We decided to deviate from our intinerary, something we have become very good at! Although sometimes it is not planned at the time.
So after Mackay, we decided to stop in Ayr, a great little town 80km south of Townsville. It’s a good old country town, buzzing with busy farmers and tonnes of produce. There is still enough sugar cane to sink a battleship, but two things Ayr has that not a lot of these small country towns have are, one, it is right on the beach, and two, it has an enormous water supply in the Burdekin River and Dam which flow through the southern side of town. Water is never a problem around here, even though they have balmy summer days all year round.
Produce is grown by the hectare and therefore there is nothing better for a campervanner/caravanner than roadside stalls from which you can stock up on supplies. Just 10km south of Ayr is a little place, totally hidden away, called Ashworth’s Treasures of the Earth. It’s the biggest gem and fossil collection I have ever seen and to think it’s all the way up here, tucked away from prying eyes. But the strange thing is, prying eyes is what they do get – and by the bus load. People come from all around the world and while we were there, one German tourist said that he has been gem collecting his entire life, and this was the best one he had ever seen! Go Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
The Ayr township has everything you could hope for and some great little restaurants too. That’s if you are getting sick of constant BBQs, of course. Alma Beach is just a 15km drive north and is an awesome beach. The tide goes out such a long way that you get to do drag racing on the firm sand of the beach. The kids ran up and down the beach for hours. It’s truly idyllic and, with not a lot of people around, you are pretty much left alone to enjoy it and soak it all up.
Next stop is Cairns and we can’t wait!
PETER “SPIDA” EVERITT
The Great Australian Doorstep – visit www.thegreataustraliandoorstep to purchase DVDs of the first two series.