Tag Archives: Queensland

The island affectionately known as “Maggie”

Magnetic Island, Townsville

Magnetic Island, Townsville

From Mackay we continued northward to Townsville. We did stop along the way at Bowen and took a couple of pics with the big mango. A local news crew accosted us on the way back to the car and asked us some questions about what we thought of the local area from a tourist’s perspective. Having not prepared for the interview and not seen anything of the local area, our responses were somewhat lacking and rather embarrassing ‘cringe!’

Anyway we arrived in Townsville and we did a day trip over to Magnetic Island, also known by the locals as “Maggie”.

We found that as we are RACQ members we were able to get a 10% discount off the ferry to Maggie, bargain! We caught the early ferry across and waited until the car hire place opened. We wanted a Moke to get around the island, but they were really expensive so we hired the Topless instead.

Me in a Topless, Magnetic Island

Me in a Topless, Magnetic Island

Picnic Bay Wharf

Picnic Bay Wharf

The island is only 12kms long so we drove From Nelly Bay down to Horseshoe Bay to see if there was any good snorkeling to be had. Unfortunately there was a strong breeze and the lifeguards told us that there probably wouldn’t be any decent snorkeling that day.

Undeterred we drove down to Picnic Bay, changed into our snorkeling gear and attempted to go in. Dammit, the lifeguards were right, we could barely see a metre in front.

So we had a quick stop off at the local museum and the island’s memorial park and drove back to Horseshoe Bay for some lunch.

Lunch at the local pub was lovely and after a quick lie down on the beach we drove back to the ferry and called it a day.

A Day Trip to The Land of The Clouds

After 6 glorious days we left Byfield and resumed our journey north to Mackay.

From this point forward we will be staying in caravan parks. I’ve never been up this far north and I want to spend some time in the larger towns. Unfortunately you don’t find free camps in bigger towns/cities so we have to stay in caravan parks for ease of access.

Anyway, the next stop was Mackay. I spent a couple of hours in Mackay CBD and while the historic building trail I was following was very interesting, the town itself was pretty average.

On one of the days we drove out to the Mackay hinterland, to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National park / Township.

Finch Hatton Gorge is a beautiful secluded section of Eungella National Park. We did the short 1 hour walk to the Araluen Cascade Falls. On the way back we came across our first snake, a tiny baby black. We stamped and banged the ground and it slowly slithered away.

Araluen Cascade Falls

Araluen Cascade Falls

Eungella means “Land of the Clouds” and the township definitely embodies this being 1280m at its zenith. The drive up the mountain is not for the faint hearted, thankfully we weren’t towing at the time. It is the oldest and longest stretch of subtropical rainforest in Australia and it’s been cut off from other rainforests for roughly 30,000 years. This has guaranteed that there are a number of strange critters not found anywhere else in the world.

We did a couple of very short stops at lookouts around Eungella.

View from Sky Window Lookout

View from Sky Window Lookout, Eungella

A walk around the Historic Eungella Chalet where the backyard looks out over a cliff and a number of random woodcarvings have been placed.

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Then through the cane fields, with stunning mountainous backdrops, back to our campsite.

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Exploring Five Rocks Headland

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

At about midday the tide was going out, so armed with our wet suit boots, drink bottles and a camera we traversed the rocky crop on the north side of Little Five Rocks Beach.

Yesterday during our exploratory trip to Stockyard Point Lookout we could see that there was another tiny remote beach. A quick check of the maps confirms this to be the case. So with a hop, skip and a jump were on the second beach.

From here we weren’t able to positively ascertain whether or not we would be able to reach the headland. The rocks were all different sizes and we couldn’t see if there were any obstacles that might stop us from getting across. We decided that the only way we would find out is by attempting it, then we could always turn back if we got stuck.

Climbing over the rocks

Climbing over the rocks

Over, across and through the rocky outcrop we went for about 30 minutes and finally we came to the channel separately us from the headlands. On the other side of the rocks was another perfectly remote beach.

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

As the tide was nearly at its lowest point, we were able to walk the short distance to start of the headland. It soon became apparent that the headland is actually separated by small channels. We traversed 3 channels, about half way along, before calling it a day and turning back around to our campsite.

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

The View From Up Here – Stockyard Point

The little township of Stockyard Point is named after Stockyard Point, which makes sense. Stockyard Point, the lookout, is a short 1 minute drive on the outside of the township.

One of the days we were exploring Byfield, we drove up to the Point and found that we had phone reception, everyday for the remainder of our visit we drove up there to get our technology fix. Besides the phone reception, we had the most stunning uninterrupted views of the coastline.

To the left of us was Little Five Rocks Headland and our own private beach.

Little Five Rocks Headland

Little Five Rocks Headland

To the right was Nine Mile Beach. As a side note, we drove along Nine Mile on our explorations. I really don’t rate the beach, it was scummy, full of rubbish, barren and obviously used for driving only. But, from up high it looks lovely.

View of Nine Mile Beach

View of Nine Mile Beach

In my previous posts, I mentioned that near our campground there was a corridor of butterflies, well, we found more at Stockyard Point!

More beautiful butterflies

More beautiful butterflies

Off the man made track we found a couple of memorial plaques. Both men died in 2005 in different months, one was definitely in an accident in Byfield and the other memorial plaque had no explanation.

Stockyard Point, what a great view from here!

Memorial Plaque

Memorial Plaque

Byfield National Park Stockyard Point_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-18-2

Second memorial plaque

 

 

The Ugly Side of Byfield

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

More rubbish.

More rubbish.

The campgrounds, while clean at first glance, as you look harder you can see the marks left by man. Cigarette packs, glass bottles, sheets of unidentifiable paper litter the corners and crevices of our camp.

As we make our way down to the beach we find it’s worse. Rubbish washed in by the ocean builds up where the beach meets the cliff. It is mixed in with piles of pumice stone. The only way to the beach is through these piles strewn with rubbish.

This disgusting mess reminds me of Moreton Island where the same atrocity has occurred. Unfortunately a number of national parks we’ve visited are in the same sorry state. It’s disgusting the way “visitors” treat these stunning natural and sometimes sacred places.

“Leave it better then you found it”, is that really so hard?

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

 

Welcome to Byfield National Park

From Carnarvon Gorge we headed east to Rockhampton. We stopped overnight in Duaringa at an awesome free camp and headed into Rocky early the next morning.

We only stayed one night in Rocky, to prepare for our 6 day trip in Byfield National Park. During the day we went to Rockhampton Heritage Festival at the Heritage Village and walked around. It reminded me of Pioneer Park in Griffith.

Rocky to Byfield Town

Rocky to Byfield Town

The next morning we drove to Byfield National Park, approx an hour and a half drive north east of Rockhampton. There is a tiny little town called Byfield, it is a small hippy town at the entrance of the park. We stopped briefly and I bought what could possibly be the most amazing brownie I’ve ever had in my life!

Our campground was at Little Five Rocks, about a half hour 4WD through sand dunes and forest, just outside of another tiny village called Stockyard Point Township.

A quick point about the village. It was a strange little place, which even the local lady at the petrol station in Rockhampton didn’t know about. There was a mixture of tiny seashacks, sheds and a couple of beautiful mansions. It seemed empty on our arrival, however we saw a lot more activity closer to the weekend.

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

Anyway, we loved the campground and the site that we booked. The campground was on top of a hill that backed onto the beach. The layout of the grounds was great with toilets and an outdoor shower in the site next to us. We were the only people staying there for the majority of the time so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Butterflies, thousands of them

Butterflies, thousands of them

Water running down the hill into the ocean

Water running down the hill into the ocean

The Little Five Rocks Beach was a short stroll through some lovely bush and a corridor filled with butterflies. BUTTERFLIES! A whole corridor filled with them and when you walked through they were disturbed and would fill the air like magic!

Past the butterflies and there was a little fresh water creek running down the hill into little waterfalls, rockpools and little wooden bridges before heading out to the ocean.

Further down the hill and onto the small, remote beach. No vehicle access and no one else around.

We enjoyed 6 relaxing nights in the park and had a couple of adventures, more info to follow.

Pretty grass in the afternoon

Pretty grass in the afternoon

A Trek Through the Heart of Queensland, Carnarvon Gorge

I can’t tell you of the first instance I became aware of Carnarvon Gorge, only that I knew it to be a place that was necessary to visit one day.

For thousands of years the Aboriginal custodians, the Bidjara and Karingbal tribes had lived in this area. In around 1850 white settlers had confiscated the land for farming, only to hand it back after vicious, but successful raids by the Aboriginals.

Today the spectacular sandstone cliffs form the towering walls of the gorge. The creek that formed the gorge over millions of years to this day continues to meander through the cliffs, sustaining a wide variety of flora and fauna to exist within the gorge walls.

We stayed at Takarakka Bush Resort for 3 nights to give us 2 full days to enjoy the Gorge.

Day 1: Visitor centre to the Art Gallery = 13.5 kms

Stop 1: The Moss Garden

Dripping water from the sandstone walls of the gorge have formed a tiny haven of moss and lush ferns, there is ever a little waterfalls.

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 2: The Amphitheatre

A 60meter deep chamber gouged from within the cliff. It was a cool, quiet place where we sat to have morning tea.

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 3: The Gallery

A 62 meter wall of sandstone records the history of the tribe from this area. This wall contains over 2000 stencils, paintings and carvings. Unfortunately, it have been vandalised in the previous decades.

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Day 2: Visitors Centre to Boolimba Bluff = 6kms

Boolimba Bluff gazes out above the cliff line of the gorge. We climbed a steep series of ladders to reach the lookout and once we made it to the top we sat and absorbed the view.

view From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

View From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

Rain drops after a water night

Rain drops after a rainy night