We weren't in a rush to leave Cardwell, but the rain wasn't conducive to strolling along the beachfront, so we didn't linger. The A1 is so close to the beach that you can see the ocean and Hinchinbrook Island.
We took our time today, stopping at Ingham and having a wander up the Main Street. It is a sad-looking town now, which is a shame. There wasn't a lot to keep us there, so we continued on, checking out a few free camps along the way. We went off the highway to Balgal Beach, which has a 48 hr. camp right on the beach and river mouth. The way people were set up, it seemed that they had been there for longer than the designated time. There was a stinger net reel on the park behind the beach but it's not the season now. We then looked at the 48 hr free camp at Rollingstone, and this one looked very good, but it can fill quickly.
The weather cleared as we drove south, but the sky was still grey - just not a lot of rain. We drove through sugar-cane and pineapple plantations, and beside the main railway line on one side and a water pipe on the other. There was much more traffic than we've been used to over the last few weeks. We lost count of the number of caravans heading north - there were literally hundreds.
We arrived at Townsville, and as we were setting up, a number of jets from the RAAF base here flew overhead - what a noise! The base and airport are very close to this caravan park, and we didn't mind the noise - only that the sky is so clouded we couldn't see them!! Fortunately, they went over again a couple of hours later, but we were out in the car, so Ian couldn't have a good look.
Jayco was our first port of call to buy replacement locks for the boot of the van. One broke at Charters Towers, and Ian's been tying the boot down since then, so he's pretty happy that he can now fix it properly, and very happy that they were cheaper than the advertised price. JB HiFi was our next stop to buy a SD Card reader, and then groceries - the cupboard was looking bare.