Travel day: Mackay to Bowen

We packed up and left Mackay this morning, bidding farewell to the showgrounds and our little flower friend that we found hidden away near our camp.

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I love getting to places, but I also love leaving. When we are back on the road, it’s exciting to find out what the next place will be like…it’s all an adventure! On the way out of town, we made a last minute decision to stop at an auto store to pick up a few things.

It was obviously meant to be, as we stumbled across this giant chair that we got to sit on.

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It was like being a kid again, when you sit on a chair and your feet can’t reach the ground.

Next stop, Airlee Beach.

First thing we spotted on the way into town was a skate park, so Bear had to get out and have a roll.

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Next we found a nursery with this dude out the front, which of course meant more stopping for photo ops.

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Airlee Beach itself was a little overrated. The town bit was quite commercial, and the ‘beach’ or bay beach was not even that nice. Perhaps especially because the tide was out, which always kind of makes the front part of the bay look like a wasteland.

We made salad and sat on the grass by the water anyway and enjoyed our lunch.

Then, onto Bowen. Bowen is about 200km north of Mackay, so we didn’t do a HUGE amount of travel, but we like breaking it into smaller doses, especially when it’s hot.

Bowen is a fruit and veggie growing region, and is also home to the Big Mango. We had to stop there, obviously.

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While there, we sampled some of the local delicacy in the form of some mango ‘sorbet’ (pure frozen mango).

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Truth be told, I’m not the biggest mango fan, but this was pretty yum. Also, you can’t go wrong with frozen treats when the weather is warm.

I made a yummy risotto for dinner tonight using some of the farmer’s market produce from the other day…I’ll share it with you tomorrow. We are now about 45km north of Bowen, and we’ll be heading not far up the road to Ayr tomorrow (and possibly onto Townsville). These bears are on the move!

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The day I woke up at the Farmer’s Market

This post is a day late.

But by the time we’d finished work yesterday, cleaned up, walked to the Laundromat, waited for our clothes to wash, walked back, made dinner…it was bed time and I was ready for it! I just didn’t have it in me to blog.

Everybody who kept their fingers crossed that there would be a market on – thank you! We woke up at about 6.30 on Saturday morning and there was a little market set up about 100m from where we are camped. Hooray!

We started the day with a super duper smoothie of frozen banana, cacao, choc protein powder, peanut butter, vital greens, chia seeds and milk before heading over to take a poke – POW! Hello day!

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The markets were set up along a concrete pathway, in a kind of modern, refurbished part of the showgrounds. It’s kind of a shame it wasn’t on the grass, but it may well have usually been where the camping and caravan expo was on. Who knows.

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It was the biggest or the best market that I have been too, but it was very welcome. It also had some interesting fruits and vegetables – ones that we aren’t really used to in our neck of the woods. I keep forgetting that we are reaching tropical regions (how could I with this weather?!) which have some pretty amazing natural treats.

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There were some really lovely stallholders too. We bought some tapioca, or cassava root of these two men who showed us how to peel it (we had never seen the root before) and told us we could use it just like a potato, or make a sweet porridge type dish. We ended up eating some savoury style with our dinner that night which was different – it was super starchy but not in a bad way. The only way I have ever really known tapioca before is in pearl form – as a sweet dessert or in a bubble tea drink.

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I only had twenty dollars cash on me so we had a bit of a budget to stick to, but we managed to come in under. Take a look at our haul…

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Eggplant ($1!), bag of tomatoes ($2.50), bag of mixed lettuce ($2), bunch of mint ($1.50), red capsicum ($1), bag of little avocados ($3), bag of snowpeas ($2), tapioca ($2), black sapote (or CHOCOLATE PUDDING FRUIT -$2).

I was super stoked to find some black sapote. I’ve only ever had it once before – in Mullumbimby – in a smoothie. These four aren’t ripe yet, but the man selling them gave us an extra one which was ripe and had been squished a little. We ate it yesterday…so chocolatey! It’s hard to believe it’s a fruit…although I suppose chocolate is derived from plants too. Mmm chocolate.

Anyway, we finished up our work stint and got paid some cash moneys to keep rolling with, so we’re going to be leaving Mackay in the morning, heading up towards Airlie Beach.

I’ve got a (hopefully) delicious plan for some of the above veggies, so stay tuned…

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More Strawberries!

We were supposed to work all day today, but it was so quiet that we got let off at 1pm, which was a bit of a bummer. Hopefully tomorrow is busy enough to keep us on all day, same for Sunday.

We are staying in the showgrounds, which is where the expo we are working at is held which is super convenient. These showgrounds don’t normally permit camping for some reason, but they do for workers when there are events on. They have ultra new showers/toilet blocks which is like luxury after the mosquito cesspool bathrooms of the last place we paid to stay at.

Also, there is possibly a farmers market here tomorrow morning, which is AWESOME! When we got work I was pleased, but also kind of bummed that we wouldn’t be able to look for a farmers market for the second weekend in a row. Now maybe they will come to us! I say maybe, because no one seems to be 100% sure whether they are on due to the expo being on. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, today’s food related business comes to you courtesy of Emma over at Coconuts and Berries. Her theme for vegan MoFo is awesome – she’s doing an A-Z of ingredients, featuring a different one every day. This was way back at C for chia seeds!

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I love chia pudding. I also love overnight oats with chia seeds. I am also up to my ears in strawberries in Queensland! And while I have topped my brekkies with strawberries, I’d never thought to blend them into the milk. This was something I had to try!

Unfortunately, upon opening our strawberries we discovered they had begun to grow mould from the inside out, so I salvaged what I could but it definitely could have done with a few more. In saying that, this was a delicious change to my usual vanilla or chocolate version. Emma calls it ‘strawberries and cream’ and that’s exactly what it’s like – super creamy and sweet.

I recommend checking out this recipe (and all her other wonderful ones) here on her blog!

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