We were up bright and early this morning to reluctantly say farewell to Airlie Beach. We could easily have stayed here longer. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the lovely Motel we stayed in – Colonial Palms Motor Inn. This was very reasonably priced, well situated, clean, included a fantastic breakfast and had the benefit of a pretty swimming pool. We had a 1 bedroom apartment which had plenty of space for us all.
The staff were fantastic and always helpful and friendly. I wish everywhere we stayed was that pleasant.
Today we drove approximately 800 KM to Hervey Bay where we have booked a whale watching trip for tomorrow morning – very exciting.
First stop was Koumala for petrol. Check out this tiny petrol station. It just has 1 pump which is on the edge of the pavement of the main highway! Inside the store was like something from the 1950’s – very charming. We enjoy spotting “Aussie signs” i.e. signs we see here but do not get at home. We definitely do not get this sign at home 🙂 . Disappointingly we have not seen any wild koalas. This would have been a fun game if we knew any of the answers. Or indeed if we had seen more than one question. We have seen this sign all the way down the coast and indicators go up to between 1 and 2 metres. This place must be something to behold in the wet season. Australian trucks are more like the huge trucks you see in the USA than the trucks we have at home. We saw lots today carrying ‘Over Size’ loads. We saw 2 houses being transported (yes, we truly did), lots of industrial parts, a huge scoop for a massive digger and least 4 trucks transporting huge tyres. We guess these are headed for one of the mines. Not at all sure what this is! These houses are quite typical of the houses we saw along the side of the highway when we went through towns. We are driving down the ‘Bruce Highway’ which is Highway number 1. It is mainly single lane and not very busy so much easier than driving in the UK and so far more pleasant. This is cattle country and for hundreds of miles we passed huge flat plains where cattle grazed. Brahmans were not unusual. Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia and there are models and statues of cows all over town. According to my Lonely Planet guide book, there are 2.5 million cattle within a 250km radius of Rockhampton. Between the towns, dwellings are sparse and many have huge water tanks. Time for lunch. G’day to you all too.
Inside this cafe was spacious and airy. We decided it would be difficult to be a vegetarian in this part of Australia and almost impossible to be a vegan. It was actually a challenge to find something that did NOT have beef in it. I had an iced coffee with a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. Then we were back on the road. The next petrol stop was at The Big Crab – which did actually have a big red crab on the roof! We had wanted to get to Hervey Bay before dark but the sun set in the rolling hills near Childers so we drove the last part of the journey in the dark.Thanks James for driving all day. Apart from the flights home, we have now completed our longest journey.