The Museum of Tropical Queensland

I woke up with Maisie breathing down my neck and by 7.30 I have heard all about her dream, a regular morning thing! Townsville is Queensland’s second largest city and home to thousands of army and university students. We decide to arrange a trip to nearby Magnetic Island before setting off up the road to get some breakfast.

We find a lovely café and choose to sit indoors. It is winter here and although not too cold (Warm in the sun) I don’t want to sit outside. I seem to have caught Simon’s cold and am feeling a bit shivery. We have a good breakfast, toast and a selection of jams for me, healthy cereal, fruit and yogurt for Simon. (Very good!) It’s not too expensive and we decide we will go out for dinner tonight at a cheap noodle bar. Maisie misheard and is a little shocked to hear we plan on dining at the nude bar! (Bless!)

We have the opportunity to have a good look around as we carry on up the road on our way to The Museum of Tropical Queensland. From what I have seen so far of Australia it doesn’t really conform to the stereotypical image that I had of the Aussies. I think I had half expected everyone to be a picture of golden and glowing health and although we have met lots of people like that, I think we have all been surprised at the numbers of obese, unhealthy looking people here. Even in the tiny villages we visited in the far north McDonalds and KFC have made their mark.

Townsville is a pretty town and the harbour looks gorgeous with all the yachts moored up. On the way we pass a few groups of Aboriginal people sat on the grass sharing a few beers. Although we haven’t had the opportunity yet to learn much about the Aboriginal culture I am looking forward to finding out a bit more about Australia’s indigenous people.

We arrive at the museum and are pleased when once again in an expensive place the museum is our saving grace for entertainment. It only costs 30 dollars to get in (12 quid) and turns out to be really good, educational and informative. There is a whole gallery dedicated to the history of the ship Pandora. In the late 1700′s it was sent to hunt down the infamous mutineers of The Bounty and having captured 14 and detained them eventually sank off The Great Barrier Reef. There is a life-size replica of the bow, a demonstration of cannon firing and loads of artefacts. With lots of interactive video sequences the kids have a great time and learnt a lot.

We then go to see the Reef and Rainforest gallery and it’s a good opportunity for Ali to learn a bit more about the coral polyps. There are also loads of gorgeous corals being exhibited and a big section on the wildlife and insects of the tropics. Next is the science department and we spend ages conducting various scientific experiments. I’m delighted to find I have almost perfect pitch, as I seem incapable of completing most of the other fairly basic experiments successfully!( Lack of mathematical brain) Lastly and slightly randomly we learn about marine stingers, cyclones, important people of Townsville and musical instruments of the world. In all we spent nearly 3 hours wandering around and agreed we had a great time.

Just got back from dinner at the noodle bar, we had some great Chinese and Thai food and I found it really comforting and normal feeling to be eating with chopsticks and all sharing the dishes. Made me realise once more how much I miss being in Asia and that I have felt more homesick for there than I ever have for England. (Hardly makes sense, but true)

As we were walking back to the hostel a naked man came running up the road towards us before shouting “oh shit kids” and swerving off into the bushes. Soon followed by his mates, a touring rugby team. I bet Simon would have loved to join them for a night out on the piss! Anyway we got back and I suggested we play a few drinking games so we sat in bed with some beer and half a bottle of mango wine drinking it out of the bottle as we haven’t got any glasses. Not quite the same I know but hey better than nothing!