellent  containing 40% deet) so that gives us a total of 5 sightings. Not too shabby!!

Tomorrow we leave Cape Trib & head to Cairns, stopping at the ice cream factory along the way. This time next week I will be home!!!! There was a time on this trip where I really missed my home, my cosy bed & shower head so large you feel like your under a waterfall. But now I’m starting to feel like I’m going to miss adventuring. Oh well, we are already planning next years trip so at least I’ll have something to look forward to!!

Thanks for reading!!

B xx

Black Mountain, Little Annan River, Lions Den Hotel and Bloomfield Falls

We left Cooktown this morning and began a slow meander to Cape Tribulation, with plenty of stops on the way.

Our pack up this morning was a disaster and took almost two hours. If we are all organised and motivated, we can be on the road within 20 minutes of waking up. However, on mornings when we are all feeling sluggish it can feel like it takes most of the day. This morning was one of those days. Jazzy and Isabelle had decided to sleep in the same bed together the night before, as Isabelle has been having bad dreams. I had strong suspicions that it would be a disaster but went along with the plan as there are far too many killjoys in our family already and I relish in my position as the family “fun rule breaker”.

My suspicions were correct. It was a disaster. Jazzy kicked Isabelle out of bed at about 11:30pm and then Isabelle proceeded to cry loudly and intermittently for the rest of the night. I’m sure the neighbours that were sandwiched in beside us at the Big 4 could hear every single thing. From Isabelles crying to Ben & Kylah’s swearing (Kylah didn’t technically swear as she does not break rules. But she said things like “oh for fudges sake!” which is pretty darn close) and me singing a very bad rendition of a Carpenters song that goes “Why do birds suddenly appear, every time, you are near… just like me, they long to be close to you” to Isabelle to try to soothe/torture her to sleep.

To escape my singing, Ben took himself off to the toilet sometime after midnight, muttering under his breath about how if we were in a national park he would be able to pee on a nearby tree instead of trudging 300m to a toilet block. He was gone for a while and in that time I had managed to get Isabelle back to sleep with my singing. On his return from the toilets however he excitedly woke up all the children and forced them out of bed to accompany him back to the bathroom to see a 3 metre python. I wasn’t invited on the snake viewing expedition and was very thankful that I was not as I find it difficult to come up with excuses in the middle of the night. All of my pre-memorised, middle of the night excuses do not relate to snake viewings.

As a result of the midnight shenanigans, pack up was a long, whingy, noisy and arduous task peppered with bouts of inconsolable crying and under breath swearing. Nonetheless we were on the road by about 10am.

Everyone had perked as we pulled into our first stop, Black Mountain, which was not far out of Cooktown. Black Mountain is a huge mountain that is covered in black rocks, some tiny, some the size of huge boulders. I was keen to find out how this mountain formed and the kids were keen to climb all over the rocks. The mountain was formed about 260 million years ago and was originally a mass of molten magma that cooled to be hard granite. Then something happened (I can’t remember what happened) leading to stress fractures that water penetrated. After that there was something about clay somewhere/somehow that eroded away leaving a mountain of boulders/rocks. Kids clamoured all over the nearby rocks, not going too far as people are not permitted in the Black Mountain National Park. According to local legend, there is a Qld tiger that lives in Black Mountain and there have been many mountaineers that have gone missing whilst attempting to explore the area. Kids posed for a series of photos and we moved on to our next destination.

Next stop was Little Annan Gorge for a bit of a sticky beak. It was quite beautiful and would have been the perfect spot for a quick dip, but we were behind schedule so merely snapped a few photos before continuing on.

Lions Den Hotel was third on our list of places to visit. It is a bit of a legend in the area and has a real Aussie Outback Vibe to it. People have scrawled messages all over every bit of wall in the place and they have a little museum attached where you can look at period bits and bobs. After wandering around the place for a little while Ben decided he needed a coffee, his first one on this trip. By this stage it was about 11:30 so I thought that I’d buy some hot chips for the kids, save me making them eat tinned tuna for lunch – again.

Rohan accompanied me up to the counter while I ordered and the lady serving told me that they do not start cooking lunches till after 12. Tears sprung up in Rohan’s eyes (we had missed morning tea so he was starving). The waitress quickly told him that they sell pizzas before 12 in order to cheer him up. He asked “Do they have cheese on them?” in a quivering voice. I suspect that the waitress probably assumed he liked cheese because she answered with “Yes. LOTS of cheese!” At this poor Rohan’s tears turned into choked out sobs. Pushing him aside I ordered a pizza for everyone bar Rohan to share, and Ben’s coffee. Rohan continued to bawl for the next 10 minutes until the poor bewildered waitress bought the pizza out, then his bawling turned into howling. I guess she must have felt bad because she soon returned with chips for him. Tears dried up instantly.

Next on the agenda was the start of the Bloomfield track, which would take us to our destination – Cape Tribulation. The track is not too bad. It’s a very hilly and windy track with a few creek crossings. We stopped off to check out Bloomfield Falls, which were majestic and powerful. Pity they are filled with salt water Crocodiles because they would have been an awesome spot for a swim.

We arrived at our campsite, Noah Beach, at about 4pm and it’s a magical spot. We are back to National Park camping, much to Ben’s delight, and are camped right in the rainforest about 100m away from the beach. Our position allows us to be able to enjoy the smells and cool temperatures of a rainforest as well as the soothing sound of waves lapping the beach. Very tranquil.

We ended our day with a nice walk along the beach. Kids had heard through the grapevine (I told them) that Cape Tribulation has an ice-cream factory so they challenged Ben to another race on the beach. If they won then they got to go to the ice-cream factory and if he won they didn’t.

He won. Surprisingly there were no tears. I think the kids were quietly confident that somehow I would ensure the ice-cream factory was toured before we departed Cape Trib.

Dinner was salad, which everyone LOVED after weeks of eating stews and curries.

Tomorrow Ben, Jazzy and Rohan are going to climb Mt Sorrow. The reviews of people who’ve climbed it say that it is a treacherous, steep climb filled with leeches and mozzies. Sounds to me like the Mountain is aptly named. I quickly nominated myself to stay back with Kylah (who did not want to go) and Isabelle (who I declared too young to go out of fear that if she went, Ben would need another adult to accompany him with so many children). I’m super excited about my quiet morning with half of our party out hiking. Lucky me!!!!

Thanks for reading!!

B xxx


Before I start harping on about how much I LOVE Cooktown (It’s true, I’ve found the place I want to retire to!!) I should start by saying that before this trip all I knew about Cooktown was that it was named after Captain Cook for some reason that I could never understand, or bother to find out.  (actually, I’m sure I learned about it in school and also taught about it when I was a teacher, but it is one of those tidbits of information that exists temporarily in my mind as I have no useful need to hang on to it).

Whilst travelling around Cape York, we’ve been listening to Audible books.  I downloaded the app Audible and bought a few “educational” books that I thought I could force the kids to listen to and then claim that that was their history/science lessons covered.  One of the books I bought was called “Girt” by David Hunt and it is a hilarious account of Australian History.  Ben and I have loved listening to it.  The kids not so much.

While listening to the book Girt, I finally found out why Cooktown was named after Captain Cook.  After “discovering” Botany Bay (I say “discovering” as Indigenous Australians technically were the first to “discover” it some 65000 years ago, then the Chinese & Dutch also happened upon our shores centuries before Cook) he sailed up the East Coast in order to map it.  Around Cooktown he ran into some reef and became stuck here for a period of time while he fixed the boat.  So really it was the only part of Australia that Cook ever spent any period of time living on.

Cooktown was founded in 1873 as a port to support all the mining towns that were cropping up all over Cape York.  Back in the late 1800’s it was a booming town which Ben told me had 140 pubs!! I  did question the accuracy of this information (I don’t even think Brisbane city has 140 pubs!) but Ben assured me that whatever source he found this information out from was completely legitimate.

The whole town has a real colonial vibe.  I love it.  The roads are extra wide (to account for all the horse & buggies) and there are a lot of original buildings from the 1880’s.  It is surrounded by beautiful beaches and has glorious views.  It also radiates that small town charm and friendliness that good old suburbia lacks.  It has all the modern comforts of a bigger city:  cheaper fuel, IGA that’s reasonable, hospital, library, bowls clubs, botanic gardens etc, without the shallow emptiness that bigger cities can sometimes ooze.

Whilst here we have visited the Captain Cook museum, which I found to be very interesting and worthwhile, been to the local bowls club for dinner with our new friends (who we met as they were sandwiched beside us at the Big 4), visited the picturesque botanic gardens, wandered around town and explored the local area.

I love, love, love Cooktown.  Eventually I want to move here.  That way I’ll be closer to Rohan and Isabelle when they move to Umagico.

I had so much I wanted to write about Cooktown but all thoughts I’d had have vanished from my head so I might leave it here before I begin to waffle even more.

Tomorrow we are heading off to the Daintree for 3 nights.  We are going back to National Park Camping as the NP camping at the Daintree (Noah Beach) has far better reviews on Wikicamps than any of the other campgrounds. God I love Wikicamps.

Thanks for reading and a special thanks to everyone who has been leaving comments!!  They are the highlight of my day sometimes.

B xxx

The kids outside James Cook museum which was originally a convent built in the late 1800’s. 

Just one of the many colonial buildings in Cooktown. 

Jazzy overlooking the Bay (whose name eludes me – Ben will correct me in the morning) 

Split Rock, Laura, Hopevale & Elim Beach

We left Lakefield National Park early in the morning and made our way to Laura, a town about 80km away (2 hours driving on dirt tracks).  Ben had initially planned for us to spend two nights at Laura, but due to poor reviews on Wikicamps (an app you can get where people review caravan parks and free camp sites updated daily – Bianca’s camping bible) I pulled the plug on Laura and added an extra night to our stay in Cooktown, and an extra night to our stay at Noah Beach, in the Daintree.

The only thing I really wanted to do in Laura was visit Split Rock, to view the 15000 year old indigenous rock art and we figured out we could do that enroute to Cooktown.  The rock art at Split Rock does not disappoint.  It is stunningly preserved and tells a story of a time long ago.  The caves are a short walk from the carpark, a mere 300m to be exact, but those 300m are up a steep climb which, with 4 hungry children in tow can feel like your attempting to reach the base camp of Mt Everest.  You need to put $5 per person into an honesty box so make sure you take cash with you if you plan to visit some day.   Photos are not allowed to be taken in the cave galleries so unfortunately I can’t add any to my blog.  I did try to seek permission to take some but couldn’t get a hold of anyone.  There are pictures of the rock art in books and on google search so if you are interested in seeing them look it up!

We arrived at Cooktown early afternoon and the kids were delighted to find that Mummy had booked for us to stay in a Big 4.  Hooray!!  Call me what you like but I LOVE Big 4’s.  Big 4’s are a 4 star camping chain that are located in every touristy location Australia has to offer.  You can rely on them to always have clean and modern amenities, camp sites that pack you in like sardines in a tin, a total lack of campfire pits, forced powered sites (the last two we’ve stayed in do not have an unpowered section meaning you have to pay for power that you do not wish to use) and they charge like wounded bulls.   Some of them like to charge a standard nightly fee for two adults of $59 then $15 extra PER CHILD!!!!  That mean’s that we are paying $120 a night to use a tiny patch of grass!!!!!  Ridiculous! But I love them nonetheless due to reason 1, clean and modern amenities.  The kids love them because sometimes they have a pool or water park, jumping pillow and playgrounds.

You know how people love McDonalds because of it’s uniformity?  It tastes exactly the same at every restaurant you go to and even though it’s not great, definitely not nutritious or good value for money, it’s a safe choice because you know exactly what you are going to get.  There is no risk involved.  That’s how I feel about Big 4’s.  Quite often I can get a bit anxious about going to new campgrounds.  I think I’m traumatised from a time we stayed at a dirty free campsite out the back of a pub at Winton.  The bathroom there reminded me of that scene from Trainspotting where the bloke starts hallucinating in an abhorrently dirty bathroom (seriously it’s the stuff nightmares are made of).  I started sweating and hallucinating on entering this bathroom at Winton and slowly backed out, trying in vain to exit without touching a single solitary thing, even the door which I quite skilfully opened with my foot.  With Big 4’s I know what I’m going to get and sometimes there is comfort in familiarity, especially for anxious people with toilet phobias.

In fact, if you enjoy reading this blog then you really have Big 4 to thank for it as my main aim for doing it was not just to keep family and friends up to date on our travels, but to develop a cult following that would allow me to tell Big 4’s that I was a successful travel blogger and then proceed to negotiate with them on how many extra children I had to pay for.  I haven’t quite figured out how many followers makes someone a ‘successful travel blogger’, but I’m assuming it is more than what I currently have – which is still an amount in the single digits.

Driving in to Cooktown Big 4 kids and myself were cheering.  Bathrooms were impeccable (I’m choosing to overlook the fact that they are unisex bathrooms on account of the cleanliness.  I don’t like unisex toilets.  I’ve even tried to make my own ensuite at home ‘ladies only’ but bloody Rohan keeps overlooking the rule.  Ben happily goes elsewhere… mostly) the only thing that marred my immense joy was the knowledge that Ben feels about as comfortable and happy in a Big 4 as I did in the dirty toilet block in Winton.  I’m sure if we weren’t spending an exorbitant price per night, he might be slightly more comfortable.

The campsite we were put on is ridiculously small.  You can barely fit the camper trailer AND the car on it and your neighbours are about 2 metres away.    Ever the ‘glass is half full’ type person I happily used this opportunity to make new friends with our neighbours (so they don’t complain about the noise that radiates from our campsite) and don’t mind at all being in a cosy little space.  I should add as well that the Big 4 in Cooktown was not as expensive as some of the others.  It was only $49 a night for 2 adults and $5 a night per extra kid.  With my Big 4 membership I got 10% off leaving our bill at just over $60 a night.  Not too shabby I reckon but a huge jump from the $25 a night we pay for national park camping.

The caravan park has a real rainforest vibe to it and we are sandwiched in between two flowering paperbark trees, which give off a sweet nectar smell.  The overwhelming nectar scent both entrances and repulses me, depending on my mood and whether I’m feeling earthy or city.  The fruit bats that call these trees home have been driving me nuts at night time.  Noisy little buggers screech all night long.  On top of this a bandicoot has been making himself at home in our kitchen area, loudly going about his business with no regard to conventional sleep times, as soon as we go to bed.

Our first day in Cooktown was spent going to Hopevale and Elim beach.  I will leave my review of Cooktown for the next blog, as I feel it deserves it’s very own entry.

Hopevale was a lovely, picturesque indigenous community just North of Cooktown.  We needed to stop in there to ask permission to visit Elim Beach and I’m so glad we did!!  Hopevale has a new cultural and arts centre with a little shop attached.  We were invited in to watch some indigenous artists at work and they happily talked to the kids and patiently answered Rohan’s questions.  Rohan has become enamoured with Indigenous culture and has been lapping it up big time on this trip.  I think he would be suited to their traditional, nomadic lifestyle and wants to learn all he can about the culture.


Elim beach is spectacularly beautiful.  I know, I know….. I need to find some new adjectives to use instead of spectacular.  I promise I’ll think harder tomorrow.  As we were driving in to Elim beach Jazzy commented that the surrounding hills looked like they had snow on them.  This was due to the white sand.  As we drove up the beach the sand dunes were a rainbow of colours, from black at the base to warm yellows, oranges and dusty reds.  There was spring water spewing out from the sand everywhere, leading to an extremely unique display of flora on the beach.  Trees and bushes that are not usually seen in beachy, salt water areas, were sprouting up in the sand dunes due to the abundance of spring water.  The kids found a spot on the beach where water was coming out of the rocks like a mini fountain.  We all had a drink from it.  Ben declared it to be the best water he has ever tasted.  Me, being quite the water connoisseur (I could probably do a whole blog about my skills as a water taster) found it to taste quite minerally.  It was not to my liking but I definitely appreciated the fact that it was there.

Living at Elim beach is a 92 year old elder named Eddie who is the guardian and protector of land.  I really wanted to have a yarn to him as apparently he likes a chat, but when we went to visit him he wasn’t there.  I can imagine with it’s abundance of fresh water, fish life and flora it would have made a perfect place for indigenous Australians to live and must have a very rich history – which I would have loved to hear about.  Will definitely have to return another time and make sure we are able to meet with Eddie.

We had a picnic on the beach and the kids explored the area and played happily in the sand.  We went for a walk then Ben and the kids had a 500m race back up the beach to our car.  If any of the kids won the race, the prize was a Mars Bar Icecream for everyone (they were in the freezer in the back of Frankie).  If Ben won the race, then the kids had to wait till we were back at camp, in the vicinity of their toothbrushes, till they could have their ice-cream.  Amazingly, Ben did not win!!  He reckoned that he was trying his hardest, the well being of his children’s dental health at stake, but he just couldn’t beat Jazzy.  Unfortunately for the kids, they didn’t beat Ben either.  Ben and Jazzy finished in a dead tie.  Rohan started off like a fire cracker and quickly tapped out.  Isabelle isn’t really into sweet foods so she put in a half hearted effort and her running turned into skipping before the 20m mark.  Kylah and Jazzy were both in the lead for 75% of the race but Ben steadily gained on them and Jazzy was the only one left with any endurance to keep up with him for the last 50m.

The kids and Ben reached a compromise and agreed that the Mars Bar Icecreams could be eaten at our next location.  Halfway between then and home.  As we devoured our Mars Bar Ice Creams, we all thought about my dad, who was Mars Bars number one fan.

We also visited Isabella Falls.  Isabelle was over the moon to find a place that bore her name (sort of) and of course Rohan was devastated that there were no Rohan Falls.  The falls were quite lovely and looked very enticing, but we did not have time for a swim.  Kids happily posed for photos and I managed to get one of them all smiling!!!  (this is a massive feat when you have multiple children.  It’s a very rare occasion when they are all feeling cheery and happily comply when you say “say cheese!!”)

I’d better sign off now.  Ben is going off to have a shower and I need to ensure he has shoes on.  Ben does not believe shoes to be a necessity in public showers and will happily “forget” unless I spend a good ten minutes every night nagging him and talking about foot fungi.

Thanks for reading!!  Hope you enjoy the pics to accompany this blog.

B xx

One of the flowering paperbark trees at our campsite. 

The hike up to see the rock art. 

Sibling ❤️❤️❤️

Isabelle & her namesake falls. Rohan looking on in envy. 

Jazzy about to drink from the spring water at Elim Beach

Lakefield National Park

Lakefield National Park is like a magnet for fishermen, crocodile enthusiasts and bird watchers alike. Three activities that I find mind-numbingly boring. So my apprehension about spending 4 nights here was justly warranted. Miraculously Lakefield National Park had one major drawcard that made me fall instantly in love with it – It is almost completely and eerily lacking in flies and mozzies – my two great enemies who have conspired to ruin almost every aspect of this holiday for me. Amazingly, despite the abundance of the buggers, I have managed to so far avoid having a single insect bite – ANYWHERE ON MY BODY!! I think this is a feat which proves that I am far superior and gifted in the areas of diligence and commitment than I am usually given credit for. Ben admiringly say’s “when my own personal comfort is at stake, there is no cutting corners. For everything else however, near enough is good enough”. (I’m positive this is a compliment…)

We had booked to stay at a campsite called Mick Fienn camping area, site 4. This spot was chosen due to it’s availability, not because of it’s location or reviews, so I was completely suspicious. All the other campsites were booked out except this one – not a great sign. Driving in, the bush ranged from dry and scrubby to burnt out and prickly with pockets of greenery around the numerous billabongs and creeks.

Thankfully our campsite gained my approval. It is secluded, flat and clear. It is also up an embankment from the nearby creek, leaving us with a gorgeous view and access to fresh water, but not in any danger of wandering crocodiles. We are so remote and secluded, that you can wander around nude without fear of any other human being stumbling upon you (Much to Isabelles delight and Rohan’s dismay). We didn’t bother to erect the shower tent and instead have been showering each night naked under the stars. Ben bravely collects creek water which we then heat up before running a 12 volt pump from the car to the shower head, that is attached to a gum tree, not far from our camper trailer. Bliss!!  
The one down fall is that the campsite is very dusty and what little grass there is is dead and bristly. Isabelle and Rohan have adjusted brilliantly to this new lifestyle. So much so, that if you happened to come upon them and had no prior knowledge of who they were or where they were from, you might surmise that they had been born in the bush and have never even been in the vicinity of a shower or washing machine, let along used one. Their clothes are so stained that I have resigned myself to the fact that on our return home, I will just transfer all of the clothes in their bags to the area in Ben’s shed that is occupied by rags. On the upside I won’t have as much washing to do!! Their skin is so stained with dirt that I find myself wondering whether they are getting very tanned, or just have a perpetual layer of dirt on them that doesn’t scrub off.  

 Yesterday we went Croc hunting and I realised why all my prior Croc hunting pursuits ended in failure. In the two years I spent on Horn Island, which is apparently an island surrounded by the beasts, I partook in many the Croc hunting adventure. These hunts always involved lots of alcohol (to fuel our bravery), cigarettes (calm our nerves), Crunchie Icecreams (cause they are delicious) and a green 4wd (so we’d blend into the bush) but never produced so much as a glimpse of a crocodile. If it had not been for the dead crocodile I stumbled across on the jetty one Saturday morning, with a spear hanging out its back, I might have come to the conclusion that there were no crocodiles in the Torres Straits and it was all a big conspiracy to scare the living daylights out of me and prevent me from enjoying those beautiful turquoise beaches.  

Yesterday our mission did not end in failure. We drove around from billabong to creek to river in search of them and managed to spot 2. We had our best success at a beautiful spot called 7 Mile Creek. I hopped out of the car, along with the rest of the gang, admired the beauty of the creek with it’s lily pads and flowers, snapped a few pictures of the kids then hopped back into the car to read my kindle. Ben stealthy approached the bank (not too close) bent down silently and looked. And looked. And looked. Finally he said to the kids “Oi! Give me the binoculars! I’ve got one!”. I at this point jumped back out of the car, my interest finally piqued. Ben explained the spot he was looking at and I could just make out the very slowly moving eyes. I could have sat on the bank of that river for a million years and not been able to spot on my own what Ben was able to see. It seems that to make a good croc hunter (hunter in the sense of feeling triumphant when finding one, not actually killing them) you need to have a lot of patience and keen observation skills. Two areas where I am completely and utterly deficient.  

The kids were all thrilled that they had seen a crocodile in the wild and I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to listen to them harp on about seeing a crocodile in the wild (and also that I’d finally seen one after years of failure). My delight was short lived however as Rohan almost instantly switched over to harping on about seeing a Cassowary in the wild, or if not in the wild then he wanted to have a Cassowary encounter at the Kuranda Bird Place (I’m sure it has a proper name but that’s what he calls it so we’ll go with that).

Today was spent lazing about the campsite. The kids were presented with two options: go to Bathurst Head (an un-swimmable but beautiful beach which was a 2 hour drive each way) or hang about at camp. They went with the latter.  It was quite a nice day. Kids alternated between playing together so nicely that it made my heart swell, and screaming blue murder at each other. I’ve decided that the card game “Go Fish!” is not to be played when I am around as it inevitably ends with screaming matches because someone (Rohan) is cheating. Ben played a game called “Spot It” with the kids and they were all in fits laughing. They also played games like “What’s the Time Mr Wolf?” and “44 home”. Thankfully everyone left me to my own devices today and I was able to do a TON of reading.  
I have loved reading this trip and have read more on my Kindle in the last 3 weeks, than I have in the last 3 years. At the moment I am halfway through a book called “Arctic Adventures” that was written by a Dutchman in the early 1900’s. He lived with Inuit tribes and describes their lifestyle – it’s absolutely fascinating how they lived.  

Today I had another opportunity to make good use of my First Aide kits. Kylah has a bad case of “Imissmyanimalsitis” and I had to get my brand new thermometer out to prove she didn’t have a temperature and was just hot because it is really bloody hot here. Rohan hurt his toe and unfortunately wanted me to dress if for him. All the saline solution in the world couldn’t have cleaned his foot up enough to get a bandaid to stick but to stop him whinging, and because it was a nasty cut right in his toe crevice, I did my best. The bandaid stuck to it for about 30 seconds but apparently that is enough for the magic of placebo to take effect.    

Tomorrow we move on to Cooktown and I’m excited to make use of a proper washing machine. All this hand washing is driving me bonkers. I’m also excited to hopefully be able to purchase some fresh fruit. The kids have been living on dried apples, apricots, blueberries and mangoes and the smells they have been producing (in the confines of our car) are enough to make you wretch and gag. They have completely eaten us out of dried fruits, all that is left is a packet of prunes, and I’m not game to let them loose on them!  
I’m going to miss the serenity and seclusion that this campsite has given us. It has been a very relaxing few days.  

Thanks for reading!!

B xx

P.S. Jazzy has been an absolute delight!! Not whingy, sick or dirty. Which is why she hasn’t had a feature story. 

Burgers & Burned Feet

This is going to be a very short blogpost as today has been extremely uneventful. Our day is as exciting as the blogpost title alludes. 

We hightailed it out of Seisa and spent the day travelling, stopping briefly for lunch at Bramwell Station. Bramwell Station is the last place you can get fuel before embarking on the old telegraph track Nth bound and good old Bramwell uses this fact to his uptmost advantage, charging 50 cents more a litre for diesel than most other service stations around the Cape. This is not due to being extra remote as there are other service stations that are more remote that charge a lot less.  Ben was none too happy to pay $2.00 a litre for fuel there when we were heading North.  

We stopped in at Bramwell today only because it was the only place around at lunchtime & we hadn’t planned anything for lunch.  All the comments I’ve read on Bramwell Station are either horrendously negative (expensive fuel, expensive everything) or are gushingly positive reviews of its burgers. We decided, in fairness, to try out the burgers in order to form a balanced opinion. 

Six burgers cost a small fortune. I’ve spent less taking the kids dinner at the Hilton (can’t disclose cost cause Ben would faint from shock if he knew). They were okay. Pretty much a beef patty sandwiched between a bread roll with some onion, cheese & a bit of old salad. Perhaps if you’d been living off crap camping food (baked beans etc) you might declare it to be “the best burger you’ve ever eaten!!” but we’ve been eating like kings, thanks to my forward menu planning & Dreampot.  So nope. I’m not a fan of Bramwell. It’s only redeeming or interesting feature is its collection of old number plates and flushable toilets. 

We arrived in Coen this afternoon & Ben diligently made a few adjustments & tweaks to his most favourite creation, Frankie.  

I busied myself hand washing sheets, blankets & clothes & organising the kids. 

Poor old Kylah stepped on hot coals & has burned the bottom of her foot. I gleefully grabbed one of the 3 first aide kits (that Ben declared overkill) and lovingly cared for her injured foot, applying all the knowledge I acquired in my first aide course. After I had dressed the burns all the kids enviously inspected my handiwork (pretty sure they all thought it was totally worth it to step on hot coals cause you get such lavish dressings tentitatively applied to your foot). 

Tomorrow we are going to Lakefield National park. Apparently it has the largest Croc population in Nth Qld. We are booked in for 4 nights void of mobile coverage, but I’ve already threatened to pull the plug at 3. There will be lots of wetlands, mozzies, crocodiles & zero swimming opportunities. 

To be honest I’m in a bit of a rut at the moment. I’m a tad homesick & over everything being covered in red dirt.  But I’m trying to be a good sport & am mustering the highest level of enthusiasm that could possibly be believable when one is faced with 4 days camping in a mozzie infected swamp.

Hopefully my next post, in 4 days time, will be about how wrong I was (as is often typical) and how spectacularly beautiful the place was. I also hope that I do not have to report back that anyone has been taken by a crocodile. 

Thanks for reading!!!

B xx

P.S. Rohan is 100% determined to uproot us all so he can live in Umagico. He made BFF’s with some local kids there & fit in really well with them. Ben said the boys came & got Rohan yesterday afternoon & they all just took off playing. The kids even tried to teach him some of their language. Rohan now has a new pen pal & a burning desire to return really soon!  

My careful handiwork applying OTT dressings, creams etc to Kylah’s burns:

Bramwell Burgers: (don’t let Rohan’s cheerful face fool you, that kid’ll eat anything so long as it doesn’t contain butter or cheese)

Rohan’s dirty foot & Isabelle looking once again like no one owns her (at least she’s clothed!). 

  1. A selection of pictures Ben took yesterday while exploring with the kids:

Returning to Horn Island

I have had the BEST 24 hours. By far the highlight of my trip so far has been returning to Horn Island, a place I called home back in 2001/2002 as a freshly qualified teacher. 

My time spent on Horn Island was probably the most profound period of my life, full of so many ups and downs. 

When I arrived on Horn Island, I was a 21 year old hopelessly naieve, sheltered and idealistic girl who was majorly over indulged. All through uni I lived at home & still had my mum make my bed & pack my lunch for me.  My family was very close knit and I had a wonderful group of protective and wise friends surrounding me. 

So you can imagine how shell-shocked I was to move over 2000km away from my little protective bubble & have to figure life out all on my own. It didn’t help that one week after arriving here my grandfather, whom I was extremely close to, passed away suddenly leaving me wracked with grief. 

Moving to the Torres Straits was a choice I made when I finished my degree. I wasn’t sent there against my will. I was drawn to the Straits and had actively sought out a position there and was thrilled to be offered a job. 

As you can imagine my first few weeks on Horn Island were extremely difficult as I suffered terribly from homesickness and felt very lost and alone. Not for long though as the community quickly adopted me and took me under their wing, treating me like family. 

My students weren’t just my pupils, I thought of them like nieces & nephews and loved every single one of them to bits. To this day I can name every single one of my Horn Island students & my memory of them is so vivid. In comparison I barely remember any of the students I taught in my years teaching in Brisbane schools (with the exception of a special few). 

I have followed the lives of the kids on Horn Island with such pride and love hearing about what they are up to. 

I had made arrangements to catch up with some of the teachers, one of whom was like a sister to me, and an elder, Mrs Doolah, who showed me great kindness and was so supportive of me in my time on the Island, but I hadn’t organised to see any students as I wasn’t sure they’d remember me – they were so little when I left!!

So I was thrilled to bits to run into one of my students on the ferry yesterday and delighted when she said she’d assemble some of our class for a catch up for dinner. I was over the moon!!!!! 

To say the Torres Straits is spectacularly beautiful is an understatement. The water here is 50 shades of turquoise and the scenery is vividly and strikingly breathtaking. 

I am now sadly sitting on the ferry on my way back to Seisa to see Ben & the kids. Ben is whisking me off to some remote place with no reception again tonight so I will be awol again for a while. 

Nestled in my lap is a bag of lobster tails one of my students sent down to the jetty for me at 5:30am this morning when I left. I’m feeling very nostalgic and teary at the moment. 

I am so honoured to have taught in this magical place. It gave me so many wonderful experiences, life long friends & family and of course, it was the place where I met Ben. 

I’d better sign off now before this blog post gets any sappier. I am already wanting to return here very soon with Ben & the kids!!

Thanks for reading!!

B xx

My beloved Grade 1 class – all grown up!!!! 

My old house. My late dad & I planted the frangipani trees you see in the background.

Simur Chicken!!!!! An island recipe that has never tasted as good when I have attempted to cook it since leaving. 

Watching the sun rise from the ferry as I make my way back to mainland.