BBQ for dinner, and a turkey. ‘Nuff said.
We felt a bit flat yesterday and didn’t want to do much at all. Steve did the final fix of the dividers into the drawer system in the back of Mitzy, and just tidied stuff up and did some washing. BBQ for dinner.
Last night I was peacefully sleeping away when Steve wakes me: “I’ve got a tick. Take it off!”
Me: “It’s 3am. Can’t it wait till morning?”
Steve: “No. It could be huge and I’ll have no blood left by then.”
I removed the tick! Sorry, no photos.
Today we were feeling more energetic and decided to do the kayak trip again – we loved it so much last time. Went upstream in the morning, spent a couple of hours at the rapids and had lunch there and returned midafternoon. At times (all the time, actually) it felt like we were the only people in the world and we were exploring the wild Orinoko! We’re definitely planning more kayaking trips, they are so enjoyable.
For a few more photos of Waterpark Creek (not many!) click here.
Despite booking in to Eurimbula for 3 nights we decided to move on this morning – back north again to Waterpark Creek campsite in Byfield Forestry Reserve. We have to be near to Rockhampton anyway for Friday night’s Opera.
Fun 4-wheel drive track.
It was mostly a day of driving. In yesterday’s post I described the road to Eurimbula, but what I didn’t add is that it is really interesting. The ‘road’ is really only two wheel tracks for most of the way, weaving in and out around the trees. The bush is ferns and palms and paperbarks with some quite tall gums. A really pretty drive.
Stopped for lunch at Kershaw Gardens, botanical gardens on the northern side of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton. Great place for a break and a walk around – which I had to do just to try to find the toilets! Prepared tonight’s tea and put it in the Dreampot.
We enjoyed Waterpark Creek so much last week we were happy to come back. Unfortunately National Parks won’t transfer bookings from one campsite to another, which is very annoying! Looks like we’ll be paying double for tonight and tomorrow night – luckily it’s only $11.20 a night for us both!
Arrived mid afternoon, setup and spent the afternoon checking mail, writing this blog, and going for a walk down to the creek.
Cheree, Alan, Steve and Denise
Gladstone Harbour with Curtis Island in the distance.
Very pleasant day catching up with my oldest friends, Cheree and Alan who took us for a drive around town and to the lookouts. Gladstone Harbour is a muti-commodity harbour exporting primarily mining-related resources. 70% of Australia’s coal exports go through this harbour, and we can certainly attest to incredibly long coal trains running parallel to the road as we travelled in.
On Curtis Island they are building export facilities for the gas from the inland coal-seam gas projects. And of course bauxite smelters and alumina exports are synonymous with Gladstone. We had a very restful time with Cheree and Alan – nice to not have to wonder where the loo is in the middle of the night! They have a lovely home high on a hill with views to the ocean – and the smelter, which actually looks very pretty all lit up at night.
Because of their lush tropical garden they have lots of birds and have encouraged them by feeding them each morning.
for the best crab sandwiches in the whole world!
Monday morning we headed off to Eurimbula, a national park just north of Town of 1770. We stopped at Miriamvale to partake of what it is famous for – crabs! We both had a crab sandwich for lunch – yummo! It was a 15K drive in to the Eurimbula campsite on a 4WD-only track (ie narrow, rough, corrugated, loose gravel and the last 7K on sand). Needless to say after such a tough drive in we expected to have the place to ourselves – not so!! It was about half full with fisher-people. We set up camp right beside the beach, but the kayaking and beach-walking weren’t calling us due to a strong onshore breeze, and swimming in salt water is no fun if you don’t have a fresh water shower to go finish off with, which the campsite didn’t (and our open-air shower is a bit ‘revealing’ when there are other people around). Bit of a ho-hum stop for us, though we did enjoy a lovely walk along the beach at sunset.
Click here to view our photos of Gladstone and Eurimbula Beach.
A church group started arriving at the campsite late yesterday. While they were all quiet by a reasonable hour last night, they were all awake and making heaps of noise way too early this morning. Let’s just say the thoughts I was having weren’t suitable for church!
It rained last night and Arty stayed nice and dry – he came through his first test with rain well, though it was only light. Still yet to be severely tested.
Got away mid-morning, waiting for Arty to dry out before closing him up – we’re staying with Cheree and Alan in Gladstone tonight and tomorrow night, so didn’t want him to stay wet for a couple of days.
Came south through Yeppoon and Emu Park. Had revolting coffee and carrot cake from a bakery at Yeppoon. On to Rockhampton where we had lunch at Mt Archer. It’s a very steep climb up the 600 or so metre high mountain. The picnic area at the top was well worth it: well kept, grassy, tables, BBQs, etc and a short walk to lookouts over Rockhampton and Yeppoon. Pleasant break.
On to Gladstone where we’ve had a lovely meal and beginning the catch-up with Cheree and Alan.
A pair of bush turkeys were making their nest near where we camped. Love the pretty neck!
Another magic day! The campsite is beside Water Park Creek, which is a nice wide-ish creek with a weir where the road crosses. We got in late-ish yesterday so just wandered down to the creek, relaxed with our iPads (3 bars 3G!) had delicious BBQ lamb steaks and salad for dinner and spent the dusk swatting midgies and marsh flies! This campsite is very heavily treed (read, lots of shade), and has 10 defined camp sites which are mostly quite secluded from each other. To one side is a large park with sheltered tables, modern electric BBQs and clean, flushing toilets (no showers). We get the use of these excellent facilities for the princely sum of $11.20 per night. I love Australia.
This is the prettiest kayaking we’ve done to date.
Today the plan was to paddle the kayak up the creek. 7K of it is navigable from the weir. We pumped it up and set off about 11am, with a picnic lunch. Within minutes we were in Nirvana. The creek was so beautiful as it meandered through natural bush on both sides, palms, fallen trees in the water, some parts shallow as we just skimmed over the creek bed, other areas so deep we couldn’t see the bottom.
When we got hungry we tied the kayak to a tree and just relaxed in the boat eating our picnic – the creek sides were fairly steep, so we didn’t want to get out. I was sure I could hear rapids ahead, so after lunch we kept going, past some tricky fallen trees and rocks, and sure enough there were the rapids and a small waterfall. To the side was a little sandy area where we pulled the kayak up and got out. We spent a lovely hour or so here swimming, sitting under the waterfall and lying in the beautiful chilling rapids – who needs a spa pool?
We turned for home and life became even easier. Going up we would have sworn there was hardly any current and didn’t think we were paddling too hard, but coming back we only had to paddle ever so gently and we just kept gliding along.
Wompoo Fruit Dove. We were indeed excited and so fortunate to see these fairly reclusive birds.
We didn’t see much bird life which surprised us, but were delighted to be treated to seeing two Wompoo Fruit Doves. We sat under the tree they were in and they seemed just as intrigued by us as we were by them. Other wildlife was just a couple of cormorants and lots of water monitor goannas from little ones to very big, and a couple of turtles.
Back to camp, feeling pretty good for our 14K paddle, and noted this as a place we’d love to return to (not on weekends or school holidays though).
Click on this sentence to open the gallery of photos we took while camping here.
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?
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!
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.
Click here to be taken to the Photo Gallery for this post.
Not goodbye, but aurevoir!
Mixed emotions today. We left Hamilton this morning. Enjoyed our last breakfast by the pool watching the ocean. Said our goodbyes to Ric and Gill and Laura and Stuart (they flew back to Brisbane) and caught the boat back to Shute Harbour. I must say the weather today was the best yet. The ocean was calm and the islands sitting in it were stunning. Very sad that this part of our trip was over.
Back on the mainland we picked up Mitzy and went to Cannonvale to restock the food. We were surprised how quiet it was in both Shute and Airlie. The van parks were just about empty. When the season finishes, it finishes! Got away about 1pm. The drive from Airlie to the highway is really unattractive – maybe with the excitement of going there you don’t notice it so much, but leaving you do.
Tonight we’re staying at the Flaggy Rock Community Centre which is a couple of K off the highway and just south of Camilla. It was once the primary school, but is now used by community groups. The grounds are very spacious as you can imagine and beautifully maintained by the caretaker – green grass! And only $5 per vehicle per night. Only downside is the railway line runs past it. Let’s hope there’s not too many trains tonight.
I mentioned mixed emotions at the beginning of this entry. It was sadly and reluctantly that we left our tropical island, and hassling with shopping and highway driving didn’t make it any easier. However, once set up here after dinner sitting outside looking at the myriad of stars and watching for satellites and falling stars the joy of our trip soon came back. Great to be on the road again.
Another beautiful day – we’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather this whole trip, but especially here. After another leisurely, delicious breakfast beside the pool Steve and I relaxed outside our unit with books and iPads. Laura and Ric both had computer work to do and Stu stayed with Laura, so Gill came over to us. We got our chauffeured car to take us to the marina-side where we had coffee looking at the fish swimming by and the boats.
In the afternoon we went to Whitehaven Beach with Laura and Stu. Steve and I have been there many times and know it is THE most beautiful beach in the whole world and wanted to share it with L & S. And it didn’t disappoint. Thank heaven for National Parks.
No, stay with Steve – don’t come to the photographer!
Back on Hamilton again our hotel put on a cocktail hour with free drinks and nibbles, and a ‘celebrity’ guest who turned out to be a coastal carpet python.
Dinner was booked at Bommies restaurant for us all. This is the Island’s signature restaurant at the yacht club. Well I can attest to the food being divine. Superb! We had a fun evening with drinks at our place before we went over – and a little bit of dancing … well Gill and I danced anyway. A very enjoyable evening with excellent food and excellent company.
To see our remaining Hamilton Island photos, click here.
Not a big entry for today. Just how much can you read about us eating, drinking, relaxing by Ric/Gill”s apartment, the pool, the beach, the pub …? It was windy today – too windy unfortunately for them to let us use the surf cats. Don’t get me wrong – it was still gorgeous weather!
This evening Ric and Gill cooked for us. They’d brought the yummiest, tenderest piece of marinaded meat and chicken over with them. Ric cooked it on the BBQ. Delicious meal shared with Ric, Gill, Laura and Stuart, sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean, Whitsunday Is and the moon rise. Good food, good friends, good conversation, good weather, good views – can’t ask for much more.
Our wonderful birthday boy.
Today’s the big day. Our birthday boy turns 60! Congratulations Steve. I’ve known this wonderful man for most of those 60 years and can tell you he’s a very special person and my soul mate – love you darling!
We’ve had a really fabulous day today. Started with breakfast by the pool – long and leisurely. Then Steve had a massage and afterwards reported it to be the best he’s ever had, and I had a facial which was also very good – though people are still recognising me, so maybe it wasn’t!
That’s her boat!
Fathers and daughters – a special relationship.
Finished those just in time to go over to the deck of the yacht club to watch Laura arrive by boat. Went with her up to her accommodation then we all went down to the pool that has the swim-up bar and had a cocktail. After a little something to eat we headed to the airport to pick up Ric and Gill, and Stuart who came up as a surprise for Laura and Steve (I was already in on the surprise!). Both were suitably surprised and delighted.
Sat around their apartment and chatted and drank for a bit before changing the location, if not the activity, to the yacht club. Back to our place (The Beach Club) and off to the beach until it was time to get dressed for dinner.
Dinner was divine. We each raved about the meals we had. And for dessert they brought out a mud cake birthday cake, which I had prearranged with the bakery.
Is that all that’s left?
Altogether a fabulous day in a wonderful place, and very grateful that we had friends and family to share Steve’s 60th birthday. Thank you Ric, Gill, Laura and Stuart.
Check out some more photos of Steve’s birthday day by clicking here.