May 3, 2018 – Townsville, Australia
The next two days we spent at a cute campground in Airlie Beach. We swam in the lagoon, played on the grass and strolled through town.
Again we opted out on the area’s main attraction (cruising through the Whitsundays). Mainly because of Levi but also because it was stinger season and we would have had to wear one of those glamorous, full-body stinger suits which would have been extra fun putting on and off when taking turns during snorkeling. Furthermore these tours were super expensive so we were not too sad to miss it.
Overall our stay in Airlie Beach was extremely relaxing. We had no idea back then, that the relaxation would come to a sudden stop on day three when we realized that our many „mosquito“ or „midge“ stings were in fact bedbug bites…
Bedbugs have spread all over hotel beds around the world during the last years and they don’t stop when it comes to campervans either. This has nothing to do with uncleanliness – you can encounter bedbugs at a five star hotel as well as in a cheap dorm in a hostel. As we are traveling a lot we were aware of those little buggers and we do check every mattress when checking into a hotel. Yet as we had exchanged this specific mattress in Brisbane and were in a hurry we obviously did not check well enough back then. So now here we were. In a bedbug infested camper with an infant. Fun.
We talked to our rental agency, drove to a pest control and then decided that it would be best to travel on to Townsville so that the rental agency could get us a replacement car from Cairns the next day. We checked into a cabin at a campground in Townsville (not mentioning that we had bedbugs obviously) and then the real fun began. We had bought resealable bags on our way to Townsville and had stopped at a laundromat to do at least one load of laundry (or rather to dry one load – bedbugs die when you set the dryer on high/medium/55°C for at least 35 minutes). We sealed that laundry in one of the bags, threw it into the cabin, threw the clothes we were wearing on the porch und jumped under the shower. We saved some groceries that were in the fridge but that was all we took out of the camper.
For the next two and a half days we did nothing but doing more laundry, heating up every single item we have (in plastic bags in hot water – an oven would have been easier but we had none in the cabin) and in the meantime entertaining Levi. We bought a bunch of baby bath and cooking thermometers to check the temperature. We wrapped our stroller and carry on suitcase in huge, black garbage bags and put them out in the sun. The entire area in front of our cabin was full of stuff. Luckily noone asked any questions. Once we got our replacement camper we had to get resettled and restock all the food that we had thrown away (it still hurts my heart thinking about the amounts of food that had to go in the trash).
Honestly speaking, I do not think anyone can imagine how much work goes into getting rid of these nasty bugs. I definitely had no idea before it happened to us. Yet at least we kept up our spirits up and it’s just another story to be told. We were obviously in contact with our rental agency a lot and after many, many emails and phone calls we came to an agreement that was okay for us. Not good but okay.
Despite all the struggle we also have good memories of Townsville. After we got settled into our new camper we walked along the ocean trail up to the city’s „Strand“ area that has a big rock pool and a huge splash park for kids. Levi loved it. And we loved it because after all that work we were finally back on the road.