Saturday, January 29, 2011

Escaping Cyclones

When you live in a camper trailer, there are certain things you never want to see. Bushfires, hailstones and cyclones come to mind. As we were preparing to leave Cairns after Christmas, a cyclone seemed to be forming in the Pacific Ocean. Looks like its time to head south!

We took two days to drive to Townsville, stopping at overnight Paronella Park (which Josie has written a blog article about) and then paying visits to the Lucinda Jetty and Wallaman Falls near Ingham.

The bulk sugar terminal at Lucinda is home to the longest jetty of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Stretching over 5km into the sea, it has a conveyor belt system used to load sugar on to the bulk carriers that transport it across the globe. They jetty is so long, you can see the curvature of the earth within its length. There is a beautiful playground and picnic area in the surrounding grounds, but we didn’t stop for very long – we are on a tight schedule.

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Whilst we were visiting Lucinda, I had a phone call from Richard, a friend in Townsville. I told Richard we were heading for a look at Wallaman Falls next and he said “Keep an eye out for the cassowary that I saw last time I was there.” Cassowary sightings are very special, as these creatures are very shy and becoming increasingly rare.

Imagine our surprise as we drove along Wallaman Falls road to see a large cassowary feeding on the side of the road. He didn’t run away as we approached, frantically getting the camera ready, and then further amazed us when we spotted three chicks walking along in the bush behind him. We stopped for a few photos, and then as we drove away, he continued on his merry way as though nothing had happened. Fascinating!

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When we arrived at Wallaman Falls lookout, we could see a rather large storm on its way, and the thought of driving back down the dirt road in the pouring rain forced us to take a few quick photos and get back in the car for the hair raising trip back down the mountain.

Fortunately, the wet weather had made the drive worthwhile, as the highest single drop waterfall in Australia was spectacular. Stony Creek cascades off the edge of the precipice almost 1000 feet to the invisible pool at the bottom, obscured by the mist generated by the falling water.

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We arrived in Townsville for a few days stopover with Mum, Dad and my sister Roni, who had flown in from Equador for Christmas. We made a visit to Crystal Creek for a rather chilly swim, managed to do some electrical work for a friend, and visited Alligator Creek where I spent my teenage years.

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CYCLONE UPDATE: As we left Townsville, tropical cyclone Anthony was heading for the Queensland coast, but it wasn’t very powerful. Best to be safe and get out of there though.

Having lived in Townsville for many years, and driven to Brisbane along the coast many times, I decided that this time we would tackle the trip a little more slowly, rather than with the usual rush and hurry we had become accustomed to. We stopped at the beachfront in Bowen to have a late lunch, and then drove through to Proserpine, where we stayed for the night, at the Peter Faust dam. We were the only people in the caravan park, which becomes filled to the brim during fishing season, around August/September each year. It is a beautiful area and we took some great shots:

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Peter Faust Dam Wall
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Mount Roma
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Sunset at Peter Faust Dam

The next day we drove through Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour for a quick look, before heading to Mackay for the night. We thought we would just spend one night in Mackay and then keep moving, but as we approached, we saw a sign for a water park in town that looked like it would be worth a visit. We elected to stay two nights and enjoy the water park for a while.

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Chasing seagulls along Airlie Beach
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The bug water bucket in the Mackay water park
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Everyone enjoyed cooling off
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The water park in Mackay is beautiful

After Mackay, we endured the long 100km journey (joke!) to Carmilla Beach, just south of Sarina. We stayed at Carmilla Beach for three days, fossicking on the beach at low tide, testing out the cast net and trying our hand at fishing. We only managed to catch a small hammerhead shark, but thoroughly enjoyed a few days rest and recuperation by the beach.

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Camping right on the beach

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We tried to throw it back, alas it did not make it

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Fishing while the kids are playing

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Love having a campfire

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Reflections on our fishing experiences

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Sunset over the sand flats at low tide

Carmilla beach was very restful and no-one wanted to pack up and leave, but there was one small problem: CYCLONE UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Anthony will hit the Queensland coast around Bowen shortly, and bring widespread rain to the area. Further out in the ocean, another, larger cyclone is forming.

Taking the long route again, we drove towards Rockhampton, thinking there might be some work there, and we might be able to relieve our very stretched financial resources. We stopped for a look around Yeppoon and decided we could stay here, while I went to Rocky to look for work. We found an affordable little caravan park, just north of Emu Park called The Causeway. What a great spot, situated right beside a large lake, with wide open spaces, power and water available and very friendly people all around.

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The memorial to Captain Cook at Emu Park sings in the wind
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Alas, my search for work in Rocky provided fruitless after a week so we decided to move on towards Gladstone and Tannum Sands. Still taking the long way, we drove through Gladstone taking in the mines and aluminium smelter at Boyne Island. We stopped for lunch at Tannum Sands and then headed for 1770 and Agnes Waters for the night. We stayed overnight at a caravan park on the outskirts of town. As the only tenants (again), it was very peaceful and relaxing.

1770 is a most picturesque place, and we could easily be convinced to spend more time here. It is named for Captain Cooks landing place before he returned to settle the land.

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The waves breaking over the rocks at 1770
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It was a bit windy the day we visited
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It looks like it might be a bit windy most of the time
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The cairn to commemorate Cooks landing

1 comment:

erica bullan said...

All of guys are looking cool ..... I wish you enjoying a trip a lot !!Camper Trailers Brisbane