JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Friday, 24 April 2015

Dirt n Dust Triathlon 2015

Well.....its done and dusted, and what a great weekend it was.  This was Philips 16th Dirt n Dust out of the 21 years that it has been going.  The first one, if I recall, had just 20 competitors and this year there were almost 400.  The little triathlon has now grown in to a full blown festival swelling the little township of Julia Creek from a population of 400 to almost 4000.  The festival begins on Friday afternoon with the Junior Triathlon.  This has also grown in strength from tens to hundreds of little ones. Some of the youngest competitors still have trainer wheels on their bicycles!  Proud parents and grand-parents watch and cheer on the young athletes and it is a joy to watch.

The smallest triathletes lined up for the swim leg

On ya bike little one!

A proud grandad watches on

Friday night at Dirt n Dust Central is a free night of entertainment with live music and a carbohydrate rich dinner for the triathletes.
We stayed at the Julia Creek Caravan Park for the duration of the festival and we watched it slowly fill on Friday to full capacity.  The park had a great atmosphere as the triathletes and family prepared for the Dirt n Dust Triathlon on Saturday.
The senior triathlon starts from Eastern Creek (20 km west of Julia Creek) where the swim leg is completed and then the gruelling ride back into the township where the transition quickly takes place into the 5km run leg.  The triathlon is sprint distance but anyone who has completed in the triathlon will tell you it is one of the hardest triathlons in Australia.  This year the athletes were spared the devastating head wind in the cycle leg but had to endure the relentless heat radiating from the bitumen. The overall winner of the triathlon did it in a time of 59 minutes 40 seconds.  I can't recall the hour being broken too many times over the past 21 years to it was an excellent result.

Cool, calm and collected before the race

And they are off!

The winner!

Philip arriving into town

The main street of Julia Creek is lined with spectators

Philip starts the run leg

The finish line.

The end is near!

On Saturday afternoon, after everyone has cooled down it is time to put on the glad rags and head to the Julia Creek Race Course for the running of the Artesian Express Race Meeting.  Many thousands of people attend this race meeting and it is standing room only if you don't have tickets to the Red Claw Luncheon....which sadly, we did not....but next year we will!
After the races it is another quick shower and change into comfortable clothes and shoes for the PBR Bull ride and concert.  This bull ride is renowned throughout Australia as one of the most visual for spectators. The yard is quite small and the committee have built a "hill" around the yard for maximum viewing pleasure.  It is really quite spectacular to be so close to the action.

Thousands of spectators enjoyed being up close and personal at the bull ride.

The bull ride finished around 10pm and that is when the band started playing.  Ten years ago we might have stayed and partied into the night but our bones were weary so it was off to bed for us.

Anyone ever considering a trip to the outback should really try and incorporate the Dirt n Dust Festival into their itinerary.  It is a great weekend in a little town where the locals open their doors and hearts to visitors.  The community is heading into the third year of a devastating drought so it has been hard for them but you would never tell from the welcoming smiles on their faces.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Katathani Resort Phuket

To say that we were impressed with the Katathani Resort is an understatement.  It was truly wonderful.  The resort itself is huge and at a guess I would say that there was one staff member for every guest.  The rooms were spacious, the restaurants top class, the three pools and gardens were incredibly well maintained and god help if a a dead leaf may fall from a tree onto the lawn!

The resort has it own private beach that is called Kata Noi Beach.  The water was warm enough to enjoy and we spent many hours lazing by the ocean.  Philip had a go at paddle boarding and thoroughly enjoyed it but it is incredibly hard work.

The food at the resort was excellent although we tended to eat outside the resort for most meals. There were three restaurants within a block of the resort so that is where we would usually meet the friends and family that were also there for the wedding.  One morning we hired a "Tuk Tuk" and did a little bit of shopping at Kata Beach.  I am not good at bargaining but still managed to get a couple of good deals.

A few photos:

The sticky rice was the best I have ever tasted

This was our wing at the resort

Magnificent beaches

Chris and KC


View from our room

Mango Slushy that actually made me quite sick.  I was warned.....don't drink the water!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A wedding in Phuket.

My poor neglected blog.  It has been a long time since I have given you some love.  To say we have been busy is an understatement, but busy because we choose to be.  We have travelled many thousands of kilometres in the past month and over the next few days I will fill you in.  But for today I want to tell you about the wedding we went to in Phuket.

Philip's stepbrother, Chris, has been living in Singapore working in IT for many many years and during his time there he met and fell in love with Katherine (KC).  After an extremely long courtship they finally decided to get married in March in Phuket.  It was a no brainer for us to make the decision to travel there for the wedding.

We have never been to Thailand before and we were so very pleased that we made the effort to go.  We flew from Cairns to Brisbane and then from Brisbane to Bangkok.  From Bangkok it was just an hour long flight to the island of Phuket.  Our flight did not arrive into Phuket until midnight so I had pre-booked a motel room close to the airport.  The motel I chose had a shuttle service from the airport to the motel so we were well and truly tucked up in bed before 1am.

The next morning we hired a taxi to take us to our accommodation at Katathani Resort at Kata Noi Beach.  After the hour long drive we arrived and were greeted by the bride and groom who were eating lunch across the road at a little restaurant that became our favourite.

We arrived on Thursday and the wedding was on Saturday.  We did not have any pre-planned sightseeing so we relaxed by the ocean and worked on our tans!

The wedding was everything that the bride and groom could have wished for.  A perfect day in a perfect setting for a perfect couple.  The bride asked that we all wear white/cream/khaki and now I look back at the photos I can see why.  The photos look stunning with the backdrop of the blue ocean.

We all enjoyed a beautiful three course banquet with more food that we could ever have possibly eaten and so delicious.  The night was balmy and the company around our table was jovial.  We danced well into the night and finally said our goodnights around midnight.

Some photos:

My family.

The groom, his sister and her husband

A walk down the aisle.

A very happy groom.

The grooms niece and nephew

A most beautiful dress

The bride and groom being showered with red flower petals.

Philips stepsister and her family