Smalley’s Beach, Cape Hillsborough National Park, Qld

I can not begin to describe how many BILLIONS of butterflies were at Smalley’s Beach camp site. 99.9% were Blue Tiger Butterflies (Tirumala Hamata) with a few others sprinkled in. The trees shimmered and the bush never stopped moving.

Here’s three videos we took. They were even on the beach, all day, every day. According to the park ranger, they are always in these numbers.

PS. We haven’t used youtube before or tried to put a video on the blog so here goes……..

1/ butterflies at our camp –

2/ butterflies on the beach –

3/ more butterflies in the bush

We were at camp site 9, very private, tropical bushland on all sides. The only noise was the waves and some wonderfully vocal kookaburras at dawn each morning. Each camp site has a track to the beach, about 30meters away. There are drop toilets, a tap with drinking water near the toilet block. No power, no internet, not much phone reception, but fabulous TV reception.

The local wild life, apart from butterflies and kookaburras included several lace monitors, one scrub turkey and an ‘Agile Wallaby’ (a particular type of wallaby). Not many mosquitos, but an abundance of rainforest/scrub mites which even ‘Tropical Strength Aerogard’ failed to deter. If you go there take lots of mozzie coils to burn day and night, and liberal amounts of ‘Bushman Plus’. They didn’t seem to enjoy Tim as much as they did me, I now look like I have chicken pox.

On our second night there was a party with very loud music that started at midday and got louder as the night progressed. Thankfully they stopped at midnight, but started again the next morning, then went home. It’s the first time we’ve experienced that type of behaviour in a bush camp, most people come to these places for the peace and quiet, so it’s very rare, thank goodness.
Apart from that one hiccup, from the moment we arrived it was like being in paradise.

The high tide at Smalley’s beach was about 3 metres from the tree line, at low tide it went out about 500 metres,  a wonderful place to explore and wander at sunset. The internet signal at the furtherest point was fantastic, 4 bars of 3G, we could see the towers in the distance.

On our last day we learnt from the ranger, that at the western end of the beach the mouth of a creek runs out. Apparently there are two crocodiles living there. They don’t often come into the beach so swimming was ok, just had to keep an eye out. Glad we found out about that on the last day or I would have been totally stressed when Tim went swimming, the water was cloudy so I wasn’t so keen. And I would not have been wandering over the lowtide mud/sand flats for an hour or more.

The sunsets were amazing, these pictures have not been enhanced, what you see is the actual colour. To the west the sky was orange, to the east pink.

We visited a couple of places close by.

5 km to the east is Cape Hillsborough, we didn’t stay at the Caravan Park due to the bad reviews we read. You can walk to one of the islands at low tide. The mangrove board walk is worth a visit, it’s a 1.2km round trip, and very easy.

10km to the west of our camp is the small town of Seaforth. It has excellent internet signal,  a lovely caravan park, (with a dump point) a netted swimming area to keep out stingers, crocodiles and sharks. Near the beach is a shower, change rooms and toilets. Every Sunday morning there is a market, only small, but lots of fresh local produce and a fabulous second hand book stall.

The hidden gem in this area is ‘The Old Station Teahouse’. Wow! I fell in love with this place. It, along with 43 acres of rainforest, is owned by Michele and Dwayne. The building, circa 1904, is the old station from Marian, 40km south, which they bought in 1994. They make good simple home fare, all on site. The scones were to die for, we didn’t see the wood fire oven until after our scones or we would have had one of their pizzas. I asked Michele if I could take pictures which she was happy about. Toffy is their Siberian husky, an adorable dog. The cat is Meika, I miss our cats terribly, and had to pull Meika out from under a cupboard by his back legs to give him a cuddle. He looks so much like our cat Hamish and he forgave me once I shared my Devonshire tea with him. If you’re in this area, go visit this enchanting place, it’s so lovely, the hosts are warm and welcoming, the food is absolutely fabulous, the coffee is great and they have free wifi if you ask for the password. The gardens are beautiful and had an arbour to cater for weddings. Michele sent one of her locals to chat with us, who cares for injured local wildlife. She had an Agile Wallaby joey in her bag, his mother had been killed by dogs. The joey was having 15mls of milk every 2 hours round the clock, what an amazing lady, to give such dedicated care to these animals.

And so, we have once again headed north, this time to Airlie Beach.

Till next time

Helen and Tim