Flaggy Rock, Saturday 25 to Sunday 26 May 2019

Agnes Water to Airlie Beach is over 700 km. We had decided to try and limit each daily drive to 400 km, or about 5 hours of driving, so we looked for a stopover on the way to Airlie Beach. Using GeoWiki, we found a low cost ($10) camp site at the Flaggy Rock Café at Clairview on the Bruce Highway. However, multiple attempts to contact the Café by phone over two days failed to get a person to answer the phone. There was also the Flaggy Rock Community Centre, and the first phone call encountered a very helpful woman, who said there would be plenty of room on several hectares of grassy paddock.

After leaving Agnes Water on Saturday, we stopped at the Rockhampton Information Centre where we parked on the main street street and had our lunch of tuna sandwich. Two volunteers in the Information Centre were very chatty and helpful. The Tropic of Capricorn passes through Rockhampton, and the road west of Rockhampton to Longreach, which we drove in 2015 on the way to Alice Springs, is the Capricorn Highway. The Tropic of Capricorn is the southernmost circle of latitude where the sun can lie directly overhead the earth. It is currently at 23°26′12.4″S, but it is moving northwards at about 15 m per year.

We reached the Flaggy Rock Community Centre at 4:15pm, having not seen any evidence of the cafe.  We were met by Ray, the cheerful and helpful caretaker, and we had no trouble finding a grassy spot to camp well away from others, and the facilities. Ray collected $15 from us just before dark. The site was next to a railway line, but apart from a few trains, we had a quiet night.

Dexter enjoyed a long walk on Sunday morning to the facilities, which are good. We met a couple in another Jayco Conquest motorhome who were travelling with their young Border Collie, and towing a small Mazda car on a tilt trailer. They had sold their house and were travelling indefinitely. Unsure if we could do that.

We wanted to get away early, but the awning refused to retract all the way at the rear end. Ian was able to tape it closed so it was not a problem when we were driving. Ian had wondered how long the flimsy looking awning would last. The electric step also decided not to retract unless it was given a light kick. Matilda was starting to play up—nothing critical, but definitely annoying. It brought back memories of a major problem we had with our awning on our tag-along trip to the Kimberleys in 2015.

When we eventually got away, soon after getting back on the Bruce Highway we came up to the Flaggy Rock Café, which looked open. We stopped in a dirt carpark, which is presumably where people are supposed to camp. Ian went in an explained that he had wanted to book a spot to stay, but he could not get anyone to answer the phone, possibly because the phone was faulty. The response was that they knew the phone was faulty, and words to the effect that they were seriously considering the possibility of thinking about trying to approach someone about doing something about it, maybe.

So, if you need to find an overnight stopover for a self-contained RV and on the Bruce Highway between Agnes Water and Airlie Beach, you would not do much better than the Flaggy Rock Community Centre (0477 545 618) at Clairview. We suggest giving the Flaggy Rock Café a miss, at least as far as a stopover point. Can’t comment on the coffee, as Ian did not feel obliged to support their business after their lack of interest in fixing their business phone line.

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