It’s Wednesday 31st of May… Just kidding, it is May 31st but I’m not going to bore you with a sappy diary entry. This is a blog.
WORKMANS BEACH CAMP GROUND
Two Sundays ago my family left Anges Water. We had sent off our hot water service to be fixed and they had posted it back to Anges Water Post Office for us. We couldn’t pick it up until the Monday and so we had to stay in the Anges Water area for at least another night. This didn’t upset us too much as Anges Water and the Town of 1770 is a really special spot and we were more than happy to hang around a little longer.
We had enquired at the local caravan parks and upon learning that it would be around $40 per night to stay at those, we drove into Workman’s Beach Camp Ground, which was just $9 per person per night (it is $25 per night for a family pass if anybody is interested). There is no power but they do provide clean toilets, a cold shower, bins and fresh tap water. We were really glad we decided to pull in there because it turned out to be one of the best camp grounds that we have come across thus far. It is less than a five minute walk to Workman’s Beach, which is an absolutely stunning and secluded little beach and only a 5 minute drive to the local Agnes Water shops.
We met lots of friendly campers at Workman’s Beach including two lovely Canadian girls, a young family who were also doing a big trip, an ex-diesel mechanic travelling alone and a friendly fellow fisherman called Jake who we may catch up with further down the road somewhere. You do need to watch out for snakes at Workman’s, the habitat is perfect for them and we did see a couple. You would think that given the location midges and mozzies would be a problem but thankfully they were few and far between.
Ben ventured back down to ‘the catwalk’ a few more times and picked up some nice school mackerel and got some bull shark from another fisherman down there. The Canadian girls, Chantelle and Shaye, joined us for our sweet ‘n’ sour bull shark meal, which turned out great. We had a few games of cards and a good chat. They even bought us a few gifts to say thank you, which wasn’t expected but was lovely.
We took a day trip out to a well talked about area called Eurimbula, just out of Agnes Water. It is a national park and the area is gorgeous. It is secluded and quiet and the water is warm and full of life. We saw fish, a turtle and what we thought was some type of small whale (possibly an Orca). It was there that we met Jake, he just happened to be camping at Workman’s as well. Ben got a lesson from him on how to throw his cast net properly and is now using it like a champ. The bait fish were in trouble after that. We loved Eurimbula so much that we decided to go back and fish it the next morning, Jake joined us again. When I wasn’t lure fishing I helped keep the bait alive. Ben was loving his fishing, he caught his first Queen fish and a good sized flathead, which we were very excited about. He also caught some nice bream, which went back in the ocean.
By this time, our two day stop at Workman’s had turned into a five day stop, we just didn’t want to leave. The owner, Aaron, and his family were lovely and the place was buzzing with other campers and backpackers. Everyone was out to enjoy it. We sucked it up and made the decision to go, otherwise we never would… so, after our last fish at Eurimbula Friday morning we hit the road again.
After leaving Workman’s we drove two and a half hours to a tavern with good reviews called the Raglan Tavern. You can camp in their large gravel car park for free and they have free hot showers and toilets there. They do encourage you to at least come inside and pay for a beer before using the amenities, which is fair enough. The staff are laid back and the managers are absolutely lovely. Everybody was very accommodating and friendly. The meals were reasonable but we were there on a busy night and so the wait time on food was fairly long.
The staff allowed us to play free pool for our entire stay, which was great and the cold beer and cheap Canadian Club and Dry wasn’t bad either. We met a trucky called Matt there who stops at the Raglan fairly often. We had a great Saturday night there playing pool with Matt and one of the bar girls.
On Sunday night, after the sun had gone down there was just us and some English backpackers in the bar and one other local. It was quiet and the owners were happy as it was looking very likely that they were going to get an early night. They closed the kitchen down and had most of the lights off… when out of the blue, truck after truck drove into their large carpark. There was about eight trucks, they were carrying heavy loads of brand new caravans and the truck drivers were weary and hungry. Seeing so many trucks and so many new caravans all together was something you just don’t see every day. As soon as the owners saw them, they sighed, but a country pub like this has a reputation to keep and they weren’t about to send the truckies away hungry. The truckies entered, sheepishly asking if the kitchen was still open. The lovely bar lady made them feel welcome, turning the lights back on in the meals area and offering drinks. She explained that the deep fryer wasn’t on but they could make them steak and salad or steak and veg or lasagne or curried sausages or a mixed grill. I thought it was awesome to see a country pub belt out eight meals, just like that, no complaints, after they thought they were done for the night.
There is one small downfall, which has nothing to do with the pub itself but the location. It is near a waterway, so the midges are very friendly and bitey. It is beside the highway and very close to the train line where noisy coal trains squeak back and forth on the metal lines at all times of the day and the night. So, you may not get much sleep at the Raglan but you are guaranteed a hot shower, clean toilets, lovely staff and a good country pub experience.
Information: Name: Stanage Bay
Population: 52 people
Location: 3hrs off the main road, 2hrs of dirt road driving, one road in/one road out (otherwise known as ‘the middle of nowhere’)
Early Monday morning we headed to a spot recommended by some people at Workman’s called Stanage Bay. It is free (donation of no set amount encouraged) to camp and you are right on the beach. It was going to be a long drive to Stanage and so we drove through Rockhampton and did not stop there, thinking surely there will be fuel and a supermarket on the way. What we didn’t realise is that Stanage Bay Road is three hours of unsealed road through cattle farming country with no towns or shops along the way. There is one road in and one road out and so we were forced to wait to get fuel and supplies until we arrived in Stanage Bay. Luckily, there is a general store there, which also happens to be the local take away store, pub, petrol station and post office. The only other shop in the quiet main road, facing the ocean, is the fishing, boat and tackle store, which is run by Von who is very welcoming and helpful.
The camp ground is average, though the location is desirable. It is right on a point where you can enjoy seeing the tide come in and out on the beach and it is an easy drive to the river mouth where cloudy aqua water sits calm and the mangroves grow thick. Despite the locals telling you repeatedly that it is safe to swim, there are crocodile warning signs at the boat ramp, at the beach and river entrances. There is only one local (the lovely owner of the tackle shop) who admitted that she had seen a crocodile a few times whilst walking her dog along the beach. Most people said they had never seen one or if there was some they were way up the river and not near them. In any case, Ben and I were not prepared to take any chances, the water wasn’t clear enough for us to know if a croc was lurking close. We went fishing at the river mouth but stayed back from the water’s edge and kept our eyes peeled at all times. We were only lucky enough to pull in one small fish that we thought was a sooty grunter.
We spent one night in the local pub (aka general store) so that we could watch the State Of Origin. As most people know, the Northern people of this country are just as crazy about their rugby as Southerners are about AFL. It would have been a shame not to watch it with the locals. Most of the twenty or so people who attended the pub that night were going for the Maroons and Ben was one of them. I, myself, quite enjoy watching it but I don’t really mind who wins. The Blues ended up smashing the Maroons, much to the horror of most of the people in the pub. The other good thing about the camp ground is that it is an easy walk to the pub from there, so we were able to walk back with the other campers once the game was over.
The local pubs are always a good place to meet locals and get a feel for the people of a town. The owners of this particular business really have it all going for them, they sell the only groceries, grog and petrol within 3 hours of where they are, they collect the campers donations and have the business of all of the campers who come through. The thing about being in a business like that is that you have to be nice to customers and give them value for money so that the locals use your service and the visitors feel welcome and are happy to go back to you. It appears to be a family owned business and the males that man the shop and the bar are actually really nice, the lady, on the other hand, does not seem to care much for good customer service and could do with a little bit of lightening up. We would not recommend using the showers at the general store as it is $2 for less than 30 seconds of warm water. We don’t mind paying for a shower, but when you can barely wash yourself even after putting $6 in the machine, it gets a bit ridiculous.
We took a look at what the locals call Beverley Hills at Stanage Bay, which is a gorgeous lookout. It allows you to see over the rock formations and secluded beaches at a height and is picturesque especially in the mornings.
COMING UP… Mackay, Eungella Dam and Arriving in Townsville (sorry I’m a little behind due to lack of reception in the sticks).