Life in Australia revolves around the sun – Dorothy McKeller wrote a poem entitled Australia, where she waxes lyrical about a sunburnt country while Bill Bryson went a step further calling his book “In a Sunburned Country”. Summer down-under can be scorchingly hot and Australian Sunsets are cause for rejoicing – often in the form of a cold “Sundowner” drink or two to celebrate.
Whether we’re caravanning in the great outdoors or just sitting lazily on the beach, sunset is a time to stop and wonder at the mellow yellows and pale pinks that quickly transform to fiery reds and purples. It’s sunset therapy for life’s stresses.
Lately our caravan has taken us around Queensland and on exploratory trips into New South Wales. We’ve enjoyed our fair share of sunset therapy in some pretty special locations. Mostly those sunsets are by the ocean because that is where we love to be.
I’ve shared some of them below, with links to our blog posts containing helpful information and tips to help plan your own visit.
- Australian Sunsets and Sunset Therapy
- Port Douglas Marina
- Lucinda and Hinchinbrook Island
- Cape Gloucester near Bowen
- Lake Proserpine Sunset
- Yarrawonga Reserve, Notch Point
- Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast
- Burnett Highway, Queensland
- Magnetic Island and Townsville
- Gin Gin, Queensland
- Brunswick Heads, New South Wales
Australian Sunsets and Sunset Therapy
Port Douglas Marina
Port Douglas, the thriving seaside village an hour north of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, is our favourite place to board a Catamaran and explore the Great Barrier Reef. Port Douglas day trips include Mossman township and Gorge to the north, where the Daintree rainforest begins. At the gorge you can join a rainforest tour or just lay in the blessedly cold Mossman River where it cascades over rocks and forms still deep pools.
You can also day trip to Cape Tribulation, crossing the Daintree River by barge. The short barge trip always gets my excitement levels climbing – Cape Tribulation really is Far, Far, North Queensland. The Daintree Rainforest is prehistoric and reaches all the way down to the beaches, where it is easy to make-believe you’re stranded on a deserted island.
Port Douglas has several sunset tours. Some venture out into the open ocean but this one stays in the calm waters of Dickson inlet.
Although the Marina is full of classy yachts and speedy catamarans, the town itself is a friendly unhurried place, with an emerging foodie scene and some wonderful Aussie pubs – try the Court House Hotel for an Aussie Counter Meal.
Lucinda and Hinchinbrook Island
Lucinda on the coast near Ingham in North Queensland lies at the southern end of the Hinchinbrook Channel which separates the mainland from Hinchinbrook Island. Cardwell, 27km away at the northern end of the channel, was rebuilt at a cost of AUD$40 million after Cyclone Yasi all but destroyed it in 2011.
The fringing reefs of Pelorus Orpheus Islands are one of our favourite snorkelling destinations. Accessed from Dungeness, Lucinda, they are one of our Ten Reasons to drive from Townsville to Lucinda.
Lucinda Jetty is the longest service jetty in the southern hemisphere. The raw sugar travels 5.76 km along the jetty via conveyor belt direct into the ship’s hold. We’ve spent many holidays in Lucinda and I vividly remember waking in the night to the sounds of the conveyor belt rattling to life.
Private fishing boats can often be seen moored out beside the fish attracting pylons. Grunter, Barramundi, Golden Trevally and Salmon are common catches, with the largest fish lurking in the depths at the very end of the jetty. The general public cannot access this jetty but there is another smaller accessible jetty near the sugar terminals.
Hinchinbrook Channel sneaks in between the mainland mountains on the left and the mountains of Hinchinbrook Island on the right. Houseboats can be rented for a lazy channel holiday, but be sure to bring plenty of insect repellent, cold drinks and good books.
Fuel, food, drinks and ice can be purchased at the Channel Inn at Dungeness or at Lucinda Jetty Store and Takeaway and Lucinda Point Hotel Motel in nearby Luchinda township.
Cape Gloucester near Bowen
Cape Gloucester, Queensland, is a little known destination. With it’s neighbours Hydeaway Bay and Dingo Beach, it is accessed by road from the Bruce Highway north of Proserpine, Queensland. Those with a boat can just sail straight across the bay to Bowen.
Bowen, the town where the film “Australia” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman was filmed, is known for it’s beaches and wide streets. Streets that were covered in soil and transformed into the dusty cattle driving scenes of Darwin in 1942 for the making of this classic Australian movie.
We recently and belatedly watched it for the first time (filmed in 2008) and were quite impressed.
Photo taken from Cape Gloucester looking across the bay to Bowen.
Lake Proserpine Sunset
Marty took this photo on a father/son fishing trip to Lake Proserpine or Peter Faust Dam in North Queensland, 54 km inland from the Whitsunday hub of Airlie Beach. The dead trees in the lake form an underwater fish habitat. The dam is known for harbouring 1 metre plus Barramundi which are prized table fish in Australia, although most people release them back into the lake unharmed.
Yarrawonga Reserve, Notch Point
Near Ilbilbie in Central Queensland there is a detour off the Bruce Highway to Notch Point, the place that I credit with making me Fall in Love with Australia all over again. The access road weaves through the Aussie Bush, Cattle Properties and sugar cane farms, before eventually turning onto a protected sandy bay, where campfires glow and the only beach footprints belong to cows or kangaroos.
In school holidays and on week-ends it does get busy, so avoid those times if possible. I should point out that the access road is 4WD territory toward the end, although we did see some conventional vehicles parked beside tents.
Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast
Coolum Beach is our favourite beach on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. This cute beach community is mid-way on the coast north of Brisbane and about 15 minutes south of Noosa, Sunshine Beach and the Noosa National Park. It attracts people who love surfing, swimming and when the wind blows toward the land, kite surfing.
Immediately south of Coolum Beach, Point Perry has surf beaches either side and spectacular ocean views. It is also a good place to capture an Australian sunset.
The beach either side of Stumers Creek on the northern outskirts of Coolum is an off-leash dog area. The creek itself a great place to take the whole family. The still waters are perfect for small children or dogs that are frightened by waves. Be aware that even if the mouth is covered by sand the tide may have washed over and brought blue bottle stingers etc. into the Creek.
Mount Coolum (located in a suburb of the same name), has a steep track to the summit which is well utilised by local fitness fanatics and those looking for spectacular coastal views. This 208 metre tall ancient volcanic dome is quite a forbidding looking hill, but after heavy rain it transforms as waterfalls cascade off the massive rock faces, disappearing into fairy spray on the way down.
This track is extremely popular as it has a bit of reputation with locals and visitors alike. It’s a challenge that most fit holidayers enjoy at least once on their holiday. The car park quite often overflows and at peak times the Coffee/Juice van does a roaring trade. Marty quite often climbs Mount Coolum, but I am an oddity and prefer the gentler, less busy slopes of nearby Mt. Ninderry.
Burnett Highway, Queensland
The Burnett Highway runs through Inland Queensland beginning just south of Rockhampton on North Queensland’s Capricorn Coast and finishing at Nanango in South-East Queensland. Recently we drove the full 542 km of highway in 2017, towing our Coromal Caravan. Traditionally we drive the Coastal Bruce Highway, but were enchanted by this quiet inland highway that forms part of Australia’s Country Way. We will return to explore it in more depth.
There is a connecting road from Gayndah, 160 km east to Hervey Bay, a natural bay with superb whale watching opportunities in season. Keep this in mind as another route of accessing the coast and vice versa. We’ve yet to travel down it, but I can’t wait to explore the possibilities.
Magnetic Island and Townsville
Local’s consider Townsville to be the unofficial capital of North Queensland and it most definitely is a hub for the surrounding area.Townsville port is the third largest in Queensland behind Brisbane and Gladstone. From here, head west to the old gold mining town of Charters Towers and then on to Mount Isa before branching south to Uluru or north to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
The NQ Cowboys NRL team has their home ground at Townsville’s 1300 smiles Stadium in the suburb of Kirwan with it’s club in Flinders Street in the CBD.
But Townsville is not all infra-structure and business. Just off-shore is the coconut fringed family holiday destination of Magnetic Island.
No trip to Townsville is complete without a walk along The Strand and a visit to the island.
Gin Gin, Queensland
Gin Gin is one of our favourite free camps on the Bruce Highway, Queensland. The free camp is directly beside the highway making it handy for late arrivals. It has clean basic toilets, shaded picnic tables, kookaburras and is within walking distance of the nearby township. Being halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton, makes Gin Gin a favourite place to stop.
A mere 20 minutes north is Lake Monduran, another well known Barramundi fishing destination.
Bundaberg, home of famous Rum Distillery is 50km east and if rum is your brew of choice, you will enjoy their tours and tastings. Bundaberg also has a museum dedicated to pilot Bert Hinkler and (seasonal) turtle hatchings at nearby Mon Repos.
Gin Gin is a thriving small town and I think it has a promising long term future.
Brunswick Heads, New South Wales
We stayed at the dog friendly Ferry Reserve Holiday Park on the Brunswick River. Being near the highway it served as a good base from which to visit Byron Bay to the south and Mullumbimby to the west. The town itself has a welcoming feel, with good restaurants, cafes, pubs and some interesting boutique clothing stores and second hand shops. As Byron Bay keeps growing in popularity, so will Brunswick Heads.
From the town a footbridge leads across the river to an Ocean Front Park and the mouth of the Brunswick River, where this photo was taken.
Made for Pinning.
Do sunsets make you happy? Tell me about your favourite sunset in the comments.
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