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Published: September 16th 2008
July 29 and we have been on the road for almost 6 months! Australia is a very big place indeed! We set off early from Rainbow Beach so we could get to Tin Can Bay in time for the 8 o’clock dolphin feeding. Sounds touristy doesn’t it - but actually it was very low key. Mystique came in first then her daughter Harmony about half an hour later. It’s a good place to see the dolphins up close, they come in regularly most mornings to the jetty and local volunteers supervise the feeding, which you can do for a gold coin donation. These were humpback dolphins which we had not seen before. Tin Can Bay was also a good place to buy fresh seafood at a reasonable price - we have been surprised how expensive fresh fish is here in Australia - the best place to buy it seems to be from local fish co-ops.
We loved Maryborough -bvirthplace of the author of Mary Poppins (bet you didn’t know that) - it’s a gracious old town full of grand style heritage buildings and Queenslanders (the houses, not the people!) At Hervey Bay we only stopped one night, as we had
Blu and Mary Poppins
at Maryborough (birthplace of the author)
called in to do a whale watching trip, but we were a week so too early and only a few whales spotted so far so we decided not to bother. We thought that Hervey Bay had a nice laid-back kind of feel to it though and would be a good holiday alternative to some of the more popular places up and down the Queensland coast.
Next stop was Bundaberg, or Bundy as the locals call it. By now we were deep in sugar cane country and the landscape is a patchwork quilt of miles of lush green cane fields and ploughed fields of deep brown soil. We had thought we would just drive through Bundy but ended up stopping for 2 nights. Probably one of our favourite Queensland cities - a very pleasant town set between a wide river and the sea, with art deco style architecture and more grand old Queenslander houses. We visited the Fairymead Home and Sugar museum which was set among the tropical botanic gardens, and learned all about sugar and the Kanakas who were brought over from the Pacific to work in the canefields there. Called into the iconic Bundaberg rum factory (Bundy is
a very popular Aussie tipple) but we skipped the tour as it was $25! So we did the $6 Bundaberg Ginger Beer factory tour instead.
On to the interesting town of 1770 (yes, that is the actual name of the town!), another place where Captain Cook landed - what a busy man he was. We loved 1770 and Agnes Water which are about 6 km apart - we found a great camping area at Workmans Beach, just along from Agnes Beach, and settled in for 3 days. It was a bush camp setting among big trees and a 5 minute walk down to a small quiet beach. No power or facilities except eco toilets - these are very common in National Park campgrounds and are much better than our “pit” toilets at home (won’t go into detail!) This area is pretty unspoilt although developers are now starting to move into Agnes. We met a big group of Kiwis at the Round Hill lookout - they were over for a wedding and the ceremony was taking place at the lookout with views out to sea and the coast in both directions. That night we went down to the local pub
to watch the All Blacks get their own back on the Wallabies in the 2nd round of the Tri-Nations clash (39-10) - watched it with Mike and Kate, our Tasmanian neighbours from camp. Mike, who played for Tasmania in his youth, got progressively quieter as the AB’s score went up!
Sunday was a magic day - we set off on the catamaran “Spirit of 1770” at 8am and headed out to Lady Musgrave Island, about 60km offshore. It was freezing on the way out and we were wondering why we were in shorts, but once we got to the island it was sheltered, warm and sunny. Lady M is a tiny island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef ringed by a coral reef and a large and beautiful blue lagoon. Our boat tied up to a pontoon in the lagoon which became the base for the day’s activities. After doing a walk on the island which is about 15 minutes from one side to the other, we spent the rest of the day snorkelling among beautiful coral, colourful fish and several different species of turtle, and we were also able to view all this from a
glass bottom boat. A special highlight was swimming with the turtles! On the way back to 1770 we were lucky to see a whale and calf, and a great sunset to finish off a magic trip. Boy we were tired though - went to bed at 8.15 that night!
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