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.