Around Australia: Rockhampton to Sarina Beach

Leaving Rockhampton centre we passed several malls and garages. I was amused to see this sigh outside a car wash. Our dog used to hate having a bath and one of us had to hold her while the other scrubbed. I can see why it is DIY.

Once we had left the town behind A1 had the waterpipe on the left and the railway on the right. Today’s first diversion was to Capricorn Caves which lie a few kilometres off the highway north of Rockhampton. The caves were discovered in the 19th century by explorers and have been a tourist attraction since then. At one point the owners’ supplemented their income by extracting guano left by the many bats which roost in the caves. This eventually ceased. Unlike limestone caves anywhere else that we have visited, these are dry caves. Only in the wet season does any water enter them. Hence the stalagmites and stalactites are very small. Usually in Australia things are bigger than in the UK and Europe but this is one exception.

Tree roots make their way into the cave.

We chose to do the one-hour tour as we had a couple of hundred miles to drive today. The guide was very informative and the acoustics in the space known as the cathedral were tremendous. They even hold operas here in November, Carol concerts in December and weddings in the dry season. After squeezing through a narrow passage, we crossed a couple of bridges and were out.

While having our coffee, a Brush Turkey who was busy constructing his nest came to have a look at us.

Back on the highway it eventually descends and rejoins the coast at Kalarka. We have seen a lot of dead wallabies by the road but today spotted a live one feeding on the grass verge. We found our motel on Sarina Beach mid-afternoon giving me some time for beachcombing before sunset at 6.00pm.

There are a lot more shells, pieces of coral, branches etc on the high tide line than on other beaches we have visited on this coast so far. There is also not very much plastic rubbish visible although I suspect microfibres and very small pieces will be here like they are in many places. We probably will not have time to go out to the Barrier Reef on this trip, so I collected a small piece of coral and a couple of tiny shells for my collection. Sarina Town has a huge cane sugar mill and distillery producing ethanol. The other major industry is farming (cattle and sugar cane) and just north of the town is a very large coal distribution point. We saw a long train carrying trucks of coal heading south. The beach is pleasantly quiet at this time of year. Yesterday’s mileage was 263 miles and todays 200. The total mileage for the trip so far is 1677.