Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Xmas

It's nearly time for us to go and get on the plane back to Brisbane, for Christmas with my family and a bonus - surprise! - family wedding.

I hope you have a wonderful, lively, happy, funny and entertaining Christmas and New Year. I'll be back here in Bunbury in the New Year, and I'll be back to blogging ... I don't know when.

Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes it fits right into your life and provides an outlet and a means of communicating thoughts that would otherwise not get an airing. Back in Townsville I seemed to have a fair number of such thoughts. Here in WA, for whatever reason, I don't seem to have so many.

Either way, it's probably time to end this blog called A Town and a Half. But if I start up something new, I'll definitely let you know.



Friday, December 04, 2009

Redback Spider

Redback 1, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

I had never seen one of these in the flesh before, so I was very surprised when this one appeared out of the old cardboard box I was carrying out of the garage. Promptly dropped the box, squealed and ran inside.

A little bit later, I got up the courage to go outside again, to take a photo and to see if he was alive or dead. Turns out he was alive!

But not for long.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Strawberries, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Apricot Harvest

Apricot Harvest 3, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Space

The Lil, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

Western Australia is an enormous place. Perth often describes itself as the most remote city in the world; for all I know that might even be true. As I rode along the river path yesterday, I wondered to myself why that didn't make our life here feel more like an adventure. Back in '06, when I was temporarily working at that minesite, I just loved the wide open space and I was exhilarated at the thought that there was nearly nothing between me and the big brown central part of Australia. Why does a similar thought now make me feel so sad and lonely?

I know that we are lucky to be here. Hayden is lucky (along with being talented and clever and extremely hardworking) to have found a job so soon after getting made redundant. We are lucky to be fit and healthy. I am lucky enough to be studying something I really enjoy. We're living in an enormous house (well, enormous for us. It's considered averagely poky in WA). That's lucky, isn't it? But knowing you're lucky is not the same as feeling it.

We have more space here than we know what to do with, but what I recently realised was that the space we make use of in this house every day is roughly the size of our flat in Townsville. What I want to try to do over the summer is to spread our life out a bit. I want us to relax and take in the big space that's all around us. To try to love it and live it, rather than being intimidated by it. I'm going to re-arrange our house a bit, to make better use of all these extra rooms we've got. I'm expanding the garden. And I'm going for bigger space around my blog photos and words.

Do you think it'll do the trick?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Estuary

The Estuary, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

On Monday, Marny and I went kayaking on the Estuary. It was not as calm as it looks in this picture - it was quite windy, with swirling clouds in the sky. But it wasn't cold at all so we decided not to be daunted.

Each in a long red kayak, we paddled out across the water in the direction of the setting sun. Even though the wind was coming quite strong from the side, we made it nearly to the cutting that leads out to the open sea. Marny was all for going through the cutting, but I was really battling the wind, and I got scared that instead of paddling into the channel, I would just smack right up against the rocks at its mouth. I really didn't want to smack up Marny's beautiful second kayak. We agreed to turn around.

On the way back, we took it easier, and let the wind and tide drift us gently around to leeward. It was a long, circuitous route home around the edge of the big estuary. The sun was really going down now, turning the clouds a beautiful swirly grey. As we'd let ourselves drift quite a bit, the home stretch was long and dead into the wind, all the way back to Marny's house in the dark. By the end, I was tired - but good tired. Pretty good exercise for a Monday night, I thought.

My arms were stiff and sore for the next couple of days. And my tennis lesson on Wednesday night was horrible. I was in no position to start learning to serve. But I'm feeling much better now. Hopefully we'll go out paddling again on the weekend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


101109, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

What a lovely birthday! I got completely spoilt with presents, lots of lovely messages from friends and family all over the world, a fancy dinner on the town, and as you can see, cake (pity I didn't manage to take the photo before there were a couple of bites taken out).

I also squeezed in time for a bit of reflection on what has been a big and eventful year. I'm not sure of the exact dates, but I think that it was around this time last year that we heard that things were not going to go the way we thought with Hayden and his old job in Townsville. We started wondering then what the future would hold, but I don't think I would ever have predicted Hayden spending time not working, a couple of fun freezing months in New Zealand, then washing up on the other side of Australia and taking up studying again.

Though I'm still feeling a bit mixed about our move to Bunbury (has that been coming through at all?) there are some wonderful things about it. We've been hanging out heaps with Hayden's cousin Marny; we're trying out living in a big old house in the suburbs; and the study I'm doing (Master of Arts (Writing) at Swinburne) is really very enjoyable. If only studying could stop being an expensive hobby and start being a paying job ... well, if I was going to turn this into an opportunity for making some kind of resolution or goal, I think it would have to be something like that.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What, more flowers?

I made a little promise to myself (and to you) that in between every post about flowers, I would talk about something else. But that was before I logged in and saw the post below, from when I was watching the flowers instead of the fun run. That's just what I do around here - I look at flowers instead of any other thing I'm meant to be doing.


These flowers are different as they are out in the country. Today, Hayden and I travelled out for a delightful lunch at Taste of Balingup (it's a foodie place ... much as I hate the term, I'm slowly coming to admit that it applies to us. Turns out we will travel 70km each way for a fresh fruit juice and salad). Then afterwards had a good stroll around the lavender gardens nearby.

We hadn't been back out that way since August, when all the apple trees were bare. Now they too are covered in ... flowers. It's inescapable, I tell you. The flowers are taking over.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beach flowers

We're so busy hanging out near the river and the estuary that we often forget to go to the beach. There's a lot of water around here, OK? We can't get to all of it, all of the time.

I was forced to hang out there one morning recently, though, while Hayden completed at 10k "fun" run along the esplanade and I got completely carried away by the colours of the beachside flowers. I'd never seen anything like it. WA is nuts for flowers in springtime. There are more pics on my flickr page ... click on the photo and it will take you there.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Coffee love notes

Hayden makes me coffee every morning. You probably already knew that - it's one of our Things. We nearly wrote it into our wedding vows ... but stopped short and instead Hayden promised, in writing which he gave me on our wedding night, that he will always make me coffee in the morning.

And he has kept his promise extremely faithfully (he only forgot one time), but when we first arrived in Bunbury we found that we had a problem. I would get up early with Hayden and he would make me coffee, and then he'd leave for work at 6:30am which in July was in complete darkness. So then I would be wide awake full of coffee beans, with a long day stretching before me filled with nothing. After all the fun we had in New Zealand, life in Bunbury was depressing.

Hayden's lovely solution was to let me sleep in a bit longer each day while he crept about in silence and darkness getting ready for work. He would then prepare the coffee and leave it sitting on the stove all ready to cook. I would wake up later to a lovely coffee, topped off with a note from Hayden, carefully written and tucked into the top of the coffee maker. Not quite as nice as spending the morning together, but better on the whole for me during that difficult time.

These days things are much better. It's lighter in the mornings for one thing and my days are much happier, so I often make it up in the morning to have breakfast with Hayden (plus we live much closer to his work now, so he leaves later). We have solved our little problems one by one and we are now quite contentedly taking each Spring day at a time. I have decided to stop trying to tell myself (and you) that we have 'settled in' here in Bunbury because truthfully we don't feel that we want to stay here long. But you never know, that might later change.

This morning I was cleaning up near the stove and I noticed that the pile of morning coffee notes has grown quite tall! I feel a bit silly keeping them, but they remind me how each day has lead to the next, and the next, and how we've walked our way out of the darkness.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I keep harvesting this stuff from the garden. I have no idea what to do with it.

Any suggestions?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Walk along the estuary

Earlier this the week, Hayden and I took an afternoon stroll along Leschenault Inlet, the long tidal stretch of water known locally as 'the estuary'. It's a great place for watching pelicans and other waterbirds, and spotting kangaroos and the occasional dolphin. The dolphins come in to the estuary when the ocean outside gets too rough.

Though we won't get daylight saving here (WA decided against it last year) the days are getting longer and warmer, and the afternoons are saturated in sunset colours. I'm finally feeling like we're starting to settle in.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

At the End of the Day

At the end of a day of gardening I still have a sharp hill to climb back up to the house.

Welcome to the funny back half of our place. Below this big rock wall, our backyard slopes quickly downhill to two ugly sheds - one of them enormous as well as ugly - plus our veggie garden and fruit trees. It's a funny old place, but the more sunny days I spend in the veggie garden the more I like it. It's been a good while since I've lived in a place with a back yard. Back in Townsville, our backyard was the communal pool and carpark. Before that in Melbourne our back yard was ...Toorak Road?

Even the big rock wall is growing on me, now that there are more things growing on it. It has daisies busting out of every cranny. Actually, we have a lot to thank this wall for: the house was available for rent for months before we moved into it, a lot of families rejecting it because of the dangerous drop in the backyard. Then the price decreased by $100 a week and it fell nicely down into our price-range. Thank you dangerous drop!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Warm Spring Weekend

This weekend was a big one. On Saturday morning we bid our final goodbyes to Hayden's Grandma Ellie. Though we wished we could have been at the funeral in Palmerston North with the rest of the family, we saw that she had a good send-off via webcam. Who said that technology was impersonal? We felt like we were really there. We sobbed along, and laughed along, with everyone else. It was a really nice goodbye.

The rest of the weekend we spent in gentle celebration of spring, and of life. I worked in the veggie garden, planted spring onions, potatoes, lettuce and basil. Hayden took me for a ride on our tandem bike, all up and down the other side of the river. We walked along the beach together. We spread the weekend papers out in the sun and read a bit ... dozed a bit. It was good to feel so warm.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good Beans

Coffee drinking just got even more serious at our place.
Hayden got hold of some green beans (ordered off the internet, where else) so he could try his hand at roasting them himself.

Because he wanted to make it a proper trial, he compared his beans to all the other kinds that we currently have in the house (from L to R): Javan, Nuiginian, East Timorese and Indian. Have you had coffee from India recently? It's one of my new all-time favourites.

Hayden's green beans were from Ipanema (you know, like the girl in the song).

Marny and I watched on while Hayden swirled the beans around on the stove in one of our old frying pans. He gave them a nice dark roast and the smell that came out was absolutely nose-tingling. The beans cracked and glistened, just like the proper ones from the shops!

And the taste?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just add Juleps

Mint supply 2, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

So most of our veggie garden is languishing in the 'ideas' stage, but the herb section is going nuts. Look at our mint! Perhaps it's not surprising that the mint has spread out a bit over the last couple of weeks - good rain, spring coming, mint being mint and all that - but I can't help willing it to come on even further. I'm fantasizing mostly of ripping out big handfuls of the stuff to mix into our summer drinks.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Spring 3, originally uploaded by Town and a Half.

It's here!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Living Room

Living Room, originally uploaded by Town and a Half.

Oolong Tea

PICT0035, originally uploaded by Town and a Half.

This time around, I'm trying to be a calmer student. Instead of coffee around the clock, I'm going for Oolong tea.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I've started a course! I'm studying writing - long distance of course, from my laptop out on our sunny verandah.

I'm really enjoying it. The format for contributing my responses to tutorial questions online is a lot like blogging, so no great stretch so far.

But can you imagine blogging - and then getting a mark at the end of semester? Hmm maybe it's time to knuckle down?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Munda Biddi Trail

Opportunities for outdoor exercise are everywhere around here. Hayden is, of course, planning to be part of the Ironman (big triathlon) down the road in Bussleton in December, so recently he has been ramping up his training and we've been out to explore some of the local trails - together.

The Munda Biddi Trail is an enormous mountainbike trail which starts just north of Perth, passes us by in Bunbury and carries on down to Albany on the south coast of Australia. The whole trail is off-road, running mainly through tall eucalypt forest. The Bibbulmun Track is a similarly huge hiking track, on which hikers spend days walking and nights camped in tin sheds. Both of these enormous tracks conveniently criss-cross just a short distance from the door of Hayden's office. I picked him up from work this afternoon with my bike in the back and we gave the Munda Biddi Trail a bit of a go.

The trail is commodious - built for groups of mountainbikers to ride together - so it's perfect for my favourite kind of exercise with Hayden: the Run-Ride. On a Run-Ride, Hayden runs on foot while I pedal effortlessly alongside him on the bike. It does look a bit sadistic when we're going along, and I get lots of comments from people we pass by (including the old 'whip-crack' sound), but really it's a brilliant piece of solutioneering. I could never keep up with Hayden if I was on foot and he would never get enough training in if he slowed down to walk with me. On a run-ride, however, I get a nice long easy ride though the forest while Hayden sweats, working hard beside me for a couple of hours. Also, I get to do most of the talking. If Hayden is really training hard he'll be too puffed to interrupt.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Land of Apples

Yesterday, we took the road to Manjimup via Dardenup and Marrylup and arrived in Balingup. I now know that what I thought was one town called "blah-blah-something-up" is at least three or four different towns. This is the region to the south-east of us, where apples are grown.

The trees are all bare now, and silverly eerily beautiful.

And the empty crates stack up to make an interesting temporary wall for the packing shed.

When we first visited Bunbury in May, it was the end of summer and we bought a couple of apples from a farmer's market. They were so crunchy fresh and sweet that they made it into the 'pro' column when we were making up our minds about moving here. It's nice to know that the apples were super-local. And I'm definitely coming back for more, straight from the source.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This is my study. The light was coming into it so nicely this morning (it's our first proper sunny day in ages), that I wanted to take a snap. I thought my desk looked a bit like a still-life - complete with a piece of fruit, my morning mandarine. You might need to click on the image to see what I'm talking about.

Those white shelves in the sunlight are part of the set that I got on our Ikea trip. I know they look a bit bare, but my idea is that I'll fill them up with little objects that inspire me. Standing behind the desk are two more Ikea bookcases, waiting to become my reference library.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Sometimes I wonder, as I think other educated creative and crafty bloggers do, whether our foremothers really fought for liberation in the 1960s just so I could stay home day after day and worry about curtains?

When we rented this house, we were promised curtains for the front living room. Today, after days and days of nagging phonecalls, they were finally delivered and I was so relieved that I nearly skipped out the door to my yoga class. During the class - I know you're only meant to think about yoga during yoga class, but anyway - I thought about how sometimes when a tiny issue gets stuck or snagged, I really let it get to me out of all proportion.

Does that ever happen to you?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not Nearly Enough

Outside today it's wet and windy and the water in the river is being whipped into little whitecaps. 

I wish it were warmer. I'm stiff and tired today after a long day yesterday shopping in Perth (I know, tough for some).  I'm wishing for some easy work, like washing all the sheets and towels and putting them out to dry in the sun. Such an easy, simple, satisfying job.

But I don't have nearly enough sunlight.  All I've got is this tiny square: the lemons I picked from the backyard tree a couple of days ago.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time, do you think?

Something about this blog seems wrong. Is it the name up there in the header? And maybe the image too? Think maybe it's time for an update?
Drue asked me a while ago if I would change the name A Town and a Half now that I've left Townsville. I agree it makes sense ... but what to change it to? Nothing's jumping out at me. To be blunt, nothing in the whole of Bunbury is jumping out at me. Compared to Townsville it seems safe and quiet. We've left the North's outlandish edge. It's nice here. It's nearly sedate.

And the colours are different - have you noticed in the photos? Where Townsville is a clashing kaleidoscope: blue sky, aqua sea, red rock, and a jungle of overgrowing plantlife, the landscape around Bunbury is muted. It's flat browns and dull greens. It's beautiful too - in a slow, more restful way. In Townsville I was overwhelmed with excess colour. Here I love our wide brown river, with no crocs, and the endless view of eucalypts out into the distance. It's quieter, gentler.

I think I will make up a new name. It will mean the end of A Town and a Half - I'll close it off, and start again somewhere else. I'll leave it all still sitting here though, so I can look back through the highs and lows of our time in North Queensland. It was quite a rollercoaster in the end.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Weekend

Have you ever wanted to get to Ikea so badly that you got up early - in the dark - on a Saturday morning; drove two hours to the nearest big city; got lost on an unfamiliar freeway; drove around in circles for a bit; found yourself again, found Ikea, found a parking space and still arrived in time for it to open?


I don't think Hayden has ever wanted to do all that either.  But he's so good to me that he did it anyway. 

Afterwards we got him a beer at the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle.  So it wasn't a completely wasted trip.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

. . . to this

Forgive me.  

It's so wonderful to have a big wide house with different rooms for everything.  A guest room that's just a guest room and not also a storeroom, sewing room and study.  A place for our four bicycles that isn't in the lounge room.

I can't help showing off our new place.  

But the best best part is the bit across the road.

The River.  

(I'm pretty sure I secretly think of it as Our River.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

From this . . .

As I may have hinted in that last post, I'm pretty chuffed with the new house we've found to live in.

When we first arrived in Bunbury, the company Hayden works for very kindly put us up in this little house in the suburbs while we looked for somewhere permanent to live:  

And at first glance you might think it looks quite nice - it was very clean and quite new.  But after a few weeks there, I was struggling.  I found it claustrophobic, uninspiring, and that aluminium fencing gave off a glare that caused me migraines.  Not nice.

In comparison, our new house - our River House - is beautiful, old, spacious and loaded with character.  The owners have partially renovated it in a very grand style, and the rest of it .. well, it's loaded with character. I'm bursting with pride - and amazement - that it's ours.  For only a small increase in rent, it really is quite an upgrade on our Townsville apartment.   

I'm itching to show you more photos, but first I have to get everything looking right.  In the meantime, I'm off to a meeting that might bring me some freelance writing work.  Wish me luck?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Little Housewarming

One good thing: we have a little bit of family here.  With Marny here in Bunbury as well, we are a small WA outpost (or pod?) of the Matthew-Reakes.

On Saturday, Marny brought round a civilised feast of local produce and local bubbles to help us celebrate moving in to our new house.

We made a toast, then watched the sun go down from our verandah.  

Nice, eh?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ten Weeks Ago Today

Hayden's phone rang and we both jumped.  He jumped because he always jumps and scrabbles for his phone if it rings while he's driving, and I jumped because it scares the bejesus out of me when he does that.    

We were on a dry sandy road surrounded by grassy scrub, on our way south from Townsville to Brisbane.  We'd just decided that we weren't going to stop in Gladstone; we didn't want to see another small refinery town.  Hayden fished the ringing phone out of his pocket and handed it to me to answer.  It was Jane, the HR lady from the Bunbury Refinery where we'd flown for his interview the weekend before.  I asked Jane to wait while Hayden found a place to stop and talk.

She was calling for Hayden's referees.  At the end of the call Hayden asked "Just out of curiosity ..." which is how he starts a lot of questions, "how many people is it down to?"  And Jane replied, "Well, usually I wouldn't tell you this, but it's just down to you at this stage."  Hayden stuttered "thank you" and hung up the phone.

We passed the rest of the day in a daze.  We couldn't be sure exactly what the phonecall meant but it seemed likely, though not certain, that Hayden would be offered the job.  Hayden needed to stop driving to process that information, so we decided to go in to Gladstone after all - for some lunch and to talk.  We drove all the way in there and drove around the town and up to Radar Hill to see the view.  We couldn't settle on a place to stop, but we did want some lunch and I wanted to sit together and talk it out ... but he'd suddenly gone super-antsy.  In retrospect it seems clear that all he really wanted was to contact his referees and tell them the good news.  I couldn't pick up on it at the time; I suppose I was overcome with relief.  And hunger.  

Hayden called his old boss Josh while we were waiting at a sandwich bar, and then we walked over the road to the Gladstone Library for him to email his other referee Elaine - he didn't know where in the world she was at that moment.  I remember he marched right past the Information Desk to where the computers were.  He just needed to get onto a computer.  I called him back and he signed in correctly with the librarian, and he was very apologetic and charming, but I could tell he'd been blind to her completely.  He just needed to get to that computer.

I'd forgotten that day until yesterday when I walked in the door of the Bunbury library and it seemed immediately similar.  And neither of them is much different to the one back in Townsville.  They're all big new buildings housing little collections, with internet computers in use all day long.  In the foyer of the Gladstone library, where I waited for Hayden that day, I noticed they were having a charity sale of old jigsaw puzzles.  I like puzzles, and I like to do something charitable when it suits me, so I spent quite a long time trying to choose just one or two; they were a bargain at 50c each.  Then I suddenly put them all down when I realised that it was going to be a long time until I could go home and spread out a puzzle - wherever and whenever that home was going to be. 

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that for all the big change and upheaval of the past three months, we've very nearly settled back down again - in another small refinery town on the coast.  Ok, so we're on a different coast now - Bunbury's on the west coast of Australia, south of Perth - but there is a lot here that feels the same.  There's good and bad in that.  

Hopefully over the coming weeks I'll start to unravel more of the good.  With more photos, I promise.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Best

We had a wonderful time in New Zealand

Such a beautiful, restful, damp and arty place.  

Sadly we have to say goodbye ... 

goodbye for now.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Killer Fluffy

Our Lily is afraid of sheep.  She HATES them.

Yes, our cat has come with us to New Zealand.  We probably wouldn't have put her through the trauma of travelling if we'd known that we were only going to stay for a month, but she's been a real trooper with all the changes.  She's OK with the cold and rain here - only she does sometimes wake us up ridiculously early needing to be let outside, only to come skulking back in a very short time later.  She then burrows back into the bed with us - fur and paws all damp and cold.  She's become an exemplary snuggler and a champion heater-hogger.

The only time I've seen her really up in arms was today when our neighbourhood sheep moved into a paddock really close to our house.  Lil glimpsed them through the fence and got scared; she let out a low moan like wind through an old farmhouse and scampered quickly up onto the microwave.  Obviously we shouldn't let her do that, but (a) none of her training seems to have come with her from Townsville and (b) she's got to have at least one high safe place from where she can keep an eye on those woolly bastards next door.  I don't know what she thinks they might do to her.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life in the Shadow of a Mountain

This morning we had to crack open the car - it was frozen shut and the windscreen was completely frosted up with beautiful feathery swirls of ice. Sitting inside the frosted up car was strangely cosy, and then as the ice melted and we were able to drive away, we came into some beautiful views of the mountain all covered in delicious-looking icecreamy snow. We've come to Taranaki - on the western side of New Zealand's North Island - for Hayden to start work with an organic cheese factory that's being built by a stream. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? And it is. It's just beautiful. Freezing, literally. But beautiful. It's everything you would imagine life in New Zealand to be.
We're staying in a little wooden cottage with no mobile coverage and no internet (I'm typing this at the local library 15km down the road). It has rained ferociously. Geese and sheep are our closest neighbours. I'm wearing more layers of clothing than ever before: thermal socks and jumpers, woolly hats and scarves and gloves. It's quite a contrast to Townsville where I thought winter might be coming when I put an extra sheet on the bed to 'rug up' in the morning.
It is beautiful here ... but this is not the end of the story. We might not be staying long, and it is looking likely that Bunbury in Western Australia will win out in the end. In a couple of weeks we will be back across the Tasman, back all the way across Australia and as far as we know, that will be our final stop. But in the meantime we're enjoying the beautiful green grass - it's flourescent, really - the fresh clear water that comes straight out of the tap and the family and friends who are all around us here. Bunbury seems a long, long way away.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Finally, something's changed.  We've packed up our house and our car, and we're heading off on a new road.
We weren't sure that this was ever going to happen.  Right down to the last minute, the plan kept changing:  there were phonecalls about jobs that Hayden had given up on, last minute interview trips to Melbourne and Western Australia (sorry Melbourne friends, we were there so briefly we didn't have time to see everybody - so we decided to be fair and see nobody while we were there.)  

In fact, the plan is not even settled yet:  we are not yet sure of our final destination.  Tomorrow we set off from Townsville for the last time; by the time we arrive in Brisbane (we're going to take four days to drive there) we'll know whether we're headed for New Plymouth in New Zealand or Bunbury in Western Australia.  

Keep you posted.