29th August to 30th August: Townsville to Airlie Beach

During our drive from Townsville to Ayr we passed by mountain ranges, even more road works and sugarcane plantations.  Here in the Burdikin is where arsonists have been randomly setting fire to the sugarcane; from news reports we have learned that the harvesting for the entire area is managed and planned so that the farmer’s sugarcane fires are incorporated into the plan.  These random acts of arson are messing with this planning and although the crops are not lost, the harvesting timetable is disrupted (we are guessing the cane trains timetables are also factored into the planning of the harvesting).

We stopped in Ayr to top up our food stores, and then crossed the Burdekin Bridge, which is extremely long and high and is built over a very wide section of the Burdikin River and flood plain.  After driving through the Cape Upstart National Park the surroundings changed to mango plantations, cattle and horses.  We stopped at Queens Beach, Bowen for lunch, arriving at the Flametree Tourist Park, adjacent the Conway National Park, Airlie Beach mid-afternoon.  The remainder of the day we set up camp caught up with the washing and explored around the surrounding area.

Next day we drove over to Shute Harbour, where most of the island ferries and boat hire businesses are located – very picturesque!

Next stop Airlie Beach, where we parked the car and walked the town, which is very tourist oriented, but also very pretty.

That night we had just returned to the caravan from a walk when Derick said ‘turn the light on’ and there was a mother and baby possum foraging around looking for food.  Didn’t have time to take photos, they were not at all concerned about us or the light; they looked at us and then just kept on going :).

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