29th Apr 2012 - 2nd May 2012 -
Next stop after Noosa was Bundaberg which was a 3 hour journey up the East Coast. Bundaberg is home to the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery, and to us more commonly known for the Bundaberg Ginger Beer, which we love and think is the best ginger beer around.
We visited the distillery but as we are not that into rum, and on a backpackers allowance we decided not to opt for the guided tour but just looked around the shop and ended up buying a bottle of 'Bundy' rum. Bundy rum accounts for more than half the rum consumed in Australia.
We also visited Bert Hinklers house- Bert was a pioneer Australian aviator and inventor. He designed and built early aircraft before being the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and the first person to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Hinkler prompted the birth of Qantas showing how easy it was to fly around. He was born in Bundaberg but had moved to England, when he died his house was brought back to his home town and is now a museum.
Leaving Bundy we done a massive shop and now have pretty much all the food we need for the rest of our journey including lots of Dairy Milk 'Marvellous Creations' chocolate bars, which we only just found existed.
Then we drove to Agnes Water and the Town of 1770. Agnes Water is a small beach and surfing area, and 1770 is another one named by captain Cook. This was the first place in Queensland he reached (2nd place in Oz, Sydney being first) and he arrived in the year 1770- get it? Cool name though. Had a walk along the little promenade then found a monument of the exact spot Cook first stood (experts retraced his mapping to find it).
Then it was on to Rockhampton for the night- we have already been to Rockhampton on the way down, there's not too much to do but the drives are getting longer now and it's at a good distance apart. Rockhampton is the Beef capital of Oz so to celebrate we ate at a nice pub and Shan had lamb and I had pizza (haha).
In the morning we made our way to Airlie Beach which was a long drive of 490km (but they'll get longer). The landscape is now more tropical as we reached the Tropic of Capricorn at Rockhampton. Also the sugar cane plantations fill our views.
Arrived into Airlie Beach and were very surprised how lovely the place was. With islands scattering the horizon and boats sparkling in the waters, the streets lined like a European holiday destination with shops selling hats, sunglasses and postcards. New apartment blocks and hotels clung to the hills and it was a very happy place, there was even a street market and at night a live music festival was on. The main selling point was the sand-artists making dragon and elephant sculptures, it was tacky but fun. Because of deadly stingrays there's a man made lagoon which we sunbathed at and made good use of their showers.
Of course there'd be a downside- strict signs saying no overnight parking, but we headed inland a few minutes and found a quiet street with no signs, there was so many campervans around, don't know where they all went.
We also booked a few more trips through 'Travel Bugs' who were by far the cheapest 'backpacker travel agency' that we looked at. We are going diving in Cairns and a boat trip in Darwin, they also threw in some freebies like food and drink in Airlie and Cairns. At night we went to Mama Africa's- a bar decorated as Africa and got our free drinks.
The reason we came to Airlie was for our boat trip to the Whitsundays.....