Mon 12 June - Marlborough to Bowen.
After the long day yesterday, we decided not to do the big slog to Townsville, but to pull up stumps at Bowen. This would allow us time for some site seeing in Mackay and Airlie Beach.
After the complimentary breakfast, we packed up, fuelled up and headed north along the Bruce Hwy. My original plan was to follow the "Old Bruce Hwy” out through Lotus Ck and the Funnel Ck. This would take us down the Sarina Range into Sarina. But I got some local knowledge from the cafe and found out that the road had sustained lots of damage and that the Sarina Range was closed due to land slips from Cyclone Debbie a couple of months ago.
So we headed up through Sarina and into Mackay for a look around. A whistle stop tour of Mackay then out to Mackay Harbour.
You can ride all the way out to the end of the breakwater, where we stopped for a break and some lunch. Clint then decided he would try for Townsville while Andrew & I would do some site seeing around Airlie Bach and Shute Harbour. Travelling through Proserpine where my parents lived 60 yrs ago, then Cannonvale and Airlie Beach. The effects of Cyclone Debbie (a Cat 5 system) was evident by the lack of vegetation on all the trees and the surrounding hills were denuded. Couldn't see much structural damage in Airlie but on arriving in Shute Harbour, it was like a ghost town. All the port infrastructure and tourist offices were barricaded off and closed. No tourist movements, no activity, no rebuilding happening. It was kinda scary and sad at the same time. However Airlie seemed to be really busy with tourists and locals alike.
Now the gremlins had attached themselves to Andrew as his riding jackets blew a zip. A bunjy strap around his waist helped keep it all together for the ride to Bowen.
Out of Airlie Beach for our last hour to Bowen. We arrived about 4:00pm. Checked out 3 local pubs in town but none provided accommodation??? A bit disappointed, we headed out to Queens Beach and checked into a motel. A few beers and dinner in the bistro, catch up on my blog, and Andrew & I talked well into the night.
More photos of the damage at Shute Harbour.