from Dandabah to Gympie

MONDAY.

I had a cross-cultural nightmare. I was dreaming that I was driving a car on the right side of the road and I was sitting on the passenger’s seat on the left and had pedals on my side but the wheel was on the right. I couldn’t see anything in the mirrors! I think my brain is getting ready to try driving on the left side of the road…

In the morning I saw plenty of wallabies on the field outside of our chalet. I had even a close encounter with a mum and her joey while having breakfast.

Our chalet (a half of it was ours) and some bunya pines on the right

We left our bags in the car, left the key at the office and went for one hour walk, Scenic circuit.



Can you spot a kookaburra? More photos from the Bunya Mountains on my photoblog.

It was a holiday AND Monday so everything was closed and we were getting hungry. We went down the Mountains and about 50 km later we stopped for lunch in Kingaroy, a typical agricultural town where one of Premieres of Queensland was born and died there, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The town is also known as the “Peanut Capital of Australia”.

After lunch we headed north, stopped by Bjelke-Petersen Dam where I saw an Aboriginal family having a picnic. Well, nothing unusual here, but I was excited to finally see indigenous Australians.

The landscape was again hilly with eucalyptus trees by the road. It hadn’t been raining for quite a while, so it was dry and there were huge areas of burnt bush along the way.

We arrived in Gympie before sunset and spent that night again at P. and G.’s friends, a lovely elderly couple. This is when I found out that there was snow in Wellington. Oh, really? I hope it’ll be all gone by the time I get there.

from Toowoomba to Dandabah

SUNDAY.

That morning we spent at the Community Baptist Church in Toowoomba. I was a bit surprised to see a senior pastor dressed in a polo shirt and shorts and thought there must be some explanation. I was right. There was a baptism and after the ceremony he got changed. We had found out that that day a pastor from the Mueller church was preaching. We had a laugh that we were his groupies following from city to city.

Toowoomba was most severly hit by the summer floods and there were about 20 people killed. I was told a story of a boy who, when a rescue team came to save his family and they could take just one person, he told them to take his younger brother. When the team later returned for the older one, he was found already dead with his mother.

But the city didn’t look destroyed, in fact it was really pretty. Australian cities don’t have tall buildings, they are just wide spread. There are some shops, cafes and offices in the centre and suburbs around them.

We had lunch at a restaurant opposite Queens Park. There was some festival at the Park and I wasn’t expecting to see camels while in Australia! (Though, there are some, but they’re not native 😉 ).

We went for a walk to the Botanic Gardens. Toowoomba is famous for the Carnival of Flowers organized every September.

Then it started to rain, so we didn’t stay long in the park. We went back to our friend, had a coffee, packed our stuff and hit the road. It was already late afternoon and the sun was coming down. This part of trip was boring for the driver, because the landscape was completely flat as far as your eyes could reach. For me it was new, so I was looking around and imagining what the life in the outback looks like.

We stopped by in Dalby to fill up P.’s car. While waiting I got this feeling I was on the wild west of America and not in Australia. There was McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s (i.e. Big Mac) and another fast-food restaurant, Red Rooster. In shops I could see cowboy hats, cattle bells etc. That’s a different face of Australia which I won’t see in Brisbane… or will I?

It was already dark, so we had to be careful driving up the Bunya Mountains (I have completely no idea where they came from!) not to hit any kangaroo, wallabie or other wild animal. We were lucky and safely arrived in Accommodation Centre in Dandabah. P. had booked one of the chalets there when we were still in Toowoomba and they had left a key for us. Driving up the chalet we could spot wallabies on the field eating grass like cows. The chalet was awesome: 3 bedrooms, toilet, bathroom, kitchen and living room. It cost $130 per night and was too big for us three, but G. said I shouldn’t talk nonsense. So I stopped and prepared farmers’ tea: steaks, potatoes and carrots. We had no salt but still it was pretty good. I was quite proud of my cooking skills… or maybe we were really hungry.

from Kippa-Ring to Toowoomba

It’s been a long weekend here in Queensland, because of the Royal National Agricultural Show Day (EKKA), which was on Wednesday 17th, but schools had a holiday on Monday, so G. was free, P. took some days off and we went on a trip that they had planned for me.

SATURDAY.

We headed west first, crossed Peak Crossing – there were four hills on the left side of the road marking that we were entering a different land, more agricultural. The landscape was hilly and dominant colours were the light brown of dry grass, sometimes green trees, dark brown-reddish soil or brick-red dirt and deep light blue sky.

Our first stop was at the Gorge, a campsite at the foot of Mt Edwards run by P.’s aunt, 75 year old V. There were about three chalets and a lot of space for campervans. The campsite was located by Reynolds Creek and last summer in December and January, there were floods in that area. Luckily, V.’s campsite stayed untouched, but from the pictures I saw, the level of water was scary.

In winter, V. comes to the Gorge every weekend to look after the place. She stays at a shed with a big patio and a stove on which she was happy to make pumpkin scones for us.



We also had to look after our food on the table, because those funny birds, called kookaburra are very cheeky and they steal food straight from the table.

They are G.’s favourite birds. Listen to their laugh. It reminds me more a monkey than a bird!

After lunch we went for a short walk along the creek.

Then we said ‘goodbye’ to V. and went back on the road. We stopped by Lake Moogerah and Moogerah Dam. There was a spillway last summer.


P. wanted to show me some countryside and stayed away from main roads. We got lost, of course, but thanks to that we saw a great parade of about 30 tractors

and kangaroos!

Eventually, we found our way back on the right track in Aratula, went through Cunninghams Gap and entered wide plains of central Queensland. The sky was bigger and the twilight was in the colour of rooibos tea.

We got to Toowoomba by 7 p.m. and spent that night at G. and P.’s good friend in the suburbs. We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Life had never been sweeter.

many faces of Queensland

I just got back from a 4-day trip west and then north from Brisbane and I saw mountains, plains, rainforests, bushes and beaches. I was introduced to kookaburras, magpies, wallabies (my favourite Australian animal so far) and saw cockatoos and kangaroos. I haven’t seen any koalas yet, as they are difficult to spot in the wild, but I’ll keep on trying.

I didn’t take my laptop with me on purpose. I needed some rest from it, so imagine me going to bed before 10 p.m.! And now I’m back and it’s 1 a.m. already.

I’ll try to update you with everything with time. Tomorrow I may be also busy, but I hope by the end of the week I’ll have all sorted.

I did a bit of redesigning on my blog with some help from my friend (*hug*), so you could follow my photoblog. I also hope that this shade of grey is good for your eyes and it’s easy to read my posts. If you have any suggestions, throw in. I usually visit my blog in the evening, when it’s dark. Maybe I should check out how it looks in the daylight.

OK, enough of this metablog divagations. I should have gone to bed long time ago.

throw another shrimp on the barbie

Sorry for being quiet recently, but there hasn’t been much to write about and I think I’ve been a bit distracted by what’s been happening in the UK right now. Imagine the whole world going on like that. There are enough baddies out there to make it happen, so what stops them? OK, I’m not panicing, I’m just preparing myself for what’s about to come eventually.

On a lighter note, I was at an Australian barbie yesterday. There was no shrimps (have you seen this ad with Paul Hogan?), but we had steaks and sausages, salads and of course pavlova for dessert. That version of pavlova was a bit different. It was small round pieces of a plain meringue and you put some fruit and whipped cream by yourself. So the essence of pavlowa or what pavlova is, is this: meringue + fruit + whipped cream.

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I have been counted. Every 5 years on 9th August, there is a Census Night in Australia and every household has to complete a Census for the Australian Bureau and Statistics, either online or paper exactly on that day. I had to complete my column, even though I’m just a visitor staying here for less than one year.

And the last thing to “report” is that it finally came to me that I’m under a bit different sky and G. showed me today The Southern Cross, when it got dark. It looks pretty much like a kite. The sky wasn’t clear enough to admire it more, because it was cloudy today and rained, but I hope I’ll have more chances to watch the stars on our 5-day trip which starts this Saturday. I’m not taking my laptop, so, unless something happens, we’ll ‘see’ you next week.

Cheap Tuesday

I had already mentioned that the shopping centre near our house has a cinema. On Tuesday the tickets are cheaper, so I went today to watch Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows part 2 (awesome movie!), and what surprised me is that the ads before the movie were of the local business run in Redcliffe. There was not even one commercial of Coke, mobile phones, crisps or cars just some beauty salons, first aid courses and retirement homes. What an interesting idea! I’ll have to remember that when I’ll be building my own cinema (in my dreams).

P.S. I’m not going to comment on what’s going on in the UK. It just scares me and I’m afraid that something really bad must happen to stop that madness.

sometimes you just want to stay at home and watch films

Yeah, I had a lazy Monday. Both guys went to work and I wasn’t in the mood for exploring the area (I’ll have plenty of time to do that), so I watched the first series of Ricky Gervais’s Extras, went to buy some stuff at the shopping centre near our home and in the evening, when G. and then P. came back, we watched some TV. It’s starting to get to me where I am, when on the news they talk about Aborigines and the first place they show you during the weather forecast is Australia.

Today I also had my first homesick moment. When I was going through the shelves in a shop and checking out the prices of food here and how expensive it is and how I’ll have to be careful with my money in NZ and then I remembered a full fridge at home in Poland and saw an elderly couple doing the shopping together, I pictured my parents doing that and I started to miss them very much at that moment. I think I need to make a proper dinner tomorrow to console myself!

Mueller Community Church

Yesterday was Sunday, so I spent most of the day with saints. I went to a church that G. and P. go to, Mueller Community Church. It’s difficult to find a Bible centred church these days and I was glad to hear a good old gospel being preached there.

We went to a morning service at 9:30 a.m. (a sermon was about walking in love, Ephesians 5:1-7) and then to a worship service at 6 p.m. (about intimacy, Psalm 91:1) I liked both services. In the evening there were more younger people. I was happy to meet some new people and see some familiar faces from the Israeli evening again. I was ovewhealmed by how many church members were involved in so many missions. It made me think again that my life is just useless, but at the same time I’m too burnt out and messed up to put my hands in anything…

The church meets at a Performing Arts Hall of Mueller College established by the Church. One of the elders told me, that God gave them that vision over 20 years ago and some of the members even sold their houses to make that vision come true. I wouldn’t have had that much faith. But I see God’s faithfulness today. The whole college grounds are huge! G. works there and he showed me around. The main building is Performing Arts Centre with the hall and Bible College. Around the Centre, there are many one or two level buildings which all look more like a campsite and not school. I’d love to study there myself. G. loves working there, too. The school is one of the best schools in Queensland. And still Christ is in the centre. Maybe it’s good to trust God sometimes? Or… always?

Broncos V Warriors

I just got my first watching rugby live experience and the match was awesome! It was between two teams of the National Rugby League, Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. At first, when P. offered me going to see the match, I wasn’t so keen on it, because he was talking about watching a footie and I thought he was talking about football / soccer and I’m not a fan of this sport (Aussies have this funny way of creating new words like: brekky, cabbie or barbie). But when I discovered he meant rugby, then… yeah!

The atmosphere before, during and after the match was amazing. I couldn’t believe I could see so great variaty of supporters. There were whole families, parents with their small kids, even 3 year old boys and girls, women older than my mum (I’d say they were about 70 years old), men and of course the youth and people in my age. The whole event was like one big family festival, all well behaving and enjoying their time together. I loved it.

The game was keeping me on the edge of my seat. First half belonged to New Zealand (yay!), but during the second half Australia earned some points and there was a tie score for a while. I was supporting the Warriors, but I didn’t mind if the Broncos won, because the match was really special for the locals. The captain of the team from Brisbane, Darren Lockyer is going to retire soon and this was, I think his last match at the home stadium. And he did well. He scored the last point with a goal and the Broncos won 21:20. But New Zealand should blame themselves, because they missed three kicks. As a consolation, I know the All Blacks “shredded” the Wallabies tonight, and that game was more important.


These guys were just so cool and sweet. The one on the right asked me if I work ‘here’. Apparently, I looked very professional or they were very drunk. 😀 I’ll have to work on my live sport events shots a bit more. 😉

a bus driver

Yesterday I had this song in my head all day,

G. got a call from school, so he went to work. He’s a relief teacher. Sometimes he works one day a week, sometimes more often and he can choose the schools he wants to work at. He’s got a good life. For one day (6 classes) of his work he earns a half of my monthly salary. Imagine that! Poland is like a third world country.

P. is a bus driver and he works from Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a few hour break in between. Yesterday he came at about noon and took me to show me his work. I got a free bus tour around Brisbane and its suburbs.

The population of the city is 1.6 million and it’s located by the Brisbane River. Last year the financial centre of the city, which is just right by the river was closed for a couple days due to the floods. The city itself is pretty modern and still growing, great public transport, modern buildings and there’s a new bridge. The council house looks like a modern art gallery.


Town hall on the right

The suburbs are on the hills surrounding the city and riding through them is like riding in a rollercoaster in a theme park; the hills are that steep.

I liked the western suburbs the most. The houses are built on tall poles in the treetops. It’s as if the road was running through the hills and the houses were stuck to the sides of the hills and there was not enough ground to build a house on it, so they are on the poles.

After the tour P. took me to his friends for dinner. A group of more than 20 people who recently visited Israel got together to remember the trip and share with the stories and photos. The food was good. I had falafel and then halva. All in Israeli style, but there was one Australian accent. I tried pavlova. Yummm! It was a lemon meringue crusty outside, soft inside, very sweet and on top there was like thick vanilla custard and various fruit. There was also chocolate cake, but not as good as mine. 😉