TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 3 AIRLIE BEACH TO SARINA 265kms
We were a little slow this morning, getting packed up to go. We’d both agreed that the 500km or so, from here to Kinka Beach, was more than we wanted to do in a day, so decided to aim for Sarina for one night – irrespective of TV! So we could take our time getting going, leaving the park just before 10am.
A man from a couple of sites along came up to me, as we were finalizing things, and said he’d identified me from a travel forum we both followed. We had a quick chat. He said they were going to Sarina tonight, too, and that we should get together at happy hour for a proper chat.
It was another hot driving day, with a strong and gusty wind that occasionally “caught” Bus. John had to stay very alert. Most of the drive was through interesting farming country, always with the backdrop of the Dividing Range. From Airlie Beach it was some 35kms to rejoin the Bruce Highway at Prosperpine.
A little further south we passed the turn off to Midge Point. I remembered our stay there, in late 2002, when the midges were certainly out in force.
Refuelled at the hamlet of Kuttabul. Just a tiny place, but where refuelling might be easier than in Mackay, further ahead. $1.589 cpl.
Found our way through Mackay with no dramas, but decided that a ring road was sorely needed to the west! It felt like we were going out of our way, on the highway, into the town and then out again.
We had stayed in this area back in 2002, whilst waiting for our mango harvest work, back at Giru, to begin, so felt no need to prop and explore further this time. Sarina was to be purely an overnight rest stop.
South of Mackay we passed the turn off to the large Hay Point coal export terminal area that services some of the coal mines of the hinterland around Clermont.
Booked into the Sarina Palms Caravan Park. It was very full, but we were given a site that was long enough for us to keep the car hitched on the back. We paid $30 for the powered site. The park was very clean and tidy. However, the lady who booked us in was very abrupt, unpleasantly so, to the point where I would think twice about going back there. By contrast, the man (her husband?) who showed us onto the site, was really pleasant and helpful. Maybe he felt the need to compensate?
The park was not far from a large sugar mill and ethanol manufacture plant. We could clearly hear the clankings of the trains coming into the mill and the rumblings from the plant. But these were not too loud and, in a perverse way, I enjoyed the idea of still being connected to sugar cane country.
After our minimal set up, which does not take long in Bus, took Couey for a walk around the park. There were life sized concrete models of animals in the gardens – elephant, rhinoceros, and so on. Why? Maybe someone had a hankering to go on safari. Really quite incongruous. Couey didn’t even seem to notice them. Didn’t see my travel forum acquaintance anywhere and wondered if there was another caravan park in Sarina? At least that saved John from having to be sociable with strangers.
Continued our walk up the street from the park, towards the sugar mill, to have a closer look at that. There were some lovely old Queenslander style houses along the street.
Tea was a quickly prepared meal of pasta with my tuna, caper and olive sauce.