Mangoes and Bowen are synonymous for Australians. What a pity it was to visit this mecca for all mango lovers out of season. Still, the town has its attractions. Horseshoe bay is one of the nicest beaches I have been to. There are corals growing on the rocks at the high water mark. I was amazed by how soft coral feels. There's also plenty of dead coral to collect on the beach.
Bowen is also one of the gateways to the Whitsunday Islands. One of them, King island I think, can be seen in the distance. Fishing tours are offered everywhere as are reef tours.
We met a lovely old couple who told us about the corals and had a spare set of goggles which they gave to Nina so she could see the corals. We spent way to long here swimming and sea shell collecting and had to hustle to make a few more kilometres before dark.
We were hoping to make Rockhampton before nightfall but this was an illusion. There are not so many places to stay on this stretch of road. Marlborough has one Hotel and one Motel both of which were not too inviting. Also no shops so we pressed on to Rocky.
We got there by about 8pm, settled into a Motel next to the Botanic gardens but did no sightseeing. We were all a bit tired of tourism and just wanted to get home by now. I checked Google maps and decided to take the inland route back to Brisbane since the time was supposed to be about the same and we figured the road would be less crowded. This was the case until Miles.
One of the pubs on the road caught my eye. It seems the town consists of just this pub.
Unfortunately our trip ended on a slightly sour note. Near the town of Dalby we were pulled over by a police car and fined for speeding. The road is great here, much better than most of the Bruce highway, and we were just following traffic, not passing anyone and not being passed. Why us? The criteria chosen is anybody's guess. Obvious tourists perhaps?
Anyway, chastened I now set the cruise control at exactly 100km and now became a real danger on the road. At every opportunity cars and trucks passed us. I had to apply the brakes several times as vehicles swerved back into the lane to avoid hitting oncoming vehicles. But its not about revenue raising, its all about road safety.
Conclusion, take the Bruce highway and avoid the "Dalby Tax".
After Toowoomba the road turns into a highway and the driving got easier. By evening we had reached the Gold Coast. More than 7000km later our 3 week trip to the Cape is over. Now I have a clearer idea of just how huge Queensland is, especially considering that we saw very little of it actually. To think that my original idea was to return via Uluru and the Simpson Desert. Seems quite funny now.
This is a picture from Burleigh heads, Gold Coast. We went for a walk on the headland and saw Whales in the distance. The Sun was shining, surfers were enjoying the small but clean waves and despite it being a Tuesday there were people everywhere enjoying a glorious winters day.
When one lives on the Gold Coast is it really necessary to go on holiday?