THURSDAY 28 MAY TOWNSVILLE TO MISSION BEACH 262kms
Pack up and departure went quite well, although John got rather tense when trying to move the jockey wheel when it was in the wrong position.
We refuelled at the roadhouse in front of the park – 68cpl.
Finding our way out of Townsville was easy enough.
The first part of the trip was through similar country to that south of Townsville – grassland with trees, and with the ranges to our left. In places there were crops growing, such as pineapples and bananas. About 60kms north of Townsville, cropland began to predominate, with a lot of sugar cane.
For some variety from driving, nearly 100kms north of Townsville, we turned off onto the Jourama Falls Road. Followed this for 6kms – unsealed road, two shallow creek fords. Our off road van has now travelled “off road”!
This is part of the Mt Spec National Park. At the end of the road was a very pleasant camp and picnic area; we could have camped there in the van, had we wished, and if we had solar power. But there were a lot of mozzies.
We followed the walking track to the Falls. It was about a 4km return walk. There were some rock steps up an incline, which John managed quite well. Had to cross a small, knee-deep, rocky, slippery, fast flowing creek section, where there was a chain set on stanchions, for support. This part was hard for John. In places, the route was up fairly steeply sloping large rock slabs.
There was a lookout over the Falls and the rocky pools below them. It was worth the scramble to get here. The views were great – several long drops of falls and quite a lot of water coming over. An interesting place. It was easy to spend an hour or so there, just looking and listening to the falling water noise, and enjoying being in the bush.
On the walk back, John slipped when crossing the creek. I was steadying the chain for him and the sudden weight jammed my middle finger in the chain holder and took a great chunk out of it. Much blood! It was important that John didn’t fall in the water, though – apart from potential damage to his hip, he was wearing his binoculars (which I had offered to carry, in my backpack over the creek). Had some bandaids in the little first aid kit I carry in the backpack, so was able to dress the finger wound.
We had lunch at the van before leaving the Falls area.
It was a pleasant drive, after this, despite the throbbing finger. We drove straight through Ingham, which looks a standard sort of small town. By now we were well and truly into sugar cane country. Just out of Ingham, crossed the Herbert River – a fair size. Then we were out of the cane country and climbing quite steeply up a forested range. There was a good view across to Hinchinbrook Island, which seems large and high. It is very close to the mainland at this point. The forests now are much thicker and more lush and “tropical”.
What goes up, usually comes down, and we did – but it was not too bad. John used lower gears to slow us down. I get tense in these situations still, but he is managing better.
We passed the controversial Port Hinchinbrook Marina development, which is clearly being quickly built. At Cardwell, the road was briefly alongside the ocean, before cutting back inland. We drove through Tully township, where there was a huge sugar mill – but there was no sign of it working. I guess it is seasonal – only going when the cane is being harvested.
Just north of Tully, we turned onto the road to Mission Beach. We saw a road sign warning that cassowary birds cross the road!
Mission Beach is very spread out. It is really two villages that hug the sea front. We travelled first past Wongaling and South Mission Beach and then after a few kms, came into Mission Beach proper.
We are booked into the Big 4 Hideaway Holiday Village, which is very nice. Our site cost $16.20 a night, with a 7th free night. Paid $2 extra to have a cable to hook into the van’s TV, to give better reception. We were directed to drive through the site behind ours, to get onto our site, so there was no backing! Nice. The atmosphere in this park seems very positive and it is very “tropical”. As one would expect. All lush gardens and greenery and vivid colours. There seem to be a lot of Victorian cars on sites here. We are in Mission Beach proper. Across the road is a council run caravan park, and then the beach.
We were able to get fully set up just before the heavens opened and the rain came. This area around Tully is supposed to be the wettest in Australia, but I really wasn’t expecting rain.
Tea was cold roast chook, with salads.
It rained continuously and heavily through the night. In the occasional spells when the rain lessened, could hear the sea waves breaking. Very nice.