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Up The Hill

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

When is a mountain not a mountain? 

When it falls short of the required 300 metres in elevation by a mere 14 metres.

Castle Hill might just miss out on mountain status but at 286 metres it dominates the city of Townsville. The pink granite monolith, also known by its indigenous name of Cootharinga, is popular with both locals and visitors who can either walk up the famous Goat Track with its 758 stairs or drive up the 2.6 kilometre sealed road to the top. On a steamy 33° afternoon we did not walk up the Goat Track. 

Once at the summit we could easily have just stayed at the car park lookout which has spectacular 360° views – Townsville’s sprawling suburbs spread across the coastal plain, Hervey Range in the distance and Magnetic Island 10 kilometres off the coast.

But after avoiding the long walk up the hill we had energy reserved for the short walks at the top. The Radar Hill walk was closed for renovations so we set off on the Summit Walk to Hynes Lookout. 

From here we could see the CBD, where we’d walked the Street Art Trail in the morning, the busy Port of Townsville and Cape Cleveland far away on the horizon. 

Closer to the coast, Magnetic Island was veiled by a humid haze. 

Further round to the north east the Pill Box Walking Trail, which leads to a relic of World War Two, was our next destination.  

This track and lookout gave us a slightly different perspective on the same views. But it was the history connected to the site which made it interesting. 

A 1942 Observation Bunker, once an important part of Australia’s wartime defence system, now stands disused, a silent reminder of a time when the country was under threat of invasion. 

The people who worked here had huge responsibilities. They also had the best view in town!

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Street Art in Townsville

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland. 

How often do you find the recommended time to see an attraction is simply not enough?

The Street Art Walking Trail in Townsville’s CBD, featuring 27 works of art commissioned by the City Council, winds its way around six city blocks. The brochure with descriptions of each painting and a map of the trail suggests 45 minutes is sufficient.

Perhaps they didn’t allow for us actually being able to find the paintings and then taking photographs of them. We spent more than two hours wandering through the city seeking out all the spectacular works of art.

Some were tucked away down the sides of buildings or dingy back alleys and sadly, some had rubbish bins and large skips right in front of them or graffiti sprayed across them. Some were on tricky angles, making them hard to photograph. But we did manage to take photos of several fabulous creations. 

This collection of street art continues to grow as new works are added. If you’re in Townsville, pick up a map of the Street Art Walking Trail at the Tourist Information Centre and be sure to allow plenty of time to see them all. 

Croc and Turtle – ROA, 2015

The Barrier – TELLAS, 2017

Sound and Movement Personified – Claire Foxton, 2018

Mother Earth – LEANS, 2017

Girroogul and the Soap Tree – Garth Jankovic and Nicky Bidju Pryor, 2016

L to R:

Concord – James Giddy, 2019

Cat and Mouse – 815K1, 2020

The Smizler – Lee Harnden, 2014

Brolga Dance and Song – Nicky Bidju Pryor, 2018

Under the Sea – HAFLEG, 2020

And this mural of tropical fauna we spotted on a large water tank up on the hill, not in the brochure but still worthy of inclusion. 

Joining Marsha for Photographing Public Art and Jo for Monday Walks

Brought Back To Life

Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre, Warwick, Queensland

On the drive towards Warwick along the New England Highway, the scenery is beautiful. On the eastern side, the forested mountains of Main Range National Park rise abruptly from the land. To the west, the fertile plains of the southern Darling Downs extend all the way to the horizon.

Not far from Warwick, this spectacular vista is interrupted as an elegant two storey house comes into view. Glengallan Homestead has stood here, surrounded by farmland, since 1867. Built by Scottish pastoralist John Deuchar and his wife Elizabeth, the house was once known as the most elegant in the colony. But in 1949, after passing through the hands of several owners, the homestead was left unoccupied. Exposure to the weather began to take its toll, with some sections of the veranda collapsing and water leaking inside. In 1993 a project to restore the homestead began; grants and donations allowed an army of volunteers to rebuild the home before it was opened to the public in 2002.

The exterior walls of the house are made of huge blocks of sandstone excavated locally. Deep verandas on the ground and first floors shelter the interior from both the high temperatures of summer and cold winter winds.

Inside, the building has been restored just enough for visitors to visualise its former glory. The house tells its own story though, with deterioration caused by decades of neglect not completely covered up. In some rooms, the original construction methods are visible.

The garden too is a mere remnant of what once existed. A wide curving drive originally led to a tennis court and extensive orchard. All that remains is the rose garden and, like the house, its faded beauty tells of a much grander past.

Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre are open 10am to 4 pm Wednesday to Sunday.

#28 Happy Beermas!

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #Squareodds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border into New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Highfields QLD, December 2021

We’ve reached the end of Becky’s February Square Odds challenge and my retrospective gallery of our travels in 2021.

Our last outing for the year, just before Christmas, was to a new craft brewery at Highfields where we enjoyed a delicious dinner with special friends.

The brewery’s seasonal decorations were a little unconventional but fitted their surroundings perfectly.

Happy Beermas to all!

#18 The Launch Pad

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

 Eungella QLD, May 2021

After driving up the long, winding road from the Pioneer Valley to the top of the Great Dividing Range, the first building we came to was the Eungella Chalet.

The chalet has long been famous for its spectacular views of the valley and its delicious Devonshire Teas.

We weren’t quite sure why these motorbikes were parked in this strange location at the edge of the escarpment. And the thought of leaping off this launch pad strapped into a hang glider was quite freaky.

It wasn’t enough to put me off my afternoon tea though!

#15 At the Beach

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Kirra Beach QLD, April 2021

From the bush in February to the beach in April: a week at Kirra Beach brought a welcome change of scene. Every day we sat on our balcony enjoying these stunning views of the southern end of the Gold Coast.

It wasn’t just the scenery we enjoyed. We saw some unexpected human activity too.

One morning, a group of paragliders drifted down from the sky and landed effortlessly on the sand.

Early on Saturday morning, people more energetic than those of us on holiday competed in a triathlon. We watched the swim leg from our balcony.

And, most unfamiliar of all in the days when interstate airline travel was just restarting, an occasional plane would fly past. With the Gold Coast Airport nearby, they would fly up the coast before circling back around to begin their descent.

#10 Are We There Yet?

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Yetman NSW, February 2021

The general store in Yetman looks no different to any other store in a small country town. But the owner of this store has taken a novel approach to encouraging passing travellers to stop for a while.

The side wall of the store is covered by a quirky mural, with a fun play on words with the name of the town.

Did the shopkeeper’s strategy work? It did for us – we stopped to take photos and bought morning tea at the store. And we weren’t the only ones!

#7 At the Station

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #SquareOdds.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Wallangarra QLD, February 2021

At first glance the railway station at Wallangarra, with its 19th century architecture and its red and cream paintwork, looks like any other country train station in Australia.

A closer inspection reveals some unconventional characteristics which make this station unique. While it’s not unusual for a station to have a platform on either side, at Wallangarra they have different roof styles.

The reason for this peculiar design goes back to the days before Federation, when there were six separate British colonies. Each was self-governed, with its own laws and taxes. Each had its own railway gauge and even the postage stamps were different.

Located on the Queensland/New South Wales border, the station at Wallangarra catered for trains from both colonies. Plaques on the platform tell the story.

When the building was constructed, the standard design for Queensland train station platforms was a curved bull nose roof while in New South Wales all the platforms had skillion roofs. The border between the two colonies bisected the platform so Wallangarra Railway Station was given one of each.

On the New South Wales side the wider gauge track heads south towards Tenterfield,

while the narrow gauge on the Queensland side marks the start of the journey to Brisbane.

A  national standard gauge track was introduced in the 1920s and a new railway line linking Kyogle in New South Wales to Brisbane in Queensland was built. While the Wallangarra line was no longer needed for interstate travel, the station was a vital transport link in the defence of Australia during World War Two.

The railway to Wallangarra continued to be used for freight services until the New South Wales line closed in 1988 and the Queensland line closed in 2007.

Today the heritage listed station houses a small museum and a café in the Railway Refreshment Rooms, with tables on both platforms. A traditional morning tea of fruit scones with jam and cream is too good to resist. The only question is, where will we eat it – in Queensland or in New South Wales?

#3 Dinner at the “Brekky Creek”

I’m joining Becky in her February Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Odd, referencing one of these definitions: different to what is usual or expected, or strange; a number of items, with one left over as a remainder when divided by two; happening or occurring infrequently and irregularly, or occasionally; separated from a usual pair or set and therefore out of place or mismatched. Look for #OddSquare.

While we didn’t travel as much as usual in 2021, we were fortunate to enjoy several holidays in our home state of Queensland and one short trip over the border in New South Wales. Join me this month in a retrospective look at the very odd year of 2021. 

Brisbane, January 2021

The iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel at Albion was built by William MacNaughton Galloway in 1889. It was successful from the beginning and is still a popular dining destination.

It seems fitting that a sign for Queensland’s most famous beer sits atop Queensland’s most famous hotel, although its neon brilliance contrasts with the hotel’s classic French Renaissance façade.

While the flashy neon sign atop the Brekky Creek hotel may seem a little out of place, there was nothing odd about our delicious anniversary dinner. We chose a tender wagyu beef burger and a huge chicken parmi.

You can’t get a more traditional Aussie pub meal than that!

29 Discarded

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Columboola

An old homestead, long ago left empty, still stands on a grazing property near Columboola. Once a wide veranda with a bullnose roof would have shaded the front of the house.