Having spent over a week in Outback Queensland we left Richmond and headed east along the Flinders Highway towards the coast. The trip took the best part of the day and saw us travel through the towns of Hughenden and Charters Towers before arriving on the Coast. We chose to stay in Ayr on the southern side of Townsville before continuing our journey from north to south.
We stayed at the Alva Beach Tourist Park which is about 20klms out of Ayr. It was a nice sized park with flat camp sites and clean amenities although they were on the older side. We found that the term ‘beach’ was not really accurate. It was more like tidal sand flats and to get to the water was about a 300 metre walk across the sand flats. With the tide coming in quite rapidly at that time it would be very easy to become stuck. However it was still a pretty spot and very quiet as well.
The next morning we continued south with our first stop being Airlie Beach. The last time we visited Airlie Beach was in 2004 and I couldn’t get over the changes. Apart from the fact that the town was severely damaged during Cyclone Yasi in 2010 the place has grown so much. There is now a major shopping centre at Cannonvale.
Airlie Beach itself still has a touristy feel and there were still plenty of backpackers to be seen. The views from Shute Harbour were still as spectacular as ever and it made me wish that we had enough time to catch the ferry over to Hamilton Island for the day.
Continuing south we arrived in Mackay in the late afternoon. Heading beach-side again we stayed at Bucasia Beach Caravan Resort. Again this was just a perfect spot to stay and it truly was beach front. We only had to walk a few metres from our camp site and we were on the beach. Just perfect after a days travelling.
Dinner was cooked on the communal barbecue whilst chatting to the caretaker of the park. All in all it was a lovely spot to stay. An added bonus was the large park area and playground right next door. It was the ideal spot for the kids to let off some steam after travelling all day.