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Heading home was met with both slight sadness but also joy as our road trip was ending and our peaceful beach holiday had come to an end. Planning to arrive in Brisbane much earlier than we had arrived in Mackay we got a few hours sleep and departed Zach’s granddads place at approximately 9:20 with an approximate arrive time of about 8 am, which was a GPS 10 and a half hours or so. A quick stop to fill up our esky with a bag of ice for the trip back and I was on shift to do the first leg of the journey, or the 330 kilometers or so to Rockhampton. The night was young and time was flying with speed limits in excess of 110 at times. Cruising at slightly faster speeds meant more insect casualties and by the time we had reached Rockhampton for fuel refill the car had so many squashed insects and bugs that we had to manually clean them off with the window washers provided at the service station. A quick cleanse of insect guts and Zach jumped into the drivers seat for his trip to Gin Gin also approximately 3 hours or so. The trip was relatively uneventful but passed a lot faster as I slept on my off turns. Some breakfast in Gympie after I did my two hour drive and Zach took us home. All in all we covered a lot of ground in 3 days over 2000 kilometers including the Airlie side trip. Time passed quickly and the weekend was over before we knew it. Although there is not exactly a lot to do in Mackay in theory it would service as a good base for some future beach relaxation holidays into the Whitsundays. The road trip was over and thus the blog! Until Next time – Sig

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As we did a complete 360 and started heading back on the same road we came in, our wonderful GPS told us to take a gravel road which apparently was faster, a few of the bumps and creaks of this 4WD track and we turned right around for the extra 15 minute journey on the main roads. The journey to Airlie was an extra 1 1/2 hours further north but was well worth it. We passed through Proserpine, pasted the airport and made us realise how much easier it would of been to just fly up here and rent a car. But that wouldn’t of been nearly as much fun as our road trip was. We closed in on our destination for the morning at approximately 11:30 and at about 12ish we reached the Airlie Beach esplanade. With an array of excitement flowing through our veins at the relative busy-ness of the main street compared to what we had seen the last couple days. We found a cheap park next to the man made lagoon at $2 for four hours. What a bargain! As we parked it up we went for a quick stroll through the main lagoon area as this is where most people congregate during stinger season as one needs a stinger suit to go into the ocean. At first glance the place was packed with European and Australian beauties alike, some bathing topless and others just sun-bathing and/or swimming. It was a welcome delight from the peace and quiet that was the Mackay beaches. Feeling a bit pekish we found a local fish and chip store with a pretty long line, this usually means one thing: Great Food. After stopping by the local tourist operator shop next door and Zacheus opting out of going in a chopper and/or plane we picked up our fish and chips, grabbed our beach chairs and headed over to a local lookout point that overlooks the beach itself. Some great photo opportunities and some of the most fresh, succulent fish we had eaten thus far and we were in heaven. The blue skies dotted with patches of clouds that covered us from direct sunlight and some clouds that would occasional drop specs of water from you which you hoped weren’t from the Seagulls. An hour indulging in the peaceful surrounds of Airlie really makes one appreciate how good it is to relax and wind down every once and while. It also helps when there are quite stunning ladies around sun bathing. After our hour or so overlooking the beach we decided to move locations over to the edge of the lagoon just for a bit of a scenery change. We put the chairs away to avoid looking like idiots in a place where everyone is lying down on beach towels and soaking in some rays, and made our way to relax on a towel of our own to soak in some of the suns rays ourselves. Albeit Zach opted for a place that was covered in mostly shade, but nonetheless it was quiet, out of the main stroll-able area and all we could hear was the sound of ocean, birds and some people splashing in the lagoon behind us. Epitome of peaceful? It’s hard to say but again it was a pretty rejuvenating experience. Another hour peaceful hour went by before deciding to pack it up and head home so that we could get some sleep for the epic journey back home that was scheduled for that night. A quick drive up the main apartment and house area on the Airlie Hill just admiring what it would be like to retire watching the waves crash onto the sandy beach made us seriously wonder what it would be like to live here. Our day trip out to Airlie Beach was well worth it and even though I had been here in the past it was a first time for Zach and i’m pretty safe to assume it left a bit of an impression with him that would no doubt bring him back here in the years to come.

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8 AM came round as the wind blew through the open window of this second floor house that practically gave me pneumonia. Today was scheduled to be another day of relaxation and nothingness as we again sat down and listened to some stories from Zach’s Grandfather. A nice hot cup of instant cappuccino coffee and a nice hot shower and I was ready to go to Seaforth which Zach spoke quite highly of. The drive to Seaforth was just under an hour and the drive there was pretty awesome. The roads had several turns and the scenery was equally amazing. With speed limits of 100 k’s per hour these turns made you feel that you were in Initial D, your name was Takumi and No One Sleeps in Tokyo was blasting through the speakers. All was well until we got stuck behind someone doing 80 in the 100 zone. Don’t you hate that? Eventually got past that person somehow and made it to Seaforth and I was excited to see some Australian beauties sunbathing in the sun. What we did see however shocked me! We saw a giant shark net, with crabs on this yet again deserted beach with the tide out, with some old people socialising on the grassed area. Definitely no Australian beauties here. It was by this point that I was coming to the conclusion that most beaches in Mackay seem to be quite deserted, although it could of been just the time that we were in Mackay. Who knows really? Either way feeling slightly disappointed in the two days of deserted beaches, granted the day before did allow us to enjoy some quite, and peaceful, reflective, relaxation time – I made the spontaneous decision to go to Airlie Beach, as I knew first hand there is normally an abundance of tanning beauties, great scenery and weather all in one. What more could you ask for at the beginning of May? So thats exactly what we did – checked the distance on the GPS, and headed off for the most awesome beach of this trip – Airlie Beach! With the engine idling at 1500 RPM and the GPS set we were on our way.

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Feeling pretty exhausted by this point we decided to head to the Mackay Marina or Mackay Harbour as shown in our GPS to down a few brewskies and relax on the beach, but more importantly try some of the famous freshly caught fish and chips there. The drive took about 10 minutes which goes surprisingly quick on the back end of the 12 hour journey from Brisbane to Mackay. We stopped through a drive through bottle-o to grab us a 6 pack of Heinekens that we added to our esky that funnily enough, still had some ice left it. “A Testimate to the esky” Zach believes. Not exactly knowing if we were allowed to bring beer into this area we whacked open a couple with our trusty keychain bottle openers that every Aussie should have, toasted and downed it in the car before heading into grab some fresh fish and chips. The restaurant on the marina was a pretty well established fish and chip restaurant in the area, with a complete open kitchen so you could see first hand if the kitchen hygiene was up to health and regulation standards. Two fish and chips and some calamari rings were ordered while Zachary went off to get a couple of beers from the esky and blatantly ignored the signs of the “no alcohol to be brought into these premises” which actually was the sidewalk along the marina. Either way we noticed that people of Mackay don’t really give a damn about things like this as no one came to confiscate our beers that we had brought into a licensed area. If it happened to be Brisbane there is no way that we would of been able to bring our own beer into this area without getting a word spoken to us or two. We chilled on a couple of chairs looking at a pretty impressive super-yacht owned by someone extremely rich and threw a few chips into the air and watched as the sea gulls fought for some crumbs – all the while admiring this pretty awesome super yacht. After we polished off our beer we went for a bit of a stroll before heading back to the car for the kilometer or so drive further up ocean to the beach.

This particular beach was not as awesome as I would of imagined, the sand was slightly rocky with a huge line half way down the beach of big sticks and rocks that looked like a ship had crashed and washed up ashore. Either way there were a few good points, mainly that it was practically deserted and because of this extremely peaceful to open up a few chairs, have a drink and enjoy the nice breeze. We stayed for just over an hour before the wind was getting the better of us before heading home to get some well deserved rest. Still pretty exhausted we awoke from our slumber and went to check out the Birch Carol and Coyle Cinemas here in Mount Pleasant to watch the epically awesome Iron Man 2, for me the second time, but for Zach his first. Back home and we were straight to bed for another excited day tomorrow.

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It was a dark and stormy night and cyclones were on the prowl when Zach pulled into the subtly lit driveway of my house in his Rover-like automobile. The time was 7 and I had just awaken from my vampiric slumber when I was asked to open the mechanism that was the gate so that he could pass through and unload his goods in my backyard. The plan was to leave at 2 AM after he had, had his beauty sleep and recovered from the serious pains that is of his chronic headaches of the time. As I (in this story) was a vampire I had spent the better pat of daylight sleeping and thus could not get back to sleep. This lead me to do one thing look up houses (very un-vampire like) but it did consume a lot of time. As my vampiric urges were too strong I had to wake up my Zacheus to begin our journey an hour early. I cleansed myself with soap and the like, and washed out the most reason taste of Coke like blood in my mouth before (took a shower and brushed my teeth) before entering the coordinates to Zacheus’ grandfathers lair in the far, far, far away city of Mackay. 998 Kilometers away and a time of 12:46 am we began our journey which was scheduled to arrive at lunch time or so. We didn’t make it very far on the first leg of this trip as we had to make a pit stop to grab some ice for the blood packs situated in the esky of the boot of the Cruise Control Automobile (CCA for short). Some guarana from the recently hit series known as V and I was ready to make the first leg of this journey to his grandfathers lair. I jumped onto the Centenary motorway which then took me eventually onto the Inner City Bypass onto Kingsford smith drive onto roadworks (dammit) – which made me go through the Redcliffe direction road (dammit). But eventually we were on to Gateway motorway to begin our journey to the far, far, far away northern city of Mackay. The music was screaming, the tunes was amazing, and the road was as clear as the full moon lit sky. I noticed that Zacheus has begun to change under the moonlight, hair started to rapidly grow on his arms and made me question if his name really was Jacob rather than Zach. Fortunately for me this rapid growth slowed down as we entered the dark roads of the Bruce Highway.

As my urges continued we had our first casualty at about 3:23 am when we hit first blood. Well in all fairness that insect hit us and therefore I cannot be blamed. This didn’t satisfy me so I continued to watch as flying insects soared to their death into the fast moving CCA on the Bruce Highway. A couple hours in I had to have my usual vampiric nap as we swapped driver to Mr Zacheus at a local petrol station approximately 200 kilometers in or so. A police car pulled out onto the highway first and it was only a few kilometers down the road that he had claimed his first victim of the night. It wasn’t the first Po-Po that we will have seen on the trip but to our knowledge we did everything in our amazing power of Team Sig and Team Jacob as possible to avoid them. Zach epically did a 3 hour stretch to Miriam Vale were we swapped over, filled up the gasoline, emptied our bladders and were on our merry way. Time was passing slowly as we were both unable to fall into a slumber of deep proportions and it took a good couple hours of tiredness on my behalf to make it to the Cow loving town of Rockhampton for a quick stop to fill up on some dead cows meat at Mcdonalds. By this point I had claimed the lives of several insects along the way and day light had caused me to find the darkness that was the passenger seat. Zach continued the final stretch of road all the way to Mackay – what a champion, I would have offered to share the last almost 4 hour like drive with him but due to special circumstances of myself glittering in the sunlight that could ultimately affect other drivers I had to remain in the darkness places possible for the remaining journey. It was either that or I was just too tired to drive any more. The last couple hundred kilometers was filled with sugar cane fields and one lane highway with barely any over taking lanes. It was by this point where we could finally see the awesome 6.5 l per a hundred kilometers that my car could apparently do. The CCA approached Mackay at a rapid speed of 100 km p/h and we had finally arrived at the lair of his grandfather. Tired an exhausted I had to energise with some coffee and some relaxing elderly talk before we were able to continue the days activities. We completed the journey in just under 12 hours with a couple change overs, $60 bucks worth of new petroleum and a 30 minute stop for brekkie. As the sun was up all day now I needed to change my persona from vampire to just being plain awesome. A welcome change from my glittering morning. All in all we made it to Mackay it was a pretty long night filled with the excitement that is the pretty boring drive of the Bruce Highway, but we made it and that’s all that matters at this point.

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It all started with a random comment of wanted to go on a road trip as I had newly acquired a car with the wonderful invention of cruise control whilst I was last serving time in the ‘paradise’ city of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (and no I don’t mean in jail…) It was a cold and dark afternoon in my apartment when Mr Zachary Layne Raftery and Matthew Batemus decided to appear on the internet when the thought of an epic long distance inter-Queensland drive hit me. At first I was little unsure what the reaction of these two individuals was going to be as they have pretty busy lives. To my amazement and thorough arguing on 50 ways they could get out of work for the labour day weekend of 2010, they both agreed to come. Although I personally believe that they both agreed to come as they didn’t want me to get to the end of the 50 awesome reasons for getting out of work, some of which included the usual calling sick which is pretty obvious to kidnapping, and alien invasion in Greenbank. Nonetheless everyone agreed that it was going to be the labour day weekend that we would begin our lengthy journey to the small city of Mackay several hours north of Brisbane.

As time drew nearer to this epic day one of the two individuals whom said they would be coming pulled out due to pretty stupid reasons (he couldn’t get out of work – I know pretty stupid right?) so we tried to find suitable substitutes for this all male – all sausage road trip that anyone would more than likely raise their hand up to be apart of. Sadly enough it turned out harder and harder to find a suitable substitute for Mr Batemus so in the end it was up to ZLR and SM to fulfil the great prophecy that was this road trip. Slightly disappointed that the three people that we had asked to come pulled out probably because their manhood had taken a serious hit of being pretty lame – specifically Mr Batemus we opted to go on ahead without them! and thus begins the most epic, time consuming journey of 2010!

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Sofitel Brisbane THYME Restaurant! This expensive several star hotel is situation centrally in Brisbane city and in the last couple of years the restaurant had been given a complete makeover offering a very tasty but slightly expensive Buffet feast for kings. The buffet prices vary depending on the day and whether your going for lunch or for dinner. But prices range from 59.95 for the buffet to a night time on a Saturday setting you back about 90 Dollars. What you actually get for your money is a large selection of Asian food, fresh oysters, large steamed prawns, the best selection of miniaturised desserts and a good daily offering of roasted meats and vegetables. The atmosphere is very pleasant with a good portion of guests being casuals with their loyalty cards and the rest being hotel guests/business people. As the food is not cheap eating here on a regular basis can set you back quite a decent amount of money, but if you want to save there is a loyalty hotel program called the Accor Card. You can Google Accor Advantage plus and get yourself a card that will allow you and one other person to get 50% off on the meal price and 10% discount on the day rate of hotels in the chain. The card is great value for money and if you have this card you can split the meal price into two effectively paying only $30 dollars each for the meal. When you get these discounts it becomes great value for money especially if you eat a several course meal. I highly recommend this buffet the food is fresh, tasty and a good variety will never upset the palette. If your looking to impress someone this might just be the right place for you. Check it out if you got the money to spend on food.

 


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