Day 22: The Caves then Byfield Forestry Park

Started the day slowly. Thoroughly enjoyed the lovely green grass and quiet (no morning trains!) of Flaggy Rock. It’s only an overnighter, but a very good one. Onto Highway 1 and off we headed south.

How beautiful is that?

How beautiful is that?

When I was a child I stopped once with my parents at caves outside Rockhampton. My memory was of it being hot and dirty and I didn’t like it. The turnoff to Byfield Park that we were planning on taking was at Capricorn Caves, so we decided to stop and see them again. On the walls they have lots of framed certificates for winning tourism awards, and I must say they are well deserved. The information area before you go into the caves is very interesting and well-presented, ie engaging. The tour we did was excellent – very informative, enjoyable and only 4 of us in the tour. The caves are ‘dry’ caves, not being influenced by water from a river. It’s only when it rains that water goes into the caves and through the limestone. The limestone itself is incredibly old, having formed when the area was under the ocean from an ancient coral reef. The only two owners have both had the best interests of the cave and the ecology in mind, though the original owner allowed mining for guano! Anyway that didn’t go on for too long.
Anyhoo … The Cathedral Cave has near-perfect acoustics and is often used for weddings – I’d love to attend one there one day, I can imagine how beautiful it would be with the candle light and beautiful music. As it just so happens, in one weeks time there is an Opera in the Caves being held. Steve and I now posess tickets for it. Our trip will be extended a few days so we can attend. Woo hoo!

Lunch stop.

Lunch stop.

Moving on, as I mentioned we were coming in the back way to Byfield. The black-top soon ran out, replaced by dirt roads through private properties. We followed a beautiful creek for some distance and decided to stop and have our lunch on the banks. Idyllic! Mind you there were signs up all over the place that it was private property and entry not permitted, but we really were only about two metres off the road, so don’t think we would have upset anyone. A little further on we passed a large, shallow lake, Lake Mary, which was covered in all sorts of bird life. Big flocks of geese and pelicans, swans, cormorants, brolgas, spoonbills, herons, egrets – you name it, it was there. I really, really wished I had Deb with me with her photographic ability – as I have many times this trip!

Arrived at Water Park Creek campsite – very impressed, but will write more about it tomorrow as we’re just about to go and BBQ some steak to have with a salad for tea.

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