The Quobba Blowholes was bustling with life on Saturday as tourists, locals and campers returned to the picturesque coastline a month on since Cleo Smith’s alleged abduction at the camp site.
A warm 28C day with hardly any wind made perfect conditions for snorkelling, jet-skiing, swimming and camping at the site, which has been almost deserted — with the exception of the massive land-search for the little girl — since she was allegedly taken from her parents’ tent on October 16.
Karen and Michael Muddle, who have been travelling around Australia for 20 months from Newcastle, had been following Cleo’s case and checking for any sign of the four-year-old at roadhouses along their journey.
Mrs Muddle said she was “so elated” and burst into tears when she saw that Cleo had been found. She said it would be a shame if people now avoided the tourist haven.
“It’s a magic spot, it’s absolutely beautiful, it’s great to see people coming back,” Mrs Muddle said.
“We were only going to stay one night but we have extended for another two.
“We are definitely glad we came.”
Sydney couple Ashleigh White and Adam Day visited the Blowholes, which she said was almost as good as the Ningaloo Reef, for a snorkel, having spent the past month working at a caravan park in Carnarvon to earn money for their travels.
“It’s good to see people coming back and not leaving the place even though something has happened,” Ms White said.
“We’ve had friends that have said ‘we are not going because of what happened’, but it’s still a nice place.”
A Carnarvon father, who did not want to be named, said Cleo’s case was “gut-wrenching” — but said it was a special place for his young family, who had been splashing about in the bay.
Campers Jodie and Clinton from Perth said they had a holiday booked at the Blowholes, a place they had visited for several years, and were hesitant to stick with their plan until Cleo’s miraculous rescue.
“I don’t know how I would have felt if she hadn’t been found, I think it would have been a little bit difficult to come back here,” she said.
“I think the fact she was found, safe, makes me feel a little bit better about being here. I don’t know if I would have come, to tell you the truth.
“It is a beautiful place, it’s untouched still, I think we can rise above (what allegedly happened) and continue on.”