Day 455 – 507: Brisbane
Yesterday’s announcement of restrictions being eased in Queensland was the best news we have had in weeks. We were both expecting that travel within the State would be eased by the end of June. Hibernation has been at Aspley with Andrew’s dad Dave.
With ‘stay at home’ orders and essential travel only being allowed it’s been an unusual time for everyone. Things that we take for granted have had to be re-assessed. Online shopping has become our new best friend. The car and caravan have both been serviced and Cinta has been lucky to have a dog wash every fortnight.
With non-essential travel restrictions being eased we took Dave out to Scarborough for fish n chips in the park. Followed by a walk along the beach at Woody Point. It was so great to smell the ocean and walk along the pathway. It almost felt like any other normal day before COVID-19 struck Australia.
Another outing took us to Mount Cootha Botanic Gardens. Andrew and Dave were very patient while I photographed all the beautiful flowers. My favourite were the amazing hibiscus in every colour you could imagine. There was plenty of space to roam the gardens with social distancing practices being adhered to by everyone.
Further lifting of the restrictions allowed travel up to 150km. Our friends Daryl and Jenny are currently hibernating at Witta on their friends property. We met at Mary Cairncross Reserve near Maleny and had a picnic lunch and some extravagant desserts! It was really great to catch up again. Jenny introduced me to her gorilla pod (selfie tripod). Needless to say I just had to get one!
Dave has taught me how to make scones with 3 ingredients; flour, cream and lemonade. I’ll be looking forward to making them on the road to see how they turn out in my turbo oven or in the Ziggy. We had one last catch up with our friend Glennis and scones were on the menu for morning tea of course!
Gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed and just in time before our departure. We put on a BBQ for Andrew’s family. A rare occasion that work rosters synced, meant that everyone was able to come together to enjoy a meal and family time.
We can’t thank Dave enough for putting up with us over the past 11 weeks. We’ve thrown his routine into chaos almost every day. There is no routine when you are travelling on the road. Every moment of every day is another adventure and well made plans can change at the drop of a hat. It’s what we’ve grown to love and dreadfully miss during lockdown.
Our last day in Brisbane is spent stocking up on groceries, packing the car and getting the van prepped for the journey ahead. Andrew and Dave have made a snazzy plank for Cinta so that she can get in and out of the car easily. She’s suffered with her arthritis whilst in Brisbane and has been having a course of injections over the past 4 weeks.
To all our friends that we didn’t get to catch up with during the lockdown, we’ll be back!
Day 508: Brisbane to Toogoolawah
It’s 10.00am by the time we are ready to head off. Our journey today is out to Toogoolawah which is only 127km. We’ve arrived just after lunch and set up in the free camp by the highway. There are no facilities here, however there’s a public toilet block a short walk away across the pedestrian bridge.
This afternoon we are catching up with Lauren & Mike. Lauren worked for me back in the late 90’s at the Bendigo Bank at Brookside. We haven’t seen each other since 2003 when we left Brisbane and moved to Townsville. Lauren baked a lovely cake for afternoon tea and of course it was enjoyed with bubbles. As you do. Lauren and I had many bubbles together in our past. We had an awesome time reminiscing about the old days and catching up on what everyone has been up to over the years. Thank you so much for showing us ‘your place’, we loved every moment of our time together.
Toogoolawah is so dry and the bindies are everywhere at the camp site. We are parked beside the “Significant Tree”. It’s a Queensland Gum Tree that is believed to be between 350-400 years old. It was struck by lightening in 2017 but is still structurally sound and provides a necessary habitat for a variety of native fauna. The sun has set at 5.07pm. It is pitch black and the temperature is dropping.
Wildlife: horses, sheep, cows.
Day 509 – 510: Toogoolawah to Goomeri
Overnight went to a low of 8 degrees and waking up this morning the condensation is dripping from the roof vent. There’s a heavy fog and there is no way I am getting out of bed any time soon. Andrew brings me a lovely piping hot cup of tea and we laze around before taking a stroll up the street.
By 9.00am it’s warmed up to 16 degrees and we are heading to Goomeri via the Blackbutt Range. The countryside is dry and the creeks are either dry or stagnant. It’s a terrible sight. Our journey is 144km. I can’t wait to message our friend Sharon Lord to tell her where we are. Sharon and Phillip lived in Goomeri for many years and Sharon was on the original committee of the Pumpkin Festival. Goomeri is well known for the pumpkins rolling down Policeman’s Hill and attracts over 14,000 people to this small township of 664.
We are staying at the Goomeri Showgrounds for the night. The caretakers are a lovely welcoming couple and we can choose where to park the van. The amenities are basic, but clean and at $20 for power and water it’s very reasonable.
After setting up we walk into the small township. Everyone is friendly and we are stopped in the street by locals wanting a chat. We met the owner of the antique shop; Nikki who knew Sharon and was able to tell us where Sharon’s old shop was. Outside the post office we were stopped by another elderly lady; Bev Barkle. We asked Bev if she knew Sharon and of course she did. Then along came Maggie on her motorised scooter and she stopped for a chat too. She told us a story of sharing a box of mangoes with Sharon. Sharon’s old shop is now an upmarket bakery and we’ll be back for morning tea in the morning.
The sun has set at 5.07pm and the clouds are greying over with orange hues bursting through. To the east the full moon is rising above the tree line. The smell of fire places burning is wafting across the showgrounds. It’s 3.00am when I wake and I immediately turn the heater on. Andrew is up just after 5.00am with Cinta and then crawls back into our warm bed. By 7.00am it’s time for a cuppa in bed while we watch the news. It’s 9 degrees. Andrew is cooking bacon and eggs and then we sit outside in the sunshine enjoying another cuppa.
There were only 6 vans here last night which included the caretakers. We’ve been chatting with the couple next door who live permanently on the road and have been here for 11 weeks during lockdown. They were originally from Murgon. The couple on the other side are from Chinchilla and they are off to Coolum for a few days. That’s all they could get. Caravan folk are on the move again.
We’ve decided to stay another day… It’s time to wander down to the bakery for morning tea. Goomeri is a popular spot for travellers and there are plenty of people wandering the main street. The offerings look amazing and we take away a coffee, a raspberry custard danish and an oreo cheesecake. OMG they were delicious! We both wish we didn’t have a sweet tooth. Time to walk back to the showgrounds.
We’re taking a drive out to Murgon. Andrew’s first transfer in the Bank of New South Wales was to here. The bank is no longer there of course. He had a trip down memory lane showing me the two places where he lived and telling me stories of his younger days. We drove further on to Wondai where he used to play soccer and also did relief work at the bank. On the way back to Goomeri we decide to detour and check out the Bjelke Petersen Dam. The facilities are still closed due to the virus. We drive over the dam wall and head out to the lookout. There is plenty of bird life on the banks of the dam. Such a shame to see the dam at only 8%, rain is desperately needed out here.
We’ve had a lovely drive today. This afternoon is spent getting back into the routine of writing a blog again. The caretakers have dropped over for a chat and given us some mandarins. Three more caravans have rolled in and we’ve spent a good part of the afternoon chatting to our new neighbours. They are from Rosewood and heading on a trip for the next 7 weeks around Central Queensland. Happy hour started at 3.00pm…
Sunset hasn’t been very colourful tonight. Time to head indoors and keep ourselves warm as the temperature is dropping fast.
Wildlife: crimson parrots, horses, cattle, galahs, dead kangaroos, pelicans, cormorants.
Day 511: Goomeri to Apple Tree Creek
The heater went on at 4.00am this morning. The neighbours tell us it dropped to 3 degrees last night. We have a slow start to the day before packing up and heading off at 9.30am. It’s warmed up to 18 degrees. A much more pleasant temperature for travelling.
We’ve said goodbye to the neighbours and the caretakers and head further along the Burnett Highway, aka Australia’s Country Way. The landscape is dry and barren. It’s hard to believe that corn, pumpkin and oranges are grown in this region.
Our morning tea stop is at Biggenden at 11.30am in the Apex Park. Time to get the gorilla pod tripod out for another practice selfie. Back on the road and we head for Apple Tree Creek where we are free camping for the night at the rest area. It’s a lovely big area with tables, bbq’s, swings for the kids and a brand new amenities block. It’s very popular with travellers stopping for lunch and afternoon tea. There are only 4 other campers here at the moment.
The footy is on and it’s time to move inside and finish off this blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading along about our first few days back on the road again. Did I mention how happy we are to be back on the road again? Just in case I didn’t – we are elated!
Week 73 total expenses: $973.58 Quite high but under budget. We’ve had to restock the van with groceries, alcohol and fill the car with fuel and a new gas bottle.
That’s a wrap for our first week back on the road.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!