There's something about the name “Lucinda” that has always held a special magic.
When we lived in Townsville in the nineties, we often drove north through Ingham to visit family on the Tableland. There were always two rituals – fish and chips on the beach at Cardwell, and a family debate as to whether we should detour through Lucinda.
We always managed the first, but never the second. This was probably because we never felt we'd arrived in FNQ until we did the Cardwell thing, and the fish and chips was inevitably of high quality. Lucinda remained a mystery.
This trip, however, was done for the first time without children, so we were a little less driven by practicality and a little more by whimsy, so we took the Lucinda detour.
I'm glad we did. The road narrows and meanders through a vivid green landscape of canefields, art-deco houses, and scattered cane harvesting machinery. Everything shrinks in scale, the road takes unexpected and eccentric angles, and the sights and smells take me back to my childhood.
The smells particularly, are something else. There's a mixture of the characteristic odour of decaying cane trash, diesel, sarsaparilla grass and mould. It's a unique combination – experienced nowhere else but here.
We drove through Halifax and finished up at the Lucinda Point Hotel where we had a coffee, outdoors in the fantastic sunshine. The boat ramp just down the road was crowded with people – it's a great springboard to the Whitsundays.
We joined the Bruce Highway and continued north. The rest of the trip was uneventful with the exception of a strange encounter with a tinnie sitting forlornly in the middle of the road near Tully.
There was a gaggle of fishy looking characters with anxious expressions standing around an empty boat trailer by the side of the road. I guess there were two issues under discussion. One would have been who forgot to tie the tinnie on the trailer – the other how they were going to get it off the middle of the road.
I had no ideas and there were more than enough of them to lift it, so we kept driving.
The best fish and chips at Cardwell can be found at Annie's Kitchen.