this past weekend jim and i went to townsville, which is a larger city than mackay about 4.5 hours north of mackay. kind of like going from st. louis to chicago! jim got home from work on friday and we hit the road.
the drive was an experience in itself. imagine two lane roads in the middle of no where, a gas station about every 30 miles and literally NO streetlights or even moonlight since it was a cloudy night. BUT, we made it! safe and sound.... unfortunately, australia is down one dingo. yes, it was a sad moment, but life had to go on (for two of the three of us, at least).
which is a perfect segue into our next adventure... magnetic island. magnetic island is a 30 minute ferry ride (with our vehicle) from the pier in townsville 2 minutes from our hotel. very convenient if you ask me, and if you talk to any of the australian natives about townsville you won't end the conversation without them marveling about how cool magnetic island is and how you MUST see it! well, okay then!
the first thing we did was take a 40 minute hike on a trail where we were supposed to be able to see koalas... did we see any? no... boo!
BUT, we signed up for a sure way to see some koalas along with other australian animals. did i say see? i meant HOLD!
first up! a 6 month old salt water crocodile named barbie. i think my heart was pounding out of my chest, but holding this little princess was really quite cool!
this is barbie's mama.... just kidding, i don't know who's mom she is, but she was quite large; and, no, we did not hold her.
next up was one of the coolest things EVER and the best part of this island. we got to hold madelyn, the baby koala. she was absolutely precious! AND, magnetic island is somehow exempt from the rest of australia where you are very limited as to where you can actually hold the koalas so it was pretty neat.
isn't she just the sweetest? can i have one??? please? no? okay.
next up, we got to see, not hold, a hairy nosed wombat - henry's the name! henry wasn't feeling very social on that day, but that just meant we got to go into his cage to take pictures of him hiding in his hallowed out log. henry is an endangered species that can only be found in australia so he was pretty cool even if he was hiding from us. ready for some cuteness?
ain't he cute?
okay, onto some not so cute animals.
just seeing sampson made me want to
RUN avert my eyes. i am sure you can tell from the obvious alliteration that sampson is a snake. to be more specific, a python. again, if you know me at all, you know that my heart was pounding even though i KNEW i would NOT, under any circumstances, hold samspon. i give the tour guide props, though, as she said all the right things that would make one be not so afraid of snakes (they are misunderstood, they have no interest in eating you, etc.) so in the end i compromised....... with a fingertip!
jim was a trooper, though!
then we moved onto the somewhat boring lizards and turtles... even though the tour guide thought differently (i could see a spark in her eyes when she got to this part). i could see her getting annoyed when i was paying more attention to the baby wallaby that was in the same living quarters. scooter. was. CUTE!!
here's a picture so you get an idea of scooter's size.
oh, and here are the lizards and turtles...
okaaaay, they were pretty cool.
anyway, that concludes our australian animal tour. this was so worth the trip to magnetic island... it was like an adult's petting zoo!
afterwards, we went snorkeling in florence bay, which is where several people said the snorkeling was the best. it was okay. i am still waiting for that crystal clear water with lots of colorful fish. this is pretty much what we saw underwater - there are two fish in this picture if you look hard - finding nemo!
but above water was a different story... STUNNING!
that night, we ate at a restaurant called jamaica joes located on the strand, which is basically the city's coastal line with a lot of restaurants, activities and a great walking path. we definitely want to go back to spend more time here.
both friday and saturday evening we spent some time at one of the only 13 casinos in all of australia. no, we could not pass it up... AND i came out $101 richer! nothing wrong with that. we had some really close calls on some huge wins, which made the night particularly
painful fun! we played carribean stud... for those of you who know the game. for those of you who don't, its basically five card stud; your hand against the dealer's. however, there is also a progressive jackpot, which was just short of $170,000. in order to win the pot you have to have a royal flush. jim was ONE card (the 10 of spades) off from getting this! you can also win 10% ($17,000) of the progressive pot if you are dealt a straight flush. i was ONE card short of that!!! see how painful fun that is?? ha ha.... in all seriousness, we had a BLAST as usual.
we left on sunday, but not before playing a round of golf. for those of you who know jim, this will not come as a surprise. jim loves golf. fueling that fire, the second i hit my first ball off the tee a couple of weekends ago, a monster was created. apparently, jim loving golf AND jim loving sarah means jim LOVE LOVE LOVES golfing with sarah. and we will probably be playing every weekend from here on out. fortunately, i am enjoying the sport and we are really enjoying playing together so all is good in the hood.
that's a wrap! from here we grabbed lunch and headed home. oh yea! and i saw my first kangaroo on the side of the road.
okay, okay.... it was another wallaby, but either way i was PUMPED!