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Hippies and happy herbs visit Cape Hillsborough.

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 2 October 2009 | Views [2899]

Its a sorry story when the best thing about a place is leaving there. Even more so when it is only for two days. With a weekend off for Rachel, and the 'Australia' movie shrines and Big Mango sightings exhausted, we decided to venture further afield. All we wanted was a quiet spot on some secluded beach for a fire, to get drunk and high and loudly practice natures most entertaining imperative.

Fortunate enough not to know the Bowen area well, we had to stop at the information centre first. There I exercised my God given right to acts of stupidity and locked the keys in the van. A kindly old man and his charming wife gladly offered to rectify the problem as long as I was willing to foot any expenses that might result from his 'assistance'. The van company quoted me $100 just for a call out and openly recommended I try other alternatives. This I may have chosen to do if my knight in faded armour didn't whip out a screwdriver so large it made Excalibur look like a pen knife. As much as I would have loved to see Arthur pull all four doors off their hinges in 10 seconds flat, I opted for the cheaper option and had the luxury of a two hour wait before a professional showed up with a more effective but less impressive piece of packing tape. Luckily enough the Big Mango sat nearby so we were able to gaze upon its expensive pointlessness for many a wistful moment.

Our destination of choosing was Cape Hillsborough National Park, 180kms south of Bowen. We stopped in at Airlie Beach to see what the shop 'Happy high herbs' could offer us in the way of non prison worthy narcotics. A dazed but friendly dread locked dude recommended we sample one of everything as he extolled its effectiveness through personal example alone. Not wanting to take too much of the stock that he probably had designs on for the afternoon, our 'cherry pop' and 'empathy' set us back the same amount of cash as what their illegal equivalents would have.

Unbeknown to us, it was the first day of school holidays so progress was slower than planned. The caravan park refused to answer their phone so we were forced to go with Plan B. There was no such thing as a Plan B, so come beer o'clock we stopped at Seaforth and offered them our patronage. The advertised 'beach side camping' came with the unadvertised benefit of being crammed in with a few hundred other holiday makers. Rolling in with 'Hippie camper' blazoned all over our van, this tribe of red-necks took great pleasure in staring at the spectacle we presented and sniggering about us lovers not being blood relatives. Every family sported about 5 offspring, and an extremely obese guy opposite us must have thought that 5 was too many and had eaten a few of his kids for breakfast.

We pitched our half man tent, much to everyone's curiosity, and headed down the beach. There we found a nice secluded spot to set about fulfilling our wishes. I got a bonfire going with all the tourist information we had on Bowen and we ingested our happy high herbs in complete confidence. Ignoring the moral questions such behaviour raises once the illegal aspect has been removed, we set about partying like a 2 person dance-arama. A few nights previous I had bravely jumped straight back on the horse after my $50 anxiety attack and had the sort of blissful night that ecstasy is supposed to offer. Comparing that with the high that the happy high herbs offered, I think I'll stay on the wrong side of the legal fence for all future magical mystery tours.

Once the fire died down, the moonless night opened up in diamond soaked obsidian blackness. A few wannabe shooting stars teased us before big daddy streaked half way across the sky accompanied by our squeals of delight. Blood suckers of every description were out partying too, and Rachel has the dubious honour of being the worlds most effective mosquito and midgie magnet. We returned to the tent to test its sturdiness before Rachel ruthlessly scratched the skin of every square inch of her body.

Hundreds of kids woke us up making more noise than we hoped we had made keeping them awake. We left before our neighbour tried to eat us and made it to Cape Hillsborough by mid morning. A 5km walk through widely varying terrain revealed a vast array of animals, all of which Rachel believed were baying for her blood. Beautiful blue butterflies, skinks and lizards, spiders, a snake, a pair of Brahminy kites, manta rays and a few sea turtles were caught on camera in the first half an hour. That's when Rachel's imagination launched an all out assault that prompted her to warn the entire parks inhabitants to our presence with an ear piercing scream. Needless to say, nothing more was sighted after that.

All in all the trip away was far better than we had hoped, especially with its delayed and expensive start. We even made it in to Bowen with a smile on our face after seeing a sign stating that Baz, Nic and Hugh loved Bowen, so we would too. I once did, and I wonder if time has changed the minds of Bowen's adopted Hollywood stars like it has mine?

Tags: beaches, friends

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