We arrived in Townsville this morning at about 8.30am. It was already close to 30 degrees. Crazy!
First thing we did is head to one of the skate parks for Billy to have a roll around before it got too warm. Then we went on an epic journey trying to find a health food store, called Sprout. With some poor map reading skills and unfamiliar road, we made a ten minute trip take about forty-five, but hey, we got there in the end.
We were planning an antipasto style picnic for the afternoon, and had heard that Sprout stocked Vegusto cheese, which we haven’t had since Katoomba. Sprout was a big store with friendly staff (despite what many of the online reviews said) and they had heaps of cool vegan items. Because we are trying to be modest with our purchasing, as we have a huge trip to the Northern Territory ahead of us (which is gonna cost us plenty in petrol), we were pretty reserved with our purchases, selecting four things to enjoy. Vegusto, some Tartex herb and garlic pate for our picnic, soybean chicken – which we like to put in Caesar style or super salads, and some Late July jalapeno and red pepper corn chips, because I’ve never seen these in store before and really wanted to try them.
Last night in preparation, Billy made some grilled eggplant slices, by cooking our farmer’s market eggplant from the other day on the cast iron griddle plate with basil oil, garlic and salt. He was pretty proud of himself. I was proud of him too, they were so good!
We also found a new brand of hommus at the supermarket, called Obela. They had a few different kinds – this one was roasted pine nut, with little bits of red capsicum in it too. It was really yummy, a nice thick creamy hummus – just how I like it!
We went down to the Strand, which is a popular place for picnic-ers, exercisers, swimmers, tanners and so on. It’s a lovely spot on the water, which has a long stretch of grassy park areas, beach, cafes, exercise equipment, playgrounds, barbecue areas and so on. It’s really quite nice. We found ourselves a shady table and set up our spread with our hommus, eggplants, garlic chili marinated olives, semi-dried tomatoes, rosemary crackers, celery, carrot, Vegusto mild-aromatic cheese, potato, sweet potato and taro chips and Tartex pate. Ooh la la…
We looked across the waters to Magnetic Island as we enjoyed our lunch. It was beeee-a-utiful.
After lunch, we went for a walk along the length of the Strand, swapping between the footpath, grass, and dipping our toes in the water. The water temperature was so warm…and it was winter two weeks ago right? Yeah….
We found some cool sculptures along the way, a favourite being this little guy – a dugong! He was so cute. I got some strange looks from passers by when I started cuddling him but I couldn’t help it. Look at him!
What a cutie!
We strolled back down to the other end of the Strand, before heading into the edge of the city for a bit of a poke around the shops and cafes. We walked down Flinders St, which had some interesting bars and shops, and if we end up picking up some work here we’ve noted a few places to come back to.
In the heat of the afternoon, we bumped into the Perc Tucker regional art gallery and went in for a look. It was so nice to be in somewhere cool, it gave my body temperature a bit of a chance to drop back to normal. The gallery was small but had a really nice range of pieces. Downstairs they had a really cool exhibit on solastalgia, which is to do with the mental distress or impact on people caused by environmental change or degradation. It was really interesting, and apt too – there was one piece showing the impact of mining in the Hunter Valley, just after I was reading an article about creeks there being affected by acid leaching from abandoned coal mines. It’s crazy the environmental and social price people are willing to pay for a quick buck.
After that, we went into an absolutely gorgeous Eco store, called Plant Essentials, which was full of beautiful things from jewellery to clothes, homewares, skin products, toiletries and foods. I got some pau d’arco lotion, some lemongrass soap, as well as a little gift. I saw the most beautiful ring which I promised myself I would come back and try on if we end up getting work here. It was stunning. I could have had one of everything from here, it was all so lovely and natural – no petrochemicals, synthetic colours, flavours or preservatives and of course, no animal testing. The company is from Queensland, and their slogan is ‘made fresh locally’, which is awesome.
We also got two Clif bars to try, as I had started seeing them pop up and heard that they were completely vegan. Billy spotted them and chose white chocolate macadamia nut and crunchy peanut butter. We shared the white chocolate one which was nice – I liked the texture, it was much lighter than I expected.
After that, we returned to the Strand and lazed about on the grass for an hour or so, before setting off to a free camp spot for the night.
It was such a great day! The little part we saw of Townsville seems really nice…while it is a big city, there has obviously been a lot of effort put in to make it accessible and appealing to locals and travelers. Check out this man made waterfall along the strand. I’ve never seen one like this in a city before!
Sprout Greener Grocers
36-48 Kings Rd, Townsville QLD
Mon-Fri – 9am – 6pm
Sat – 9am – 4pm
2/271 Flinders St, Townsville QLD
Mon-Fri – 9.30am – 5pm
Sat – 9.30am – 3pm