Bowling Green Bay National Park is located approximately 20km east-south-east of Townsville, Queensland. The Bruce Highway splits the NP in two, and we stayed in the northern section known as the Cape Cleveland area. We had a thoroughly enjoyable 6 days at Cocoa Creek camping, catching mud crabs, and enjoying nature.
Elly and I arrived at 7pm on the 26th June and headed up the beach toward the Salmon Creek camp ground. The grounds were quite damp and we weren’t sure if they were wet from rain or from the tide rising and falling so we turned around and drove back out to the main road to head further north.
The run up the beach was spectacular as the sun set.
It has been 10 years since we last visited North Queensland, and we had forgotten how beautiful the area is.
After deciding that Salmon Creek wasn’t for us, we headed a bit further north toward the Cocoa Creek area. The camp grounds are located down short side roads off the main gravel road. After looking at the first 3 spots we found a site we liked the look of, on an obviously dry section of ground near the creek.
We set the tent up easily and after a long day of driving went to sleep easily. The morning greeted us with the feint stinging sound of Midges biting us as we slept. It was our first encounter with Midges, and while we survived them well with no swelling or itching, they were incredibly annoying.
The morning also greeted us with beautiful golden sunshine and crisp dew on our tent and 4WD.
The morning sun was so beautiful that I took a timelapse video on the Nikon D600.
TODO: Insert time lapse
Cocoa Creek was the first camp ground where Elly and I could test our new Oztent Jet Tent in a bush camping environment. We previously camped in the tent at a Rockhampton caravan park, but this would be a real test, on real ground and in reasonably difficult conditions.
Elly and I headed in to Townsville to get some supplies and some Bushman, and when we got back to camp we settled in with dinner. Our site was out in the open with no trees around, and we were gifted with the most amazing night sky - the stars bright and shimmering and the Milky Way radiating above.
As if the starry night sky wasn’t enough, the next morning we had a beautiful moon rising in the blue sky of daylight.
Cocoa Creek and Salmon Creek are well known for their fish and crabs. We could easily see some smaller mud crabs on the bank on the other side of the creek during the day.
The sight of the crabs inspired us to try our crab pot. It cost us around $25 from BCF and looks well made. We got some rope to throw it in and retrieve it, and a float (with our name and contact details written on it) to identify us and comply with fishing regulations.
We used a chicken frame for bait, threw the pot in at a location that had some shelter, and left it overnight.
The next morning we had our very first mud crab for morning tea! It was our first time using a crab pot, first time catching a crab, first time grabbing the crabs by hand, and first time cooking them!
While we were camped at Cocoa Creek I took the opportunity to put the dirt tyres back on the mountain bike so I could explore the trails in the surrounding area. Unfortunately the road was an in-out road and didn’t have much in the way of interesting tracks to explore on the bike. Still, it was good to get some exercise in, and the mountain bike looks much better with fat tyres on it!
Australian scenery just can’t be beaten - words aren’t required.
I got creative with the afternoon sun and the tent and came up with this shot. We were feeling pretty good about the tent, and this shot expressed our feelings at the time.
This was the view off the side of our tent during a morning sunrise. Again, Aussie scenery just can’t be beaten.
The only negative with our camp site was that it was exceptionally dusty. I took the chance to remove the old and dirty Unifilter pre-cleaner off the Safari snorkel and get ready to clean it and re-oil it. Hopefully we get to use the snorkel in a few weeks when we arrive in the creeks and rivers of Cape York!
Elly and I explored a few tracks in the Landcruiser. Unfortunately there were not many km of track, but we did find a few rocks, and with Elly suggesting to “flex it up for a photo” we had a bit of a play!
We love our 80 series!
Water storage is a concern for every traveller, and we have a 50L BOAB water tank behind the front seats inside our Landcruiser. It has a 12v pump and hose system that makes it easy to get water for washing up, drinking, or any other purpose. We’ll be doing a feature on the tank and how we’ve mounted it very soon.
If you are in the Townsville area, we HIGHLY recommend that you visit Alligator Creek and Alligator Falls. It is only a 6km drive off the Bruce Highway, and the rock formations, waterfalls, clear and clean water, and utter serenity are not to be missed. Elly and I have a couple of amazing days laying on the rocks reading, relaxing in the water with waterfalls massaging our bodies, and enjoying the feeling that we were the only ones in the world.