We are finally moving south – but slowly so that the cooler temperatures don’t shock us too much!
First top was Cardwell. Our memories of lunching on beautiful fresh mud crab sandwiches in a local cafe were dashed as they had closed down. We did try the new outfit (complete with a large crab on their roof) but they were just not up to scratch – watery with free pieces of shell! Fortunately the Cardwell Beachcomber caravan park where we stayed saved the day with yummy mud crab spring rolls at their restaurant.
The lovely boardwalk along the beach made for a pleasant walk into town. Walking in the other direction took us to the Battle of the Coral Sea memorial, commemorating the huge loss of lives in the air and sea battle between the allied Australian/US forces and the Japanese forces in May 1942. It’s easy to forget how close WW2 came to Northern Australia after Singapore and New Guinea were invaded. One special quote about this tragedy was “This was the first naval battle, in history, in which the opposing ships never came within sight of one another. The entire action was fought by carrier borne aircraft.”
Rollingstone Beach Caravan Resort was our next stop 30 minutes north of Townsville.
Our beachfront site was delightful (although the wind was so strong that at times we wished we had a more sheltered site) Local farmers bring in pineapples and pawpaws each day – hog heaven. Speaking of which, 3 little pigs (just spit size!) literally strolled out of the bush in front of us one day to forage in the garden round the park office! The people were aware of them and had caught one, but the remainder have learned to be a little more cautious… They are working on other strategies to get them. There were several birds attracted to the Grevillea planted round the park.
The track from Bluewater up into the Paluma National Park was a fab half day drive – the first time we’ve had our FJ Cruiser in 4WD for months and we needed it in a few spots! This is the southern most area of tropical forest, very lovely and would give you outstanding photos out to the coast on a sunnier day.
Our stay in Airlie Beach was also wet and windy. We found this tourist spot similar to Port Douglas – in fact you can stand anywhere and turn 360 degrees and see every type of accommodation from highrise apartments, resorts, hotels, backpackers etc…. but how much of it is full is the interesting question. The marinas full of yachts plus all the boats plying their trade to the Whitsundays are amazing as well. The neighbouring suburb of Cannonvale doesn’t seem to feature on tourist brochures but is where many locals live, and has lovely beaches and cafes.
Our research into long lost Italian relatives in this region also took us to the lovely country town of Proserpine. Key industries here are sugar and cattle, and the locals at the museum, library and nursing home were outstandingly friendly and helpful. That’s a topic for another day.
The Rollingstone caravan park had a resident Bower Bird that was stealing anything silver to impress his girlfriends – including tow hitch clips! A sign warning of his cleptomania was prominent in the office. We didn’t spot him in action whilst we were there, but it would have meant a trip into Townsville to replace this very necessary item if it had been knocked off… Have you ever seen a bower bird nest, or had something bright and shiny stolen?!