Best wishes to all who read this blog, for a safe and happy 2021!
It’s been such a difficult time with COVID19 changing the way of life that we formerly took for granted so let’s hope that this year sees a solution that benefits all.
Despite all the trauma and sadness of 2020, I am happy to say that during this time I met Peter, a Queensland-born, generous and lovely man with whom I have much in common.
Thus the Gutzygranny is not going to be solo-travelling from now on, as we plan to explore our great Australia, providing COVID19 allows.
To celebrate New Year 2021 we, together with Peter’s two Skye Terrier dogs, journeyed to the country west of Brisbane.
Peter has a Nissan Patrol ute with a fully functional camper. We have named the rig “The Bunya Hut”, after Peter’s Arborist business, Bunya Solutions, from which he has now semi-retired.
The journey inland reminded me a little of the New Zealand countryside.
Areas of dense forest alternating with sometimes steep, sometimes rolling hills, grazing cattle and small, interesting towns and villages provided an insight into Queensland’s early history.
It was an easy walk over the road to the Linville Hotel from our campsite on New Year’s Eve.
As in the early days in New Zealand, the towns and villages here were established along the main roads and usually consisted of an old hotel, community hall, grocery store, post office and bakery. Often the main street was wide, harking back to bullock teams and cattle droves.
On New Years Eve we camped at Linville, a tiny village with an excellent recently restored pub and a free camping area opposite. Linville was a stop on the now dismantled railway which ran from Caboolture to Murgon, servicing timber mills, cream dairies and pineapple and banana growers. The bed of the rail line is now used by cyclists, horse riders and runners, attracting recreational users from afar.
Nowadays, many keen cyclists travel to Linville especially to cycle along the old railway line and Linville is accordingly becoming more up-market, with newly painted buildings turning into gift shops, and there’s talk of a new Air BNB in the village.
We enjoyed pizza, a beer and live music early in the evening, but retired well before the witching hour, as did most of our fellow-campers.
It’s so interesting being back on the road again.
We caught up with my friends from Broome who are now living at Blackbutt and operating a thriving business – see https://www.facebook.com/homesteadburrow/
Julie, Scott and Elijah are living the life they love, surrounded by an assortment of farm animals, all possessing individual names!
Peter’s two Skye Terriers, Whoopie and Mac invariably ease us into conversation with people we meet.
We stopped for lunch at Lake Barambah, also known as Bjelke-Petersen Dam or BP. The lake itself is Lake Barambah, but the dam is called Bjelke-Petersen Dam after the late Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The lake was named after an original property in the area called Barambah.
Lake Barambah is a reasonably shallow dam that has an abundance of shallow flats and a long-submerged creek bed (Barkers Creek) that runs from the back of the dam to the dam wall.
The dams’ construction was completed in 1988 and covers almost 2000ha and holds back 120,000ML of water that is delivered via a catchment area of 1600km, mainly running off into Barkers Creek from the Bunya Mountains. The great thing about BP is its abundance of shallow flats and seasonally warmer water. This encourages the growth of biomasses of bait species like, shrimps, red claw, bony bream, barred grunter and gudgeon. In a case where the bait is in abundance, the fish tend to gorge themselves on these flats.
We stopped at Yarraman to visit the site of a cattle farm with a large agro-forestry plot. Peter had sourced live Hoop Pines six to eight metres tall for a streetscape project at Strathpine 20 odd years ago. Back then, Julie’s father, Roy Davies impressed Peter immensely as a man with deep scientific understanding of what his eyes showed him. Roy has since passed on and is buried on his property amongst a grove of his favourite Hoop Pines, not far from the house that Julie now occupies. A very special day for both Peter and Julie.
Murgon was the next stop in a free campsite which has apparently proved very beneficial for the town – https://southburnett.com.au/news2/2015/02/12/overnight-park-pays-off-for-murgon/. There were great hot showers and plenty of shade, plus it was a five minute walk to the local IGA and hardware store for supplies.
This iconic tower is the tallest of its type in the southern hemisphere and is under threat of being lost. The tower is 47 metres tall; so the Hoop Pine poles which form the structure would have been from trees over 70 metres tall – see https://www.jimnafiretower.com/
Our last overnight stop was at the famous Landcruiser Mountain Park http://www.landcruisermountainpark.com.au/
I had never heard of this 10,000 acre Wilderness Camping and 4wd Park before, but Peter was very excited to stay here.
It’s certainly an amazing place and the dogs loved the wide open countryside, even if they were wary of the inquisitive cattle.
We had to drive for five kilometres before we reached any of the camping sites (there are three main sites, all with amenities). Luckily we found a quiet spot in a nice grassy area.
Apart from ending up on the track to the very steep and scary (for me) ‘Pigpen’ the day we left, our stay was very peaceful and I can highly recommend it as an excellent place to spend some time.
So, who knows what the next trip will be, or when it might be?