This time, we met at W H Yeo Park at Eagle Street, Victoria Point in early December. When I arrived, the tide was a long way out and I wondered how far we would have to carry our boats to the water. But by the time Monique arrived, I had unloaded my kayak, and she had blown up her blow up Stand Up Paddle Board, the tide had come in a long way and we had easy access from the Thompson's beach foreshore.
W H Yeo Park looked like a great park to have a family picnic. There were barbecue facilities, shady trees, a safe beach area, toilets and change rooms. I didn't explore the park but read it also had balancing equipment, a flying fox, swings, slides and climbing structures, a skate ramp and basketball half-court, and play equipment. There was a lovely large native hibiscus tree covered in yellow flowers overlooking the beach. You can see Macleay and Lamb Islands from the beach.
We paddled around past mangroves to the main jetty where we looked across to Coochiemudlo Island. We didn't stay out too long this trip because Monique wanted to go and look at some solid Stand up Paddle Boards at Cleveland before she had to collect her children. She took a couple of photos of us with her waterproof camera, but the lens had some water on it so we look a bit fuzzy. I was wearing a scarf over my face to prevent sunburn as I've had a few skin cancers removed recently and want to stop any more visits to my friendly plastic surgeon. I do look like I'm out to rob a bank.
After our paddle, we went for lunch at The Grand View Hotel at Cleveland. I'd never been there before. It is a very historic hotel and the oldest licensed hotel in Queensland. It was originally called "The Brighton Family Boarding House".
1871 Brighton Family Boarding House. State Library Qld
Francis Bigge, a pastoralist from Mt Pleasant station, built it in 1851. He planned to live in it, but because it was so close to the road, he rented it out. It later became the Brighton Hotel and renamed the Grand View hotel in the 1950s.
We were lucky we finished our kayak and SUP early because as we ate our lunch a huge storm came in suddenly across the water. There was lots of thunder, lightning and high gusty winds. Hotel staff ran around pulling down the large plastic outdoor curtain screens. It would have been very rough and scary if we had still been out at sea.
Back in early times, Cleveland's principal attractions were a good supply of salt air and fresh seafood. One writer wrote, "People come down here to eat oysters and fresh fish...and (to) wash and be clean. Accommodation included two public houses, and board and lodging was to be had in 'almost every second humpy'. One eyesore was the Cleveland racecourse, located on the Government Reserve, which for a long time had been the favourite resort of pigs that were allowed to 'grub up' the turf in search of wild yams and other delicacies, leaving large holes which made the ground unsightly and dangerous".
I found another interesting photo of a postcard from the State Library of Queensland showing Shore Street, Cleveland looking south, with the Brighton Hotel seen at the top of the hill.