After leaving Bowen we continued our trek further North to Townsville. Having decided that we definitely prefer bush camps we opted for another ‘kind-of caravan park come bush camp’ about 30 minutes out of Townsville. Dry, dusty and full of wallaby poo but surrounded by dense green trees, steep cliffs and a sparkling blue lake we were very happy with our home for the next three nights. It gave us loads of space and with power and basic hot showers we were nicely set up. The owner was a friendly man who must have been 90 years in the shade and deaf as a post but still manages to get about and keep the park in order.
Our days in Townsville were definitely busy ones. Given we were so far out we made the most of each day, took a packed lunch and found loads of things to keep us entertained. The Reef HQ, the Townsville aquarium, was fantastic with a massive living coral reef tank, plenty of sharks and creatures in a touch tank for the Jazzy Devil to terrorise, it kept us entertained for a couple of hours. Lunch in the park and a treat gluten and dairy free sorbet was followed by a visit to the museum. We were seriously lucky and were there during a dinosaur exhibition. Complete with 4 animatronic dinosaurs and lots of skeletons the kids were wrapt. I also learned something new… apparently it is now accepted as quite likely that T-Rex had feathers! Yep get your head round that one – it spun mine out! The museum also had an exhibit on the lesser know Pandora (ship) sent out from England to capture the mutineers from the Bounty. Unfortunately the Pandora came to a sorry, watery end off the Great Barrier Reef.
We weren’t sure whether swimming at the Beach at Townsville was ok or not given the risk of either stingers or crocs so we opted for the far safer water park along The Strand (Townsville’s esplanade). The kids had a ball running, splashing and sliding around the fantastic, free attraction while poor Matty shivered down the water slides with the Jazzy Devil. It was sunny but really not as hot as we were expecting!
Continuing with our animal theme we also went on a slightly different tour our second day. In my research of things to do in Townsville I somehow stumbled across Ebuta Goat Dairy. Last year they ran some open days at their dairy but because of some serious bad luck earlier this year they weren’t running them at the moment. I messaged them anyway to see if they would do tours and the lovely Brian offered for us to come out and for a small cost he would show us around. We arrived a bit after 8am so that we could see the milking. As this is a small, boutique dairy, who produce raw goat milk, it is a very hands on process. We were able to watch as the veterinary students Brian takes on washed and prepared the goats udders, attached the milking tube things (sorry very untechnical term there!) and bottled the milk. Bubba and the Jazzy Devil also got to feed the goats and best of all we got to sample some of the delicious raw goat milk and the goat milk gelato Brian and his wife make! It was a real treat to have creamy ice-cream for a change, coconut milk ice-cream is great but I forgot just how good ice-cream made with milk is. You can see and hear, when talking to Brian, just how passionate he is about their goats and the whole dairy process and it really shows in a fantastic product.
So I should clarify for you all that we are cow’s dairy free (with the exception of organic, grass fed butter) but we can tolerate goat and sheep milk products. The difference is in the protein. Most cow’s milk (with the exception of some specifically bred cows – think a2 brand milk) has the A1 casein protein. Goat and sheep milk is the A2 version. I won’t bore you with the chemistry of it but basically the A2 version is easier to digest. The A1 version ends up breaking down to a small peptide that can cross through the intestinal lining in some people with “leaky gut” ending up in the blood stream where it’s not meant to be. This can cause health issues for some people ranging from sinus problems to atopic conditions to behavioural problems.
The other bonus of the goat milk produced by Ebuta Goat Dairy is that it is raw. This is quite a controversial topic, so by all means do your own research. Unfortunately in many states the option to drink raw milk is simply not available. Victoria has banned all raw milk, both cow and goat. Queensland still allows raw goat milk (but not cow) with very strict guidelines to prevent nasties in the milk. So why drink raw goat milk? Raw milk also contains healthy bacteria and can be a source of probiotics in the same way yoghurt is. The pasteurising process, which heats milk to a high temperature kills all bacteria, good and bad. The high temperatures also break down some of the vitamins present in the milk, lowering the nutritional content. Often commercially available milks then need to be fortified with synthetic vitamins. Raw milk also contains enzymes naturally present in milk which help to break down the protein making it more digestible. Again, pasteurising denatures these proteins meaning they don’t do their job any more. So yes there are risks of contamination with bacteria that can make you ill but clean, well run dairy’s minimise this risk. Testing both internally and externally is done with each batch to ensure safety.
But back to our travels… We had a great morning with Brian and his goats and I’d highly recommend a trip out there if you ever get the chance. Thanks Brian!
Unfortunately the rest of that day did not go as well as we discovered somewhere in his foraging in the bushes at one of our bush camps the Jazzy Devil picked up a tick. That meant spending an hour or so in the doctors surgery waiting to have it liquid nitrogen-ed off, followed by a course of antibiotics and a mad dash by me around Townsville for some Saccharomyces boulardii (a beneficial yeast probiotic that can be taken at the same time as antibiotics). He’s fine though and continues to scurry around in the bushes so I’m putting money on it’s not the only one he gets!
So I have been promising a recipe and really reading back over this blog it should be a goat milk one but I actually wanted to share with you a very simple, yummy, nourishing breaky or snack – the humble banana pancake. These have been a saviour for me when we don’t have power and the fridge is looking a little bare. They are seriously filling thanks to the protein in the eggs and sweet from the banana – perfect combo! By the way I did make a smoothie for our breakfast with the goat milk and it was delicious so I’ll give you that recipe too (I didn’t take a photo though sorry!).
So until next time, eat well and live happy.
1 large ripe banana
(yep thats it for ingredients – told you it was easy!)
Mash the banana really well in a bowl. Add the eggs and beat together to form a very runny batter. Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Pour in the banana-egg mixture and leave until it is almost cooked through (approx 4-5 mins). Flip pancake and cook for another minute. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
200ml milk/milk alternative of choice (we used raw goat milk of course!)
20g protein powder (go for one without lots of additives eg plain sprouted brown rice powder)
1 tsp raw honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.