FRIDAY 24 JULY TOWNSVILLE TO FORREST BEACH 130kms
We got up really early, not intentionally, just happened. So we were out of the park by 9am. We’d had to pack up a very damp awning, due to condensation under it, through the night.
Could just about do the run north with eyes shut…..Seemed to be fewer stupid drivers on the road, today.
Tootled through the centre of Ingham, then on the northern outskirts, took the road to Forrest Beach.
A few kms along this was the Victoria Mill Estate – the large sugar mill and associated housing and offices. By then, we’d gone over the fourth cane railway crossing since turning off the highway. The Mill was churning out lots of thick black smoke. There were long lines of full cane trains, waiting at the Mill.
We were at Forrest Beach just before 11am. The actual small village was called Allingham, which disconcerted us the first time we went there, because we’d thought we were going to Forrest Beach. Effectively, they were one and the same.
Parked in front of the hotel motel that fronts the caravan park and where we had to go to check in. Had to hunt around the premises a bit to find a person, who found out for us that we were allocated Site 27. But we could not formally check in and pay before 11am – no business until then because that was done in the bottle shop!
So we drove down into the caravan park section and found our site. It was right at the end of a row – great! It backed onto forest growth and a fairly bushy camping area on one side. It had a cement slab too. From our annexe area, we looked straight down an internal road, then a track, to the sea, which was not far away.
We liked the site and when I walked up to the bottle shop to pay, extended our stay to a week. It cost $150 for the week, which seemed pretty good.
After setting up and having lunch, drove back into Ingham, so John could try out his new bowls. He had to wait until the green was watered, and dried, so we filled in the time by cruising the main streets of Ingham and finding our bank, so we could do some needed business there.
John’s first practice session with the new bowls was very positive. He reminded everyone that he saw there, that he was available for the weekend event, if needed. Then, in front of a number of the local people, he leaned on me to play on Thursday next. I didn’t really want to, but couldn’t refuse without seeming rude to the locals. That man owed me a million bushwalks!
While we were practicing bowls, a cane train clunked its way by – they really do clunk and clatter and creak along. The cane line went right by the bowls club. The train was incredibly long – as we were to find on the several occasions we managed to encounter one at the crossings on the Forrest Beach Road.
Passing the Mill, on the way back, we could see the Lucinda train sugar bins being loaded from an overhead hopper. The Mill and its activities were always interesting.
Some whales swam past the beach, a way out at sea, late in the afternoon.
The mosquitoes at dusk were really bad. There had to be some down sides to things….
I cooked barra in batter, while John drove to the shops and bought chips from the take away – far more than we could eat. Most generous with their serves.
The night was windy and there was quite loud wave noise. It was so good to be right by the sea again. It was very humid, though.
We’d found out the current situation with the establishment here. A development consortium bought the hotel and associated caravan park. They began by re-developing the hotel – it looks very modern. They built a big deck area where there had been a swimming pool – dammit! The permanent residents of the caravan park were moved out. There were still remnants of those former set ups, like an old sink behind our site. Then, it seemed, plans for a 150 room resort on the caravan park site were put on hold, due to the economic downturn. The caravan park got slightly tarted up, like painting the amenities block. Inside, though, it still looked quite tired.
It would be a real shame if the caravan park was lost to development – ones on such a great location as this are hard to find.