Airlie Beach to Charters Towers

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March 6th 2014
Published: April 14th 2014
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I poked my head out of our unit window early. Despite facing North and some pretty high hills to the East I was really hoping for a beautiful sunrise that would at least give me some colour on the water. It was about 0550 but alas no such joy nonetheless it is always nice to be up at dawn, it is a magical time of the day. I snapped a couple of shots and enjoyed the little colour there was in the sky change while I sat on one of the numerous seats dotted along the foreshore some of which were made of recycled plastic soft drink bottles, what a hugely clever concept. As I sat there I wondered to myself why people who had sat at that very same place and enjoyed the very same magnificent views would then without care throw their cigarette butts onto the beach. Would their lounge room floor back home be treated with the same disrespect? If you don’t love this earth please consider those of us who do.

The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship was parked a couple of k’s offshore it is a massive boat and was an impressive sight, many cruise ships stop just off the coast and then bring their guests ashore for some shopping and sightseeing.

Our vehicle was due for a service and I had booked it in at Ultra Tune Cannonvale. We dropped it off at 0730 and Macca was the owner/operator and a bloody good bloke. He said we’d get it back by 12 and then threw me the keys to his car so we could cruise around town and partake in a little more touristy stuff. It is about a 5 minute drive back to Airlie Beach from there and as you reach the top of the hill at the start of Airlie the views are amazing. The marina is filled with boats of all sizes and descriptions and a large variety of yachts are moored randomly in the water. Numerous islands are dotted around the place also – this is The Whitsundays and a very beautiful place to be.

We were getting a little peckish by now and decided on Salt Seafood Bar and Grill for our breakfast destination and a pretty good choice it was, great food and superb views. I went the eggs Benedict which was even better with Liz’ discarded avocado and she opted for the chicken burger. The next couple of hours we spent walking around town enjoying the sights.

At about 1115 Macca gave me a ring to say the car was ready and by 1130 we were on the road to our next destination, thanks Macca. The sat nav directed us on a back road towards the Bruce Highway leading to Bowen I love this type of country with lush green rolling hills and magnificent old Australian country architecture.

It is a nice drive in these parts and plenty of roadwork is continuing though we did not have the same delays as in previous days. I drove in the front gate of an abandoned property to take some shots of the farmhouse and when I drove back out onto the highway I had a good look to the right but not such a good look to the left. A car was in the process of overtaking a truck and sitting on our side of the road heading in our direction travelling at over 100 kph and about 300 metres in front of us, this gave me just enough time to swerve off the road as he whooshed past. Quite fortunate really. The drive continued on without any further near misses, though always stay alert the way some people operate a motor vehicle you just never what is going to happen.

Now when heading to Bowen it is an absolute must to stop at the Bowen Visitor Information Centre and photograph or be photographed with - The Bowen Mango. This was possible for us but just because it had only been returned and put back in place a few days earlier. You see about a week and a half prior a local fast food company had stolen the mango as a publicity stunt to promote a new product they were releasing, this was considered funny only by a tiny minority involved with that business.

Something else very interesting today was the beautiful bridges we crossed or observed along the way though often difficult to photograph while motoring along. Lunch (a quick chicken and cheese roll) we had a little later than usual and we pulled into a park on the edge of the highway it had a rather quick flowing creek and was surrounded by sugar cane crops, very picturesque. There are sugar cane crops aplenty in these parts of Queensland. A lady enjoying lunch with her grandson mentioned to us she had just minutes earlier watched a snake swim across the creek fortunately from her side to the other, she was keeping an eagle eye on the little tacker.

Further on I must admit I was surprised, pleasantly surprised to see 4 camels sharing a paddock full of cows definitely an unexpected treat. It is particularly hilly in these parts as we are crossing The great Divide. The country side was green, healthy and alive – very pretty.

Once you cross TGD the geography flattens out and you know the Outback is looming. Not far from Charters Towers the country sense of humour is proudly on display in the form of an old large barge that sits quietly in a paddock. It is painted red so you cannot miss it and on the side painted in large white letters are the words LAKE WANTED BOAT GRUMPY, this grumpy boat will be waiting a loooong time for enough water to float it.

Charters Towers was our stop for the night and so we drove around for a while looking for somewhere to stay and thought we’d check out a hotel/motel unfortunately these did not quite suit but the young lady working there suggested a few other places. A couple of blocks down the road the majestic Royal Private Hotel seemed to beckon us so in we went, voices in your head is not necessarily a bad thing. This place was a joy and the owners sure do know how to run a business, the Royal I believe was the first hotel built in Charters and was completed in 1888. The owners Tony and Patricia have been there for about five years are still renovating the building which is no longer operated as a hotel but as an accommodation place.

Tony gave us the guided tour and this place just oozes charm and character, just like Tony. It is filled with beautiful antiques, bric-a-brac, knick knacks and history. We picked our room which was not difficult I think the king size four poster did it, though the spa bath and the enormous veranda accessed through the French doors may have also positively influenced us. See

We walked around town and ordered a Devils Delight pizza at Leaning Towers Pizza with a side of smoky BBQ ribs. While we waited for the pizza it was down to the bottle shop, we purchased a nice 2004 Margaret River Cab Merlot for $10.99 – hello Bargain. On the way back to the pizza shop it was a slight deviation to photograph a couple of classic old derelict homes. We dined on the veranda and looked over the top of the town as the sun set behind us, Ribs – tick, Pizza – tick, Wine – tick. Nice!

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

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