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Mission Beach

16th to 24th August

View To The Cape & Back on Capes Crusaders's travel map.

On Thursday morning Pete went fishing down at the beach and I did some catching up on the blog from before we went to Cape York – am a bit behind! Then in the afternoon we went into Mission Beach town and had a look around. There are a few shops and cafes, an information centre and four estate agents, so we checked everything out and had a coffee – decent one too, plus a Connect 4 tournament! Pete went back fishing around 4pm and I headed to the beach for a quick lie in the sun – feels very decadent, and just a little weird that we don’t have anything specific to do or anywhere to be in the short term. We are back at work five weeks today – that feels a little unnerving but we are not thinking about it and are determined to make the most of the time we have left. It is quite different now as we have no planned itinerary, so we are getting used to a different way of “being”.


On Friday we had a leisurely breakfast cooked on the bbq, then went off to have a look around some properties – amazing what you can buy up here – it is a little kept secret of a place.

Then we had lunch at a little shack café in town, went to the visitors centre and for a bit of a drive to seek out cassowaries – an endangered species of birds that live in the area. No luck. Checked out boat hire for later in the week, then back to the beach for a walk and a swim. Shower time and joined the oldies for happy hour. Apparently there is usually a campfire but no one had any wood. We all said we would see what we could find for the next day.

Saturday we had a lazy morning at the beach – bit of sunbathing and swimming, then back home for a shower and left overs for lunch. We opened a bottle of Prosecco and felt rather decadent – didn’t match the leftovers but all went down very well!


In the afternoon we went to the Banana Festival at the local school that we had seen advertised. It was a school fete, with a number of different stalls and activities happening throughout the afternoon, and ending with fireworks at 7pm. We checked out the stalls, bought a book, a dvd and jar of grapefruit marmalade, then settled down to watch the woodchopping.



One guy created a table by chainsawing a massive log then finessing it with an axe - b bizarre! Then the competitions commenced. As they were chopping away, we wondered what they did with the off-cuts. We had a word with a chappy there and he said they just take it all to the landfill site, so we asked if we could grab some for our campfire. We found a box and went back to fill it up, then took it back to the car. We took it over to the camp fire area and were popular with the oldies! Someone else had a few logs that were cut up, so they had started the fire, and our stash meant we had enough for the next night too.

On Sunday we did a bit of research to plan the rest of our journey. It feels a bit sad that we are heading home, but we still have four weeks left so shouldn’t be ungrateful. We deliberately had no definite plans for this part of the trip, as we had quite a rigid itinerary to meet the timings for Big Bed Bash, Boulia and Cape York. After working out our route to take in a few visits to various people on the way, (and collect our order of Nespresso coffee pods!) we headed to the Sunday market in Mission Beach. Then we had brunch at a different café, before heading to the beach and watching the sky divers landing. We found two coconuts to take back with us, which Pete then attacked with his axe to remove the husks. The nuts inside looked intact, and he opened one up. It was lovely and fresh, so we had coconut water and flesh – delicious!


The husks were good for the campfire too. We went over at the usual time, and then again after dinner, taking the marshmallows and my super toasting fork. We were the only ones there and the fire embers were glowing so perfect for marshmallows. Will certainly miss this type of thing when we go back home; not sure we are allowed to have fires outside there!

On Monday we went for a drive south to Cardwell, and did the Cardwell Forest Drive. First we had a coffee in the town, bought some freshly caught local fish and then finally found the start of the drive. It’s around 26km starting from the centre of town, and takes you into the foothills of the Cardwell State Forest. Such different terrain again – you drive through pine forest to a number of different lookouts and water holes. Cardwell lookout was the first stop up a fairly steep track, then a 300m walk that seemed almost vertical! The view over the town and Hinchinbrook Channel was worth the walk though.


There were three other stopping places along the drive, all were water holes and creeks, but none were very full as there has been no rainfall for a while. Attie Creek, Dead Horse Creek and finally Cardwell spa pool. We sat on the edge of the water at the last one, and saw hundreds of little fish and tadpoles in the water. Pete fed them with the rice crackers from our lunch, and apparently at full flood there is an inviting pool, with natural depression in the creek bed which causes the water to bubble and swirl like a Jacuzzi. Apparently the cold water then flows into an adjoining swimming hole. We had to imagine that, and didn’t get to swim – there was a sign there saying it was not safe to do so due to lack of water. I guess it was because it was stagnant water rather than flowing. It was still a lovely place to visit, and we’d enjoyed the drive and scenery.


On the way back to Mission Beach we stopped in at the town of Tully. This town has the highest rainfall in Australia, and we had heard that to commemorate this there is a huge gumboot statue that you can walk up inside and look out. We got there and found the glowing golden gumboot behind railings – from the look of it, it had just been painted so was not open.


We wandered the main street, but were fairly uninspired – no one was really friendly and most of the shops were shut, with signs showing their opening hours as Weds to Saturday – it was Monday! The garbage bins were nicely decorated though - all with gumboots!

We got back home and had showers and got changed as we had decided to treat ourselves to dinner out at the pub around the corner. It was a cool evening, and nice to walk around to the pub. The food was good, not amazing, but included a salad bar and dessert bar in the price, so pretty good value for a three course meal, and no washing up!

Tuesday was to be our last day here at Mission Beach, and we had planned our journey through Townsville to collect our order of Nespresso coffee pods – no shops north of Brisbane sell them, so we placed an online order to be delivered to Townsville post office. It should have arrived on Tuesday, so we had planned to pass through on Wednesday to collect it, then go on another 100+kms to our chosen camp spot. However I received an email to say that the delivery had been delayed and would not be there until Wednesday. Oh no! So we decided to book in for another day here – not really a hardship! – and then head off on Thursday instead. Pete decided that morning that he really NEEDED some more of the amazing smoked bacon we had bought in Babinda, so went for a bit of a drive whilst I sorted out a bit of home admin and some bookings for camp sites, before going to the beach for a couple of hours. The “bit of a drive” was actually 87km each way, but he also got some smoked ham and found a barbers for a much needed haircut!

In the afternoon we sorted out our shopping list for the next week’s meals and went to Woolies, and for a quick wander around the shopping centre – only one shop open, so didn’t take long! We spent half an hour preparing and cryovacing the 2kg of bacon, and headed over for happy hour. It was quite a fun time as we are getting to know the regulars now, and there were also some new people today – we are still the youngest by far, but it is a pleasant way to pass an hour or so comparing travel stories, and having a drink as the day cools down. We came back to cook dinner – the Spanish mackerel that we had bought from Cardwell yesterday. It was really delicious – Pete pan fried it on the BBQ, and I cooked potatoes to a new recipe, and steamed broccoli. We decided it was a much nicer meal than the pub the night before, so lovely to have fresh food and eat it outside to the sound of the waves. We went back to the fire afterwards taking the marshmallows again, to find a whole lot of different people there – five of them – so met some more travellers, shared the marshmallows and chatted for a good hour with them.

On Wednesday I was awake early, and decided to go for a walk along the beach. It was beautiful. Hardly anyone there, and the sun had come up but was not yet hot as only about 7am. I made a coffee and took it with me. This place really is naturally stunning, and we can’t believe how few people are around.


When I got back I spent a bit of time sorting out the travel blog notes from Cape York – still so much to type up, but managed to get two days of notes done and three days of photos. Pete went over to the beach to do a spot of fishing, and I joined him later for a bit of a sunbathe and then we both went for a swim. After lunch we went down into Mission Beach for one last coffee at the cute café, had a wander around and then back home to start the preparations for dinner and packing up ready for an early departure in the morning. I chased up our coffee pod order to find that they had stuffed up the delivery address and the earliest the delivery would get to the correct place in Townsville was Friday – not happy! After 20 minutes on the phone new arrangements were made for the order to be returned and another to be sent by courier to Roma – where we will be on Monday. Grr….

After dinner we were sitting outside and the new neighbours that arrived today came over for a chat, brought their chairs and seemed not to want to leave! We wanted to get packed up ready for the next day. I finally said I was getting cold and needed to go in. We all said our goodbyes and we finished off packing up ready for the off tomorrow.

Posted by Capes Crusaders 03:19 Archived in Australia

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