Sunday, 28 August 2016

Nanango Queensland

We passed through Nanango last trip and liked the look of the free camp at Tipperary Flats, so this trip we decided to stay overnight.
Other than buying some petrol and peanuts, we didn't have a lot of time to look around. It is still on our to do list, being so close to home.
We arrived at Tipperary Flat about 3pm and there were already many vans there. We had a walk around and decided on a spot near the old water tower.
We didn't find out a lot about Nanango, but did have a long walk around the rest area. Nanango has provided a great space for travellers.
Tipperary Flat has a number of gold mining relics located there. It is beside a tiny creek.
There is a peanut van that resides at the rest stop - well we are in the peanut capital area of Australia. Peter bought some chilli peanuts, too hot for me.
The rest area is well equipped with tables, bbq's, play area and toilets.
The area  was historically known as an area where Aboriginal people from as far away as northern NSW would come to feast on the bunya nuts (only harvested every 7 years). The area around Nanango was first settled by Europeans in 1847 by John Borthwick and William Oliver who took up properties for sheep farming.
We headed towards home, and as we had not spent too much money this trip we decided to stop for breakfast at Yarraman at a cafe - next to the op shop :) It was the best breakfast, two eggs, bacon, and toast, chocolate milkshake (8/10) and latte (9/10) - all for $31.
Now to plan the next trip.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Cania Gorge

Neighbours down the street go to Cania Gorge every year and love it. Our last trip we didn't have time to spend exploring the area, but this trip we planned for it. Cania Gorge National Park is an ever changing landscape of sandstone monoliths and fern covered creeks and ponds. The rivers and creeks are still eroding the sandstone landscape. We started by slowly driving through the park looking at the amazing views. Cania is the Aboriginal word for spear. We arrived at the lake and went up to the lookout first. It was amazing. It looked over the dam and the lake and told the history of the making of the dam. At the top of the lookout is this memorial with headstones from the cemetery that was covered by the waters from the dam. The original gold discovery diggings was also covered with water from the dam. The dam wall is 340m long and 47m high. 
We drove around the dam picnic area. There are two picnic areas at the dam and a couple of lovely holiday cottages. We thought this street name was funny 'True Blue'. Shamrock was the name of a nearby gold mine. 
We decided to have lunch in the first picnic area, which was lovely and quiet. I had pre-made lunch which we enjoyed overlooking the lake and watching the birds, some of which became a bit 'friendly' and wanted to share lunch!
There are 7 or 8 bush walks in the Gorge. Peter did the Shamrock Mine walk, as I was not feeling well. The 600m walk was well signed and took Peter along Three Moon Creek, past the old gold mining digs, including the old battery, mine shafts and buildings.

Next we drove along the road and stopped at both of the two caravan parks. Both looked great and one had kangaroos all over the place grazing on the grass. Still, we are not sure that it would warrant the cost of staying there, when we can stay at many other places and do day trips. At the main picnic area we did a short walk along Three Moon Creek from one end of the picnic area, coming out at the other end. There are a lot of cleared areas, great for tent camping, although camping is not allowed.
We were surprised to find many pockets of recently burnt eucalyptus trees along the track. I know that the trees will grow back, as that is what bush fires do - allow for good growth. Maybe the trees were being overtaken by weeds or lantana.
 Three Moon Creek is over 160km in length and flows from Lake Cania along past Mulgildie and the bunyip hole to the Burnett River. There are a number of creeks and rivers that run into Three Moon Creek.
Many of the walks start at the main picnic area.
There is only one main road into Cania Gorge and it goes through a small village called Moonford. There are not many houses or buildings there, but this one caught our eye.
Mainly because of this artifact.
The area is predominately dairy now.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Monto Queensland

On our last trip we drove through Monto to stay at Mulgildie Pub - which was great - but this trip we wanted to spend a few days in Monto looking at the town, and then do side trips to the Mulgildie Bunyip Hole and the Cania Gorge.
We stayed at the old railway station right in the centre of the town, although the town is not very big, at $5 per night. There is a caretaker on site and toilets, bbq's and tables in the main street adjacent. The railway arrived in 1928. The main street has many historic buildings. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, and most shops were closed or closing, so walking up and down the main street was good as we could enjoy the architecture of the buildings without other people walking around. We also didn't realise it was a long weekend - for the Brisbane Show!!!! Go figure! We did run into an elderly couple who were complaining about where to get food 'in this bloody place' - we sent them to the pub LOL.
Monto apparently translates from the Aboriginal word meaning 'plains with ridges'. The Monto area was first settled in the 1840's as exploration from Brisbane headed north and west. The Archer Brothers helped open up the area in 1848 with sheep stations. It wasn't until 1870's, when gold was discovered at Three Moon Creek that the population increased. After the gold finds dwindled, the settlers in the area turned to logging and farming. What started as sheep station became cattle and dairy properties. Monto township was not formally recognised until 1924 when the Post Office opened and became the first town in Queensland to be planned by town planners. Along the railway are art works depicting the history of the area.
Coal and limestone deposits have been discovered in the area. After setting up we had a lovely walk up and down the main street. We went to the local IGA grocer to stock up for the last few days of this trip. Sadly the quilt shop was closed.
We then decided to drive to the Mulgildie Bunyip Hole and to have a look at Wuruma Dam and Lake. When we stayed at Mulgildie Pub earlier this year but as we were not comfortable leaving the van to look at the surrounding area, so this trip was ideal. The legend of the Mulgildie Bunyip came about during the gold mining days, when cattle would drink at the hole and then disappear.
The waterhole feeds into a small section of Three Moon Creek, and a small weir has been put in place. We did see a caravan not far away from the water hole free camping. Think I would be a little scared with the isolation and bunyip around :)
 
We then took some back dirt roads heading to Wuruma Dam. This is a day use area and very well presented. There are rangers quarters and picnic tables and heaps of kangaroos.

We had read a lot about Wurumba Lake free camp, so we were keen to have a look. We were impressed. We drove along each road to look at each camp area. The caravan would have got there easily, slowly, but easily. There were so many great sites. We may come for a few days.

After our 4 hour excursion to Mulgildie Bunyip Hole and Wuruma Lake, we decided to have dinner at the Monto Grand Hotel, just across the road from the camp.
Many travellers told us about how good the food was at the pub, so we had to try it. Only half the dining room was open and most of the tables were already taken. The food was ok. The chips and salad were great. The white mayo sauce was perfect. Peter ordered a surf and turf with steak and calamari. The calamari was good. I ordered barramundi and chips with tartare sauce. The barmaid asked if we wanted Australian Barra, as it was better (and more expensive) - Peter said Barra is Australian, overseas it is Bass :)
So anyway, both meals came with sweet chilli sauce, Peter ordered pepper sauce ($2) and I ordered garlic sauce ($2) extra. Neither were much good. BUT ... the mayo sauce (maybe it was suppose to be tartare) was perfect, as were the chips. Peter left most of the steak as it was very tough and difficult to eat. I ate one of the Barra fillets and it was very dry. Peter ate one also, as he didn't eat much of his steak. That left one on the plate. We would eat here again, but probably just have the chips, salad and that wonderful sauce. I sort of wish I had tried the honey chicken.  
 
We did enjoy staying at Monto, and will probably stay again another time. Oh, by the way, actor Michael Caton was born in Monto in 1943, and artist Gil Jamieson was born here in 1934 and died here in 1992. Tomorrow we are going to Cania Gorge.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Biloela - White Cockatoo - Queensland

We stayed at the Biloela Heritage Park which was a great base to explore the area. It is $15 a night for power and water and the park is locked behind coded security gates. There is a maximum of 2 nights, shame it is not three as we would have liked to have stayed an extra night. The sites are flat and grassy and there is plenty of space around each site. There are 60 sites, but only 30 are allotted each day. This makes most sites drive through. The camping fee includes entry into the museum, which was very interesting. Even saw some art works by a friends father there.
The museum consists of a large silo that houses a coffee shop and artifacts are well displayed.
Outside in the complex are a number of sheds and buildings. The sheds house old machinery and trucks. The old Presbyterian Church, build in 1931, was moved here. It houses many photos of old Biloela as well as household, and church memorabilia.
The old church is next to the old railway station. The building houses school, doctor and dentistry equipment, as well as railway artifacts. I was impressed with the ticket office being still very much in the original state. Usually when visiting old railway stations the building has been cleared and all that is left is the shell, or the ticket office is locked for storage. This ticket office was set up to look like a ticket office, as it was, with behind the counter and the customer side.
Little things get me excited LOL.

Biloela was first settled in 1854 with cattle farms, however the area became better known for dairy or crop farms.  The name Biloela is believed to have come from the Aboriginal word for white cockatoo. The Gangulu tribe inhabited the area before European settlement. The first European to explore the area was Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844.The railway station came in 1924 and the Callide Coal Mine began in the late 1940's.
After setting up we did the cultural heritage loop tour. We went to the Village Square and Melton Park first. There is a wonderful maze there for kids, of course we had to do it!
We then followed the loop past the original shop fronts to the old art deco theatre dating back to 1928. We then drove to the Spirit of Land mural to start the next loop.
The 'Spirit of the Land' mural tells the the story of women from two different cultures connecting to celebrate life's everyday events over the centuries.
It has been painted on a large water tank.
 Next stop was just down the street. Greycliffe Homestead has been relocated from its original site on the Greycliffe property, 37kms away, in 1979, after the last member of the family had passed away in 1974. It was originally built in the 1870's and renovated in the 1920's. It was owned by the Nott family for over 100 years. William and Sophia Nott and their surviving daughter Helen moved into Greycliffe House in 1876. January 1877 saw Alfred the first child of seven born at the property. There is also a slab hut kitchen, blacksmiths and shed. Greycliffe House has been listed by the National Trust of Queensland and is open by appointment only.
 Not far away, in an Apex Park is a large directors chair to commemorate the famous director / actor / playwright, Bille Brown who was born in Biloela, 1952. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in films including 'The Dish'.
He died in 2013 of bowel cancer. 
The next day we went out to Callide Mine and Callide Dam. On the way we stopped at the local quilt shop, The Fabric Nook, which I had visited the day before after doing the grocery shopping.
The lady in there was very helpful and I did but some scrap packs and a Lorax panel to go with the Lorax fabric and jelly rolls I have at home.
We followed the directions on a tourist map out to the Callide Mine viewing site. It is an interesting drive to the lookout and is really worth a visit. It well presented with explanation boards in the lookout platform explaining how coal is formed and how it is mined to be environmentally friendly to the landscape. Very interesting.
We watched the trucks filled with soil come and go for 15-20 minutes - it was like watching a fish tank. The soil is moved from one place to another, sort of like moving the hills along.
 Along the road going up to the lookout are a few pull ins to look at the views of the dam, the lake and the power station.
 We continued on Coal Road to the site of the Rainbow Hotel, the first pub in the area. It was built in 1874, but really nothing remains of it now. The first liquor license in the area was granted in1865 to Thomas and Catherine O'Reilly. Their daughter Margaret was the first white child born in the area.
The hotel remained in operation until 1902, and the family continued to live there. After the death of her mother in 1912, Margaret O'Reilly and her husband Ned Wallace and their family lived there. It later became a residential home for a Mr Wallis, when he purchased the estate.
It was still standing in 1933. (“Brisbane Courier” 5 August 1933 p21)
Sadly in 2012-13, as gas pipeline workers were digging a trench, they piled soil from the pipeline trench onto the hotel remains and a bull dozer was later sent in to level the site. The nearby graves of Catherine O'Reilly (1838-1912) and her son Thomas Jnr (1867-1904) still exist and can be seen from the road. The site was fenced with a surrounding garden and set aside by Thomas O'Reilly as a resting place for his family. Sadly he died in Gladstone from a stroke and was buried before his wife had even been informed of his death. The graves were restored in 2001 by the Local Historical Society and the Banana Shire Council. In 2014 a large boulder was placed near the road to indicate where the hotel was located. It includes  picture of the hotel and map of the area. It tells the story of the O'Reilly family.

From here we went to the Callide Dam for lunch. The dam is located 12 km from Biloela and was constructed in 1965 to supply water to the Callide Power Station. The lake has ample supplies of fish including barra and golden perch (Peter said I should include this), although there were no boats on the water, probably because it was a week day. There are many covered picnic tables with not only bbq's but also sinks and water. The lawns are well maintained and I can imagine how busy the lake surrounds will become on weekends. We did find a great free camp along the lakeside, on a farmers property. Apparently the farmer visits often to check all is ok, and his cows roam freely among the vans. We may spend a day or three camping there one trip.
I love the sunsets.