Tag Archives: Budget Travel

A Day Trip to The Land of The Clouds

After 6 glorious days we left Byfield and resumed our journey north to Mackay.

From this point forward we will be staying in caravan parks. I’ve never been up this far north and I want to spend some time in the larger towns. Unfortunately you don’t find free camps in bigger towns/cities so we have to stay in caravan parks for ease of access.

Anyway, the next stop was Mackay. I spent a couple of hours in Mackay CBD and while the historic building trail I was following was very interesting, the town itself was pretty average.

On one of the days we drove out to the Mackay hinterland, to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National park / Township.

Finch Hatton Gorge is a beautiful secluded section of Eungella National Park. We did the short 1 hour walk to the Araluen Cascade Falls. On the way back we came across our first snake, a tiny baby black. We stamped and banged the ground and it slowly slithered away.

Araluen Cascade Falls

Araluen Cascade Falls

Eungella means “Land of the Clouds” and the township definitely embodies this being 1280m at its zenith. The drive up the mountain is not for the faint hearted, thankfully we weren’t towing at the time. It is the oldest and longest stretch of subtropical rainforest in Australia and it’s been cut off from other rainforests for roughly 30,000 years. This has guaranteed that there are a number of strange critters not found anywhere else in the world.

We did a couple of very short stops at lookouts around Eungella.

View from Sky Window Lookout

View from Sky Window Lookout, Eungella

A walk around the Historic Eungella Chalet where the backyard looks out over a cliff and a number of random woodcarvings have been placed.

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Then through the cane fields, with stunning mountainous backdrops, back to our campsite.

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Exploring Five Rocks Headland

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

At about midday the tide was going out, so armed with our wet suit boots, drink bottles and a camera we traversed the rocky crop on the north side of Little Five Rocks Beach.

Yesterday during our exploratory trip to Stockyard Point Lookout we could see that there was another tiny remote beach. A quick check of the maps confirms this to be the case. So with a hop, skip and a jump were on the second beach.

From here we weren’t able to positively ascertain whether or not we would be able to reach the headland. The rocks were all different sizes and we couldn’t see if there were any obstacles that might stop us from getting across. We decided that the only way we would find out is by attempting it, then we could always turn back if we got stuck.

Climbing over the rocks

Climbing over the rocks

Over, across and through the rocky outcrop we went for about 30 minutes and finally we came to the channel separately us from the headlands. On the other side of the rocks was another perfectly remote beach.

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

As the tide was nearly at its lowest point, we were able to walk the short distance to start of the headland. It soon became apparent that the headland is actually separated by small channels. We traversed 3 channels, about half way along, before calling it a day and turning back around to our campsite.

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

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

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