Ten Mile Beach (QLD33622)

Beach trip report

General Location Midge Point, Whitsunday coast
Aboriginal Tribe/Language Group Giya Language
Access to beach Kayak and walk mudflats to beach
Beach Classification Tide Dominated – Reflective + tidal mud flats
Start Date/Time 22 June 2017 14:29
Start Location (inc Lat/Log) S20° 41.283’ E148° 43.965’
End Date/Time 22 June 2017 16:25
End Location (inc Lat/Log) S20° 42.855’ E148° 43.813’
Mode of Travel walk
Distance Travelled 2.73km
Location of Sand Sample (lat/Long) S20° 41.694’ E148° 43.946’

After three days of reconnaissance, research and weighing up options, the final decision was to again brave croc infested waters to get to this isolated beach.

Arrived at the Pacific Highway stop at Bloomfield BP late on Monday 19th, we unhitched our caravan (the Digger) and went exploring down Exmoor Road. We met an extremely friendly farmer lady, regrettably she advised there was no public access to the beach. The following morning we moved on to Midge Point, which is across Repulse Bay and about 4km as the seagull flies (sorry crows), north of Ten Mile Beach. Aptly named by Captain James Cook in 1770, Repulse Bay has extensive mudflats that combined with a 5-7 metre tide variations. The problem was between the mudflats and Ten Mile beach you still had to cross the croc infested Swizer Creek which at low tide is 300m of fast flowing tidal merky waters. When the tide is in you are looking at having to walk over 40km of coastal mangrove and many other croc infested waterways to get there and back.

From the Midget Point residents we learnt of many tales of large crocs in this area. Our host at the Travellers Rest Caravan & Camping Park assisted us in looking for alternative methods of getting to Ten Mile. Unfortunately, the current, wind and sea conditions meant obtaining a lift over by boat was looking quite remote. Joanne and I decided to conduct a reconnaissance on foot across the mudflats. We managed to get to Swizer Creek and under normal circumstances I would have been happy to swim, however the prospect of getting across without becoming croc bait was a bit daunting.

It took another day of deliberation, investigating alternative options; we even considered using Whitsunday helicopters! The final plan was for me to wheel the Kayak across the 4km of mudflats as the tide was ebbing (that’s going out for you non-nautically minded). Use the kayak to cross the Swizer Creek, then walk Ten Mile, which you can gather is not really ten miles long. The advantage of this option, if I was delayed at any stage and got caught with the fast flooding tide (again for the non-nautically the incoming tide) I would have a suitable vessel of buoyancy to get me back  to land safety. My calculations and observations taken during the preceding days I estimated a window of about 4.5 hours to complete the whole journey.

After carefully reviewing the tide predictions for the 22 June 2017, I departed the sheltered surrounding of the Midge Point caravan park at midday. Using the kayak trolley, I slowly edged my way across the mudflats, on occasions sitting and waiting as the tide ebbed further out.  I eventually reached the bank of the Swizer Creek with about 200-300 metres of water to paddle. I am certain that is the second fastest kayak paddle I have ever done, the fastest being the paddle back later that day.

Once I made it onto Ten Mile Beach there was a strong sense of achievement and relief but no delay as the tide would soon be on the turn. As it was the walk, jog, run and at times along the beach was extremely pleasant. I would have liked in some way more time to have enjoyed the isolation. I do recall thinking I could smell crocodile when I reached the creek at the southern end of the beach; but I could have been mistaken. I made it back to the kayak and as previously mentioned back across Swizer Creek in record time. The journey back across the mudflat was a race against both the tide and sunset but I am proud to say I beat both.

Special thanks have to go to Cathy and Al, caretakers of the Travellers Rest Caravan & Camping Park who assisted in our endeavours and provide a great deal of local knowledge to ensure that this quest was conducted safely.

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