Platypus, Beaches and Pies on the Whitsunday Coast

RB

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We really enjoyed our 2021 road trip out of Townsville ( No Cassowary Sightings for Us | Australian Frequent Flyer) so we planned another similar style trip for June 2022. Again we had a mix of travel in our own car, flights and hire car. Overall 3weeks away from home with the advantage of warmer climes (not that Port Macquarie gets particularly cold)


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The weather gods were kind with no rain experienced while we were away. The number of fellow travellers was significantly different to our 2021 time and it was great to see the tourism industry making something of a comeback.

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RB

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Port Macquarie to Brisbane

Much more highway traffic than last year. Lunch at Crown Hotel Grafton- step up from usual pub fare with nice butter chicken. Road from Grafton to Casino-plenty of regrowth from fires of 2019 and also plenty of evidence along fence lines of the floods from earlier this year. A couple of pigs had escaped a farm & got themselves onto the highway.
Stayed with family outside of Casino-they have lived there for over 30yrs & this years flooding was the worst they had endured & paddocks are still saturated.
Casino to Brisbane via Lismore- very sad situations continue to drag on in Lismore with utter devestation. The traffic between Gold Coast & Brisbane was relatively sane. Stayed with family at Geebung- walked to a small brewery for a sample and then a good bistro meal at the local RSL- the start of a run of meals with chips included.

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RB

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Brisbane to Townsville
Dropped at the airport early but pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the Brisbane Virgin system- no long weekend in Qld unlike NSW. We did a min bid for J upgrade without success but the short flight was fine- an earlier flight had apparently been cancelled so our flight was full. A very smooth flight that pushed back on time & landed early. Townsville airport much busier than last year. Very slow baggage claim & then a long wait for taxis- a busy weekend of events in Townsville, a couple of flights close together & Uber were asking around $60 for a ride into town.

Waters Edge on the Strand
Thought we would try the Strand area this year. Basically a motel that needs a good spruce up. The Ocean view studio had a decent view but inferior to both the Park Regis Anchorage & Oaks Metropol that we used last year. Thought the bed was uncomfortable and the noise/voices from the adjoining room was as if the walls were paper. One small lift and quite a few stairs to entry unless you entered the building from the carpark. Pool no available-being refurbished

Around Townsville
Enjoyed the location along the Strand with easy walking & the Filipino festival that was happeningon the Sat & Sun. Highlight of the weekend was the NRL game on the Fir-great seats near halfway in the excellent stadium. Around 15,000 there so easy entry/exit. Walked back to Waters Edge & surprised to find the hotels in the area closed at 10.30pm on a Fri night. Sat night thought the Watermark hotel was a bit so-so and drinks expensive for a pub.

Waters Edge
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RB

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1300 Meteor -Car Rental
Last year we enjoyed excellent service from a local Townsville based car hire firm, 1300 Meteor so it was an obvious choice to go back to them. A check a couple of weeks out before our rental reinforced we were indeed on a good deal ($68 a day with none of their extra insurance options). Again they offered to pick us up from our hotel prior to the vehicle handover and also did a drop-off when we returned. Size suited us fine (2 adults 2 bags plus 2 backpacks & a couple of soft sided eskies), 91 unleaded, enough power to overtake trucks,caravans & motorhomes, very fair in their treatment of stone chips etc. The car used between 5-6 litres between 100km.

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Townsville to Airlie Beach
We hadn’t visited Castle Hill Lookout previously so that was our first stop before heading south.
Not overly busy on a Sun afternoon but huge amounts of roadworks & constant speed limit changes (noted on here recently by Craven Moorehead). Grabbed lunch at Nickos Home Hill- a more welcoming place than a couple of the pubs.

Some great views available from Castle Hill
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drron

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Must get back to Townsville. i worked 2 winters there. just magic weather.
Got to the Filipino Festival both years and loved it.
Also thought the Watermark hotel was so-so. Was "Richo" there?
 

RB

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Must get back to Townsville. i worked 2 winters there. just magic weather.
Got to the Filipino Festival both years and loved it.
Also thought the Watermark hotel was so-so. Was "Richo" there?
Looked a bit like him scrubbing dishes and picking up glasses. From memory I think they had plastic beer glasses, guess he can't be trusted
 
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1300 Meteor -Car Rental
Last year we enjoyed excellent service from a local Townsville based car hire firm, 1300 Meteor so it was an obvious choice to go back to them. A check a couple of weeks out before our rental reinforced we were indeed on a good deal ($68 a day with none of their extra insurance options). Again they offered to pick us up from our hotel prior to the vehicle handover and also did a drop-off when we returned. Size suited us fine (2 adults 2 bags plus 2 backpacks & a couple of soft sided eskies), 91 unleaded, enough power to overtake trucks,caravans & motorhomes, very fair in their treatment of stone chips etc. The car used between 5-6 litres between 100km.

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Townsville to Airlie Beach
We hadn’t visited Castle Hill Lookout previously so that was our first stop before heading south.
Not overly busy on a Sun afternoon but huge amounts of roadworks & constant speed limit changes (noted on here recently by Craven Moorehead). Grabbed lunch at Nickos Home Hill- a more welcoming place than a couple of the pubs.

Some great views available from Castle Hill
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Kona seem to be the rage with car rentals at the moment. Same in Tas this time last year and again for MrLtL in May.
 

NSun

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I'm enjoying the report. I went to Townsville in April for the footy. I didn't have the chance to go up Castle Hill but you've inspired me to do it next time I'm up there.
 

RB

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Nov 17, 2004
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Azure Sea Resort Airlie Beach Azure Sea Whitsundays Apartments | Airlie Beach Accommodation

We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment. Great apartment in a fantastic location. Excellent facilities, all worked and a 10 minute walk down to main shopping/dining area. Parking was in an underground secured site- allocated spots and some would have been impossible for bigger 4WD's. Washing machine & dishwasher in place and both worked well. Didn't make use of the pool area or the gym but they looked well maintained.

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Shutters between bedroom & bathroom- better than some totally open bathrooms I have seen-just put a bloody wall there
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Nice deep balcony, very private & plenty of area under roof
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craven morehead

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1300 Meteor -Car Rental
Last year we enjoyed excellent service from a local Townsville based car hire firm, 1300 Meteor so it was an obvious choice to go back to them. A check a couple of weeks out before our rental reinforced we were indeed on a good deal ($68 a day with none of their extra insurance options). Again they offered to pick us up from our hotel prior to the vehicle handover and also did a drop-off when we returned. Size suited us fine (2 adults 2 bags plus 2 backpacks & a couple of soft sided eskies), 91 unleaded, enough power to overtake trucks,caravans & motorhomes, very fair in their treatment of stone chips etc. The car used between 5-6 litres between 100km.

View attachment 283421

Townsville to Airlie Beach
We hadn’t visited Castle Hill Lookout previously so that was our first stop before heading south.
Not overly busy on a Sun afternoon but huge amounts of roadworks & constant speed limit changes (noted on here recently by Craven Moorehead). Grabbed lunch at Nickos Home Hill- a more welcoming place than a couple of the pubs.

Some great views available from Castle Hill
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The new stadium looked really good when we drove past. How did you find it?
 

craven morehead

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Azure Sea Resort Airlie Beach Azure Sea Whitsundays Apartments | Airlie Beach Accommodation

We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment. Great apartment in a fantastic location. Excellent facilities, all worked and a 10 minute walk down to main shopping/dining area. Parking was in an underground secured site- allocated spots and some would have been impossible for bigger 4WD's. Washing machine & dishwasher in place and both worked well. Didn't make use of the pool area or the gym but they looked well maintained.

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Shutters between bedroom & bathroom- better than some totally open bathrooms I have seen-just put a bloody wall there
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Nice deep balcony, very private & plenty of area under roof
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Very nice digs 🥂
 

RB

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The new stadium looked really good when we drove past. How did you find it?
Being a regional NSW boy I don't have a lot to compare with but we were pretty impressed. Last year the game time got changed & we were stuck in full sun facing west. This year virtually the same seats & a night game. Easy walk from town, quick through the gates and reasonable leg room in the seats. There seems to be a good compromise between steep stairs & being close to the ground action and the main screen is nice & clear . There have been plenty of local kids there both times we have been. The beer was cold & not too long a line if you timed your run & didn't think the prices were too bad. Didn't look to eat there. No line at the men's loos. Easy walk out at the end of the game & very few ferals!
 

RB

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Around Airlie Beach
The last time we were around here was 42 yrs ago with just a use of Proserpine airport & out to Daydream Island.
A few walks & driving around Airlie, Shute Harbour, Cannonvale & Woodwark gave us a perspective of the area & its excellent boating facilities. Beaches Bar & Grill for a meal & drinks one night & a prawn dinner at the apartment the other night. Cannonvale seemed to be the location for shopping-Woolies. Harvey Norman, Big W etc.

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RB

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Airlie Beach to Eungella
Topped up the car at Proserpine and then followed the highway to Mount Ossa & then through Garnett & Pinnacle with a couple of single lane bridges. A bit of roadwork during the climb to Eungella & we arrived at the Chalet in time for lunch

Eungella Cabins
Right at the back of the chalet. We had booked a 1 bedroom cabin with queen size bed. We voiced our concern when we found a barely double bed was provided in an original condition cabin. We were promptly moved to a 2 bedroom cabin that had a queen & 2 single beds. Somewhat fresher & good fridge & wood heater & wood provided but still some elementary things that needed doing to it. Ate at the chalet-busier at lunch than dinner with a basic menu. Some things had been frozen, but very quick service, a couple of beers on tap and the burgers were the pick of the meals. Must say, considering the price, I was disappointed the night I ordered a schnitzel and was confronted by one that looked suspiciously like the heart shaped ones you see on display at Coles. The resident cat had seconded the lounge chair in front of the open fire of the Chalet.

View towards Mackay from Chalet
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Looking towards Chalet from cabins
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Not a queen
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Lounge area of 1st cabin
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2nd cabin
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The heart shaped schnitzel

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The night manager of the Chalet
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VPS

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Airlie Beach to Eungella
Topped up the car at Proserpine and then followed the highway to Mount Ossa & then through Garnett & Pinnacle with a couple of single lane bridges. A bit of roadwork during the climb to Eungella & we arrived at the Chalet in time for lunch

Eungella Cabins
Right at the back of the chalet. We had booked a 1 bedroom cabin with queen size bed. We voiced our concern when we found a barely double bed was provided in an original condition cabin. We were promptly moved to a 2 bedroom cabin that had a queen & 2 single beds. Somewhat fresher & good fridge & wood heater & wood provided but still some elementary things that needed doing to it. Ate at the chalet-busier at lunch than dinner with a basic menu. Some things had been frozen, but very quick service, a couple of beers on tap and the burgers were the pick of the meals. Must say, considering the price, I was disappointed the night I ordered a schnitzel and was confronted by one that looked suspiciously like the heart shaped ones you see on display at Coles. The resident cat had seconded the lounge chair in front of the open fire of the Chalet.

View towards Mackay from Chalet
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Looking towards Chalet from cabins
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Not a queen
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Lounge area of 1st cabin
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2nd cabin
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The heart shaped schnitzel

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The night manager of the Chalet
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Beautiful night manager - looks fairly chilled so I hope there weren't any issues at night
 

RB

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Around Eungella
We stayed mid-week-there was a stay 3 pay for 2 nights for mid-week stays. This fitted in for us as the Townsville footy had been a Fri night and our next stay was at Cape Hillsborough in a cabin. The Cape Hillsborough site currently only has night time catering on Fri & Sat nights.
We were a bit restricted by the dirt roads in some spots ( hire car conditions of use) but still some great scenery,some easy walks and plenty of time stalking platypus. Unfortunatley the road to Eungella Dam is not all sealed. The Broken River site is well organised for day trippers & campers & the walking along the banks of the platypus haunts starts as an accessible boardwalk before breaking to relatively easy tracks. Same as the walks we did around Airlie Beach, the walks here tend to be right within the vegetation so the outlook is restricted. Mrs RB reconnected with some family members she hadn’t seen for around 50yrs (Facebook posts alerted them we were staying nearby).

Closest to the cabins and catered to all abilities-only 250 metres
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Very similar to the outlook from the chalet
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Certainly not crowded mid-week
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RB

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Another relatively easy hike for us, all within the vegetation,


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Arch within the strangler fig tree
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Peases Lookout- just north of the village gives a bit of a different angle of the Pioneer Valley
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Goodes Lookout-right in town near the Mens Shed & the town oval. Also set up for picnics and gives less abled people access to a good view of the valley- more of a look at the winding road up to the village too
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Sunset seen from our cabin
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RB

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Eungella to Cape Hillsborough via Mackay
The Finch Hatton Gorge was stop 1 on the way down the hill. Plenty of people around with the small parking area overflowing. Some relatively unfit people were struggling on the well laid out paths & had obviously ignored the warnings about the “reasonable level of fitness” required in some parts. Despite the current dry conditions there was plenty of water flow at the falls and some sections of mud on the tracks. We didn’t get to the Wheel of Fire- would have involved getting more wet than we were prepared to get.

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This sign must be necessary
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Araluen Cascades
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Part of the crossing to continue to the Wheel Of Fire
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