Highway 1 along the Qld coast has lots of interesting places where you can pull in for a break, with the possible exception of the 335km Marlborough Stretch between Mackay and Rockhampton – once you pass the Carmila Beach turn-off (an okay spot south of Sarina), there’s not much of interest until you hit Rocky and it’s probably best to do this section in one hit.
If that’s not possible, however, there’s a good free stop for RVs at the polo ground at St Lawrence, 6km off the Bruce Highway 57km south of Carmila. There’s no power but you’ll find clean, coin-in-the-slot showers, a dump point, a central mains water tap and it’s an easy walk into the little township (one of the oldest along the Qld coast) for groceries or a counter meal at the pub. Polocrosse takes place some weekends and when it’s on, you can buy food from the kiosk.
Apart from that, keep an eye out for the following places on your way south from Cairns:
Seven kilometres west of the sugar-and-banana town of Babinda, 88km south of Cairns. Wonderful swimming hole and picnic area, impressive cascades over large, water-sculpted boulders, easy rainforest walk, free, council-managed camping area with facilities.
One of North Qld’s prettiest waterfalls, 20km south-west from the highway turn-off 16km south of Tully. Great camping area with facilities (national park fees), good walks. Check the present situation with regards to swimming.
A pleasant town just off the highway and definitely worth a stop-over. There are several waterfront parks, great fishing and beaches.
In the Paluma Range NP (5km down the turn-off 24km south of Ingham). Large camping area with facilities (national park fees), free gas barbecues, great walks, swimming when conditions allow.
Seaforth camping area
Eighteen kilometres off the highway north-west of Mackay. Beachfront, cheap fees, toilets and showers, no power. Beach walking, fishing, etc.
This lovely, heritage-listed town on the highway 320km north-west of Brisbane hosts a large Festival of Cultures at the end of July. Many travellers don’t bother stopping on their way through, but if you spend the night here, you could well find yourself staying an extra day.
Extracted from Break the Drive, by Rob van Driesum, as featured in the October edition of Caravan World with Motorhome World magazine, on sale now.
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