One of the shortest stages of the whole trip, just 47 km from Townsville to the Bushy Parker Bush Camp at Rollingstone. What a great little (or not so little) camp site. Terrific shade, close to a beaut, clean swimming hole, toilets, free electric barbecues, drinking water and some of the sites even have taps that you can hook up to. Truly idyllic.
Camping is permitted (obviously) but is restricted to 48 hours and only once a week for those who might try to fiddle the books. This is a long weekend for the Queensland observance of the Queen's Birthday Holiday, so the Ranger won't be around until Tuesday to check. I arrived on Friday, so I'm planning to leave on Thursday morning which means I've managed to wangle a week here.
The place was absolutely chokkas over the weekend, probably mostly locals from the area, but the majority have gone now and it is really peacefull, the weather is glorious, 28 degC and not a cloud in the sky and the humidity is quite low. I shall be sorry to leave, but oh well, that's life.
I spoke to several people who are familiar with the area and it seems that there are a significant number of good free or cheap campsites along this part of the coast, Balgal, Bluewater, Toomulla, Big Crystal etc. and those who are on the road full-time, simply drift from one to the other in a cycle. The area IS delightful, but I think even Paradise might pall after a while.
The long-distance travelling is what attracts me tropics this week, savannah next week, desert the following week, mountains the week after.
I'm finally camping in the style I originally intended, stopping more than driving. This leg has been absolutely perfect - drive for less than 50 km and then camp for a week.