Friday the 13th (EMD) BNE-CNS via Capetown CC mini TR

craven morehead

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Just taking a quick week off and heading all over the place. Let's see how it turns out. You never know who you might run into ;)

It's Friday the 13th and I'm booked on QF2403 EMD-BNE departing @ 8.25 allowed for a couple of hours in the QP and then a separate booking QF712 BNE-CNS where I had picked up a $499 one way J sale fare. Ordinarily it would be one booking but had to use up an old credit and the utilise a DSC voucher for CNS flight etc.

13/05 5.00am and I'm up to pack so I can leave home at 6.30am for 100km drive to EMD airport. 5.20am SMS from QF "Flight cancelled" 5.30am SMS you have been rebooked on QF2405 departing at 12.00. Not much good to me when QF712 departs at 12.50 :rolleyes: by this time it's 5.45am and knowing QF wouldn't rebook second flight because they weren't linked I poured myself a coffee and dialed the Plat Line ..........

Call was answered after 11 minutes and I recognised the accent immediately. I thought WP's were supposed to redirected to Hobart but guessing it was too early?
Explained my situation and was told that my BNE-CNS flight was an involuntary cancellation so I would have to stump up an extra $450 to rebook on QF714 in J. I had already checked there were still J seats available before calling. I stated that it wasn't me who cancelled the first flight and stuffed up my plans and insisted I get rebooked at the same price with the same booking reference (DSC) Can you please hold sir I need to speak to my supervisor 🙈 The phone alternated between elevator music and nothing ( I actually thought he may have hung up at one stage ) at about the 28 minute mark Josiah IIRC came back and said he would rebook me on QF714 at same price and same booking reference. Hallelujah! So after my last few multi-hour phone interactions with QF I get a result from the most unlikely of call centres 🍾🥂✈️ the situation was resolved in 31minutes and 24 seconds. Email with new ticketing on my account within 10 minutes. After the horror stories of recent times I thought I should at least acknowledge a positive outcome. One other thing was the sale fare was going to give me 60SC (x2) once rebooked I went into a higher fare class and ended up getting 70SC's ...... winning!

I was originally booked in 2F but upon boarding a Dutch couple who were seated separately asked me if I would mind shifting to 3D. Of course I had no issue with that. The first newspaper I have bought since Covid started.

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The J Class toasted sanga. Really tasty and better than last year's party pies and mini quiches or whatever nonsense they served up. EMD-BNE was late out and after all the rejigging etc I only had 30 minutes in the QP which consisted of 2 x Shiraz and a plate of Rendang curry or something which was basically liquid and carrot and missing the meat. So the toastie at least was filling.

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Good flight up and the CSM picked up pretty quickly that I didn't mind a red or two and kept me filled up 🍷🍷arrived in CNS on time and shared a cab into Pullman International with a lady who was attending a conference. Caught up with my wife and a friend who had driven up the day before as there was group of their girlfriends all going to the Red Hot Summer concert.
 
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craven morehead

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Pullman International Cairns has underground car parking for those that may need it. In this case we did.

The newer renovated rooms: Not 100% sure if they are all done yet but they have been working on them for at least 15 months IIRC

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The mini bar is more a cooler than a bar fridge. Certainly not as cold as a fridge in my opinion. Bit like those useless drink coolers on EK

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2 Bottles of water and some chocolates. Ahh the joys of being Diamond! Oh and a couple of drink vouchers of course. One thing this hotel does that I haven't seen anywhere else with Accor is it has a list of drinks available to each status level that are able to be redeemed by voucher. Great idea IMHO because as a group they are terribly inconsistent as to what's available via voucher :rolleyes:

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Finally got to sit down on the balcony for a beer ;) Mountain view room. No upgrade, mind you I was using a free night for the first night.

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Looking down at the pool. Function in full swing.

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The girls wanted to go to the Night Markets ( Shock Horror! ) on The Esplanade so I found a venue close by called Rattle N' Hum and had a few quiet ales while watching the NRL Magic Round. My Brisbane Broncos had a blinder!

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Late supper of Char Sui Duck Shanks. A little heavy on the marinade but did the job.

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Having a late shower and bugger me, the shower backs up and floods the bathroom. We've got towels everywhere trying to stop it going out on to the carpet. Put a call through to reception and it was eventaully fixed the next day around midday. Apparently during the room renovations the tilers had left grout/concrete or something in the drain so maintenance weren't surprised. There is a strainer under the new square tiled style drain so it was a quick fix. Then the cleaners came in and did their thing.
 
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craven morehead

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The next day was pretty relaxing. Late breakfast (Included as Diamond) $39 if you're paying for the buffet is a bit steep in my opinion. It is okay but certainly not world class. So the Girls all getting excited for the Concert and me just chilling. About 1.00pm they all head off and I catch up some work and take a Grandpa nap for an hour 😴 4.00pm it's time to head down for a beer at Heminways Brewery on the wharf. All of about a 5 minute walk!

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Now I love a beer but I'm normally not big on craft beers and micro breweries etc but the Lager here was very decent 🍻

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Nice location and a good feel here.

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Whiled a way a couple of hours here and then back to the Pullmam Bar to watch the footy. Expecting to catch up with everyone else ~10.00pm

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Turns out the only thing on the Pullman TV's is advertising, so in true Bogan style I duck upstairs and grab my laptop ;)

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A beer and some Calamari with Tom Yum sauce (was more red curry IMO) watching the NRL magic round. Nice stress free few hours.

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Now I know I had 6 beers and shouted a staff member one after he knocked off. Next day when I checked out ..... only charged for 2 🏆

Girls all returned from the concert and were starving so we headed out for a late supper and nightcap on the Esplanade.

We ended up at La Pizza Trattoria - La Pizza Trattoria Cairns - La Pizza Trattoria

Excellent Pizza! (Forgot to take photos)
 

craven morehead

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The next morning we had our complimetary breakfast at the Pullman and took advantage of a late checkout as we only had an hours drive coming up.

We then headed up to Port Douglas to catch up with some friends. We only had 2 nights in Port Douglas in our schedule which was originally going to be: 2 in Cairns, 2 in PD, 3 in Mission Beach and 1 in Mackay. Things changed after a mate's wife had a medical issue.

So I had booked the "Mantra in the Village" for PD and never having stayed there before I booked it for it's location (50m walk to Macrossan Street) and at $320 for 2 nights very reasonably priced. Mind you there are about 5 Mantras in Port Douglas and they're all very close together. I must admit to being pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the hotel it was better than I was expecting for the price 🙊 and more spacious than I thought it would be. I would book the exact same unit (#27) again no problem at all.

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Access to the bathroom from both the kitchenette and the bedroom.

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The Urban Skincare Co. shampoo, conditoner and body wash etc were in pump packs, so no amenities to souvenier and donate to the local DV centre in EMD like I normally do.

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I wasn't expecting too much in the way of trinkets being a Mantra so I wasn't terribbly deflated when I opened this box up and found 5 or 6 of the little snack bars they dish up on a lot of my Dash8 flights. There was also a large bottle of sparkling Perrier in the fridge with a non-alcoholic G&T (no use to me 🙈) and a non-alcoholic sparkling wine. They were donated to our friends daughter.

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craven morehead

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A couple of shots of our verandah / spa outdoor area and street view. Quite nice really.

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I thought, this looks good, pretty sure I could get in but would need to ring Greenpeace or a a tow truck to get me out lol.

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Looking up towards Macrossan Street.

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Across the road.

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Down the street.

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Parked the car right out the front of the hotel and we had no need to move it for the 2 days! Just PERfect 🤪

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Breakfast the next morning at Cafe FresQ. Both the food and coffee were top notch.

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craven morehead

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The next morning we were granted a midday check out and headed off for breakfast. This time we went to the Crystalbrook Marina Complex.

We decided to eat at Choo Choos @ The Marina - HOME | Choo Choos Marina

Nice relaxed place with a good view. Very tropical as you would expect in these parts :cool:

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You may be able to see that there are some dining booths in the old rail cars.

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Eggs Benny with Salmon and a side of Avocado with a long black to get me going for the day.

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Potato Rosti for one or friends who is Vegetarian

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Pulled Pork Burger for Mrs CM ;)

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Very happy to recommend this place 😋
 
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craven morehead

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After leaving Port Douglas we were orignally going to stay the night in Cairns and catch up with a mate from Mission Beach. His wife was in Cairns Base Hospital so we were going to visit her and then do dinner. I had booked Novotel Cairns Oasis ($360) using a free night. Anyway he had to cancel coming up from Mission Beach until the next day so we visited our friend in hospital and then decided to cancel Novotel and head down to South Mission Beach. We were originally going to stay with our mate down there but he wasn't too well, so we booked a 2BR Beach front Villa at the Big 4 Tasman Holiday. Told our mate if he felt better in the morning we would catch up for breakfast. On the Big 4 website they wanted $219/night for the 2BR Villas but we rang them and got 2 nights for $350. BIG4 Tasman Holiday Parks - South Mission Beach | Book Direct & Save With BIG4

Arrived down at South Mission ~6.15pm. Very impressed with the accommodation we had booked and the view looking across to Dunk Island 🏝️ We grabbed some toasted sangas from the onsite Beachcomber's Coconut Cafe before they closed at 7.30pm

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Great place to sit and relax and listen to the ocean. More so because we normally live in the bush.

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The 2BR Villa has everything you need and is just the right size!
 
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craven morehead

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Our mate arrived and we headed over to the onsite Beachcomber's Cocount Cafe for breakfast. Their breafast menu for some reason, is dine in only starting at 7.30am and finishing at 11.00am. The food and service was excellent with a great view from the table as well. They also have a small range of everyday basic groceries. Tea, coffee and milk etc. Funnily enough they didn't stock laundry detergent with the park having a good laundry facilitiy. I thought that was a missed opportunity 🤔

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I went for the Big Breakfast and at $16 I thought it was excellent value. Mrs CM had the Bacon & Egg roll and was very happy with her choice.

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Not the worst view at brekky time ;)

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Back across to the beach.

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We had a swim as the tide was going out but still well deep enough out near the net for us to enjoy a lazy hour in the sea.

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Came across this odd beast. The water taxi that takes peolple to and from the upmarket Bedarra Island. It drives up and down the beach and the wheels fold up once it is deep enough back in the water. The wheels are run by a small hydraulic motor.

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Then, to top the day off we were going over to North Mission Beach early evening to finally catch up with @JohnM for dinner and drinks at Castaways Resort. We had attempted to meet up in Longreach late last year and missed out by a matter of days as I was attending the Ashes 🏏 in BNE 🍺:cool:
After communicating and interacting and following numerous TR's over the years on AFF I believe, and John agreed that you get a fair idea of a persons character etc. and in our case I don't believe there were any surprises whatsoever. Great to catch up under such relaxing circumstance and chat about our shared interests. ✈️🍷🌎🌍🌏

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craven morehead

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Next morning we packed up and then went and enjoyed breakfast again at the Beachcomber's Cocount Cafe. After brekky, a stroll down the beach to lock in some more memories of the beautiful setting until our next visit. Then it was time to head off. We left South Mission Beach and headed across the 25kms to Tully for a quick inspection of an investment property. Once completed we took off, heading South to Townsville to visit one of our 25 year old sons who is a Captain in the ADF. Uneventful drive down with the weather very ordinary. Arrived in Townsville around 3.30pm and sat down at a picnic table by the sea at Rowes Bay and only had to wait half an hour for our son to join us after work. His house is also in the suburb of Rowes Bay. We met his house mate who is a chopper pilot in the Army later that afternoon. We all had a quiet night at home catching up and enjoying some very decent take out Thai and a few beers/wines watching the rugby league which just happened to be featuring my team the Brisbane Broncos that night 🏉;)

Looking across to Magnetic Island from Rowes Bay.

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Picnic area

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We said our goodbyes to the lads that night as they had an early start the next day. We packed up again the next morning and headed down to The Strand on the Townsville waterfront for brunch. We chose the Odyssey Cafe across from The Rockpool.

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Chicken & Avocado open sandwich with Hollandaise sauce and Greek salad for me, washed down with Tomato juice 😋 huge portions served here and very tasty.

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Mrs CM went for the HCT Focaccia with a chocolate milkshake. Great food and best enjoyed with the great view across the road.

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Looking back across the road to The Rockpool

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After brunch we enjoyed a stroll around the The Rock Pool Townsville area before heading off for Mackay.

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Townsville have really utilised their waterfont well.

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craven morehead

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The drive from Townsville to Mackay was very ordinary. Seemed to me that 75% off the trip was either roadworks, stop/go or the like. I reckon it added an hour on the trip to what one would normally expect. The rain started to set in about an hour from Mackay. After a good 5 hour drive we arrived late afternoon into Mackay. I had decided to try the Mantra Mackay (Accor) which has a fantastic location by the Mackay marina.

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Our room was on the 7th floor which is the top level. Rooms were very spacious. You could certainly park up here for a week if need be. The bathroom was showing a bit of age. Standard Mantra pump pack dispensers instead of individual amenities.

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Weather was poor but the view was really good.

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craven morehead

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Some more views from our balcony. On the RHS of photo there are bars and restaurants facing the marina. At some stage I will give them a go but it's hard to pass up the free breakfasts and 50% of dinner with the Accor program.

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It was time to head down for dinner and drinks. Latitude 21 is the Restaurant and Bar on the ground floor.

Heading towards bar which is prior to restaurant.

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Mrs CM slurping on a Pina Colada ⛱️

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Now for dinner: Confit of Duck legs with Cherry Jus and served with broccolini and mash for me. Absolutely delicious 😋

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Unfortunately the "best" Red wine they could offer me was pure filth. Manager was advised accordingly and I suggested that they will need to improve in this area for me to warrant a return stay. Luckily I had a decent bottle up in my room to placate my palate later 😉

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Mrs CM struggles to go past seafood and ordered the Red Throated Emperor. She was also impressed with her dinner. No complaints with the food whatsoever.

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craven morehead

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Fully agree. MrsK and I are heading to Port Douglas in Oct for our first trip there, so it's good to know where some of the good places to eat are.

Happy to help out. That's what us AFFers do well I reckon 🥂 look forward to your TR and thoughts of PD and the surrounding area.
 
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craven morehead

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Reading along. We head back to Townsville this weekend and then drive south, so your report is very useful

Happy to help mate. Late last year I actually booked the motel you recommended for Charters Towers. Would happily stay there again should I have the need.
 

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