Author: Mr A
Location: Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach, Queensland
Wednesday – As we were packing up to leave Mutanee I had some problems with our Cruisemaster air suspension which delayed us a little. One of the airbags decided to inflate to its max, entirely of its own free will, leaving our Zone tilted over at an unseemly angle. This caravan ownership thing is not always plain sailing you know, most weeks we are dealing with some issue or other. Poor us 🙂 It seems to be par for the course from what we hear on the camps.
At least Zone answers the phone and try their best to help resolve problems, which is more than we hear many of their competitors do. For instance, the largest manufacturer in the industry is currently being taken to court by the ACCC in relation to how they have responded to warranty claims.
So, as quickly as the bag had inflated, it decided to behave and deflate, and we were level again and prancing up the good old Bruce Highway, our close friend for so many of these last weeks.
The short drive was just great, with what Australians call mountains (speed bumps if you’re a Swiss skier) framing both sides of the road, cane fields right to the edge of bitumen adding to the tropical feel. We are so lucky to be travelling here right at the end of the rainy season when the greens are just so intense. We are also just ahead of the grey nomad wave that is rolling up the coast behind us…gulp.
So we arrive at our next camp in Wongaling Beach, nestled between South Mission beach and Mission Beach proper (confused?…we were..the locals now call the whole lot Mission Beach) and find a beautiful manicured campground full of glossy shrubs, palm trees, thick, lush grass, and almost no caravans. Bliss!
We lost no time in jumping on the bikes and heading off for a 22km explore. We had seen a multi-use track marked through the Djiru National Park, so we rode out of town to find that. We had high hopes of spotting a cassowary, but they were not to be seen today. Was that anything to do with my “Crusher” as we call it, charging through the woods with all the stealth of an elephant stampede?
These 60 kilo flightless birds had a rough time after the last cyclone here 7 years ago, as their traditional food sources had been wrecked, so they headed out into the streets and many met an untimely end on a car bonnet. Now apparently their numbers seem to have stabilised thankfully. Lots of signs ask drivers to keep their speed down to 60 – yet I had a massive trail of drivers behind me when I did. Disapointing.
We were excited today to be heading out to Dunk Island, which sits just offshore from Mission Beach. What the booking agent had forgot to mention was that we would be wading out waist deep though the beach break to board our water taxi. No jetty in sight. A little wet, we settled for the ten minute transfer out there. For $40 return a head it seemed OK value for this part of the world (I can hear my friends in Asia giggling) and we were soon unloaded into another world.
We knew there had been major damage to the island and the resort that sits upon it, from cyclone Yasi seven years ago, but to see this ramshackle group of buildings that once was a world class destination was a little depressing. Apparently it was bought in 2012 by a private investor (Peter Bond) but the family have literally done nothing with it since, so its just sits there decaying.We skipped past this testament to the fragility of investments in this part of the world and hiked up to a lookout on the peak of Mount Kootaloo, and when I say up I mean…straight up.Forty-five minutes of pretty sticky walking brought us this incredible view across the Family Group of Islands.Quickly we were joined by 5 backpackers who had come over with us on the water taxi, and finally caught up with the Agile Andersons, we headed back down for a picnic lunch on a deserted beach. Well, until the backpackers turned up again…they really are keeping this economy afloat up here.We had a very bumpy ride back to our pick up point and even wetter on the way back into the beach, but who cares when the water is 27 degrees and not a croc in sight..and let me tell you I was looking hard.
Soon we were ready to step out for dinner and sample the culinary delights on offer at the local Thai. With expectations firmly in check, we were absolutely delighted by the quality of the food.
The owner and his wife built the place 13 years ago, and have literally weathered the storms since. They grow the hard-to-source herbs themselves – music to our ears – as well as some of the salad and vegetables. We would throughly recommend you stop in at Nana’s Thai if you are around this area. It’s right next to the Dunk Island View campground where we are staying and it’s BYO (we took wine and glasses!)
Every box ticked…well the Thai Spotify music with ad breaks was a bit dodgy but an atmospheric accompaniment none the less.