We have had the absolute best day today!
Firstly, we had a look around the town of Proserpine, then drove to Airlie Beach, arriving just in time to have a quick wander around the market, which was starting to wind down. We then went to Shute Harbour, which used to be the departure point for the passenger boats to the Whitsundays, but that has now been moved to Airlie Beach, and Shute Harbour is used mostly by local fishermen and the car ferry, and is deserted and desolate.
We had our picnic lunch sitting in the car overlooking the new Airlie Beach marina, where there were some very luxurious looking boats moored. An ice cream as we walked along the main shopping area, but it was geared more for the young ones than us, so we didn't linger.
It had been raining on and off and the change in the colour of the water from a beautiful, clear azure when the sun was shining, to a dull grey when the clouds took over, was so noticeable - what a difference a bit of sunshine makes.
We left the Airlie Beach area and drove to Cape Gloucester. We seemed to go on and on and on before we eventually came to Hydeaway Bay, a small village tucked away in the bush, and further on saw a sign saying 'Coffee and Cake' - sounds good - so continued on another 4km of dirt road until we came to Cape Gloucester Eco Resort, where we had the promised coffee and cake, overlooking the Bay and what is locally called Shag Island because of the number of birds which inhabit it, and the larger Gloucester Island, with Bowen 17 nautical miles across the bay. We wandered down to the beach, and after 51 years of marriage, I learned something about Ian. When I asked him to come onto the beach with me, he said he doesn't like walking on sand! I never knew that. We then went back and called into Montes Reef Resort which also was built onto the beach. There were a lot of loud young people there, enjoying a beer - or 5 or 6, so we just had a quick look at the beach then left, continuing back to Dingo Beach. There are signs saying beware of stingers between November and May and a netted area for swimming - only the tide was out, so no swimming. As we were driving back Ian realised that a distant cousin lived in the area, but he didn't think it was appropriate to just pop in, so we continued back through Proserpine and out to Lake Proserpine and Peter Faust Dam. It was 5pm when we got there, and the clouds were threatening rain, but what a spectacular sight - the sun was sinking low, and with the cloud formation and the sun and the lake - what a picture! We could see on the dam wall that the water level was quite low.
To finish this great day, we bought pizzas from the local shop. They were superb!
All we did today was suggested by the mother and daughter who checked us in at their caravan park, even the pizzas. They would have to be the best unofficial 'information guides' we've come across. We did a lot today, and it was a long day, but so satisfying.