FRIDAY 31 JULY FORREST BEACH
John thought we should do something further afield today.
Wallaman Falls was mentioned as a possibility, but then we decided to go north instead, to take a look at Kurrimine. This had been mentioned to us as a great place to stay, by John’s nephew M. If we liked it, we could possibly go there for a while, as an alternative to spending all our remaining time at Forrest Beach.
Kurrimine was only a bit over a hundred kms away – alright for a day trip. We covered the same roads again – that seemed to have become the theme of this trip – as far as Cardwell. There, we stopped at the good fruit shop and made several purchases.
The whole day’s driving was really attractive and interesting, always against the backdrop of the Great Dividing Range. The sugar cane country of Ingham was left behind as we reached the Cardwell Range, where it seems a segment of the Great Dividing Range comes down to sea level. From then, through to Cardwell it was mostly timbered or scrubby country. That section of the highway went fairly close to the coast of the Hinchinbrook Channel, and this was reflected in some marshy areas, and a number of bridges over creeks and swampy channels.
Once past Cardwell, sugar cane started to reappear, as the hilly country receded westwards and the coastal plains widened again.
The sugar mill at Tully was clearly in use, with smoking chimneys, as we approached the town. . Tully is most notorious for claiming to be the wettest town in Australia, with an average annual rainfall in excess of 4 metres! We passed the large “statue” of a gum boot that symbolizes this. Another “large thing”, with the regional symbol of a green tree frog climbing it side. This time of year was the driest in this area, with monthly rainfalls of only 400-500mm. Probably not a great place to stop with a caravan….
Another little range section interrupted the sugar cane spread, which resumed again as we approached the township of El Arish. A few kms further north we turned east off the highway, onto the evocatively named Murdering Point Road, which would take us to Kurrimine. Seems a ship was wrecked on a nearby reef in the 1870’s and some survivors were killed by the natives, hence the name.
Kurrimine had lots of houses, two private caravan parks and a council run one. They all looked pretty packed, as we cruised slowly past, exploring the place. There was a lovely long beach, and very scenic views to the south, down towards Dunk Island.
We could see waves breaking on the King Reef, offshore – the site of a number of historic ship wrecks.
Parked up and went for a walk along the beach. The Kings Reef Caravan Park had some frontage to the beach, so we went and had a look at that as we passed. It also had a hotel right next door.
Drove to have a look at the Big 4 Kurrimine Beach park. After looking at them both, John had a slight preference for the Kings Reef one, but I tended to prefer the Big 4 one. There was no adjacent hotel, which I saw a potentially noisy at the other place. It also advertised a large swimming pool and was not too far from the beach.
We decided Kurrimine would be a good place to come for a week or more – but next year. It was not compelling enough to make us move now, only to have to back track again after a week or so. We were done fed up with back tracking on this trip!
On the way south again, at El Arish we turned east for the coast again, this time to Mission Beach, where we’d stayed in 1998. We noted all the warning signs and speed restrictions relating to cassowaries, which had been doing it hard in these parts after cyclones in recent years badly damaged their habitat.
Mission Beach had become much, much more developed since we were there a decade ago. It was becoming so large. Back then, it was a lovely sleepy village. But the caravan park we stayed at then, still looked pretty good.
Mission Beach is really like a series of villages, strung out along the shore line. We drove through Wongaling to South Mission Beach. Decided the caravan park there would be our first choice for a stay next year. All the parks we saw looked pretty full, but that was only to be expected for this time of year.
And so back to Tully and southwards. Stopped at the lookout in the Cardwell Range, briefly, with its vista across to the Palm Island Group, relatively close to the coast there.
North of the Herbert River, took Fulton Road which followed the river towards Halifax. It was a really pretty way to go. We got held up at a crossing by a really slow moving cane train. Eventually, after sitting there for a while and watching the locals, we followed their example, took to the fields and went around the back of it, via the road edges.
Arrived back at Forrest Beach at 5.45pm, after a great day’s outing. Stopped at the fish and chip shop and ordered same, to be picked up at 6.30pm. They proved to be ok, maybe a bit fatty.
I’d really enjoyed the drive today. But it brought back a longing to be able to be open-ended again, as we’d been on our three year trip, 98-2000. Then we could just meander north, and wherever, as the fancy took us, and not have to meet a going-home deadline.
The decision had been made that we would stay on here until it was time to head home.
The past few days and nights had been really windy and that became quite wearing at times – kind of frayed the nerves.