Tours, tours and more bloody tours

Since leaving Rainbow beach we had a longer than expected stay at Maryborough, a picturesque city/town littered with beautiful colonial buildings and blessed with the friendliest people we have met in Australia. We stayed at a great little campsite and spent a bit of time getting to know a few Aussies staying there and generally just chilling out. At times we felt like the only tourists in town such was the enthusiasm we were greeted with in the tourist office when the old lady who worked there bounded up to us offering help and the old fella who took great delight in explaining every minute detail in the historic shop (featuring food and other products dating back to the 1870s – the owners never threw anything away!) and then offering to take us on a free tour of the city. The much vaunted street market turned out to be a handy outlet for vendors of tat to pass their products off as ‘crafts’ and sell them to unwitting locals and visitors. show_random($num=4, $tags=’Maryborough’); ?>

From there we headed up to the forgettable bundaberg where I played ‘kick ball’ with a rather strange christian evangelist who lived in a caravan and played christian rock at 7 in the morning, I won the ‘kick ball’ 3-1.

We now find ourselves in the even more forgettable Rockhampton: the city where nothing is open, not even a supermarket, on a Sunday. Our first morning in Rockhampton was a very frustrating one trying to book coaches to a couple of national parks that we wanted to visit. The problem with Queensland is that the main bus network only goes up and down the coast, it doesn’t go anywhere even remotely off the well beaten (or more accurately pummelled, hammered and beaten into submission) track that is followed by the bratpackers (copyright Viv!) who infest every beach up and down the coast with thier sun-seeking bland banality. There is generally no public transport to a lot of places of interest leaving us the only option of going on guided tours. Tours being pretty big here you’d expect tour companies to be pretty on the ball to garner your business, well you’d be wrong. Variously we’ve had hassles this morning with tour companies not taking bookings more than 4 days ahead(!), only being able to do a day trip (we wanted to stay for a couple of nights and go back on the same tour bus a couple of days later), then deciding that they could take us there on one day and back on a different day, and then deciding that we’d have to book 2 tours with them to be able to go at all (one for the day we go out and one for the day we go back), the shitty phone system that neglects to tell tell you when your money is running out, and leaving the work experience kid in charge who knew neither a) was the tour running tomorrow or b) was there space in it. After all that it’s no wonder that the well trodden track is just that, as it’s so much bloody hassle to try and doing anything off it without your own transport, ARGH! The net result was that we managed to get it all booked and it only took about 4 hours, an endless supply of coins to feed the thirsty phones, more dollars than we would have spent had there just been a coach to and from these places and not a tour (our preferred option) and an insane amount of frustration at the whole incompetance of the thing!

Right that’s it, rant over. I’m off to get a glass sauvignon blanc and relax.

3 thoughts on “Tours, tours and more bloody tours”

  1. I can’t believe the state of travellers today….granny trolleys!! My impression was that you have one set of stinky clothes, a big beard (even women), dirty green army issue rucksack and a bog roll taped to your forehead! certainly not chuffin (for the sheffield folk)matching luggage!!

    Sounds like you’re having a whale/ shark of a time…despite frustrations with tour booking! sounds well annoying…but we are english and it’s our right to moan.

    Very impressive photos!! For those of you who arn’t enjoying the fruits of australia and instead are enduring crappy english weather and bird flu why not simply type in ‘australian scenery’ on google image search and create you own imaginary blog….

    : )

  2. See, all you need to do is think more of your adventure as a monkey island game, then it’d all start to make sense…

    Talk to … tourist office.
    – You get a lot of information and a time table
    Use … Timetable
    – There are no buses where you want to go
    Use …. timetable with …. tourist office
    – How is that supposed to work?
    Use… timetable with … rubber chicken
    – You only annoy the chicken.
    Use… timetable with …. phone
    – You phone the tour operators. The phone runs out of money
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You find out information on when the tour is
    Use… coin with ….. phone
    – You book yourself a place on the outgoing tour
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You book yourself a place on the incoming tour
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You book Viv a place too.
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You spell out your surname
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You spell out Viv’s surname
    Use… coin with …. phone
    – You spell out Viv’s surname again
    Use … coin with …. phone
    – You spell out Viv’s surname yet again
    Use … coin with …. phone
    – You give up and give her surname as Sev.
    Use phone
    – You hang up with a vague hope that you’ve booked something somewhere.
    Use… phone with….. touristy bratpackers
    – You get an intense feeling of satisfaction.
    Use… sauvignon blanc
    – Aaaah, much better.

  3. Lack of public transport? Lack of open shops?

    Surely the extensive preperation you underwent in Coaley has prepared you for this mammoth expedition!.

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