Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Toowoomba, Queensland

Toowoomba with a population of around 115,000 is a city in the Darling Downs area of Queensland. With over 150 public parks and gardens it is  affectionately known as the Garden City. Toowoomba's history dates back to the mid 1800's when the English botanist and explorer discovered 4 million acres of  it's rich farming and grazing countryside. Our Saturday night was an extremely cold night spent at the PBR Bull Riding. It was a fun night watching fifty bull riders from Australia and one from Brazil tackle the very angry, very big and very mean bulls for a very long eight seconds.

Australia's history consists a lot of the travels of the Cobb and Co. wagons, so it was natural that we visited the Cobb and Co. Museum. Not only did the museum consist of a number of historic wagons there were a few other exhibits and special events.

The exhibition A Room for Wild Animals features 20 large and very impressive taxidermy specimens of big cats, bears and deer from the Queensland Museum collection.

Another special exhibition was Let Me Be Myself - The Life Story of Anne Frank. Seeing her personal story from her birth in 1929 to her death in 1945 and her story during the second World War in photos made me remember how sad I feel about her life. I was once again so engrossed in her story I forgot to take any photos.

I had previously read about a couple of the gardens in Toowoomba that I really wanted to visit. Situated in the grounds of the Southern University of Queensland are the Ju Raku En - Japanese Gardens. Designed by Professor Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto in 1989 consist of 3 kms of paths, 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants.

The other garden I wanted to visit was the State Rose Garden. Located in historic Newton Park these spectacular gardens have more than 1,500 roses planted. With most of them having a beautiful smell it was quite a delight roaming around.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Blackbutt, Queensland

Well it certainly wasn't a very long distance to get to this destination - 61km. Why would we only travel this far, because we wanted to. We did stop off at the little town of Yaraman for a pretty yummy brunch of scones, jam and cream.
Mmmmm Yummy Brunch
The township we are in for 3 nights is called Blackbutt named after the Eucalyptus Pilularis Tree or Blackbutt Tree. The town was established back around the early 1800's when farms were established in the area. A population growth happened in the late 19th century when as with many Australian towns gold was discovered. Blackbutt now has a population of just over 1000 and to me has a little bit of an alternative feel to it with a few shops selling crystals, incense product and art. I have been looking for a small lamp for in Myrtle and I found this little salt lamp that has a tiny LED lamp in it that changes colours. For those out there interested in tennis this is where the Aussie tennis legend Roy Emerson was born.

The Hotel Radnor was built around 1908 - 1912 and was initially was named "The Grand". According to stories the hotel was renamed "Hotel Radnor" after the owner's dog that was killed in 1935.

 The main street is quite pretty with a couple of great old buildings framed by some glorious flowers.

We are staying at the Blackbutt showgrounds which we thought would be quiet but a Motorhome club are having a few day getaway here, but they have been pretty quiet. We are finding showgrounds are a great place to stay being a bit cheaper than caravan parks and usually have old but really clean amenities. Have any travellers out there stayed in any Showgrounds? If so, I'd love to hear about them.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Journey to Kingaroy

After a few days without Internet coverage I am now in a town called Kingaroy and I'm able to catch up on where I've been. After leaving Mackay our first nights stop was at the St Lawrence Recreation Grounds. The recreation grounds are run by volunteers and they kept the amenities block the cleanest I have ever seen for a rec ground. These grounds are situated next to a vast wetlands that had literally thousands of Magpie Geese.When I walked down to have a look I was also greeted by 22 Grey Kangaroos. This amazing sight was quite a bonus.

The big boy and one of his girls

Thousands of Magpie Geese

The next day it was off to a very tiny settlement called Dululu. As we pulled in I thought this spot was a bit ordinary, but as it turned out it was quite a nice quiet bush setting for the night.

Our next night was another free camp in Mulgildie, another tiny township. But this time we were literally camped in the car park of the Mulgildie Pub. The camp was free but seeing we were at a pub we decided to have dinner there and it was very tasty.

We are now in Kingaroy which is known as the "Peanut Capital of Australia"because Australia's largest peanut processing plant is located in the town and the peanut silos dominate the skyline.