QLD 2023, 11– 19 June: Townsville to Capricorn Coast

Sunday 11 June (Townsville)
Shortly after the Bluewaters Springs Roadhouse is the east turnoff to Townsville. We drive through the Hervey Range, a beautiful drive coming down into the city.  The drive is around 2 hours We stop at a nice shopping centre, and do a reasonably big grocery shop, happy to have a Woolworths and a Coles close by again..

We stay in a caravan park in Rowes Bay, which is on the north end of the city across from the water, and it is lovely. Busy, but super nice.  Arno’s first job is to get the car washed (the van will hopefully get showered on before we’re home, which will save some water).

It is hot, but dry – a great dry 30 degrees. We enjoy the late afternoon in the sun, and the seasoned burgers we have picked up at the butcher today are amazing!

The night temperature doesn’t drop below 18 degrees in the early hours.

Monday 12 June (Townsville)
A little further up the road from the caravan park is a golf course, and Arno play 18 holes.  Jen gets her nails done and buys more of those great burger patties! She spends an hour driving around town and visits Castle Hill to be treated to the most amazing 360-degree views from the different lookouts on top.

After golf we ride the bikes to The Strand, a couple of km long waterfront stretch, and have lunch at a lovely restaurant on the water. Arno returns to do some hardware shopping and repairs, and Jen continues exploring the town on the bike.

Once again, full credit to the Queensland councils, as like Redcliffe and Yeppoon, Townsville has made great use of their waterfront. The Strand had walk/bike pathways, well maintained lawns, flowerbeds, big old beautiful trees and parks, fountains, art, kids playgrounds and cafes and restaurants. It is nice to see that there are hardly any high-rise buildings (except for one pretty ugly one I must say), and that this prime land has not been sold off. `

The CBD is quiet – maybe not all the shops are open on Mondays, but it is a nice clean and pretty place.  Some hills, trees, wide road, and mostly freshly painted buildings.

The visitor information assists around the wall art question, and provides maps (and an app) of their locations. It has the Ross Creek (which is wide enough to qualify as a river) which is a side branch of the Ross River. It has a road and separate pedestrian/bike bridge in the CBD. The Ross River starts in the Hervey Ranges and empties at Townsville into the Coral Sea. There is also a Ross River dam which feeds the Townsville area.

Tuesday 13 June (Townsville)

We hook the bikes onto the car and take it into the dealership for its service.  Eugene, the same service manager we met when we brought the car in last year, is still here, and we get discount on some of the work as we are loyal returning customers! Who knows it may happen again… !  We take the bikes off the car, and ride around together, Arno taking some more professional pictures of the art with his camera, and we go to the Tropical Museum which is very interesting. Jen has managed to get in at a hairdresser while Arno checks out a bit more of the town on his own, hoping to get into the Maritime museum, but it is closed for unknown reasons.

We meet again at the Mitsubishi dealer in the late afternoon, put the bikes back onto the care, head up to Castle Hill with the late sun, which is surely going to be a spectacular sunset.

This is our last evening in Townsville, and we have really enjoyed our time here again. Last year’s fleeting forced visit (to get to an airport to take us unexpectedly back to the Netherlands) left us feeling we would come back again, and we are so happy we did.  We are likely to stop here on any future trips up this way.

Wednesday 14 June (Townsville to Bowen)
Today it’s a beautiful 27 degrees and we have a 2.5-hour drive south. We now notice that a lot of the sugarcane is ready and being harvested.  Some of the trains are being filled with the billets, and we see empty fields beside them.

We arrive in the lovely town of Bowen to where it is just as hot as in Townsville, but more humid. Our caravan park is outside of the Town centre, near Queens Beach.  It is a great park, very large, and we think it probably has space for 130 caravans, plus tents, and then cabins.  It is full, and many people know each other.  It looks like this is one of the prime destinations for the winter migrants from South Australia, Victoria and NSW as many campers are here for an extended period.   We discover that there are at least another 5 caravan parks in the area, and all are chock-a-block.

Meanwhile, we have a great corner site, albeit with a lot of thorough fare, mostly the super friendly staff in their buggies. It’s a great sociable park with a lot of laughter everywhere.

Bowen sits on a rounded peninsula and so has various different bays around it. We do the sights by car, and stop at all beaches and bays that are hidden and tucked away.  The town is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays and seems to have the only beach in Queensland where you can snorkel to a reef right from the beach.  There are stunning lookouts over the blue/turquoise water, one of them is the Flagstaff Lookout which has 360degree views, including over some islands that glow in the late afternoon sun.  We have sun, clouds and then a rainbow.

We find a yacht club with a restaurant and we decide we’ll have dinner there tonight thinking we can enjoy the water views (not).  So we grab the bikes for an early meal as we are pretty sure there is a bike path from the caravan park all the way into town.  Despite it only being 6pm, it is almost dark when we set off, and once on the way, discover Jen’s rear light’s battery is flat. We decide to keep going and Arno will tail.  Within minutes we hit the main road, which is pitch black all the way there, with only a few streetlights at the intersections.  There is also one stretch without a path, and the odd car that we do see speeds well over the allowable 80km/hr.  Not the safest ride we’ve ever done, especially when after 5 minutes Jen’s front light goes out. flat.  Arno has to lead with his light, so we at least see the unfamiliar surface we’re riding on.  Just before we turn into the gravel road to the yacht club Arno’s front light also dies.  We walk the last 100meter in pitch dark.  We can’t fathom how we have so badly managed our batteries, or how these beauties that have always brought us home safely in the dark when out at night, are both so unreliable!

Jen never leaves home without a power bank, and Arno brought the right cable so we’re able to charge both front lights during dinner when we actually discover that the batteries are not flat at all.  It seems the lights turn off after a short period when on the highest beam (which is what we used!) and won’t come back on unless you select a lower setting.  We give them an extra power boost anyway, and we’re happy to know we know how to use the lights all the way back to the caravan, especially Jen who found this ghost riding in a totally unknown area pretty freaky.

Meanwhile, as it was a relatively quiet night at the club, and we had bought some raffle tickets, the odds were with us, and we won the raffle Mitte 10 $20 voucher. On the way back we didn’t manage to avoid some pretty powerful sprinklers (despite our lights) but we were lucky it wasn’t cold, and were dry by the time we got back to the van. Another interesting experience! The overnight temperature drops to around 19 in the early hours.

Thursday 15 Jun (Bowen)
30 degrees again. We do a load of laundry and hide our clothes line behind the privacy screen as this park wants you to use the lines near the laundry (but they are all full as everyone is doing their sheets!!). We have a fabulous day exploring the murals in Bowen and have lunch at a pub in the excellent beergarden, with (a little setback) views of the water, and a huge Mango.

We spend the Mitre 10 voucher on an extendable rod for the shower so we can hang laundry here when needed. 

Once again our timing is right, as this night the park has entertainment and a sausage sizzle.  It seems they organise a fair few events a week and the team there have a lot of fun in doing so.

It is held in the camp kitchen (which by the way is at least 20x20m with an open front entry). The staff and some of the campers are busy with an enormous sausage sizzle ($2.50) and we end up sitting at one of the huge tables, where we chat with many of the others. The number of attendants must be around 80, with half sitting on their own chairs at the entrance. Once again we buy raffle tickets, and win…! This time a game of bowls for 2 at the Bowen bowling club. Our neighbours at the table are here for another week, so we pass them on and know that they will absolutely make use of them.

Saturday 17

On we head toward the Capricorn Coast (named after the Tropic of Capricorn), where we stayed at Yeppoon on our way up and enjoyed so much.  We now head for Byfield which about half an hour inland.

We arrive around 1pm at the bush camp we booked, which is so peaceful.  The 600m long driveway starts off with beautifully mowed lawns and numerous trees of all sorts.  Lush green and the sun makes it even more enchanting.  It changes into a narrow winding path through a tunnel of trees that opens up to a huge area of slopes and flats with beautiful palms and other trees.  We set up at the far end of the dam, and our closest neighbour is about 100 metres away.

We love the birds that we see, there are cormorants drying their wings, kookaburras in the trees next to us, a kingfisher, ducks, little moorhens of sorts, and cute guinea fowl.

Here the temperature in the afternoon does not drop as early as it did in Clariview and we enjoy our dinner outside.  However, once it is dark, it cools off considerably and we move inside and before bed require the heater!

The sky is clear though, and Arno is in his element with no moon, cloud or other light pollution!

Sunday 18

Today we discover our first gas bottle is finally empty.  Arno has been expecting this to happen for the past 4 weeks but Jen kept insisting we were going to let it go completely empty as that’s the reason for the second one. We now have an idea of how much (or little) we consume.

The gas bottles on our van are brand new, and we don’t want to do the ‘swap’, we want to find a gas refill station, so that’s added to our shopping list.

We have yet another spectacular blue sky with temperatures warming up to around 26 already at 9am.

Arno has work to do, and replaces the busted windup mechanisms which is not easy as they are hard to access. He also fixes one of the extension footrests that has broken the night before in Clairview.

The newly purchased extendable rod is also sawn to size, and we now have a clothes line in the shower when needed

We spend the rest of the day exploring the coast area, but start off with coffee at Byfield’s cafe/pub/post office general store.  It is a popular place, and today a gang of motorbikes is also here.  The coffee is excellent.

We stop at the visitors information at Yeppoon, and armed with a map with all the best lookouts along the way, we follow the coast line.  A pretty good cycle way makes us decide to stop and take the bikes off the car and ride along.  We stop at the yacht club in Rosslyn hoping for a bit of lunch, but we don’t feel like having the only item on the menu (pizza), and continue on.  We end up having our lunch with a view over the water in Emu Park, a pretty town where people are riding horses on the beach, and through town.  There is a ‘singing ship’ (art) that produces a whistling sound in windy conditions (definitely not today).

On the way back we stop at Yeppoon and buy a jerrycan with some diesel for our heater, as this is not a luxury in the chilly nights, and we don’t want to run out! However, it doesn’t turn out too cold as some cloud sets in at night soon after Arno has a few more pictures of the stars.

Monday 19 June

Stunning day once again, around 30 degrees by mid-morning.  It’s a quiet day for us with no plans other than working on the blog, and the drone is being charged for some footage in this beautiful place.

We simply enjoy the peace and serenity of nature here.

We take the bikes out for the short ride to the General Store up the road and have breakfast which is quite delicious.  We also light a beautiful fire on this, our last evening here.

The route in this post: https://goo.gl/maps/QCcHAhodnqaGEvWk7

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3 thoughts on “QLD 2023, 11– 19 June: Townsville to Capricorn Coast

  1. Mooi verslag weer. Ik ben vooral jaloers op de foto van de ijsvogel, voor mij een mythische vogel want ik heb er nog nooit een in het echt gezien.
    Fijn en veilig vervolg van jullie mooie reis. Wij zijn bezig met een klein rondje Nederland. De 10e dag alweer. Ongewoon mooi weer voor ons landje.
    Dikke knuffel.

  2. Ik kom tot de ontdekking dat ik deze aflevering gemist heb en dat terwijl ik dol ben op street art.
    Fijn dat alsnog te kunnen lezen.
    Als altijd: schitterende foto’s

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