Category Archives: Roving to Rockhampton
Here we are in Hervey Bay, gateway to Fraser island. Our daughter, Gillian, worked at Maryborough for a few years and let us know that this area is pretty quiet. Like a great big retirement village in fact! Well it is. There are of course a few young uns around, somebody has to work around here I suppose. Speaking of Gillian, at the Relish Festival we asked some representatives of her employer if any of them knew her. There were shakes of the head but one said she did recognise the name from somewhere. Maybe from her whiting fishing exploits in the Bay.
Here at Torquay they ARE building a wall. And it is quite a big one. This one is to hold back the sea in front of the camping ground and along the foreshore. And it probably will for a few years. A lot of rock is going into this one.
The camping ground is only about 60 percent full, quite a few nomads from the deep south. Some of those around us have been coming here for 15 years they say and seem to have a rather proprietorial attitude towards the water taps. We had the seeds of a minor skirmish over this on our arrival. We were allocated a site among these characters and they had cornered all the taps. They suggested it was not their problem and we could put our hose on the taps down there! Gesturing with his outstretched hand and finger. Our hose wouldn’t go that far. Suggestions were made that 15 years was too long. Allthego was about to set off for the park police when one turned out to be a little reasonable and put a double adaptor on the tap for us to plug onto. All’s well that ends well. Homealone wouldn’t let Allthego throw prawn heads and shells under their vans the next night.
The other thing about this place is that there is not a lot to do except walk around the foreshore looking at the Bay (which is very pleasant). And also monitor daily the progress of the wall as it moves slowly along, as many of the nomads do. There are also the shops and eateries. The Bay’s tourist guides all say to go somewhere else to see things………..Fraser island, Lady Elliot Island, Maryborough, Bundaberg etc. Then of course there is the whale watching, when the season is right. It’s not at the moment.
So we went to the shops. It’s an odd collection of establishments along the waterfront. One caught our eye. A second hand book shop. In we went. Homealone has been searching for the 11th volume of a series called ‘The Australians’, there are 12 in total, she has the rest and read them 30 years ago, hasn’t touched them since. They are going yellow on the bookshelf at home. She told the woman at the counter she was looking for Vol 11. Well did her eyes light up, from under the counter next her out it came. Must have seen us coming, $30 thank you! It was a hard back in good condition, out of print etc, couldn’t beat her down. Allthego spotted something interesting ‘Australia’s First Century 1788-1888’. This 900 page epistle is a facsimile reprint of the original work published in 1889. Looks interesting, only $8.50 and I got it for $8.
Have had a brief go at the Fish n Chips, nothing spectacular to report on. Looks like Yeppoon wins.
We head off home tomorrow after nearly a month away. It’s starting to get a bit nippy at night and in the early morning. Weather has been great, clear sunny blue skies with only a little wind. We will return……on the way to Fraser Island!
After the few hours walking around Great Keppel Island we were pleased to get back to Yeppoon for an evening of rest before packing for the lengthy drive back down the coast to Maryborough the next day. Originally we had planned to go out and stay at Hervey Bay and travel into Maryborough for the Relish Festival and a general look around this old regional Queensland city. But no! We decided to stop in Maryborough and stay close to the next days action. We found a neat little stop over spot down by the river at the Marina. The Marina had about 8 large powered sites over looking the river. We had use of the Marina’s facilities, on site cafe and it is only a blocks walk from the Festival and the city centre. Recommend this as a great spot for a few days in Maryborough. Probably best though in the cooler months of the year so as to avoid the dreaded midges!
The Relish Festival was well done. We kicked off by having some ‘Tipples and Tales’ in the old Bond Store. It was an interesting experience down in the original cellar of the Bond Store hearing tales from Maryborough’s early years. Followed this by a ride on the replica of ‘Mary Ann’, Queensland’s first locally built steam engine.
After this it was off up into Queen’s Park for the Long Lunch. There were 100 guests at this. Allthego and one other male entertained 8 ladies at our table. There seemed to be a preponderance of ladies present at the whole event. The food was excellent (particularly the slow cooked short rib steak), complemented by wines from local producers from the Burnett Valley. A couple of them were quite OK, the others a little nondescript. This took us through to mid afternoon and after a little stroll around the usual festival stalls and pop up eateries we headed back to the Marina. Had to indulge in a rum n raisins (it was claimed the raisins had been marinated in Bundaberg Rum) ice cream on the way back.
The next day saw us off on a morning walk around a heritage/street art self guiding walk taking in some of the city’s historical sites and old buildings. This was a pleasant stroll. Even bumped into Mary Poppins’ on the way back. P. L. Travers the author of the Mary Poppins’ books was born in Maryborough in 1899. After taking in all this culture we made it back to the Marina for lunch and an easy afternoon.
We are now at Hervey Bay having made the 35 km trek out to the coast. Staying at the Beachside Caravan Park at Torquay.
Well this was an interesting little trip across Keppel Bay to the Island. Bumped across the Bay into the face of a stiff sou-easter, a bit of splash into the back of the boat kept us dodging the spray. After 30 minutes or so we arrived and edged up onto the sand to let everyone off. Homealone had to take her joggers off to jump ashore.
We had come for the day, the boat would return at 4 pm.
It soon became apparent there wasn’t a lot to do here except walk around, or sit down and eat and drink. There used to be a major resort on the island but it is now derelict and has been for about 9 years. A redevelopment proposal is afoot but needs funding.
So we set off for a walk, up and across the headland to Monkey Beach and then onto Long Beach, about 2 hours. The track was a bit marginal, fellow walkers advised against going down the hill to Monkey Beach so we kept on the path to Long Beach. This was ok for a while but ended up evaporating into the scrub with no way forward. So we turned back, retraced our steps and after a couple of hours wandering around we had a nice but late lunch at the Hideaway Resort cafe, followed by a lie down in the sun on the beach.
The boat returned and so did we! It was a good day despite the disappointment of the aborted island walk.
We have now left Yeppoon and headed back south. Staying the night at Maryborough and readying for the Relish Festival on Saturday.
We are now at Yeppoon on the coast about 40 km east of Rockhampton for 3 days. The van park is right on the beachfront and we are looking out over Keppel Bay towards Great Keppel Island. We are in about the centre of this stretch of coast, between Emu Park in the south and Byfield National Park in the north (about 30-35 km in each direction). Unlike Byfield National Park Emu Park is not really a park, it’s another coastal community. We will go south to Emu Park one day, north to Byfield another day and plan to go out to Great Keppel on the other.
The weather has been kind to us so far,warm sunny days with a bit of cloud and gentle breezes. Wind got up tonight and blew us around a bit, but all held in place.
Down at Emu Park the local RSL sub Branch in conjunction with the Council has developed a quite original ANZAC Memorial Park. A boardwalk runs along the cliff line beside the sea-shore with various sign posts in the ground recognising the various theatres of war Australians fought in during WWI. At the end of this are memorial boards under cover highlighting the involvement of a number of local residents in these conflicts. Finally, there is a photograph in a hardened glass display that sits on the cliff edge. The soldiers in the photograph look as if they are climbing up the cliff line in front of us, a simulation if you like of the Gallipoli landings. Quite original idea and very effective!
A bit further along is the singing ship, a memorial to Capt Cook who sailed through Keppel Bay on his way north. The wind whips through the shrouds and makes a sort of musical sound…………
Returning to Yeppoon, we stopped in at the Rosslyn Bay Marina for lunch. This is where the ferries leave to go out to Great Keppel Island. There is a nice little cafe here at the Marina that overlooks the yachts and amongst other things does Fish n Chips. These were actually I think the best we have had to date. The fish nice and firm, the batter crisp but not too thick, not a great pile of chips and just enough salad to give a nice fresh taste in the mouth……. 4.5/5 .
Nearby is Double Head, a short walk takes one to the top of the headland with great views up and down the coastline. There is also an unusual geological feature in the cliff face here, Fan Rock. It is a Trachyte plug, the remnants of a volcanic extrusion that has forced itself up through a pipe and then spread out in hexagonal columns, like a fan.
Next day it was off up to Byfield NP. Unfortunately, we had to abort our trip a bit over half way along the sand track out to the coast section of the park from the township of Byfield. Tyres had to be deflated and with the time getting on we decided this coupled with then having to reinflate them on the way back meant we would have little time at the destination. So turn around we did. Need to leave earlier next time to allow for this! Enjoyed the couple of shallow creek crossings and a timber plank bridge for good measure.
Back at the campground in Yeppoon a number of nomads gathered for the State of Origin on a big screen in the BBQ area. A number of Blues supporters seemed happy at the outcome!
We are now in Rockhampton and do you know I have seen it referred to, in a tourist brochure, as Rockie. Well what can you say about that except that I always believed it was Rocky!
We are in a van park just across the Fitzroy River from the Rocky CBD. It is near the end of Wholly Cow Month here in town and one senses the need to call off the Fish n Chips comparison exercise and focus on beef. Rockhampton is the home of the Queensland beef industry. Cattle welcome you into the town and cattle farewell you from the town. As well as special dinners and long table lunches, restaurants and butchers shops have been promoting various beef specials on menus and special wholly cow recipe cards. We had some rump one night at the Giddy Goat establishment, not bad at all.
One of the reasons for coming up here (apart from the beef) was to go to the ‘Opera in the Caves’ night at Olsen’s Caves, about 20 km north of the city just off the Bruce Highway. Before the show we had an early dinner at the Caves Hotel. This is one of those new old looking sorts of Hotels, everything in it looks old except for the bar maids! At the show were 4 singers (tenor, baritone and 2 sopranos) on the bill plus the pianist. The event takes place in the Cathedral Cave, holds about 100 people sitting on old pews and lit by lots of little candles on the floor and up the walls of the cave. Sang lots of well-known pieces, including some from Sound Of Music and Carmen. Highlight though was Nessun dorma, it just reverberated around the cave. Amazing. Little bats flitted around during the show as well. A great night out!
There is a fair bit of activity going on around the CBD and Riverfront rejuvenating the old streetscapes and buildings, many of which date from the 1800s. Trying to attract back into the CBD area much of the life and business that has disappeared into the shopping centres around the outskirts of the city.
Our last day in Rocky involved a wander around the Caravan etc show that was in town for the end of the Wholly Cow Month. One of the features here was the The Smokin Yak mob, who very slow cook the humps of Brahman cattle. This has only been done over the last couple of years, previously these humps were sent off as pet food….thought to be one of those undesirable secondary cuts. It was pretty tasty, particularly with their special BBQ sauce. Not unlike slow cooked beef cheeks but not quite as rich………
Enough of beef we are now off to Yeppoon for a few days beside the seaside and some Fish n Chips!
That is what the locals seem to call this place. We are in Gladstone (or we were, currently siting at Rockhampton writing this epistle). It’s like chalk and cheese here in Glady compared to Noosa, not a Greenie to be seen.
The big industrial scene seems to overwhelm what one sees here. There is a slightly off smell to the air when the wind blows across from the alumina refinery. Tourism certainly plays second fiddle to heavy industry, although boats head out from here to the southern barrier reef islands. A lot of the city’s early buildings appear to have been lost and those that remain are much changed. Overall it looks a bit like part of the Brisbane urban sprawl.
We stayed at Tannum Sands about 20 km south of the city and just across from Boyne Island where the aluminium smelter is. All of the production from the alumina refinery up at Gladstone comes down here by conveyor to the smelter and thence is exported from the terminal here or trucked out around Australia. Tannum is a peaceful place with not a lot to do. We are beside a creek not far from the mouth. Allthego had a short fish one late afternoon and was eaten by midges…..still itching from them……….and no fish…….
Took a tour out on Glady Harbour, not to see pristine waterways, turtles etc but to check out all the material handling terminals along the waterfront. As well as a close up look at the new LNG processing plants and loading docks on Curtis Island ( which is actually the second largest island off the Qld coast after Fraser Island). The processing plants occupy less than 1 Percent of its total area, but certainly make a visual impact across the channel. We were lucky to see 2 LNG cargo vessels coming up the bay for loading, impressive ships, with 4 tugs attached.
The food scene here is a little bare, no festivals on. Enjoyed some fish n chips overlooking the harbour. Rated these superior to the ones we had at Noosa, which were a little pasty. 4/5 for these ones 3.5/5 for the Noosa ones. Ambience of Noosa though was superior, although that doesn’t effect the fish n chips.
Short visit to the local museum and art gallery to see the statue of Gladstone, the 4 times Prime Minister of England (he finally retired as PM at the age of 85). Glady is named after Gladstone who was largely responsible for initiating the settlement of the area in the 1840s. Glady was to be the capital of a ‘Northern NSW’, a new colony, Brisbane would remain in the New South Wales colony. It was not to be though with Queensland being carved out instead with Brisbane as its centre piece. WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT COULD HAVE MADE TO NRL STATE OF ORIGIN GAMES!
We have now left Glady and have gone a little further north to Rockhampton, Rocky to most. Maybe those Glady people are just competing with Rocky?
It’s Wholly Cow month in Rocky, back to the food and culture it seems.
It is going to be a slow trip to Rockhampton and just as slow coming back to Brisbane, all up about 5 weeks. We are setting off to see some of the towns to our near north, we just seem to skip past these on the more lengthy journeys. By sheer coincidence the timing of this trip coincides with several food festivals…….
In Noosa it’s the ‘Noosa Food and Wine Festival’, in Maryborough it’s the ‘Relish Festival’ and in Rockhampton it’s the ‘Wholy Cow Festival’. What luck!
So we have made Noosa our first stop to focus on the food. Now we have been to Noosa a fair bit over the years but not in a van. 30 odd years ago we tented in what is now known as Noosa Woods, out on the spit at the end of Hastings Street, near the river mouth. It’s been many years since camping was eliminated from this area and much of it has been reclaimed by the bush. So we are staying in the van park along the river at Noosaville, great little spot looking across the river with the sun sinking over the hinterland.
We have been here 3 days, the first was a wash out, rained all day Friday and most of the night. So our Friday ticket to the Noosa Woods was made good for Saturday when the sun came out. Usual festival sort of thing, lots of tents with wine sellers, a range of food vendors and music. Open all day, you could spend a fortune here without really trying. We didn’t. After not a bad pulled pork burger and a plate of cheese, washed down with a couple of glasses of red, we were heading back to the van. Some interesting characters wandering around the festival grounds made for interesting people watching….
Back in Hastings Street the Long Table Lunch was in full swing down the middle of the road. Looked pretty good setup. Allthego had a chat with some patrons, confirmed it was good and offered him a seat at the table. Someone hadn’t shown up. Tempting. But, there was no seat for Homealone. Allthego politely declined.
That night it was off to El Capitano for what was billed as a night of Pizza and ‘natural wines’ (read that as organic). A well-known chef from a Melbourne restaurant (400 Gradi) was up preparing the food. As well as a couple of fancy pizzas there was salamis to kick the night off, a plate of venison carpaccio, and braised octopus (twas very tender and tasty). A Nutella calzone for desert was a bit average Allthego thought, as were the wines. But it was a bit of fun and we had a good table of folk to share it with.
Today has been ‘quiet time’ beside the river. After a quick visit to the Sunday Noosa Farmer’s Markets for supplies we had a plate of fish n chips for lunch at the Noosa Marina overlooking the river. Rather good fish n chips, but will have to see how they compare with the competition further north.
Tomorrow we head off to Gladstone. Just got to see the old aluminium smelter, the new gas works and the coal loaders……………..