After we left Clairview we drove up towards Mackay but skirted out to the west and along Pioneer Valley through the small towns of Marian and Mirani to Finch Hatton. We spent a couple of very pleasant days at the Showgrounds in Finch Hatton (QLD 66 in Camps 7).
There is a very good guide and map on this brochure:
This was such a nice quiet place, $20 per night for power and water, with green grass everywhere.
We went for a drive up the hill at the end of the valley to Eungella. I found this aerial photo on the Net. It shows the steep, twisty road to the top. I know a few people who have dragged their Bushtrackers (and other large, heavy vans) to the top and down again but I'm afraid it's not for me. Steep twisty roads are bad enough without a van.
The view from the top of the valley at Eungella is striking.
We drove out to a small coffee shop and walked down to the bank of this river where we sighted a platypus swimming around looking for lunch.
He (?) and a cormorant were actually feeding together.
A few kilometres further out we drove around Eungella dam (QLD 70 in Camps 7). There were quite a few people camping there. It looked to be another very pleasant spot.
We also took a drive out to Finch Hatton gorge. Quite a walk through the rain forest.
After leaving Finch Hatton we drove north to Home Hill. This nice little town on Bruce Highway has had a Rest Area in the middle of town for quite some time. The Home Hill Comfort Stop (QLD 43 in Camps 7) is a nice setup but has been taken over by backpackers in whiz-bangs and other users who have become abusers. Unfortunately this is happening a lot and will see the end to a lot of good rest areas.
Fortunately at Home Hill the otherwise unused showgrounds have been opened to Grey Nomads only. The on-site caretaker has the authorisation to prevent backpackers from entering and that means it's a very pleasant place for us caravanners, motorhomers etc. There is a small fee of $10 per night for power and limited water. The caretaker organises a very nice Happy Hour and he collects all our receipts showing what we spent in the town and takes that info to the Council each week. Apparently this is encouraging the Council to keep the grounds open and there may well be improvements in the future.
The sugar cane farms around Home Hill still burn their crops prior to cutting and each night we woke to a layer of black ash on the vans and vehicles, but it was easily washed off. Unfortunately this ash made the van steps very slippery and I came a real cropper stepping out of the van one morning. Down like a bag of spuds. I lay there making sure nothing was broken before getting up, mumbling a few choice words and thanking a concerned neighbour from the van behind us.
Continuing further north we overnighted at Bushy Parker Park (QLD 32 in Camps 7) at Rollingstone. We've been here several times and it's always a nice stop. You have to get here early though, it's popular.
After this we had a couple of nights in a caravan park in Mission Beach. It was OK, a bit squishy. I think we will go back to the Big4 at South Mission Beach next time we are in the area.
Continuing further north we called in to visit some friends who have relocated from Mandurah to Etty Bay, just south of Innisfail.
Dave and Michelle (Shell) bought a beautiful 1 acre block with green grass as far as the eye can see. They built a spectacular shed behind the house for their Spinifex van. I love a good shed.
We parked out the front of their house and really improved their view.
This was a very enjoyable visit; such hospitality.
After leaving Dave and Shell's place we drove the short distance to Cairns. We really enjoy the Cairns Coconut Resort caravan park. This time we would be here for two weeks.
That means we enjoyed two Thursday morning pancake breakfasts. Yummo!
During our stay in Cairns, Robyn saw an ad in the local paper for an airshow up at Mareeba in the Tablelands. So up we went for the day. It was a good day out.
We had front row seats.
There was a good selection of aircraft flying throughout the day.
There were a couple of Winjeels on display, and flying later on, so I handed the camera to Robyn and took the opportunity to get this photo.
So I could compare it with this one.
One day we went on a cruise through Cairns harbour and some of the mangrove areas behind it.
I'm sure he's thinking: aaah, meals on wheels.
Leaving Cairns we drove north to Wonga Beach where we stayed at the Pinnacle Caravan Park.
We enjoyed a drive up past Cape Tribulation in the Daintree rain forest, crossing the river on a ferry.
The caravan park has some resident peacocks wandering around as if they own the place (probably do).
After leaving Wonga Beach we spent one night at Rifle Creek Rest Area (QLD 186 in Camps 7) enroute to Cooktown.
In Cooktown we stayed at the Big4 Cooktown Holiday Park which is pretty good.
We went for a drive out to Archer Point. It was very windy but I believe this area is windy all the time.
Black Mountain is a huge pile of volcanic rock from a kazillion years ago.
The day out culminated at the Lions Den Hotel. This is at the northern end of the Bloomfield Track.
Cooktown from Grassy Hill Lookout.
From here we turn south to make our way home over the next 5 weeks or so.