I haven't mentioned that we have seen tons of butterflies during our adventures and this one unfortunately ended up in our engine.
We have seen some that have the most amazing colours and shapes including very tiny yellow ones to big blue lace winged ones. This is Autumn for Australia and it'll be winter soon but the weather here means nature doesn't always follow the rules as we know them.
We set off this morning towards Bundaberg however we stopped in a little town called Gin Gin to check out the Rum Tour at the Info centre and got loads of useful information which will be useful.
We check into the Riverside Caravan site for just $15 with all amenities except power as we don't need it tonight. We have a spectacular site facing the river but first we drive across the bridge to the Bundaberg Distillery and join the 2 O'Clock tour. Our guide, Scott is excellent and at the end we are treated to some of the wonderful rum and liquers that they make here. It was a good thing we did the Sarina Sugar Shed tour a few days back because rum is made from the molasses produced from the sugar cane. All the waste goes back into producing fertilizers for the sugar cane fields so it's a true recycling crop.
Tuesday 16th May
The temperatures are still in the high 20s but there is absolutely no wind. Walking back from the shower block in a T-shirt at 8.00 am and feeling warmed by the sun is a truly beautiful feeling and one I shall surely miss back in England.
En route to Childers, our next stop, we take a trip to Flying Birds. This is a sanctuary for nearly all Australian parrots, finches and owls. They have an enormous enclosure in which they fly freely and the humans walk through with them. Having some seed to feed them meant they were happy to land on our hands, shoulders and sometimes heads to eat greedily. There were so many colours and the noise was amazing but mostly squawking which is certainly something I won't be missing.
Once in Childers we park at the free site which is fantastic. Loads of spots for caravans as well as motorhomes with fresh water, a dump and rubbish bins right behind the main shopping street and all for free.
We walk down the road to the famous gourmet ice-cream called mammino with crazy flavours on offer. I chose the Avocado and John had the Rum and Raisin at a huge cost of $6 each in a tiny 160ml pot. I have to say mine was disgusting and John counted only 3 raisins so definately not worth it and disappointing.
The Information centre is housed in the rebuilt Backpackers Hotel where 15 people lost their lives in a deliberately set fire back in 2000. There is a memorial to them here. Like many towns, Childers comprises a main high street which is actually part of the Bruce Highway and not much else. We have decided to eat at the ISIS Club tonight and actually the meal was quite good. We both chose the roast lamb deal at $15.50 and it was the best roast meal we've had over here as well as being generous and tasty it was good value.
Before we went for our meal we joined another couple parked close by and chatted to them for some time. John was treated to a couple of very large glasses of whiskey, home brewed by Doug whilst Debbie and I chose white wine. They were on their way to Bundaberg so we told them about the rum tour and hope they managed to see it and like as we had.
Wednesday 17th May
We woke up to fog!! The weather forecasts are not looking brilliant for the weekend which is a shame because we are looking forward to meeting up with Stephen and Jenny again tomorrow.
The sun does burn away the fog very quickly and for now we can still enjoy some warm sun. Our plan initially was to visit Snakes Down Under, a local place where they have snakes and goannas etc, unfortunately they are closed on Wednesdays so we set off to Vinters Secret, a local Vineyard.
We are entertained by Ed and his wife and chat to them about their business and our trip over here as well as sampling some of their wines. We bought some bottles to share with our friends later in the week and were treated to some home made biscuits which look delicious. We were invited to stroll around their garden which was a delightful mixture of pens for chickens [chooks in Oz speak], some partridge things, a couple of tiny alpacas, a miniature pony and a huge fat pig with one eye.
There were lots of orange and lime trees and several unique gazebos all set in a huge plot at the top of a hill with views across the valleys on all sides. It looked like a lovely place to chill out.
We eventually left Childers and headed towards Howard. We stopped here for lunch and contemplated staying here overnight but Howard didn't have a lot to offer so we moved on to a site near the airport at Maryborough. There is a takeaway Fish and Chip shop a few metres away and we have been entertained watching small planes take off and land just the other side of he fence to us.
The sun has hidden itself behind clouds now and we await the impending rain hoping it won't spoil our last few days on the move.
Thursday 18th May
Not much sun today!! We leave the airport site and move around to the other side of town closer to our site for tonight at the Wharf. We have been told that Thursday is market day in Maryborough so we're going to wander along Adelaide Street to see what bargains are on offer.
There is a man dressed up as a town crier and lots of local produce stalls. All very colourful and entertaining during our morning stroll.
We eventually check into our camp site for the night and after a lovely shower we get a load of washing done although the weather today means we'll have to use the drier as well. The site is beside a river marina and there is quite a bit of activity so instead of aeroplanes like last night we now have boats to watch!!
Steve and Jenny arrive and provide a fabulous soup lunch and we manage to catch up with news over a bottle of wine. We are off to the local RSL club for dinner tonight.
Friday 19th May
We awoke to dark clouds and the site of overnight rain making everything extremely wet. The day didn't get any better. We both left Maryborough in convoy for our next destination but the continuing heavy rain meant that although we might have made it to the site at Boonooroo we may not have been able to get out again tomorrow once the surrounding fields drained into the overflowing ditches. There were though, many kangaroos here bouncing in the wet grass and splashing about looking very damp and miserable [like us!]. Plan B had to be put into operation and we set off for higher ground just north of Glympie in a rest area beside the Bruce Highway. S and J invited us into their van for dinner as we had expected to eat out at the Boonooroo Golf Club and we ended up spending a very pleasant evening chatting and putting the world to right. [If only it was that easy?]
Saturday 20th May
No rain this morning and a little more blue sky poking through. Most of the huge puddles of last night have soaked away so things are looking a bit brighter.
We have arrived in Kandanga but the RV site is quite full with backpackers, caravans and motorhomes. We will hover around until a couple of spaces become available as the overnighters move on.
There is a peculiar tree here in the park which looks just as though it's growing runner beans!!
After settling in to our overnight pitches we set off into Kandanga main street and discover that there is nowhere to eat in town tonight especially since the local pub burned down a couple of years ago. It's being rebuilt but not in time for us!! This means stopping at the local butcher for steaks and snags [sausages to Brits!] so we will have a BBQ later.
Next stop is the Information Centre and Library which also houses a washing machine!! I'm trying to picture the Redhill Library doubling up as a laundrette for backpackers and it just doesn't work!! I check out the books for one on Australian birds as I have been doing in EVERY town we've been to but a quick look is as fruitless as all my other searches. Just as we are leaving I ask the lady in charge if she might know if they have any bird books in stock and she jumps up and takes us downstairs to the basement where she produces THE ACTUAL book I've been seeking. It's the 2nd edition of What Bird is That and she sells it to me for just $2. I can't believe I've got it at last even though we have only 1 full week left here!!
We go for a stroll and come to a spot by the river where Platypus have been seen but after the recent rain the river is fairly full and fast flowing with no signs of activity so we are out of luck here.
We get together for our BBQ in the evening and manage to consume a feast with the meat and vegetables provided by Jenny. We also manage to get through two bottles of the rose wine that we bought from Vintners Secret back in Childers which we decide is a lot nicer than the white.
Sunday 21st May
The plan today is to make for Maleny which is a larger town and will definately have a place suitable to eat tonight. WRONG!
There is a Woolworth supermarket however, and buying a roast chicken will easily feed us with a jar of Carbonara sauce and some pasta, heavenly. This is all pleasantly washed down with two of the rose wines we bought from the Vintners Secret Vinyard.