Tuesday, 5 October 2010

1770 to Kinka Beach

Getting tropical
Our second night at 1770 was mild and pleasant and we slept peacefully. As usual, we sauntered through our pack up and we were leaving the caravan park just as two blue-winged kookaburra were attending to the morning bathing in the park's pool. Sue snapped some nice shots as they preened and splashed.

Just like any other couple on the road, we had to attend to refills of our medications which was done at Agnes Water. I added some Ear Clear to remove a build up of ear wax which has been a problem for my big ears since I was a lad. Swimming always makes it worse and the dip yesterday afternoon was the culprit.

We pushed north after joining the Bruce Highway at Miriam Vale and stopped soon after for morning tea at Bororen, picking up a humorous photograph into the bargain.

From here it was a straight run to Rockhampton, where we stopped at the Tropic of Capricorn, reminiscing a similar stop when we were on the other side of Australia in 2008. Sue added another photo of me acting up for the camera - hardly any of them in the family photo collection - and then went into the adjacent information office to unpack some thoughts of how we should spend the afternoon.

Mt Archer Lookout
After had lunch there and stowing the trailer, we went east to Mt Archer, the most prominent of the volcanic plugs which act as sentinels for Rochampton. The drive took a tad longer than it was suggested but the climb made me very glad to have taken the advice of a bloke at the information centre and not attempt it with the camper trailer. It was steep and done mostly in third gear but I enjoyed the actual driving. The summit is swamped with trees and ferns so we walked the short round trip distance of just under a kilometre to see the view over Rockhampton and further on, the view out to Yeppoon. It was a hazy day but it was still an impressive view.

Rockhampton is much bigger than I had expected and the view from Mt Archer was my confirmation but at around 100 000, I shouldn't have been surprised. It takes a long time to drive across the city and the street pattern seems odd , with streets off the main drag in a diamond shaped pattern. After taking in the view, we had a delicious coffee because would you believe, they have a cafe up there. How it makes it's trade is hard to imagine but our thoughts were much to the short term.

After taking the descent in a control second gear, we went across town to a site beside the swollen Fitzroy River where the Rockhampton Art Gallery is. We only saw a limited exhibition as they were in the process of setting up the Qld version of ArtExpress - the best of the Year 12 HSC Art students submitted pieces for assessment. What were saw was impressive, particularly as it was displayed using a thematic approach which allowed responses in a variety of medium so that canvasses were displayed along side ceramics or other media. Several "big names" were on display but it was mostly people we didn't know which caught our attention. I particularly liked a short film on the indigenous artists of the Kimberley region.

The Singing Ship
After returning to the information centre and reconnecting with our little home, we set out for Kinka Beach - part of the Capricorn Beaches Scenic Drive. Our only stop - another was planned but I missed the turn off - was at Emu Park, where we visited the exquisite Singing Ship. This is a sculpture installed on the point above Emu Park in 1970, as part of the Captain Cook bicentenary celebrations. It is a large sail shaped sculpture and on the inside of the sail, chimes have been placed to catch the wind. Even the slightest breezes sliding between these shapes will produced a sound not unlike singing. It was humming when were there. From here we caught our first glimpse of the Keppel islands, all too obvious from our vantage point.
Archer for

We travelled the last few kilometres to our lodgings for the night and were greeted by easily the most accommodating hosts so far on our journey north.

Our portable hut set up, we took advantage of the $10 meals available on Chewsday at the Pine Beach Hotel in Emu Park. The tucker was great, the cold beers I had hit the spot and the view until the sun left was inspiring. Dad rang to catch up and offer some advice on the immediate distances ahead.

We returned to our digs and before settling in for the night, took a torch supported walk down to what appears to be a very wide and shallow angled beach. With no moon, it was dark when the torch went out and Sue was prepared to call every hideous shape an approaching saltwater crocodile. We saw our first live cane toad and then were serenaded by them as we walked back off the beach. For good measure, Sue was obstructed from entering the camp kitchen by two robust specimens at the door. She is seeing and hearing them everywhere now.

We missed the chance to take a cruise to Great Keppel on a large catamaran (not large enough was my thinking) as the numbers filled before we could decide. We might wander up to the wharf precinct in the morning and see what we can find.

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