Half an hour after leaving we joined the Bruce Highway at Proserpine as we continued on towards Mackay a further 124 km away. It wasn't long before we passed through Sarina as we continued south. It was another 64 km until we passed by Carmila. There is a free camp at Carmila Beach where we have stayed in the past.
18 km south of Carmilla we arrived at the small seaside settlement of Clairview. The Bruce Highway is only several hundred metres from the coast here. Its the only point along this highway where the coast can be seen from Bowen in the north to the Gold Coast in the south, which is a distance of just over 2000 km. Lucky for us that the tide was in because when it's out the mud flats don't look very appealing. There is caravan park here and if you are self sufficient you can camp right beside the beach.
After passing the turnoff to St Lawrence for the past forty odd years we were quite surprised with this little town. The towns streets were very wide and reminded us a lot of Normanton in the gulf country. It wasn't until we read some of the history about the town that we could understand why.
The town is one of the oldest on the Queensland coast and was originally a main port and a very prosperous town. Gold and copper from the mines inland, along with cattle were exported from here. The towns growth however was short lived and its population rarely exceeded 250 people.
The courthouse was built in 1872 and is now the local Police Station. It has been repainted in its original colours:
These pylons are all that remain from the original bridge:
And the new bridge over St Lawrence Creek:
Our camp for the evening was a free camp several kilometres from town. There were toilets, a dump point, coin operated showers and water taps scattered throughout the area. It was quite a large area and when we stayed, there were about thirty groups camped here with plenty of room to spare.
Another early start as we left St Lawrence this morning just before 7:00. We were trying to get several hours under our belts before the strong winds returned. An hour later we passed by Marlborough with another 105 km until we arrived on the outskirts of Rockhampton. It took us ages getting through Rocky as we struck red lights at every intersection.
South of Rockhampton we were held up for about ten minutes waiting for an eight metre wide load heading north:
Now we were on the homeward stretch for the day. Our camp tonight was the Calliope River a further 108 km south. Its another free camp and we camped here on the 11th July on our way north. On that day there were more than sixty vans camped here but tonight we countered just thirty.
Yet another early start as we left Calliope at 6:15 in an effort to beat the winds yet again. Our coffee break was taken at the free camp just north of Gin Gin. Our breaks are normally around 10:30 but because we left so early this break was taken at 8:30.
It wasn't long until we passed through Childers and then left the Bruce Highway at Howard as we took some minor roads through Takura before the final 22 km run into Hervey Bay. We camped at the Happy Wanderer caravan park just 400 metres from Shelley Beach.
Spent two days at Hervey Bay having a look around and would certainly come back here again once all the southerners have left. October and November would be the ideal time. We swam on both days with the water being lovely and clear but just a little cooler than Airlie Beach.
On one of our days we lunched at the Boat Club which overlooks the marina. Unfortunately I chose the fresh Hervey Bay scallops on a bed of rice with a mornay sauce and grilled cheddar cheese. What a mistake, it had absolutely no flavour.
We made our way south to the Sunshine Coast without booking a site at the Maroochydore Beach holiday park. When we arrived just before midday we were surprised to find that just about all the sites were taken. School children on the Sunshine Coast were having a pupil free day on the preceding Monday making for a busy long weekend.
If we had arrived that afternoon then I'm sure we would have missed out all together.
Our days here were mostly spent at the beach with two part days taken up visiting the Bushtracker factory at Kunda Park.
After five days we headed south towards home. Our drive today was just 250 km but included driving south on the Sunshine Motorway and then down past the Gold Coast. These roads are always choked with traffic and these conditions continued until we crossed the Tweed River. From here it was just another 30 km until we arrived at the Yelgun rest area for the evening.
Amazingly the caravan parking area is on sloping ground, so to level the van the 4wd is driven onto chocks to ensure a pleasant nights sleep.
The remaining 260 km home now takes extra time south of Grafton. Much of this road now has a speed limit of just 80 km/h with the upgrade to the Pacific Highway.