Wednesday, November 11, 2009

- Coastal Drive Continues... -

After a rainy night at Paronella Park we headed back towards to the coast for a morning rainforest walk before exploring Mission Beach. Our morning highlight was stumbling across our first wild sighting of a Cassowary! It was so exciting! However couldn’t get the best photo as the bird was closely guarding a young chick!

Mission Beach was a lovely place with weekend markets, beautiful beaches and islands scattering the horizon. We continued on through Tully and explored the coastal towns near Hinchinbrook Island before taking advantage of the FREE council camping at Balgal Beach for the night.
(Bren up in the "Golden Gumboot", Tully. Known for its sugarcane and high rainfall.)

(Belgal Beach, Perfect place to end the day with a cold beer.)

The following morning we headed off up into Paluma Range National Park. The drive was very steep and the car was struggling as we wound our way up Mount Spec. Half way up we stopped off at Little Crystal Creek, a beautiful spot complete with a photogenic stone arch bridge over the gorge. We pushed further up into the mountain to reach the Paluma Township with an excellent lookout spanning out the coast, on a clear day you can make out Hinchinbrook and surrounding Islands. After a quick drive out to the lake we mad our way back down the mountain and onto Townsville.

(Little Crystal Creek bridge on the Paluma Mountain Drive.)

(Castle Hill Lookout, Townsville. View over to Magnetic Island)

We spent 2 days in Townsville visiting Bessie & Shannon, (Thanks for letting us stay guys) and continued on to Airlie Beach, choosing to stay out at Conway’s Beach.

(There were MILLIONS of these Soldier Crabs, Conways Beach.)

Apart from being the gate way the Whitsunday Islands the area didn’t have much to offer the “Budget Traveller” so we continued on down the coast exploring over the next few days the towns of Beautiful Mackay, Rockhampton, the mining export town of Gladstone, unique Agnes Waters and 1770. We finally decided to stop for a while in the Cane growing, Rum making, and ginger beer town of Bunderberg.

(The BIG MANGO in Bowen,

apparently the Council spent $20,000 to boost tourism for the area)

(Enjoying the northern beaches of Mackay)

(Beautiful Inlet at the historic town of 1770)

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