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.