Catching up with the family

Visiting the cousin

Visiting the cousin

Well, after a quiet weekend I caught a train to the other end of Brisbane to have dinner with my cousin and her family. As ever, I had a great couple of hours with Avril, Jim, Heather, Jamie and Callum. It’s hard to believe they’ve been out here for seventeen years, now. The kids are full of life and I spent a bit of time working on homework with them before Jim started forcing beer down my throat. Bad Jim.

I caught the last train back to B&A’s place and got ready for the next day.

As things stand I have plans for the next week or so and then I really need to start thinking about moving on to another destination. I fly to Townsville tomorrow (24th) to see Talia – a nurse I first met in a hostel in Cairns around two years ago.

From there I must somehow get to Cairns by the morning of the 30th. This will prove to be a challenge if I don’t want to spend much cash as the buses and flights are artificially highly-priced. Only one company runs each route so there’s a lack of competition to keep the fares down.

I’ve got a camper van booked in Cairns which is costing me $1 per day (yes… one dollar) and I have up to five days to get it to Darwin. This journey could be done in two at a push, three without making life too unpleasant. Five is loads of time. The mileage allowance is adequate for the journey and the $750 fuel allowance more so. Got to love van relocations! It’s hit and miss about getting one that’ll go your direction but if it does then it’s ridiculously cheap.

I think I also have a travel partner after placing an ad on Gumtree. Obviously, cost isn’t a worry but it’s nice to have some company if you’re driving 12 hours a day, especially in the Outback. With any luck, I’ll catch up with Tom (from Canada) on the 29th in Cairns for a couple of beers and to discuss the route.

A shame he can’t collect the van on my behalf and pick me up from Mt Isa! Annoyingly collecting the van will involve doubling back and also a return trip through Mt Isa (if I can’t find an alternative route) but it’s definitely cheaper than any other method of getting to Darwin.

With luck I should get to Darwin when Katie’s off work so we can check out the diving if it’s feasible on Thursday. Diving in Darwin does have to take the tides and wildlife situation into account. If not, then I can try at the weekend with one of her friends.

As I said, I’ll also have to start looking at my next destination and how to get to it. I think I’m going to try and force myself to bite the costly bullet and book a flight to Japan along with the foreigner train ticket. This will, most likely, involve doubling back to the east coast as all the Japanese flights leave from there. Again, I’ll see if I can get a camper van relocation so I can enjoy the trip!

So that’s me up to date… Hopefully I’ll be able to snag some wi-fi in Mt Isa!

[Update as I type – Tom’s just texted to say he can’t make the trip as flight prices from Darwin leap up on April 1st. As such, he has to get there sooner. Ah well. At least this means there’ll be no arguments about what music to play in the van!]

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