Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published August 26th 2015
Forget the day spa, relax at Bushland Beach
Discovering Townsville's beaches could take a while, there are a few and all are spectacular. We start with Bushland Beach because the hotel has been recommended for lunch. This northern beach on Halifax Bay is well set up for a family day out.
Bushland Beach with Magnetic Island in the back left
Bushland Beach Tavern is as beachside as you can get and sits next to a shady grassed picnic area with BBQ, picnic tables, a children's playground and public toilets. When we arrive a blue winged kookaburra is perched on the top bar of the swing set. What a magnificent bird, and congenial too as he quietly poses for photos.
After lunch we walk across the picnic ground to the beach. The tide is out, way out and people wading in the shallows can barely be seen. Sweeping views along the beach and across the ocean to Magnetic Island are breathtaking. A sign at sand's edge warns of marine stingers and a bottle of vinegar is set in a stand alongside first aid instructions. Next to it is a dog's drinking bowl bolted to the base of a tap. It is filled with water and it is not dogs who have come to drink but a pair of juvenile blue-faced honey-eaters.
We set our chairs on the sand beneath the shade of a tree. My husband relaxes to read the newspaper while I go for a stroll on the beach. It is May but still the sand is too hot to walk bare footed.
Amongst the beach debris of washed up coconuts, leaves, stones and shell matter I look for pretty shells to photograph. I find a colourful sea snail shell. Then another shaped a bit like a small mussel shell but fragile. Tiny insects are living in it now.
I wade into the shallows and small fish dart about my ankles. Everywhere I walk there are tiny holes in the sand and bubbles, endless bubbles. Crabs scurry into the mud as the fish dart by but one, about half the length of a thumb, stays long enough to be photographed. It is white with an abundance of grey spots.
Dark patches beneath the water catch my eye which on closer inspection are thousands of spiral shells. These tiny creatures, no longer than a centimeter, are moving forward as one, their trails still visible in the sand behind them. A pair of sea creatures in oblong grey and orange shells crawl along in the shallows and not far away another type, perhaps a small hermit crab moves more quickly.
Masses of tiny shellfish crawling forward together - see the tracks
A whistling kite soars overhead and out in the shallows a white egret chases a meal. The raucous call of masked lapwings can be heard as they peck about in sand exposed by the outgoing tide and crows call from the trees on the shoreline. There are no sea gulls in sight but the occasional tern flies by.
Bushland Beach is on the corner of Mount Low Parkway and Livistonia Close about 25 minutes' drive from Townsville CBD. Access to the beach and picnic grounds is free and the beach is always accessible. There is parking by the picnic grounds. The picnic area is well shaded by large trees, has BBQ's, picnic tables, a children's playground and public toilets. The Bushland Beach Tavern serves lunch and dinner.