Friday, 22 November 2013

Hydeaway Bay and Queensland's Holy Land

Back on dry land we headed back to the Yongala centre to meet Jess and to grab a quick feed. It was only 2:30pm so instead of staying in Ayr for another day we decided to head down the coast and see where we could get to.

We were not far from the big Backpackers location Airlie Beach but we both know what drunk English backpackers look like so we were looking for something a little off the beaten track. Fortunately we had been given the recommendation from one of the guys on the Yongala trip to head to a place called Dingo Beach and then take the dirt road to Hydeaway Bay.

It was a quick drive and we arrived at the resort an hour before sunset. The resort on Hydeaway Bay didn't provide camping spaces so they recommended that we just camp 2 minutes down the road in a  free car park, and come back for some drinks instead.

So we set up camp 10 meters from the beach in this quiet deserted car park, and decided to take our little camping table and chairs down to the beach for our dinner. With the Whitsundays in the background we are going to be hard pushed to find a nicer location to eat our dinner.

After a few medicinal gin and tonics at the resort bar, purely to keep the mosquitos at bay, we walked along the beach to our tent and grabbed ourselves a night sleep.

We woke to the sound of the ocean lapping at the beach, and after breakfast we packed up and reluctantly drove south and away from the picturesque Hydeaway Bay. With the views we were privy to you can understand why it might have been difficult to leave, but we were happy with our discovery and we had to make some progress down Australia's east coast.

We wanted to continue our theme of visiting places slightly off the main tourist trail so we started the long drive down going past Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays and onto Seventeen Seventy. On the map the two towns look so close, but as you soon learn Australia can be so deceptive and it was a good 8 hours on the road before we arrive in Seventeen Seventy.

The town is called Seventeen Seventy or Town of 1770 because that was the year that Lieutenant James Cook (he wasn't yet a Captain at the time), decided to stand on Australian soil for only the second time (first being Botany Bay near Sydney) and the first time he stood on Queensland.  So Seventeen Seventy is almost the holy land of the Sunshine state!

Thanks to the rally Jess and I are now veterans to the long distance hauling so we arrived in Seventeen Seventy around 3pm which gave us plenty of time to set up camp, go for a walk down the beach at the close by Agnes Water, and cook ourselves some Rockhampton steaks.

We had been slightly disappointed by the steaks in Richmond, and not necessarily because the meat was bad, but we had ordered them at the end of Melbourne Cup day which we suspect meant the order was taken down wrong or possibly that the chef was a little drunk. Either way, it was time to rectify this and cook ourselves some good quality Queensland steak.

Cooked on the camp BBQs with nothing but a little oil and seasoning we quite proudly had them cooked to perfection. There really is nothing more Australian than eating barbecued steak outdoors with the sun shining next to a beach. After dinner we settled in for the night, deciding to take a look at the exact location James Cook landed in Australia tomorrow.

The next day we were woken up nice and early by the local cockatoos so we headed down to the bay where the first 'whitefellas' stood on Queensland soil. The area is all very nice and pretty, with lots of camping and BBQ areas catering to families with young children. The scenery is also very lovely with the bays calm waters making it easy to understand why Cook choose this place to come ashore.

However, the place is pretty small, so after a quick walk around and a brief paddle we felt as though we had better make a move and continue on down the coast.

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