Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
Trip End Oct 31, 2013

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Where I stayed
Pension Wind Jacket Hakuba-mura
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, October 1, 2012

JOURNEY: Airlie Beach to Cape Hillsborough 130kms

WEATHER:  Starts cloudy then sunny. High 20's. Then- rain, wind and clouds

Today was a Labour Day public holiday, unusual in QLD on this date (QLD sets May 7 as Labour Day) but apparently the new government will change the date in future to line up with the rest of Australia.

The Telfords were all working today so we said our goodbyes early, packed and drove out of Airlie Beach- destination Cape Hillsborough National Park.

Smalley's Beach had been our preferred camp ground but with school holidays all 12 sites  were booked until next week. We visited the campground and gave it a big tick - maybe next time!

We opted for the Cape Hillsbrough Nature Park, a privately run campground on the beach in the national park. It was $34 per night for a powered site and $29 for unpowered; we had been advised to book the powered site because the unpowered section was crammed with tents- not really true but we were pleased with site 22 and when the weather turned nasty on day 2 having power gave us a few more options.

Cape Hillsborough was named by Captain Cook in 1770 as he sailed up the Qld coast, then home to the Yuiberi tribe. The rainforest covers the headlands and reaches down to the seashore.

Beachcomber Bay is a wide bay with huge tides, and the low tide allows you to walk across to Wedge Island. We arrived early afternoon and tackled the 2.5km Beachcomer Cove Track, up over the headland through rainforest  and reaching the rocky coast and beach with thick forests of hoop pine trees.
It was low tide and the sea was way out, exposing rocks and sand piles left by the sand bubbler crabs. Back to the van for wine and barbecue!

Watching the huge orange moon ascend above the sea and horizon between the skinny clouds at 7pm was a sight to make you gasp. Love this spectacle!

The heavily wooded headlands framed the beach, casuarinas stood alonside the pines with a stunted pandanus growing between.

Getting up early paid off for Kath- the sunrise did not show strong colours but the interesting display of sparkling reflections in the watery shore made unusual effects for the camera,

But best of all the kangaroos hopped down onto the beach and no matter how many times you see this event you always marvel at these elegant wild animals bounding down to the beach to sip the water or as they did today take a salty dip in the sea.

Unusually this morning there were a number of people on the beach so the kangaroos seemed apprehensive and cautious When I reach the beach in most places around Australia to witness sunrise, I am alone, but this area is known as a kangaroo hot spot so I have company as I await the sun's appearance above the horizon.

I enjoyed a little kangaroo mob coming together as the tourists clicked away at their cameras. I didn't get too close but the pictures tell the story well enough!

The Yuibera Yuwi Trail from Hidden Valley is sign posted with the story of the aborigines who inhabited this fruitful headland prior to white man's occupation. You empathise with the sense of loss experienced by the original inhabitants as their environmentally friendly way of life was taken from them. In the quiet forest you can imagine their spirit haunts the land still! 

We took this trail between rain showers on Tuesday and it was blowing a gale on the water but we were sheltered by the forest mostly.Pandanus palms lined the shore.  It was a good day for reading and cocooning!

On Wednesday early morning we took the steep trail to Twin Beach lookout and even though it was cloudy and grey we had some great vistas from on high. What a difference the cloud cover makes to the colour of the sea!

Despite the cloudy weather, we really liked this national park and from the Nature Park we had more opportunities to do some decent bushwalking- more than we could have done from Smalleys Beach. A very lovely and natural destination!

With the school holidays coming to an end and the grey nomads already south (yes we know that we come under this category of wanderers) camping should be easier to access. The east coast is more inhabited than the north and west coasts and free rest stops are less frequent.
So it's back on the Bruce Highway and on the road again.

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