We left Mount Isa to complete the final part of our big loop.
If you missed our previous posts you can find them below:
On the way back to Brisbane, we were planning to visit our friends in Rockhampton plus finally go to the Capricorn Caves, so it was a long drive and we only planned to stop at Barcaldine for lunch and Emerald.
Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge is a special place not only for Barcaldine people but also for the Australian Labour Party.
Back in the past, it was a ghost gum tree, Eucalyptus Papuana, located in front of the Barcaldine railway station. Under this tree, in May 1891, 3000 striking shearers marched and demanded better working conditions and wages.
Because the area around the Tree of Knowledge was the scene of these actions and decisions, the tree was named accordingly and in January 2006 was included in the National Heritage List.
Sadly in 2006, the tree was poisoned by an unknown person and never recovered.
A new memorial standing today was opened on the 2nd of May 2009. It is an impressive structure that cost five million dollars.
We stopped in Barcaldine to see the new memorial and learn about this place. You really never know what to expect in the outback.
In the middle between Barcaldine and Emerald, there is a small town, Alpha that is famous for its murals.
Alpha was once a growing town due to the passing steam trains and navvies and settlers forging their way through the land in the 1880s.
Now, Alpha with a population of 335 (2016 Census) is a small outback town. However, due to their murals, there are many tourists stopping on the way to Emerald or back, just to see these original paintings.
It all started in 1991 when a group of local artists painted one of the walls. Now, we can admire 27 murals that are spread across the town. The largest is located on the Railway Goods Shed.
After seeing the Alpha murals, we arrived in Emerald in the late afternoon and the next day drove to Rockhampton.
We have already visited most of the places in Rockhampton during our lap around Australia, but we missed Capricorn Caves as they were closed on the 25th of December at that time.
Capricorn Caves are located 23 km north of Rockhampton and are privately owned by a multi-generation family.
The caves were discovered in 1881 by a Norwegian migrant Olsen. At present, it is a well-established business that offers tours and accommodation.
There are three types of tours to choose:
- Cathedral Cave Tour – the most popular, 45 minutes short tour where you learn about Capricorn Caves, their geological history, and early explorers.
- Capricorn Explorer – a more advanced, 90 minutes tour that takes you off beaten track. You wear a helmet and headlight to discover a decorated Vault Cave and The Flowerpot.
- Capricorn Adventurer – most adventurous, 120 minutes tour that takes you to the remote part of this cave system. You will emerge from the darkness at the most spectacular lookout over Mount Etna National Park and Baga National Park.
As Nell was still young, we could not go crazy but we took the Capricorn Explorer to really know the place. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and we learned a lot.
The best part was when our group was sitting in the Cathedral Cave and the lights went deliberately off. Sitting for two minutes in complete silence we could really feel the place. It was a bit scary for Nell!
Bull auction in Gracemere
Back in Rockhampton, our friends, Stan and Shirley, who we met in Bungle Bungles took us surprisingly to a bull auction in Gracemere. This is something we did not plan.
Gracemere is a known place for cattle selling and it was a new experience.
We soon found out that the bulls are super expensive. In October 2020 the most expensive bull was sold for $210,000. Wow!
Find out more about this record sale from this post.
Our visit to Rocky was very short the next day we drove home. We wanted to stay somewhere nice and our choice was the Town of 1770.
Town of 1770
Seventeen Seventy or 1770 to locals, is located 63 km east of Miriam Vale.
This meaningful name was not created by coincidence. The town was built on the site of the second landing in Australia by James Cook and his crew in that year.
We stayed at Captain Cook Holiday Village. It is a big caravan park situated among big gum trees. The various accommodation including villas, bungalows, cabin and camping sites.
Wave Lookout and Bustard Bay Lookout
We arrived in the early afternoon so after we set our camp we were ready to explore. First, we drove to the tip of the peninsula to see two amazing lookouts.
The walk to the lookouts (one path leads to both) is well set with a concrete path and occasionally some stairs. Wave lookout is only 90 meters from the car
park and the Bustard Bay Lookout is 300 meters one way. The views from the lookouts were spectacular but more was coming.
Awesome sunset at 1770 foreshore
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach on the west side of the peninsula, and it was a spot-on decision. The evening was warm and the sunset over the low tide sandbanks and yachts was amazing. Check it out!
We did not have more time to explore but there are more walks to explore in Seventeen Seventy.
The monument is located at the beginning of the road to Round Hill Headland. You can walk down the sandstone steps near the obelisk to a very small beach.
Over there you can imagine how was it like when Captain Cook landed here. This landing was only the second touch of Australian land by Cook. The first one was at Botany Bay in New South Wales.
The Round Hill Creek Track
It is a 1.2 km track that goes along the shoreline of Round Hill Creek. You can enjoy spectacular views across Eurimbula National Park and Bustard Bay.
1770 Foreshore Walk
Boardwalk along the 1770 foreshore of Round Hill Creek. If you follow along you finally get to the Captain Cook Monument. From there you see many yachts anchored in Round Hill Creek. If you come in the morning there is a chance you can spot a dolphin.
We wished we could spend a bit longer and explore more. Seventy is a really nice place to visit for a weekend or even stay for longer and relax.
The next day we finally drove home. We spent four long weeks looping around Queensland outback and visiting remote places like Lawn Hill National Park, Seven Emu Station, and Lorella Springs.
Our trip was a great success and we planned to do more in the future.
Have you been to 1770? What was your experience like? Please drop a comment below.