We didn’t rush things this morning. To put it mildly; in fact, we slid sheepishly out of the campgrounds a mere 30 minutes before we would have been ejected!
Still, we were in good trim, and ready for the next leg of the trip. Despite the regulation enormous holiday breakfast, we were getting peckish by the time we approached Cardwell, a beautiful little town on the Hinchinbrook Channel, directly opposite the looming bulk of Hinchinbrook Island, the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef. You can see the island to your right for ages as you head north before you arrive in Cardwell and it becomes obvious that it’s an island – it looks just like distant hills. Cardwell was flattened by Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011, the wind and waves drove the entire sandy beach up and over the town, huge old trees were uprooted, houses lost or de-roofed. Today, there’s no sign of that. It’s lavishly beautiful and neatly groomed, a wonderful place to stop for a breather, a meal, a walk along the promenade, or a nap in the shade of the surviving trees.
After Cardwell we pressed on, and in the early afternoon were making the long, and at times slow, ascent to the Tablelands over 900m/2,950 ft above sea level. There’s a pernicious myth that cars towing caravans/ camping trailers are slow and get in the way. We had no trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic even on the climb, but found ourselves held up by other road users a fair bit! Large trucks and timid drivers who can’t steer confidently around corners were particularly annoying… At one point we pulled over when the truck in front slowed to a 20kmph/12mph creep. Happily, there was a small but beautiful waterfall for me to admire while we waited for the truck to clear the range.
The campsite is as good as we remembered, and even better than our last visit there as it’s virtually empty! It’s school term-time so there are no families with noisy and active children to distract us from the peace. Second time round, setting Miz Lizzie up for our stay was a lot smoother and easier. I’ll need to find a new home for a few items which persist in flinging themselves out of cupboards and off shelves as we travel, but for the most part, our belongings were well behaved. One useful lesson; don’t take too many fresh vegetables. While you’re towing the van and the aircon is off, anything that’s not in the rather small fridge gets warm and starts to deteriorate a bit. It’s not a disaster, but good to know. We had produce in a styrene cool box, but it wasn’t enough… Another time, I’ll buy more while I’m away.
Finally, it was beer/ cider o’clock and we could kick back, enjoy the view, the quiet and the sound of the birds in the treetops.
I’ll leave you with a selection of the foliage to be found in this beautiful spot. The campsite/holiday park has been carved out of rainforest and includes a seasonal watercourse and a small disused quarry. The grassy sites are level and closely mowed, the facilities are lovely, but for me, the charm of the place lies in the rainforest that surrounds us, with towering trunks, lush undergrowth and vines reaching for the sky.
I have a large list of fun things to do around here. We shall wait and see what tomorrow brings and how many of them I get done. Or maybe we’ll just relax, take it easy and revisit some old favourites.
What the heck… I’m on holiday 🙂