Rockhampton to Airlie Beach


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach
March 5th 2014
Published: March 23rd 2014
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I was awake fairly early so I could check the forecast of that potential cyclone up North. I was really hoping we could continue in that direction I was very keen to see Airlie Beach as I’d heard many glowing reports over the years. In fact I’d convinced myself prior to switching on the computer that regardless of the forecast we were going. Here I would like to spell the sound a computer makes when you turn it on but I don’t believe that is possible. Any suggestions?

Great news all systems are go so Airlie Beach it was to be. I had done a little research on Mt Etna NP a little North of Rocky it sounded like a very interesting place for a walk with numerous photo opportunities which also included Capricorn Caves a huge bat habitat. We detoured off the road towards these attractions but after a 10 minute drive a decision was made to give these a miss and continue on with getting to Airlie. It was one or the other and with the time we had available I hoped we had made the correct choice. If you have been to Mt Etna I’d love some feedback.

I have talked about and photographed quite a few road train/wide load encounters on our journey but about an hour out of Rocky we happened upon the best of our travels thus far. As we rounded a left hand bend a stretch of straight road about 3 k’s long lay before us. A police car about one and a half kilometres ahead with lights flashing was heading in our direction, not that unusual until he pulled onto our side. I have seen this scenario often enough to know that a wide load was heading our way though it was not currently visible. As luck had it a nice cleared section of gravel was where we were able to stop and allow the load to pass by safely. I jumped out of the car with camera in hand and as I did so the driver of the police car straddling the line in the middle of the road pushed his red glowing wand out of the window. I turned to the right to see who and what this action was being directed at and saw this clown totally ignoring him merrily continuing on his way at maybe 100 kph, as I was standing near the edge of the road I also motioned for the driver to pull over. He did apply the brakes for maybe .8 of a second then took off on his merry way seemingly totally oblivious as to what was happening, a short time later he disappeared around the next left hand bend.

Another bloke drove by maybe a minute later though he had slowed to maybe 30 kph it seemed he had an inkling of what was going on. Now I reckon we waited there for 3 minutes when it all unfolded, firstly an escort vehicle rounded the bend lights ablaze followed seconds later by another police car, ooh yeah lights doing what they do. Only seconds behind them 2 low loaders with freight so wide (8 metres in fact) they almost covered both lanes I was happy to be out of harm’s way – check out my pictures for photographic evidence.

Along the way the road safety trivia quiz started again. “What is the national flower of Queensland”? Answer – Cooks Orchid. And a comical series of “How long to go dad, how long to go mum”? Answer – “Still a long way to go kids”. Now I hope you have actually experienced this very same interrogation either as a child yourself or as a parent, hopefully both it one of those things that seems to continue from generation to generation.

Sugar cane crops at times spread almost forever this is real cane country. These farms have quite possibly been owned and operated by the same family for years and years so as a result you can observe some magnificent old Queenslander houses. Some properties are in beautiful condition and others are beautifully dilapidated, these are the ones I tend to favour though at the same time it is a little sad to see them in decline. We stopped on a couple of occasions to shoot an old house or building and snapped others as we sped by. Sitting in one paddock a fair way off the road was an old Toyota Hiace truck with a caravan attached to the chassis it looked like a homemade job and was possibly one of the earliest motorhomes going around at the time.

We arrived in Airlie Beach at about 1330 and checked out the beachside markets, they were only small but had some interesting stalls. After the market we looked around some accommodation places it is off season here at the moment so we intended to use that to our advantage, we settled on Whitehaven Beachfront Holiday Units and beachfront they were. The view of the water was rather obscured by some very large trees and the small complex which I guess was built in the 70s was showing its age but they were spacious and in a central location.

Airlie is not a big place but they had an eclectic mix of eateries as well as a couple of venues with artists performing live music, so for dinner we had a good feed and enjoyed some very good entertainment.

Take care travel safe and remember it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.


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