Up and Down the River

Western Queensland Road Trip #19 St George

It’s easy to fall in love with a place when the locals share their passion for their home.

One afternoon we joined skipper and tour guide Brett on a Sandytown River Cruise along the Balonne River. We were hardly settled in our seats before he started his commentary in praise of his town and its beautiful river.

We sailed upstream from the Jack Taylor weir towards Beardmore Dam, past flood markers indicating the river’s record levels. Large homes set far above the high water mark looked down over enviable water views.

Like the other guests on our tour we’d brought some treats to enjoy on the boat, but I was far too busy looking for the wildlife Brett pointed out.

Welcome swallows darted to and fro in front of the boat and whistling kites soared gracefully overhead. Sulphur crested cockatoos perched high in the treetops and royal spoonbills watched us gliding by.

We weren’t the only people enjoying the river on this sunny afternoon. Younger children swam and splashed in the shallows while their older and more adventurous siblings paddled canoes further out. Speedboats raced past, towing skilful water skiers in their wake.

As afternoon gave way to evening it was time to turn round and sail back to town. The colour of the water deepened and the clouds reflected the brilliance of the sun as it set behind the trees.

Once more Brett declared his love for the river. “We’re so lucky to have it. I never tire of seeing the river in all its different forms.”Β And we were lucky that Brett shared the river with us.


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