Charters Towers to Bluewater = 167km (Charters Towers to Macrossan RA = 24km, Macrossan RA to Reid River RA = 56km, Reid River RA to Bluewater = 87km)
Cummulative total = 4117km
Day 1 -
We decided to take 3 days to get just north of Townsville - previously in Charters Towers we were warned that Townsville would be booked out and very busy this weekend with their V8 car race (and again next weekend with some 'big truck/wheel' thing!) so we decided to bypass Townsville and revisit it on the way back down.
But first we were glad to get out of the campground at Charters Towers - it is a very nice campground but the sites were small and close and poor Kouta had to be tied up for most of the day so we decided to go out to a rest area 20km east of Charters. So the first day was very short only 24km and it was undulating all the way! It wasn't hart undulations but there isn't a flat piece of road up to that point and if I remember right it isn't flat until around Mingela.
The rest area is a huge open area alongside the Burdekin river and there is still some flowing water in it. You are greeted at the start of the rest area with a warning not to swim in the river as it may have crocodiles - Neil believes that it would be unlikely that they would be this far inland, but with evidence along the river where the river had flooded I think maybe they could actually have floated in during the flooding! So I did always look out for something that looked like 2 small eye bumps sticking out of the water but never saw any. Now the camp 5 book said this place had drinking water - but unfortunately the place has been run down so there are the remains of non potable water signs so we are not too sure if it is okay to drink the water - we didn't really bring enough for Macrossan rest area and Reid River area as we know there is no drinking water there so since the river was flowing we decided to use the river water for cups of tea and coffee - and it was really nice clear water and lovely to drink!
Our little camp spot by the river was by far the best simply because we were the only ones that could get to it since it was a little uneven for vans etc but for a tent we could find a flattish area for our small tent
There was at least 24 other groups with us and all of us were far apart from each other that we couldn't really see each other! Off course we weren't far from the Burdekin River train bridge but that wasn't going to keep up awake!
While lounging around early evening we were visited by a small kangaroo and then another bigger one - since the flooding the grass in some areas are very lush and our camp spot I think was a top eating ground for kangas!
Kouta saw the above kanga and we had to harness him or else he would have tried to take him on! so poor Kouta was just sitting there ... trembling with anticipation!
We both had a good nights sleep and awoke in the morning to a light drizzle so the long grass around the camp spot was wet and by the time we started our feet and sandals were absolutely soaked!
Day 2 -
The 2nd day was a little longer to Reid River rest area and we basically continued up and down to Mingela and then from there you basically drop off the face of the earth! It is a nice down hill and you come out on these plains and before you know it you are surrounded by these huge mountain ranges either side of you - absolutely gorgeous to look at and so different compared to what we were looking at this time last week!
Basically it is like from now one - all these ranges are part of the divide (off which we will go over again at Innisfail) but what is striking about riding through here is that you are on the flat plains and then all off a sudden these mountains pop up - they are so drastic that they just appear out of flat ground - there are no rolling hills before them from the flat plains they just stick up - off course you don't go up them but just pass by them!
We had a tail wind today which helped us and I am sure we will get one again tomorrow to help us get through Townsville.
The rest area was quite full, at least 10 other groups and once we got there there was no signs on the taps saying that the water is non potable so Neil boils some water and makes us a cuppa tea and I taste mine and said that it is salty ... then he remembers oh yeah that's right the water is not good as it is salty! mmmmm Salty Earl Grey tea ... yummy! so we did have drinking water with us and bought some river water with us too! We decided that we would get up extra early to try and get away and be in Townsville early to look for a tent and get supplies and then continue on to Bluewater.
Day 3 -
Well we did wake nice and early and it was pitch black so the torches had to come on for a while so we could make and eat brekky. We managed to get away at 7.30am and we had a lovely strong tailwind to Townsville so we made very good time (arriving at 11am).
Again the scenery is really stunning with the ranges on both sides.
This is a photo of part of the Bowling Green Bay National park - and one our way back down we will be on the other side of this park when we head south. It is a pity sometimes that we have a dog as we cannot go into these parks as they don't allow dogs.
Anyway it was lovely riding and then we get to Townsville and it is really busy with traffic everywhere which we are not use to. Luckily for us the major roads have a bike lane which made it easier for us. We found Anaconda and didn't end up buying a tent - they are too small for us! We left Anaconda around lunchtime and continued north onto the Bruce highway and we were surprised just how much traffic there is but that is due to the V8's.
We picked up supplies at Woodlands Woolworths and continued to Bluewater caravan park - we have yet to see the sea yet and hopefully we will see it at Balgal beach.
Tomorrow we will do a short ride to Rollingstone and stay at the rest area for 2 days and then onto Ingham.