We had enjoyed a nice dinner on our last night In Airlie Beach, before an unceventul drive yestrday to Townsville.

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The main attraction in our way was a visit to the town of Bowen. Bowen itself is fairly unremarkable except for the court house which stands out as the most impressive building in town. However, this is a very fertile area and grows quite a vriety of food products – sugar (of course), mangoes, tomatoes and other green crops that I could not identify. We spent a few hours visiting some of the local beaches and found them very popular. Horseshoe Bay was especially so with young families enjoying the beach on this 27C day wih clear skies. It even has a rubber ramp across the sand to provide disbaled access. There was a very nice cafe behind the beach – just right for a good coffee.


In general, the countryside through which we passed alternated between light scrub with beef cattle grazing and, around the town of Ayr, hundreds of square kilomtres of sugar cane.


North and south of Bowen, there are extensive road works under way. We were slowed to 60 kph for many kilometres. It’s a far cry from the roads in Victoria which have gone to pot (potholes) and are becoming 60 kph roads by default.

Australia is the tenth largest sugar producing nation in the world after countries such as India, Brazil, Thailand, USA. Eighty five percent of Ausralia’s  4.5 million tonnes are exported, primarily to Indonesia, Kore and Japan. In the northern hemisphere, sugar is produced from sugar beet but in the warmer climates like ur iot is produced from sugra cane. On average, Australians consume half a kilo of sugar each week.

In the old days, sugar fields were burned before the cane was harvested. This killed the pests that were harmful to workers and removed much of the leaf clutter that clogged irrigation systems. Nowadays, most sugar is cut ‘green’. Along the way, we did see smoke from some fields that were being burned and one burned field.

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This area is somewhat remote.Tthe farming areas cover very large areas of land and houses / homesteads are few and far between. Just south of Townsville, we came across the little town of Home Hill. It has two passenger service each week – northbound on Wednesday mornings and southbound on Thursday afternoons.  

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One of the major rivers here in North Queensland is the Burdekin. A one kilmetre long bridge north of Ayr spans the river. It is an important link in the national road network and provides high flood immunity link between north and south Queensland. The Bridge was completed in 1957. Construction began 10 years earlier in 1947. At 1,103 metres in length, it is one of the longest multi-span bridges in Australia and longer than Brisbane’s Story Bridge or New South Wales’ Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge. It is 46 metres shorter than Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. It is the only bridge in Australia to be built on sand.

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So far, I haven’t had time to loook around Townsville except for the area near our hotel. We will spent a day here on our return trip in a week, or so. 

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I do like the balmy evenings and ability eat an evening meal outdoors.

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