Tag Archive | #roadtrip

An Evening To Remember

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. 

Our second guided walk at Undara Volcanic National Park took place late in the afternoon. The Sunset Wildlife walk promised fabulous sunset views over the park and the chance to see little bent-wing bats emerging from a lava tube ready for a night’s hunting. We weren’t disappointed. 

A short walk uphill ended on a ridge with 360° views of the plains. Most prominent were the volcanos which helped form this landscape. Undara, with Racecourse Knob to its left, were clearly visible on the horizon. 

Eventually we turned our backs on Undara, because it was the sunset we’d come to see. 

With champagne and a little tray of treats in hand, we watched as the setting sun burnished the sky in an ever changing display of colour. 

As nature’s light show ended, we walked back to the bus which took us to Barkers Tube.  Here, on a platform just outside the entrance to the tube, we stood silently in the dark listening as hundreds of bats flew out into the bush. We could also feel the movement of the air as they passed just overhead. 

Just as she had in Wind Tunnel earlier in the day, our guide turned on her torch for a few seconds. It was long enough for us to see the bats without disturbing them or sending them back inside the lava tube. The privilege of being able to see these tiny creatures in their natural habitat wasn’t lost on any of us. 

It was truly an evening to remember.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

The Story of a Volcano

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. 

Around 190,000 years ago a giant shield volcano on the McBride Plateau erupted, forcing 23 cubic kilometres of lava to the earth’s surface. The fast moving lava flowed into a river bed and continued across the plain for 160 kilometres. While the outer layers cooled quickly and solidified, the molten lava inside continued to flow away, leaving huge basalt tunnels behind. The volcano is now known as Undara, which means long way in the local Ewamian language – the lava flow is the longest in the world.

Over time some of the tunnels collapsed, forming sheltering spaces for dry rainforests. The intact lava tubes provide the perfect habitat for dark-dwelling fauna like microbats, insects and small amphibians.

Undara and the lava tubes are now part of Undara Volcanic National Park and the wider McBride Volcanic Province, which contains 164 volcanos. Safety issues mean the lava tubes are only accessible on guided walking tours. Some contain high levels of carbon dioxide and many are difficult to negotiate.

Our guided walk started at Mikoshi Lava Tube, 46 metres long, 14 metres wide and 11 metres high. With a sturdy cable in hand for safety, we clambered down a jumble of fallen rocks to the floor of the tube.

Sunlight streaming in from each end shone across the walls of the tube, highlighting the layers of solidified lava.

At 293 metres, Wind Tunnel was much longer and the light only penetrated a few metres at either end. 

We made our way into the tube by torchlight, carefully following in our guide’s footsteps. 

She explained the geology of the tube system, her torch showing where the lava had moved and settled. In some places streaks of red iron oxide and white silica created beautiful marbling on the walls while elsewhere the stone was pockmarked with burst air bubbles.

A colony of little bent-wing bats lives in the darkest part of Wind Tunnel. We could hear them all the time, rustling and moving about on the ceiling eight metres above, but we only saw them for the briefest of moments. The guide lit up the roof for just three seconds; enough for us to see them but not enough to disturb their daytime rest. 

As we left Wind Tunnel there was time for one last glance back into this natural wonder. It was hard to imagine that not so long ago, in geological terms, this was filled with a river of molten rock. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

More Than a Fuel Stop

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. 

In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but red dirt and bush, is the Lynd Oasis Roadhouse. Located close to the junction of the Kennedy Developmental Road and the Gregory Highway, the roadhouse is a natural stopping point for travellers wanting to top up their fuel tanks.

We had an extra reason to stop at the roadhouse. It houses Australia’s Smallest Bar and Glen, being a beer connoisseur, wanted to try it out.

I’m no beer drinker so while Glen sat in the shade enjoying one cold beverage I had something even better – a delicious macadamia mango Weis bar.

I didn’t need to go to Australia’s Smallest Bar for that!

Driving the Beef Road

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.

Leaving Townsville, we began the long trek west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The first 134 kilometres of the journey were on the Hervey Range Developmental Road, a wide two lane highway in excellent condition. 

It wasn’t always so good. Just past Stockyard Creek, we came across a memorial and plaque commemorating the completion of the road in 2005. 

In 1864, when Townsville was a new settlement, a rough track was forged west from the coast up and over Hervey Range to Georgetown. 

In the 1960s the Federal Government devised a plan to seal the roads right around the country of most importance to the burgeoning beef industry. Being the most direct route from the Gulf and Burdekin districts to Townsville, Hervey Range Road was included in the plan and construction started in 1971. 

When the Beef Roads Scheme finished in 1975, 120 kilometres of the road were still unsealed. In the early 1990s work began once more and the road was finally completed in 2005.

We were glad the road up the range was not still that rough dirt track from 1864.

Note: The name for the range and road is Hervey Range or Hervey’s Range, depending on which map I’ve looked at. I’ve chosen to continue using Hervey Range. 

Advice Worth Taking

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.  

Before we left home, a friend gave me some very important advice. 

“While you’re in Townsville, make sure you go to Juliette’s Gelateria on the Strand,” she said. 

And of course we did – twice!

 Our first visit came after we’d walked the Street Art Trail in the morning and explored Castle Hill in the afternoon, so a double scoop was well-earned. The extensive range of flavours meant choosing just two was difficult.

I decided on caramel biscotti topped with Malteser. Delicious!

The next afternoon we found ourselves on the Strand again, so we returned for seconds. This time I had vanilla choc cherry and chai latte – also delicious.

If you went to Juliette’s, what would you choose?

Let’s Go!

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. 

After a relaxing week at Golden Beach on the Sunshine Coast, it was time to hitch up the caravan and head to northern Queensland. The day we left home was cold and rainy – jeans and jumpers weather. As we headed north-west on the Warrego Highway the temperature rose and we didn’t need our warm clothes again until the very last day on our way home.

Our first destination was Townsville in far north Queensland and to get there we travelled through towns we’ve been to before. This time we passed through Miles, Roma, Springsure, Capella, Emerald and Mackay without needing to explore.

Even though this part of the journey was familiar, there was still plenty to see along the way. We only drove for 2½ hours before stopping for our first morning tea of the trip, at The Creek Café in Miles. One of Glen’s travel goals is to eat a vanilla slice in every café in Australia and this one lived up to his expectations.

The playground at Capella comes with warnings: don’t take your horse in to play and watch out for snakes!

These four legged lawn mowers were grazing in the backyard of the Tourist Information Centre in Proserpine. Llamas or alpacas? We didn’t know and neither did the lady inside.

Bowen is famous for its delicious mangoes. We saw rows and rows of mango trees but it wasn’t mango season, so the only fruit was this giant-sized beauty on the way into town.

Sugar cane, farmed all the way from Bundaberg to Mossman, grows on both sides of the Bruce Highway.

Not far south of Townsville we crossed the Burdekin River, still in flood after many months of rain.

Finally, after driving 1,474 kilometres over three days, we arrived in Townsville. The tree-covered slopes of Hervey Range made a beautiful backdrop for our free camp site.

A stunning bush sunset, the first of many on this trip, was the perfect welcome to north Queensland.

*some photos taken through the car windscreen by the passenger

#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!

#25 At the Park

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. 

Queens Park, Toowoomba QLD, September 2021

Each September, the Darling Downs city of Toowoomba lives up to its reputation as the “Garden City” by celebrating the annual Carnival of Flowers. The centrepiece of the 10 day floral extravaganza is the garden at Queens Park. Spread over 25 hectares, with broad expanses of lawn, mature trees and garden beds overflowing with blooms, the park is at its most beautiful in spring.

Council gardeners spend countless hours sowing and maintaining more than 150,000 plants in the lead up to the Carnival and almost as many people come to see the floral display. In 2020, the park hosted 116,039 admiring visitors and in 2021, with travel restrictions eased, that number would have been even larger.

Toowoomba is our home city and we’re lucky to have Queens Park to visit at any time of year. And we’re already looking forward to September, when we’ll join in the celebrations for the 73rd Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers at beautiful Queens Park.

#24 Aussie Icons

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. 

 Miles QLD, September 2021

These three famous Australian animals were the stars of the show at the Back to the Bush Street Parade in Miles.

#23 The Birds

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. 

Warwick Art Gallery QLD, July 2021

At the Warwick Art Gallery, we came across a flight of ducks winging their way across the wall,

a flamboyance of flamingos basking in the winter sun,

and a parliament of owls, just hanging around.

All made from yarn using different techniques, these kooky birds were part of the Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival.