MONDAY 13 JULY TOWNSVILLE TO CARDWELL 160kms
We left the caravan park just after 10am, heading north again over what was becoming our well travelled route.
This morning, John seemed a bit slow with the outside pack up. Then he was diverted by the people on the site opposite, who wanted to talk about where we’d travelled. Great timing! When I’d finished all “my” packing, went and did some of the outside stuff, to try to move things along.
On the way north, diverted on to the side road to the Rollingstone Caravan Park, to buy a couple of pineapples, but drove all the way down to near the entrance in order to turn around. The caravan area – from a distance – looked nowhere near as full as it was when we were there.
Just south of Ingham, we came up behind a Bushtracker caravan. He was one of those who holds everyone behind up, as he dawdles along at about 70 kmh on the no-passing sections of the highway, but then speeds up on open sections when others try to pass him. John tried to get past him in Ingham, where there was a section of dual lane road, but the Bushtracker pulled across in front of us, to the lane we were in. As there was no reason for him to do so – he didn’t pass anyone in front of him, we could only assume he didn’t want us to get past him. Maybe he saw it as some sort of competition? Idiot!
A little further on, we came to a steep uphill section, with a passing lane. John held back a bit, to let a double semi that had caught up to us, get past. The truck then caught up to the Bushtracker, with still some passing lane left, enough for him to get past the van – which promptly pulled across in front of the truck! We saw the flare of lots of lights as the truckie stood on his brakes. From what we could see from the back, it was a rather close shave. Unbelievable. After that, we slowed down to make sure we stayed well behind the clown and didn’t get caught up in any mayhem he might cause.
Further on again, we were passed by a 4WD towing a large van. He took a risk, passing us on a winding, hilly section of the Cardwell Range road. Then we could see in the distance, he got impatient with the moron in the Bushtracker, who was back to dawdling along, and passed him – on double white lines and approaching a blind corner. No wonder there are accidents involving caravans! There had been one such fatal crash somewhere around here, a couple of months ago.
We had been consistently surprised at how many Qld drivers totally ignore white line markings. Both the fools we encountered today were towing Qld registered caravans.
The Beachcombers Holiday Village in Cardwell was our destination. After discount, our powered site cost $24.75 a night.
The sites in this park were quite strange. They had small slabs that would be adequate for small campervans, but the sites themselves, overall, were far too small for most vans. The reception lady said they were not using the central two rows of sites, except occasionally for small campers, therefore we shouldn’t have problems accessing our site. As we hadn’t yet seen it, this sounded a bit ominous.
It did prove to be a hard site to get on to, because of the narrowness of the access lane and the lack of depth of the site. We had to drive Truck back and forth over the high and jagged edges of the slab on the other side of the roadway. Bad for tyres. Having an extended length drawbar – originally for the bike carrier – had its benefits, but it did mean we needed a bit more wiggle room, sometimes.
At book-in, we’d been offered the hire of a co-ax cable to plug in for TV. It was a plus that they offered that before John spent time fiddling around trying to get a signal in the usual way. But there were not many other positives in this park.
The place was over the road from the beach front, but its associated motel units had all the views of that. The caravan park section was at the back – right by the Bruce Highway.
I was not happy with the female showers. There were four of these, with a common drainage channel. Unfortunately the wash from adjacent showers went not into the drain, but the other way, across the floors of the neighbouring ones, and pooled in the end shower, in a rather revolting mass. It certainly kept me from wanting to linger in any shower! But there were a couple of beautiful, dark green tree frogs up in the wall corners, and geckoes around the windows. The paper towels by the handbasins ran out early on our second day there, and had not been refilled by the time we left. Much too slack.
After we’d set up, drove to the Information Centre for a browse. It was a very attractive one, nestled in a jungle of greenery, between the highway and the beach. I collected some interesting looking pamphlets. In keeping with the wildlife in the shower, green tree frog illustrations featured prominently.
Nearby was a little jetty and we walked out to the end of that and back. Wandered up and down the line of shops along the highway. I ordered a couple of bread rolls to be kept for us for tomorrow morning. Bought a paper and a small cook book that gave lots of different ways to use mountain bread and pita bread. We found an attractive organic fruit shop, where John bought some bananas. I bought some locally made herb and garlic pasta – some of which was later cooked for tea, and was yummy, with pesto (from a jar).
There were wonderful views from Cardwell, across to Hinchinbrook Island and other little islands dotted about in the sea, and along the coastline itself.
It was quite a narrow coastal strip here, with the mountains looming behind the town. The town itself was small and kind of lacked definition. The van parks, and a lot of the shops, seemed rather second rate. It obviously did quite a trade, though, as a break stop for buses, not to mention other travellers passing through.
Hinchinbrook Island, just off Cardwell, is one of the largest island National Parks in Australia. Its core is mountainous, with peaks reaching over 1100 metres above sea level. Given this range of altitude, for an island, it contains a unique number of different ecosystems and environments, and has had National Park status since the 1930’s. It contains the Thorsborne Track, a rugged walking trail between the northern and southern ends of the Island, that takes at least two days to traverse; and on a small leased area at the northern extremity, a small resort.
Whilst the extended hike along the Island was beyond us, these days, we were booked to take a commercial tour day trip to the Island – the reason why we were in Cardwell.