Monday, 8 January 2007

Tuesday 9 January 2007 - Byfield

We have just had a really lovely weekend away at Byfield, which is on the coast between Yeppoon and the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area (so not far from Rocky).

On Saturday morning we headed up to Byfield State Forest, a place we have visited many times in the past, but this time we went past the Waterpark Creek Camping area and onto the 4-wheel drive only track. At first this track seems like fairly solid unsealed road, but it comes to a point where it is just soft sand, and we had to let air out of our tyres to ourselves as Nine-mile Beach. We set up camp just back from the beach, and Darryl headed off to do some fishing while I relaxed with coffee and a book. After I had finished my coffee I ploughed through the soft sand down to the beach, for a swim. I was delighted to find Darryl catching fish after fish. They were silver dart, and although he was throwing them back, he was very happy that they were ending up on his hook. The water was reasonably rough, and there were a few surfers out, but it was too rough for me, and I just immersed myself in the shallows between breakers, which was pleasant enough. This beach is a well-known spot in our region and there were plenty of 4x4s driving up and down - apparently doing 'lappies'!
be able to continue. Tracks go everywhere and there is only an occasional small signpost, but with the help of the National Parks map and also using my PDA maps with the GPS we found

After lunch, Darryl wanted to investigate, so took off on foot, and I settled back down with my books. The evening was very pleasant, although no campfires are allowed so we cooked on the gas stove and enjoyed a few glasses of Darryl's excellent homemade wine.

In the morning we packed up, and drove up to Stockyard Point. Amazingly, there is a little township there (although no shop), of fishing 'huts'. We initially drove past it and on up to 5-Rocks. Now, I have heard people talking about it for years, but never even seen a here one is!

There is quite a nice National Parks camping area there with toilets and showers, which we will come back to one day. At this stage we parked at the top and took the walking track down to the beach. The track down follows a trickle of water, and there are plenty of pandanus palms hugging it. It is a lovely little beach, and we didn't actually walk to the rocks, as the tide was coming in, and it looked as though it could be tricky to get back. Along the beach we found stranded huge purple jellyfish, a damaged but large nautilus shell, and a poor little baby turtle dead on its back. As I took a photo of it, it moved, so Darryl put it back in the water. I don't know that it would survive as it was bleeding, but that certainly would have been better than it baking to death in the hot sun. It was getting quite hot, so we climbed back up to the car and had morning tea before driving back to Stockyard Point.

There is quite a good lookout at the Point and we were able to see clearly up to 5-Rocks, and 3-Rivers Beach further north, and south down Nine-mile beach. It was interesting to see all the 4-wheel drives lined up at the 'Orange Bowl' a large orange sand-blow which is used extensively to test 4x4 driving skills. Where we had been camped the night before was not far south of this.

Due to the heat, we wanted somewhere cooler to be, so drove back to Byfield, and went to Upper Stoney day area. This is a lovely semi-rainforest area with a lovely swimming hole in Stoney Creek, set in the middle of the forestry area. It has nice facilities and the water was clear and cold. We spoke to a holidaying English couple. She was scared to get into the water in case there were crocodiles (which there are apparently in nearby Waterpark Creek), but we assured her she was fine. After a cooling swim and lunch we drove back to Yeppoon to buy the paper and an ice-cream before getting home to unpack (always the worst part of the trip!).

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