Back on the Road
05.02.2017 - 05.04.2017
As our time in AU neared an end, we took one last road trip. First, we headed north of Brisbane, to both the Sunshine and Fraser coastlines. We had originally planned to visit this area before Cyclone Debbie intervened.
The Glasshouse Mountains
We started our trip to the Sunshine Coast by detouring off of the Bruce Highway to hinterland. We traveled along Steve Irwin Way which leads to the Australia Zoo. Although we did not visit it, this is the zoo that was started by Irwin's parents and is now owned by his wife. We drove through the township of Glass House Mountains on our way to actual park of the same name.
Lieutenant James Cook ( later Captain) was responsible for the naming of the Glass House Mountains. They reminded him of the chimney stacks of the glass manufacturing furnaces back in England, called glasshouses.
The Sunshine Coast stretches from Caloundra in the south to the edge of the Great Sandy National Park in the north. It is about 75 miles long and starts about 40 miles north of Brisbane. This is generally a quieter and less developed coastline than the Gold Coast area south of Brisbane. The one exception we found to that, was in the little resort town of Noosa. It was so busy we had a hard time finding a parking space.
The coastline north of the Sunshine Coast is called the Fraser Coast. Our two main stops here were at Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. We also spent the night at Maryborough; it's claim to fame is that Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers was born there.
It was raining when we arrived in the Hervey Bay but we slogged on until it stopped. Hervey Bay is a small coastal town that is part of the Great Sandy Marine Park, and looks out on the worlds largest sand island, Fraser Island. This is also a base for visiting Lady Elliot Island, which is the first sand cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.
Bundaberg was as far north of Brisbane as we would go on this little road trip. It is a "cane town," located on the Burnett River, about nine miles from the QLD coastline. Bundaberg's most famous business is probably the Bundaberg Rum Distelllery. It's most famous resident was the aviator Bert Hinkler; he was the first person to fly solo from England to Australia. It also has several historic churches and buildings that we enjoyed looking at on our walk around town.
South Burnett Region
After leaving the Fraser Coast, we travelled to the South Burnett Region. This has long been cattle and grain-growing country, but since 2003, it lays claim to being Queensland's biggest wine growing region. We visited the towns of Wondai and Kingaroy.
Wondai is small town that was founded because of it's dairy and timber industries. Today, it benefits from being surrounded by several of the South Burnett's wine industry towns. The name "Wondai" is aboriginal for dingo. I'm sure I will remember it for Charlotte!
Kingaroy is the largest town in the South Burnett region at around 8,000 residents. The name comes from the aboriginal word "Kingarooi" which means red ant. The first thing you notice, when arriving here, are two huge silos of the Peanut Company of Australia. We stayed here on our way to the nearby Bunya Mountains.