Pilot loves exploring Gladstone from the air
MY SECRET SPOT: Gladstone aircraft enthusiast Hugh Bridge loves to explore the region from the sky.
This week, he has shared with this paper his favourite places to take friends and family on short plane trips:
MY favourite place to fly over is Curtis Island, Facing Island, Cape Capricorn and Bustard Heads.
It's very picturesque, and so if we have visitors, we'll take them for a run up around that area.
It's a great way to show them industry in Gladstone; the money that oozes out of our city.
It's because there're beautiful beaches virtually unoccupied all the way up.
The lighthouse, the water is always nice and clear up there and protected.
Often, we see a couple of yachts at Yellow Patch.
You can see the whole of Curtis Island stretching out before back to Gladstone gives you a few snap shots of Gladstone.
You've got the really nice isolated beaches of Facing and Curtis islands plus all the industry, power station, QAL, right down there to the contrast of how it must've been many years ago compared to what it is now.
This trip is more of a joy ride for friends that come to visit. Not a commercial thing. Sometimes visitors to the region haven't seen something like that from the sky.
All the beaches up the east coast of Curtis Island are beautiful but the prettiest is the lighthouse itself and Yellow Patch.
It's protected and has reasonably deep water anchorage.
I've taken heaps of people, friends and visitors from down south, and the odd ones from overseas and so on.
The first time I did the trip was in 1974, that's when I first moved here.
It depends on who's around on how many times I go, but I do try to go a couple of times a year.
Gladstone has changed a lot but Curtis Island itself, except for the gas works, hasn't changed too much.
The lighthouse is no longer manned; it's automatic, so that's different now, too.
We actually landed at Cape Capricorn, but that was long ago.
I wasn't the pilot; I went for a ride also supplying the lighthouse. There's no airstrip there so you can't land.
There used to be one on Facing Island. But that's all overgrown.
ON Camping vs flying:
Mr Bridge says he's only ever once flown to a location and camped under the stars.
He won't do it again.
"It was wet, and cold. The beauty of flying is you can see these beautiful spots, then fly back home or to a four-star hotel and really treat yourself."