FRIDAY 21 AUGUST FORREST BEACH TO CHARTERS TOWERS 270kms
We were up at 6am, courtesy of a very loud kookaburra, right by the van. It was a more pleasant way to wake up than via the alarm clock.
Did a steady pack up. John checked the tyres, all round. He took his photo album of all the furniture he’d made, to show N. We were invited by N and her family to go round and visit them if we were back this way, next year.
At this stage, our thinking was that next year’s trip would bring us back to North Queensland. We still wanted to go back to Cooktown and Cairns, and there were some lovely coastal places to stay between Townsville and the Daintree.
Had a brief stop in Ingham, for me to return library books, and left there just after 9am.
Proceeded mostly uneventfully southwards – the familiar route! For the last 30kms or so before the highway became multi-lane, north of Townsville, we were caught in a tail back behind a SA registered Supreme van. He was another of those whose speed varied greatly, according to whether there was any chance that someone might be able to pass him. He ended up with about thirty vehicles behind him, including some trucks. Moron!
We would miss the sugar country, with all its interesting harvest activity, and the green-ness of it.
The new Ring Road around Townsville made that section easy.
The climb up the Dividing Range from Townsville is the easy way to reach the inland. For much of the way the gradient is so gentle that the railway runs close to the highway.( Railways can only manage gentle gradients.)
We stopped at Macrossan, by the bridges over the Burdekin River, for lunch – which I’d packed this morning – and a bit of a walk around.
The old and new railway bridges were close to each other and high above the river. The impressive old structure was built in 1899 and designed to be above the highest flood level recorded to that time. The fact that it is so high above the river bed level, showed what huge floods this river has.
The advent of new, heavier diesel engines created the need for a new bridge, which was built right next to the old one in the 1960’s.
On the western side of the road bridge across the Burdekin was the flood marker – unique in the levels it showed.
Standing by the marker made us feel awed enough, by the water levels that reached well above where we were. But the marker itself stands some 13.4 metres above the bed of the Burdekin River – now that makes those floods truly awesome. I couldn’t begin to imagine how much water goes down that river in flood times.
The floods earlier this year reached 20.75 metres on this marker, a metre below the record flood level of 1946.
Refuelled on the way in to Charters Towers, then went on to the Dalrymple Tourist Park, where our powered site, after Seniors discount, cost $25.65. The site was partly shaded, and we were able to stay hitched up.
We were setting up by 1.30pm, after which John had a nap.
I defrosted the fridge again. The heat and humidity we’d had at Forrest Beach seemed to make it ice up faster than usual. At least, I hoped that was the reason.
The amenities block here was spotless, sparkling clean and modern – much appreciated after what we’d had for the last month!
It was hot – around 30 degrees in Charters Towers today. It was forecast to be warmer over the next two or three days. There was news of bushfires in the Brisbane area.
We had apostle birds around our camp – now we knew we were inland again……
Tea was threadfin salmon from the freezebox, in beer batter, with fries.