The Ugly Side of Byfield

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

More rubbish.

More rubbish.

The campgrounds, while clean at first glance, as you look harder you can see the marks left by man. Cigarette packs, glass bottles, sheets of unidentifiable paper litter the corners and crevices of our camp.

As we make our way down to the beach we find it’s worse. Rubbish washed in by the ocean builds up where the beach meets the cliff. It is mixed in with piles of pumice stone. The only way to the beach is through these piles strewn with rubbish.

This disgusting mess reminds me of Moreton Island where the same atrocity has occurred. Unfortunately a number of national parks we’ve visited are in the same sorry state. It’s disgusting the way “visitors” treat these stunning natural and sometimes sacred places.

“Leave it better then you found it”, is that really so hard?

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

 

Welcome to Byfield National Park

From Carnarvon Gorge we headed east to Rockhampton. We stopped overnight in Duaringa at an awesome free camp and headed into Rocky early the next morning.

We only stayed one night in Rocky, to prepare for our 6 day trip in Byfield National Park. During the day we went to Rockhampton Heritage Festival at the Heritage Village and walked around. It reminded me of Pioneer Park in Griffith.

Rocky to Byfield Town

Rocky to Byfield Town

The next morning we drove to Byfield National Park, approx an hour and a half drive north east of Rockhampton. There is a tiny little town called Byfield, it is a small hippy town at the entrance of the park. We stopped briefly and I bought what could possibly be the most amazing brownie I’ve ever had in my life!

Our campground was at Little Five Rocks, about a half hour 4WD through sand dunes and forest, just outside of another tiny village called Stockyard Point Township.

A quick point about the village. It was a strange little place, which even the local lady at the petrol station in Rockhampton didn’t know about. There was a mixture of tiny seashacks, sheds and a couple of beautiful mansions. It seemed empty on our arrival, however we saw a lot more activity closer to the weekend.

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

Anyway, we loved the campground and the site that we booked. The campground was on top of a hill that backed onto the beach. The layout of the grounds was great with toilets and an outdoor shower in the site next to us. We were the only people staying there for the majority of the time so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Butterflies, thousands of them

Butterflies, thousands of them

Water running down the hill into the ocean

Water running down the hill into the ocean

The Little Five Rocks Beach was a short stroll through some lovely bush and a corridor filled with butterflies. BUTTERFLIES! A whole corridor filled with them and when you walked through they were disturbed and would fill the air like magic!

Past the butterflies and there was a little fresh water creek running down the hill into little waterfalls, rockpools and little wooden bridges before heading out to the ocean.

Further down the hill and onto the small, remote beach. No vehicle access and no one else around.

We enjoyed 6 relaxing nights in the park and had a couple of adventures, more info to follow.

Pretty grass in the afternoon

Pretty grass in the afternoon

Camping Recipe – Rice with Chicken and Mushroom Cream Sauce

I love to cook and camp, I feel like they go hand in hand. When I camp I want to eat good, healthy and convenient meals and this one ticks all the boxes.

Ingredients:

1 x chicken breast sliced
4-5 mushrooms finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
Teaspoon of oil or butter
300ml of light thickened cream
90 second rice
Veggies to serve
Salt & Pepper to Taste

What to do:

  1. Heat pan and add oil or butter, onion and the mushrooms – cook until mushrooms are soft.
  2. Scoop this mix into a bowl.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until lightly brown and add back the mushroom mix and half the tub of cream. Let this reduce for 5 mins
  4. In the meantime add a couple of tablespoons of boiling water to a saucepan and add the 90sec rice. Stir until heated through
  5. Add salt and pepper to the sauce.
  6. Put rice on a plate and serve with the sauce on top and the veg on the side.

Note: I had asparagus which I cooked in some hot water as the chicken was cooking. I then used that already boiled water for the rice.

Creamy Chicken with Rice

Creamy Chicken with Rice

A Trek Through the Heart of Queensland, Carnarvon Gorge

I can’t tell you of the first instance I became aware of Carnarvon Gorge, only that I knew it to be a place that was necessary to visit one day.

For thousands of years the Aboriginal custodians, the Bidjara and Karingbal tribes had lived in this area. In around 1850 white settlers had confiscated the land for farming, only to hand it back after vicious, but successful raids by the Aboriginals.

Today the spectacular sandstone cliffs form the towering walls of the gorge. The creek that formed the gorge over millions of years to this day continues to meander through the cliffs, sustaining a wide variety of flora and fauna to exist within the gorge walls.

We stayed at Takarakka Bush Resort for 3 nights to give us 2 full days to enjoy the Gorge.

Day 1: Visitor centre to the Art Gallery = 13.5 kms

Stop 1: The Moss Garden

Dripping water from the sandstone walls of the gorge have formed a tiny haven of moss and lush ferns, there is ever a little waterfalls.

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 2: The Amphitheatre

A 60meter deep chamber gouged from within the cliff. It was a cool, quiet place where we sat to have morning tea.

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 3: The Gallery

A 62 meter wall of sandstone records the history of the tribe from this area. This wall contains over 2000 stencils, paintings and carvings. Unfortunately, it have been vandalised in the previous decades.

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Day 2: Visitors Centre to Boolimba Bluff = 6kms

Boolimba Bluff gazes out above the cliff line of the gorge. We climbed a steep series of ladders to reach the lookout and once we made it to the top we sat and absorbed the view.

view From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

View From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

Rain drops after a water night

Rain drops after a rainy night

Mud Crab – From Net to Plate in Less Than 25 Minutes

Warning: this post contain images and explanations of how to kill a mud crab

Today I had the freshest mud crab I’ve ever had in my life. In reality, it’s also the freshest seafood period I’ve ever had.

Doug, a friend of the family, lives in Bundaberg and so while Mum and I were boozing at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Doug and Hubby were setting pods to catch some muddies for dinner.

The one that didnt get away!

The one that didnt get away!

We all went and checked on them a few hours later and to my absolute delight we had caught 3 big ones and 2 babies which we threw back.

Doug is an avid fisherman and also an avid cook when it comes to the fresh stuff he catches. He showed me how to kill them with a knife through the butt into the brain and then how to pull them apart and clean them.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

We cooked using the following recipe. A dollop of butter in a bowl with about 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons of ginger, some lime zest and juice of half a lime. Mix it all together, added the crab and cooked it in a hot frypan until the shell turned pink.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

The final verdict, wow! From the nets to the plate in less than a half hour, the most amazing seafood I’ve ever had. I really wish I could have bottled the smell and the taste, I would have made a fortune.

Bundaberg Mud Crab

Dinner is served!

 

 

When Life Gives You Molasses You Make Rum

“When life gives you molasses you make rum” and that’s what the forefathers of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery did in 1888.

Molasses is a by product of sugar cane, a major crop in this part of the world, producing up to 95% of Australia’s sugar. So the story goes that Bundaberg had all this molasses filling up all their spare barrels. There was apparently so much that it was overflowing into the streets and the local rivers making the inhabitants of the area rather concerned.

So a bunch of local growers go together, probably at the pub, to try and come up with a solution to the problem…and Bundaberg Rum was born.

Today’s distillery still stands on the original site, with 2 previous facilities having been burnt down in the same space early last century. Apparently burning distilleries give off a great fireworks show.

So Bundaberg is the current stop on our journey to the Cape and of course I couldn’t visit Bundaberg and not visit the distillery. My mum just happened to be in Bundaberg for a visit at the same time and so accompanied me.

We booked online, saves 10% off the ticket price, and we went on the guided tour so it was $22.50 each and I believe it was worth every cent. Our tour guides Lee and Sam were knowledgeable, entertaining and obviously loved rum and their jobs.

Please note: no cameras are allowed on the tour so I have no pics of the tour to put into this blog.

First stop was the massive molasses pits where the sugar mills dump the molasses, which looks like sludgy coffee at this point. From here it is cleaned and comes out a dark, clean syrup which we tasted on the tour.

The next part is the turning the molasses into alcohol (fermentation) by adding yeasts and then distilling the alcohol until it is clean and potent.

The alcohol is then matured in massive wooden vats. Each vat costs about $100,000 to build and holds about 75,000 litres of rum, retail value is $6 million. Bundy rum is matured for a minimum of 2 years, sometimes longer depending on the batch.  2 years in the government standard.

It is then diluted to the right alcohol content, tested and piped into the bottling area where the machine bottles 120 bottles a minute.

All premixes are made in NSW where unmarked tankers transport the undiluted alcohol direct to the factory outside of Sydney where they are mixed and packaged on site.

Once the tour was over we were taken to the Bundy Bar where our ticket allowed us two tastings of our choice, bargain! I was able to try the Bundy Royal Liqueur, only available to purchase onsite, as they are unable to keep up with demand for this amazing product, and the latest Master Distillers Collection 280.

Mum and I loved this tour, it was very much worth the money.

End note: unfortunately the morning after I went on this tour and wrote the blog I heard that the Bundy Rum factory is being relocated to the factory outside of Sydney. It’s incredibly sad that Bundaberg is going to lose this ionic and integral  part of the community and a massive chunk of history. 

Me with the giant bottle of Bundy Rum

Me with the giant bottle of Bundy Rum

Maryborough – Birthplace of Mary Poppins

Maryborough, a quaint historic town born in 1847, is one of Queensland’s oldest towns.

We drove into Maryborough one afternoon for a few hours, just to see what was there.

First stop, the information centre. Even on a Thursday this place was bustling. We picked up a couple of free brochures and one of the elderly gents working the information centre gave us a quick look around the Town Hall in which the visitor centre is located.

The Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre

We decided to participate in the free self guided walking tour around the town. The brochure we were provided was a wonderful source of information with wonderful stories and a simple map to follow.

I loved walking around the town, taking some pic of the old  buildings. I read stories about  the original settlers, about births, deaths and everything inbetween. Some of the more fascinating aspects of the tour was the following (Please note, these were taken from the brochure):

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue next to the former Australian Joint Stock Bank

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue.

“The Former Queens Hotel was rebuilt in 1883 after the 1876 fire. The Goodwin Family opened the first hotel in 1864. In 1866 , the proprietess , a young single woman saved the life of a baby who was accidently dropped into a cesspool.”

“Former Australian Joint Stock Bank – in 1899 during the time her father was the manager of this bank, Helen Lyndon Goff was born in the residence above. Later using the pseudonym PL Tavers, she wrote the Mary Poppins series of books.”

“Riverside Apartments. In 1853, Edmund Uhr built a home for his family on this site, however the house was destroyed by a fire in 1889. During rebuilding, a headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed.”

Riverside Apartments

Riverside Apartments, where the headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed

“Former Customs House Hotel. The hotel was used as a setting for filming in 1989 of the movie “The Delinquents” starring Kylie Minogue.”

Former Customs House

Former Customs House

These are just a few of the intriguing sites on the walking tour, with 46 in total to see. The free self guided driving tour had plenty more sites to visit as well. All in all, a great way to spend the afternoon and a marvellous tourist experience for the budget traveller.

The Post Office - the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

The Post Office – the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

Wongi Waterholes

Nestled in the heart of Wongi State Forest is the dark, tranquil water of the Wongi Waterholes and our first campground in QLD. The waterhole’s banks are lined with bull rushes and native trees whose reflection is mirrored by the tannin stained waters.

Reflections in the water

Reflections in the water

The illegal swing

The illegal swing

The tannin-steeped water, a common occurrence in South East QLD, is black to look at; however, it is sign posted that you can swim, but no diving.

The camping area is separate from the day use areas, although we stayed mid week so there weren’t many fellow campers and no one using the day use areas, nice and peaceful.

I really wish we had our kayaks still; a paddle would have been bliss. To be able to drift and weave around the bends and through the waterholes with nothing but trees and animal life for company.

Reflections in the water

Reflections in the water

Speaking of animals. On the first night our thongs went missing. Hubby asked me why I threw them away from the tent. “Why would I throw them?” I asked.  We walked out to where we could see my bright red thongs with pretty red bows and immediately I noticed that half a bow was missing, chewed off and lying next to the thong. Hubby’s thongs were a little further out and one had a big chunk taken out as well. The next day we saw a dingo in the camping area. Mystery solved.

A Dingo Ate My Thongs

A Dingo Ate My Thongs

Hitting the Road Jack

We are finally on the road again. Have you ever felt held back, anxiously waiting in anticipation and lost? Having spent the past 3 weeks in Brisbane, waiting to leave has been a mixing pot of emotions. Some great, I love staying with my family, but it’s had its stresses as well. But, knowing that you are effectively stuck in a place you don’t want to be, waiting to go is horrible.

But, the day is here and we are finally packed, fuelled, have said our goodbyes and as we speak we are driving down the Bruce Highway towards Maryborough and Wongi Waterholes.

This is the beginning of the next chapter in our 12 month trip around Australia. I really can’t wait to share the experiences of our travels around this amazing country with you. Stay tuned!

Tasmania – Trip Costings & Stats

Starting Point: Brisbane
NSW – Griffith
SA – Adelaide
VIC – Melbourne – Ferry across to Tasmania
TAS – Right around – Ferry across to Melbourne
SA – Adelaide
NSW – Griffith
Ending Point: Brisbane

Total Km’s: 10,000

Total Time Away: 28th February 2014 – 22nd April 2014 (7.5 weeks)

Average spent per week: $940

Budget: $800

Category Budget Actual Difference
Fuel $2,200.00 $2,043.83 $156.17
Alcohol $400.00 $515.50 ($115.50)
Food $1,450.00 $2,035.67 ($585.67)
Accommodation $500.00 $614.50 ($114.50)
Touristy stuff $850.00 $899.00 ($49.00)
Personal Items $100.00 $131.00 ($31.00)
Other $500.00 $814.50 ($314.50)
Total $6,000.00 $7,054.00 ($1,054.00)

Notes:
1. I budgeted more fuel then I think we will normally need. This was due to the long, detoured trip we took to see friends and family.
2. Alcohol – should have guessed that would happen with all of the wonderful wineries in Tassie
3. Food – same happened with food as with alcohol above
4. Accommodation – we stayed with friends and family until we got to Tassie and once we came back over to the mainland. The last 4 nights in Launceston we also stayed with friends so this helped to keep the cost down. We did take advantage of free/cheap camps in Tasmania.
5. Touristy Stuff – lots of free things done. We blew the budget with the expensive cruise around Strahan.
6. Personal – ok
7. Other – this was mainly car servicing and repairs.
8. note: this budget didn’t include the ferry fare of $700

Route Around Tas in Purple

Route Around Tas in Purple