Archive for December, 2007

Back in the Tropics

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

This must really be a big country, when you can drive for 2000 kilometres and still be in the same state! Over the extended Christmas period, we drove almost 6000 kilometres, promoting Cairns Unlimited down the Queensland coast as far as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and across the border to the popular New South Wales tourist destination of Byron Bay.

But we’re back at YORKEYS KNOB now, and busy following up on all the promotions we have begun. We’ve ordered thousands more Cairns Unlimited postcards, especially the new ones which specifically promote our DIGITAL UNDERWATER CAMERA RENTAL . They’re an ‘oversized’ postcard with a discount voucher included on the rear. The discount voucher can be detached and kept, leaving the postcard still able to be posted to friends or family. Clever, eh?

The promotion side of things is an endless task, but not without its reward. Traffic through the site has continued to increase by 50% per month, and December will be no exception to that, in spite of the understandably very low figures over the Christmas period.

The bad news is that our new (old) Calibra, which carried us faultlessly over our Christmas journeys has decided it needs a New Years rest. After driving 1200 kilometres virtually non-stop on the 27th, we awoke the next morning to discover that it had no interest in moving from its warm, dry garage. The automobile association said it was the starter motor, and towed it to a nearby garage. The folk at the garage apparently missed out on their regular Christmas bonus, and have decided to find additional problems which require their attention. To begin with, they said the new starter motor would be $420. When I told them that Repco would supply a new starter motor for just over half that price ($240) they seemed very disappointed. On Monday, I am hoping to arrange a trade; one of my kidneys in exchange for the safe return of our car.

So we are without a vehicle at the moment, and may be having a very quiet New Years Eve tomorrow night. 

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Byron Bay was amazing. Stanthorpe had been cloudy and kind of cool for a couple of weeks. Now that we live in a tropical climate, we are not used to the cold. And we didn’t think for one second that the sun wasn’t going to shine, so we hadn’t even brought a jumper with us. I had to borrow Steve’s Mum’s clothes. So we headed south to Byron Bay looking for a bit of sunshine and warm weather. On our way to Byron Bay we could see that we were leaving the clouds behind us. What a treat. The city was really busy, but what can you expect the week before Christmas? People everywhere: shopping, eating, drinking, sunbathing or having a swim.

Our main reason for driving all the way to Byron Bay was to visit all the backpackers hostels in town. We have designed a promotional poster for Cairns Unlimited as well as free postcards promoting our DIGITAL UNDERWATER CAMERA RENTAL business and most of the hostels managers were kind enough to put them up for us. After such a tough job, we headed for the beach. Compared to the beaches of Tropical North Queensland, Byron Bay beach was wild. Thanks to the Great Barrier Reef, the water in the north is really calm and hardly ever there’s a wave. Completely different in Byron Bay. We jumped, dived, splashed each other, were thrown underwater for a few seconds, but mostly we had a terrific time. A shame all the backpackers hostels were completely full and the only rooms we could find were outrageously overpriced, so we came back to Stanthorpe that night. We forgot to take our camera with us, but here you have a photo we took in Byron Bay a couple of years ago, when we came to spend our holidays in Australia.

And now we are getting ready for Christmas, only in a couple of days time. To me it is still weird to celebrate Christmas without my scarf, gloves and a coat. But I must say it is nice.

Southern Queensland

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Yes, Maria and I have left our tropical paradise behind for a road trip to Brisbane and other parts of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. We were planning to fly down, but at the last minute decided to push our flights back to next May, and hit the road in the Unlimitedmobile. It’s not a short drive, almost smack on 2000 kilometres, but we had a good run with traffic (and no interruptions from kangaroos) and made it in 24hours.

 Today we’re in Stanthorpe, on Queensland’s famous ‘Granite Belt’. This is one of the state’s most popular destinations for working holiday makers, and it also happens to be my home town. Maria and I were lucky enough to coincide with a pre-Christmas visit by my sister-in-law and my youngest nephew, all the way from France. Joseph was excited to see kangaroos, so we took him for a short drive to Girraween National Park, where there was no shortage of wildlife.

Notice the family resemblance?

We even visited the old school, where not only myself, but also my mother and all her siblings, and my four older brothers and later my two gorgeous nieces, were educated.


We have also spent time marketing Cairns Unlimited in Brisbane, and today (once the princess is out of bed) we’re off to Byron Bay.