Early April found us heading for the Queensland east coast from Charters Towers. We headed toward Townsville, but bypassed it for now (we’ll be back in May) and meandered down the coast road through Ayr and Home Hill and have made Rose Bay Caravan Park at Bowen our base to explore this beautiful region.
Bowen is a great town with good facilities – and pubs – we have had a few enjoyable hours at the Larrikin Hotel where they did great $10 lunches and nice cold beer (Andy has taken a fancy to Carlton Mid lager and reckons it beats his previous favourite, Tooheys Extra Dry). We found out that Bowen was used as the movie set for the movie, Australia, in 2008. If anyone has seen the movie, the Bowen Harbour and buildings around the town are very recognisable from the movie. Some of the most spectacular scenery on the Capricorn Coast can be seen from the walking tracks around the coast. We walked up to Mother Beddock, a landmark rock perched high above the bays, an hour before sunset. The views to the majestic Gloucester and other islands to the east plus the vista of incredibly coloured sea and deep blue sky are some of the most breathtaking we have seen.
We had a great day exploring the Airlie Beach area. The town is similar in some ways to Cairns with its strong focus on tourism and the neighbouring town, Cannonvale, seems to have every retail chain represented – the area is obviously doing very well. The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a great spot for the locals and visitors to swim and relax safely as the sea has a few nasties that make it a little risky to venture into at certain times of the year. We had planned to try a spot of fishing in the rivers until we found out that there are hundreds of crocs in the Prosepine River system. Think we’ll play it safe and try throwing a line in off the rocks at Rose Bay instead! While around Airlie Beach we drove up to Lions Lookout at Shute Harbour and then walked the 2.5k return track out to Coral Beach through a lovely path lined with Grass Trees. There are good views of Daydream Reef and the North & South Molle Islands and reefs and the coral beaches still have high ridges of coral washed up in the 2012 cyclone.