Cardwell, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay, Bundaberg & Hervey Bay
19.03.2012 - 29.05.2012 28 °C
After picking up the Jucy van we left straight away heading south of Cairns trying to escape the heavy rain and the flood warnings .We managed to cover about 200km before we lost the daylight and it started to get dark. We did manage to find a campsite in a place called Cardwell just in time for the heavy rain showers to start hammering down! The campsite wasn't busy so we parked in front of the camp kitchen and had our poor man's version of a pot noodle before our first night in the van. The next morning after breakfast we had a quick stroll to the beach only before we were told by the reception staff to be careful as 6ft crocodiles have been seen on the beach! At first we thought she was joking but we were wrong and the next day we realised it. That was when reality struck us that we did have to be careful around lakes etc... After our little morning stroll we jumped back into the van and made our way down the road and less than 5mins into the journey the road was blocked off with a traffic officer telling us the road was closed due to it being covered with over 2 meters of water in some parts (our van was even two meters high). That afternoon and evening we parked up at the rest area layby with all the other cars/campervans and guess what it was right in front of the croc infested sea, but we did have a canadian carrying binoculars on patrol who claimed to have spotted several crocs in the water! We just spent the time chilling, praying for no more rain and chatting to fellow Jucy van travellers until the road finally reopened the next day.
We didn't really plan to stay in Townsville but yet another road block as again the roads were flooded made the decision for us, so we found a nice campsite near the sea and stayed for 2 nights hoping the floods would clear. We spent some time the walking along the sea front and leight had a swim in the rock pool as the sea is not safe due to the box jelly fish which like to kindly sting you. We also made friends with a couple from Germany called Claudia & Dom so had a few beers and a BBQ on the campsite before trying to head south again.
Finally we arrived in a place we wanted to go rather than be dictated by the weather! We checked out the Nomads campsite where we could get a discount with the Jucy van but it was quite a small campsite, fairly busy and very hot/humid. We jumped back in the van and checked out another campsite just on the edge of town and decided to stay due the spacious and tropical surroundings. On driving in we also saw some familiar faces from the previous towns we had stayed in during the floods. The main town is one road and has quite a busy vibe but still pretty scenic especially around the harbour. Our campsite was across the road from a sports bar so we had a drink in there a couple of nights. We booked a Whit Sunday boat trip (fast boat) so we were picked up Sunday morning with the sun shining! We also hired a stinger suit which reminded me of a gymnastics leotard for the snorkeling and off we jetted out to sea. We sat talking to a couple (Karen & Lee) from England who live in Sydney and started to notice the grey clouds ahead and our nice sunny day was about to change. As soon as we stepped onto the Whitehaven beach the heavens opened and it started to rain! After a drenched lunch (literally water floating on your plate) we got back on the boat to head to a spot on the barrier reef to snorkel. Although the weather wasn't helping we could still see the colourful coral and fish although luckily I didn't notice the stingrays on the bottom (leight later informed me). We gave back our stinger suits and put back on our wet clothes only to be wet again due to the fast boat hitting the waves on the way back. I must admit it wasn't the best trip (but we did enjoy the company of Karen & Lee) we have been on due to being wet and cold .....I'm sure it's great in the sunshine! That afternoon we drove until dusk to Mackay to camp for the night. In Australia it's a big no no to drive in the dark mainly because your more likely to hit kangaroos so we tried not to where possible.
1 night stop in a not so friendly campsite with a not so friendly Subways (the sandwhich type).
Another 1 night stay only to be woken up by the builders relaying the tarmac paths on the campsite at 7am (it was also my birthday and I kind of hoped for a better start to the day)!
After the not so good start to the day we made the hour journey to our intended stop and arrived in a lovely small campsite on the morning of my 28th birthday. The sun was shining so we took a walk to the beach and leight wrote me a nice message in the sand. Later that sunny afternoon we relaxed around the pool and took a dip in the mineral spa. After a roast dinner at the local Boat House restaurant we had some birthday cake (one of the best Victoria sponges I've had) and enjoyed the rest of the evening with a couple of drinks! We stayed for a couple of nights just relaxing and had a good BBQ, that's one really good thing about camping in Australia as the majority of campsites have very good facilities i.e this one had the outdoor mineral spa!
If we could sum up our roadtrip to Brisbane in 5 or so words/statements.
1) Cyclones, Rain & Tornado
2) The Jucy love bug
3) Really nice campsites in Airlie beach/Hervey bay
4) Lovely birthday
5) Great way to see places in a campervan
Random sights/things on our roadtrip to Brisbane.
1) Gem waking up in the night claiming she couldn't breathe (it was pretty humid on the first few days down)