Olivia Lee: A permanent holiday – Day trips and more

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Summer is approaching and if you feel like you’re sweating your own weight every time you get out of the house, just wait a bit more and you’ll be sweating twice your weight. If you have the time, check out some of the water holes around Townsville now before the water gets warmer than the air outside (yes, this happens in the peak of summer).

I went to Big Crystal Creek on one of the weekends with some friends and it was so nice to cool off in the water. It’s a 1.5hr drive away from Townsville and you can to get to its smaller brethren Little Crystal Creek 15 minutes away that has higher rocks and waterfalls for those adrenaline jumpers.

20161008_140717At Big Crystal Creek with some friends. Perfect for swimming, sitting around, and killing time.

From Big Crystal Creek, you can drive a short distance away to another location which has no proper name except for “Rockslides”. As the name suggests, you can slide off rocks penguin-style (if you wish) and it will be a tamer activity if you don’t want to jump off rocks. I went with my friend’s daughter and even she was game to go on her own after seeing all of us sliding down.
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That’s me like some buoy on the water!

Conversely, if you don’t want to cool down from the heat and you want to drive that positive feedback to sweat even more, try going for a jog up Castle Hill! It will take around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your fitness really (hats off to the psychos I see actually biking). You get rewarded with a beautiful view of Townsville at the end of it with many look-out points.

20161014_075544There’s the Strand right in front of us with Rowes Bay on the left.
Most of these trips take half a day, but if you want to extend that time to go up North towards Cairns, I highly recommend renting a car and stopping at the many tourist spots along the way. A few of my relatives came to visit last week and we didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted to, but what we did do was enough to leave them very happy with their decision to come up to Far North Queensland.

img-20161014-wa0033My aunt on the left and my mom on the right are finally in Townsville!

We stopped at Mission Beach after a quick detour to the Hinchinbrook look-out point (and that’s the best thing about having a car- you see a sign saying there’s an interesting spot on the left and you just detour your trip) and it was one of the whitest, clearest, and least crowded beaches I’ve seen in Queensland. I’m not sure how it would look like during peak season but the beach was sparse, and there was just kilometres of sand stretching ahead that you could walk on. We continued past the hectares of sugar cane farms on the way to Cairns and even saw some getting harvested and a cane train moving.20161011_112505

At Hinchinbrook look out!

Green Island in Cairns was another thing on my list that I really wanted to show my relatives so that they knew what I studied about, and also because it was (side note) part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. We came in during low tide and having to walk/swim through nearly 50m of seagrass that was just centimetres from my chest before reaching the areas with coral cover was a little challenging for both my mom and aunt who had not snorkeled in years. Nevertheless, the reef was incredibly beautiful, active, and there were so many fish darting in and out of corals. There were also quite a large number of triggerfish in the area and that got me a bit wary as one of them started tailing me.

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Entering Green Island

Our last day in Cairns was spent going around the Atherton Tablelands where we got a beautiful view of the mountains and the highlands. We stopped at Kuranda to visit the Heritage Markets, and drove down to Malands to see Gallo Dairy Farm where they make their own chocolate and cheese.
It was then a 4.5hr drive back to Townsville. There was still tons to do in the Tablelands such as Granite Gorge National Park, Lake Barrine Tea House, Mamu Tropical Skywalk, and the Waterfall Circuit that we just didn’t have time for, it all depends on what sort of holiday you’d like.

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A Llama taking in the view at Gallo Dairy Farm.

A little break between the semester can go a long way, and it was even nicer to have my relatives see where I was studying and what Townsville looked like. It was a relief to be reminded that I will always have people who fully support and believe in me, and it always helps to have that element of stability throughout a degree. It’s been like a permanent holiday the last few weeks, there will be less of this and more studying as the exams approach.

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