Etty Bay – Cardwell – Bowen

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After a great long weekend around Cairns with our friend’s Megan and Liam, we have 5 days to get to Bowen to see our other friend’s Jess and Carl. We don’t really have too much planned at all so we head to a place Megan and Liam had suggested to check out on our way down south – Etty Bay.

What a great little piece of paradise this beach is, where the rainforest meets the sea; stunning sand and blue waters with beach swings, rocks and secluded areas to explore.


A quick stop turned into a few hours, after we explored we saw a group of skydivers land on the beach and were lucky enough to spot the two resident cassowaries wandering on the beach.


We then left in the afternoon to find a spot to camp, we passed some very small roadside stops but decided on a free camp behind a pub, Feluga Pub. This can sometimes be a dangerous decision but we have learnt to control ourselves (mostly), to cook our own food and only buy a couple of schooners to support the pub for letting us stay. And best of all we arrived right on 4:30pm, the perfect time for their happy hour with schooners for $4 each.


The next day the rains came, all day long, so we decided to stay put and clean out the inside of the caravan, after all our off road driving, dust and dirt just gets everywhere so this was long overdue. We then cracked out one of our board games, again, perfect timing as once we finished our game it was happy hour time! A great pub and stop over, definitely one we would suggest if you’re passing through.


Camp Location: Feluga Hotel

Cost = FREE (support the pub by spending $$ there)

Travelled From: Megan and Liam’s house, Mount Sheridan

Travelled:  124 kilometres

The next day we head into Cardwell, the only pinpoint we had marked on google as we had seen some amazing photos of the Cardwell Spa Pool. We stopped into the information centre just to check access with the caravan and check out the boat ramp.


On our way to the Spa pool we stopped into a couple of lookouts, a short steep hike that took you to views over Cardwell and Hinchinbrook island.  (The lady at the info centre said it was fine to drive the van up there… it wasn’t. Difficult to turn around and lucky no one else was there as one car in the car park would have made it impossible)


We arrive at the Cardwell Spa Pool, and found that we are here at the wrong time of year. The pool was closed as it was dry season so it didn’t have too much water in it, and the water that was in it was very murky, mainly from the natural minerals that make the pool so blue.


Not far down the road there was Attie Creek Falls, we walked up to the top falls area and found a stunning waterfall trickling into a waterhole. Zac was first into the cold water with a graceful entrance.


A careful climb up to where he found someone had previously written Smithy into the rocks.


How amazing this spontaneous stopover was, we had a much needed swim and enjoyed the whole place to ourselves.

Time to find camp, we spot a few free camps along the water north of Townsville, we check out one that was fully packed out, so pull into a Rest Area along Toomulla Beach. The area was along an inlet from the large beach area that you were able to walk to a few hundred metres down the road.

The next day, Zac had some time to run new cables for the caravan brakes, which ended up being quite difficult. He became a pro by the end of it, we are so lucky he is such a handy man with everything otherwise we would be spending a small fortune on services and other things we have needed to do on the road.

Some much needed relaxing time was in order so we explored the inlet near us and found the larger beach area to have a tan and nap.


After a long day, we decide to just stay another night here and get a move on in the morning to make it to Bowen.

Camp Location: Toomulla Beach Rest Area

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Feluga Hotel

Travelled:  174 kilometres

Yay, time to see our great mates Jess and Carl, we cannot wait to see them and enjoy the weekend with them. We arrive just after 4pm, park up along the street and head in for hugs, beers and of course an afternoon platter.

The next morning (after getting a quick pic at the big mango) we head out to the new block of land they had just bought, lucky us, to be one of the 1st to see it! Surrounded by mountains, sugar cane fields and only 15 minutes from Airlie Beach, they found an amazing spot! They are building their own design house on this block, so we cannot wait to see the final result next year.


Lunch with a view at Anchor Bar in Airlie, Jess and I spoil ourselves with a cheeky cocktail with lunch.


We head back home in Bowen, the girls sneaking a quick nap on the couch while the boys gear up to go fishing for the afternoon/night.

The boys are ready to catch big with massive new lures and head off in Carls boat while Jess, pepper (their dog) and I go for a hike around Bowens stunning beaches.


The boys get back late, sadly with no fish but with some strong efforts and stories of tackling big giant trevally, fish too big to stop. Unfortunately their gear couldn’t handle the size of catch, but this would of been great fun and miracle if they were able to get one in the boat.

Our last day together was too good to be true. We head out in the morning, all in the boat this time for some exploring. We head to middle island, a small island out from Bowen with a few small secluded beaches around the perimeter. We troll around it with 2 fishing rods out the back and soon spot a massive whale! How lucky to catch a look at this massive whale, just chilling in the water, we actually thought it was sleeping as it didn’t move too much. We then pick our own little beach spot to pull up, Jess and I go for a quick snorkel around some of the rocks and we test out the gopro dome again for some fun.


We then head to Gloucester island, on our way there we see some more whales in the distance and come across a pod of dolphins swimming near our boat, this is too good to be true! We pull up along the beach for some lunch and quick tan before the wind picks up and it’s time to head back home. What a perfect sunny day we enjoyed on the water, one that would not be possible without our good friends Jess and Carl.


We enjoy the last of our time together playing a hilarious board game called Articulate, we laugh so hard for so long, topping of our amazing weekend together.

Camp Location: Jess and Carl’s house, Bowen, QLD

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Toomulla Beach Rest Area

Travelled:  250 kilometres

Thank you so much Jess and Carl for having us, we could not of asked for a better weekend around Bowen.

We only have 1 week left of this amazing experience; this will be spent with Zac’s family. We hand the caravan back over to his parents, and make use of Zac’s boat they have brought up with them to camp around seventeen seventy for a few days.

On the way down to Seventeen Seventy to meet the family, we were also lucky enough to meet Zac’s grandparents as one of our stopovers. We met just over half way from Bowen to 1770 at a road side stopover in Yaamba. His grandparents have been caravanning now for around 50 years, so you can imagine how excited we both were to catch up on the road. We arrive at 12:30pm midday so we can get in as much quality time as possible before having to move on the next day. We tell them a few of our stories and show them our maps where we have marked all the spots we have been to so far. As grandad always does, he gives us heaps of stuff, so we scored another camp oven, eskie table, zip ties and even our own portable fold-up solar panel. We were so glad we were able to stop in to see them, as they are travel bugs, it doesn’t happen too often. We would have loved more time with them but we are sure we will catch them on the road someone sooner rather than later.


Camp Location: Yaamba Rest Area

Cost = FREE

Travelled From: Jess and Carl’s house, Bowen, QLD

Travelled:  487 kilometres

We now have a few days exploring and fishing around seventeen seventy with the Smith’s, hopefully we will have some fish to show you soon!


Holly xx



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