Road Trip Part 3: Town of 1770

DSCN2642Continuing our journey down the coast, we spent a couple of days in the seaside town of Yeppoon before arriving at the Town of 1770.  Set on a lovely beach, Seventeen Seventy only has a population of around 220 people.  Such a small, quiet place, it could hardly be called a town, yet historically it is one of the most significant places in Australia.  The town marks the second landing of Captain Cook on Australian soil, in the year (you guessed it) 1770.

Our time there was peaceful, relaxing in the sunshine with only a few other people scattered along the beach.  As we took in the most amazing sunset, a squadron of pelicans landed on the sand.  It was almost as if they had come to appreciate the sunset as well.

We were reluctant to leave the town, but as we had a date for returning our hire car we had to move on.  The town of Bundaberg marked the final destination in our road trip.

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Road Trip Part 2: The Capricorn Caves

DSCN2625Heading south via Mackay, we set up camp at the Capricorn Caves just north of Rockhampton.  These unique caves are set above ground, in a dry rainforest, and are built up of limestone rock.  There are four different species of bats that roost in the caves, mainly in the warm, wet weather.  The caves were first discovered in 1882 by the Norwegian explorer John Olsen, who came across an entrance to the caves after chasing a kangaroo in that direction.   He waded waist-deep in bat poo, with no light except for a single flame he carried in one hand.   Winding our way through some of the steep, narrow passages in the caves, we could only imagine how claustrophobic Olsen’s journey must have been.

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We were lucky enough to have the whole camp site to ourselves, apart from a bush turkey who visited us on a number of occasions.  In the evening, Tom lit a roaring fire, which we warmed ourselves around with a glass of red wine.  With no street lighting, the only illumination came from the crackling fire and the mass of stars which twinkled above.

Road Trip Part 1: The Whitsundays

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Returning to the mainland after our lovely stay on Magnetic Island, we hired a car and set off on a road trip down the east coast.  Our first port of call was Airlie Beach, the stepping stone to the Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 74 islands located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

Travelling by boat, we navigated around a number of the islands, including Heart Reef  (named due to it’s unusual shape), all the way to Whitehaven Beach.  It’s an idyllic place with soft, powdery, white sand and the swirls of blue in the ocean make it look almost like a painting.  It was the most beautiful beach either of us had ever seen.

The wonders of the Whitsundays didn’t end there.  We snorkelled in the ocean and saw some of the coral and fish unique to the Great Barrier Reef, not to be seen anywhere else in the world.  A truly amazing experience.

Magnetic Island

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Leaving Mission Beach and catching the bus south, we arrived in the city of Townsville, the main port for the journey to our next destination, Magnetic Island.

We had bought brand new camping equipment for this trip and we were excited about staying in a sanctuary for koalas. The koala sanctuary was on the opposite side of the island to the port near a beach called Horseshoe Bay. It was a nice place and there was lots of local wildlife where we had set up camp.

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On the second day of our trip we went for a champagne breakfast with the koalas, which was an extra excursion that you could book through the sanctuary. It was an all you can eat buffet and whilst we were eating we were able to get up close to some of Australia’s strangest, cuddliest and deadliest, including creatures such as a blue tongued lizard, a saltwater crocodile called Barbie, and, of course, a koala.

The island was small and intimate. There weren’t many people around which meant you could find your own section of beach where you could listen to the waves and watch the sunset. The beach side barbeque was also a big bonus where we could cook up a couple of sausages for our evening meal.  It was such a relaxing and peaceful time before the start of our road trip.