Friday, 2 October 2009

Town of 1770 to Gladstone

October 2

Did I mention the sandflies? In spite of applying quantities of Rid, we ended up with a few bites. Later in Gladstone we heard that the Town of 1770 area is notorious for them.

Called Town of 1770 because in that year Captain Cook came ashore on the headland there, it is mostly national park with a few scattered holiday cottages. No shops. The headland is certainly very pretty. We had a morning walk there and enjoyed the views.

A foreshore park provided interesting observations from the native inhabitants of Cook and Banks' visit.

While we were there we saw two local employees dusting the benches and railings before taking their midmorning tea break

Throughout our time in this pretty place,we couldn't help noticing a strong fishy smell in the air. Back at the larger town of Agnes Water we discovered that the smell was due to a red tide (algae bloom) that had drifted in, coating the local beach with slime.

Soldiering on we took a detour to a small blip on the map called Rosedale which claimed to have a historic hotel. The hotel wasn't much but Michael liked the old water tank beside the railway line, and I liked the hoop pine next to it.

Several utes passed us while we were there, all with a cattle dog or dogs in the back. Very country Australia.

Approaching Gladstone with no great hopes of Queensland's most industrial coastal town, we nevertheless followed the signs to its botanical garden. Surprise: though small it was well designed, the plants were grouped and labelled, and the whole place showed the signs of attention. I wondered if the groves of eucalyptus were the original bushland skilfully thinned, or whether they had been cleverly planted.

In the palm section we admired this Burrawang palm with its metre-long fronds, a marvellous red flower and a suitably marvellous botanical name - Lepidozamia peroffskyana.

The artificial lake, originally the water source for the town, was rich in waterfowl and flowering lotus.

Well, after such an introduction, is it any wonder that Gladstone had the best caravan park to date: spacious grassy sites, large shady trees, quiet occupants, WiFi available, friendly helpful owners.

It seemed a good idea to kick back there for a couple of days, catch up on mail, do laundry, wait for all the holidaymakers to go back to work and school again.

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