Climbing Castle Hill

I’m a bit behind – the adventures are coming fast and furious, so I’ll do two this morning before we drive down to Mossman for our show tonight.

We had two more nights in Townsville after the SCQuilters retreat.  Way back in 2002 we did a house concert in Babinda for a couple of folkies, and we have kept in touch ever since.  Ted and Carolynne have since sold their property at the top of a steep and winding road (but in the beautiful rainforest!) and bought a sailboat, where they now live full time.  We got to sleep in their spare cabin for two nights and explore the city.

Our neighbours

Townsville is a port city, exporting sugar, nickel, coal, and various other essential metals that are mined in the hills behind. It’s also very beautiful.  The Strand is the street along the beach, and it’s very well used by everyone.

Water park along the Strand

My friend Michelle (who occasionally comments on the blog) spent some time living in Townsville, and the one thing she wanted to do while she was back was to climb Castle Hill, the most recognizable landmark in the city.

Castle Hill

On Thursday, just before the retreat started, she did the walk – there and back again – and was happily knackered at the end of it.  She said it was challenging, but worth it.  I decided I would do the same, so on Monday (instead of going on the bus shop hop with the rest) I headed out with my camera, wallet, map and a bottle of water.  It was a warm day, but not hot, which made it very do-able. I set out and climbed my way through city streets until the beginning of the track.

Here goes!

The track basically goes straight up the hill to the top. No switchbacks to add distance.  It’s a very good track, with rough steps about a foot high, going inexorably – UP.

One step at a time

It is necessary to stop occasionally to smell the – um – gum trees. Just as I was taking an extended rest to get my heart rate down, a young sillybugger RAN by me!!! I’ve learned a useful term here for this, useable in polite company: Richard Cranium.  (read: dickhead)  At least, it felt that way to me, gasping for air and trying to get to the top.  But, I made it! And yes, Michelle – it was worth it!

View of Magnetic Island from the top of Castle Hill

At the top of the hill there’s a 360 degree view, and it’s magnificent.  The toilets block up there is quite nice too, done with aboriginal paintings on it. (Yes I took a picture of it!)

See the kangaroo?

John met me at the top with the car (boy, was I glad to see him) and took this picture.

We drove back down and had lunch by the beach. Ran into this dugong as we went – I hear he was just yarnbombed a while ago….

A dugong on the Strand

That’s it for Townsville.  Next up: the Atherton Tablelands.

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7 Responses to “Climbing Castle Hill”

  1. Chris Rose Says:

    Enjoy your blog through Australia while here in Wolfeboro, NH. Had a life long dream fulfilled in 2010 when we were invited by friends from Perth who we met in Alaska to visit this wonderful country. Went to Brisbane, Cairns, Perth (traveled for 8 days in Southwest) and then Sydney. They came here last year and we’ll see then again in NYC in Nov. Am loving your descriptions and will have to remember Richard Cranium.

  2. Daphne Greig Says:

    Wow – what a spectacular view. Enjoying your travelogue!

  3. Jan Rhoades Says:

    Well done…you go girl! Just one thing, the ‘mountain’ is actually called Castle Hill. Some time ago a man spent a great deal of time and energy carting dirt to the top of the hill to make it higher so it could qualify as a mountain…I don’t think he succeeded. And so it shall remain a hill. I think the locals would love to be able to call it a mountain and probably appreciate your interpretation of their hill. See you Friday. Cheers.

    • singingquilter Says:

      Corrections noted, Jan – thanks for the clarification. I don’t think I could’ve climbed a mountain that day, although at times it FELT like one! See you soon.

  4. Michelle Says:

    I’m so glad you got to do it! And you did the whole goat track too! I started on the Cutheringa track on the other side of the hill, which is more of a rocky climb, but also skirts at the base of the rock wall. Then it joins up with the goat track for that *gulp* staircase of hellish proportions!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip! Scott says hi too.

  5. Katina Says:

    Thank you for your wonderful travelogue. It’s almost like being along for the ride.

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