Road Trip Series Header
Rockhampton to Airlie Beach. A road trip, driving with arthritis. Places to visit, eat and stay along the way,. Dear Diary.
Please follow and share

Day 3: Rockhampton to Airlie Beach

road trip rockhampton airlie

Today was all about getting to Airlie Beach in time for dinner. It consisted on starting the day with a visit to the Capricorn Caves., Then it was to be driving straight to Airlie Beach, with a quick break in Mackay.

Capricorn Caves

Imagine if you will – the effort needed to persuade a geologist who spent his student days as a tourist Tour Guide of the local Aillwee cave in Ireland to get excited and want to visit caves on his own holidays! 

I’m glad to say that I succeeded 🙂  What an experience it was to visit the Capricorn Caves, just 10 minutes outside of Rockhampton, I highly recommend a tour. We took the shortest tour – the Cathedral Cave Tour as we were time poor. I did feel rather sorry for our young tour guide, who upon hearing that Paddy was a geologist, started shaking! We had one other tourist from Sydney along with us on our tour. He certainly benefitted from 

Paddy’s in depth knowledge of the rock formations and their industrial grades and uses. 

The highlight was the time in the Cathedral Cave. Part of the experience was a music and light show. Beautiful soft lighting changing to the acapella singing from  Pentatonix’s version of Hallelujah With clear advanced warning the lights are turned off and you are left in complete blackness as the music envelopes you. It was amazing and reduced me to tears by the sheer beauty of it.

The Capricorn Caves are privately owned and I must praise them for ensuring that they have wheelchair accessibility and alternative routes created for people with mobility issues around steps. Some of the ramps do have a bit of an incline, but I was able to navigate them comfortably. The Zig Zag tunnel is great fun. You do need to bend to fit through part of it (an alternative route is available if you need it) but as I was so short I didnt have to bend my knees and could get through simply by bending from my knees.


Places to Visit

Capricorn Caves

Do not miss out on visiting the Capricorn Caves.  These caves are located just over 20km north of Rockhampton. It is one of the largest privately owned limestone cave systems in Australia.  We had limited time available so we chose the shortest tour – lasting 45 minutes. Please note there are ramps and alternative routes available for those with mobility issues.


Mackay: I am not exactly sure what we were expecting, however we were very disappointed by this industrial town by the sea.  It was not made any better by the fact that we were hungry and couldn’t find anything other than a Nightowl store open for food, frozen food that is! (see the Meal Stops section) We would give this stop a miss next time. I am sure there would be food outlets in the large shopping centre, however we were trying to explore the town.

Meal Stops

Learn what we thought of the places where we chose to eat on the Rockhampton to Airlie Beach stretch of our road trip. We are the kind of people who don’t really research prior to going to a place and prefer to just rock up and take a punt. We like a variety of venues:and can be found in haute cuisine venues to the local FoodWorks store and anything in between. We do love our food however, and are on the constant “see food, eat food” diet. It’s always a battle to avoid food envy and not be looking at the others plate, wishing we had made a different choice! So we turn it into a competition. Keep an eye on the scores as the trip continues.

LUNCH: Nightowl Convenience Store, Gregory St, Mackay

With very few options, we selected to purchase ourselves two pre-made and packaged sandwiches.

      1. Chicken Caesar 
      2. Chicken and Avocado

When we got to the car we discovered that the sandwiches had been FROZEN and were UNEDIBLE as they were still partially frozen! I cannot believe that this store would think it appropriate to sell a customer such a food item!!

DINNER: The Rocks Resort, Coral Sea Resort, Airlie Beach

Starter: Grilled Tasmanian Octopus with grilled chorizo, chimchurri, roasted red pepper, cos lettuce.


Paddy’s Main Course: Barramundi with fennel chorizo pasta cream butter sauce.


Charlie’s Main Course: Wide mouth nannygai with potato gratin, spring onion and seaweed with Hollanaise sauce.

Food choice winner: Equal


Food Envy Score
Creaky Me 2
Irish Paddy 2

Bed for the night: Coral Sea Resort

We splashed out and selected a spa deluxe room at the Coral Sea Resort. Our room was spacious, it had a king bed, sofa, dining table and chairs and a kitchenette.  There was an uninterrupted view out over the ocean. The private balcony had a spa and hammock in addition to comfy chairs and outdoor table.

The Martinique resort  had been highly recommended to us, as had the Pinnacles Resort. Both resorts were well located in terms of their closeness to the beach and restaurants. Unfortunately however, they were both on a steep hill and with my osteoarthritis, we felt this would have meant that we would be reliant on using our car to go small distances. 

My daily discoveries for more comfort, less pain

Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of the bleeding obvious! Sometimes we just have not discovered this adapation. Below are my daily discoveries as I learn the process to adopt, adapt and become adept with living with the joint pain of Osteoarthritis. 

1. When planning a holiday and choosing your accommodation GOOGLE EARTH is your best friend. By using Google Earth we were able to see that the Pinnacle and Martinique Resorts were on a hill and therefore managed to avoid a daily arduous climb that would have triggered my OA.

Please follow and share
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top