On the Hunt for Joy – repeat

This week, Cee’s challenge asks for a repeat and I’m repeating a trip to Uluru, that iconic rock. It doesn’t matter what time of day I see it, I just love the colours and textures.https://ceenphotography.com/on-the-hunt-for-joy-challenge/

Sunset
Sunrise

None of these images are culturally sensitive to the Anangu people, the traditional owners.

Did you know that there have been many theories about Uluru – meteor etc., from 10000 years ago. It’s at least 550 million years old and made of a few rock types, some ancient.

The shaping occurs through erosion and below the surface, the rock continues.

Visit it if you come to Australia, but it is pretty much in the middle of our island, so demands a lengthy drive.

You won’t be sorry. It will touch your soul.

Hat, water and sunscreen!

Cape Palmerston

Recommendations are constantly made, when you are on the road, about good, cheap places to stay. One such suggestion we received was for Cape Palmerston. We were told it was beautiful and, as part of Queensland’s national parks, the rate to camp is $6.50pp/night. It was unforgettable.

How hard could it be? The road to Palmerston was dirt off the highway, which was now sugar cane country, but reviews were good and nothing to indicate any special skills or vans, apart from ‘recommended with a 4WD’. So off the highway we ventured and tentatively followed signs until the final turn-off, where we saw two people inflating their tyres. Uh-oh. We stopped and had a conversation, during which they advised driving over the hill, keeping well to the left, following in others’ tracks, unless we could ride their rise, stay well away from the water, watch the tide so we did’t get caught in quicksand (did she say ‘quicksand’?) and we should make it to the first camp. Stay there.

It would be accurate to say we had some reservations and the woman suggested some sand driving would stand us in good stead. Over the rise we drove and saw some other cars, to either side, well back from the beach. We decided to have lunch and then head back where we had come, then forward in our journey, but when one couple came over and said they were moving on and we could have their spot for a camp…well, we moved in.

I’m still uncertain that Queensland Parks intended this spot for a camp, but I got online and paid our fee, and soon we were exploring the beach.

The tide was about 40 m out from our camp and receding. We had taken maybe 30 steps when a movement on the sand caught my eye. Crabs! But no ordinary crabs; these were travelling forward (not sideways) and carrying bulbous blue heads/bodies .

If we approached them, they stopped and spun themselves under the sand in a second. They travelled in groups, alone, in a line and in any direction. The sand was alive!

The entertainment having lasted a good hour, we explored some more and found very unusual jellyfish nested in the sand (waiting for unsuspecting tucker?)

then tucked into dinner. As the sun set, our neighbours fished at the water’s edge, our cameras s clicked and we noticed the waters beginning to return towards us. No cause for alarm, the signs of last night’s high tide were at least a metre from our door. And the others were in a tent, further forward, so any cries of alarm would alert us in time.

Sunrise was lovely and, although we had both spent some of the night listening to waves lap near our door, we awoke high and dry. A little trouble with midgies, which were also new to us.

Plenty of cars had taken to the sand trail the day before, during the late afternoon and early evening, speeding off in other people’s tracks or on their rise, way off to the point, where we hoped they avoided the quicksand and made it around to the first campsite.

An unforgettable experience, nonetheless. Sorry Queensland National Parks if we took a liberty. Cape Palmerston is for the more adventurous and experienced and by all accounts is excellent for fishing and beaching.

Take your hate, sunscreen, water and 4WD manual.

Yeppoon

Approaching Rockhampton from Emerald, you face huge mountains that diminish to rolling hills as you pass them and the town, itself, seemed quite hilly and winding. Our destination was 45km from here, so we continued without a backward glance. From this approach, we were in our park and had not seen any water, even though the ocean was less than 50m away. The warm air hit us as soon as we got out of the car and we thought, finally, we had escaped winter.

Cooee Bay

Our camp was in Cooee Bay (a very Australian name) and the beach only a 5 minute walk away and the main town only about 20 minutes. Yeppoon has been a popular holiday spot for decades and people come here for fishing, walks, nature and a quiet beach location.

fishing in the river or ocean is popular

There are cafes and a general shopping area, but the esplanade screams family fun. A tiered park, water park and endless lagoon draw crowds.

The yacht club has been here for years, so the whole waterside vacation theme is enhanced by the murals on public amenities.

There are national parks and nature parks nearby and we visited Byfield State Forest and Bluff Point at Kemp Beach. Byfield State Forest has a few accessible areas and getting to Upper Stony Creek, we passed pine trees, quite obviously planted, which I wasn’t expecting. Upper Stony Creek is a popular section for people to visit and swim in the creek, but it is pretty small, so perhaps set out early. Camping is available here and at Water Park. If you are an experienced 4WD enthusiast, then there is Byfield National Park, mostly sandy tracks that lead out to stunning views and fishing (I read). We were content with the aforementioned sites, but the walks were incredibly small and easy, so don’t go for that.

I did learn, on one of these walks, that trees grow buttress roots to trap water and soil and nutrients, that would otherwise go sliding down the slope in heavy rain. In tropical forests, it is very common and apparently any tree can do it.

Our purpose in travelling to Kemp Beach and doing the Bluff Point walk was to see turtles. A friend accompanying us thought it was unlikely, but guess what – turtles. From high on the cliff above we could see them surfacing for air and swimming down again. The walk to the top gives an amazing view of Keppel Bay and the various islands and is a moderate level. I highly recommend it, but it is pretty hard to find Kemp Beach, as the only unsigned Beach in the region, so look for the toilet block with turtles painted in them!

I came across a variety of bird life in the region and we would definitely come back here. The nights were cold, but the days were lovely and warm.

Olive-backed yellow-breasted sunbird just under the top flower.

Safe travels. Take water and sun hats.