Author: Mr A
Tuesday 1 May: Woodgate to Bundaberg to South Colan, Queensland
We headed out from our cosy camp behind the pub with some happy memories of Woodgate, and steered a course for Bundaberg. We had our Zone booked in for the diesel air heater to be repaired. Zone had a look at it during the service and tried some basic things like draining the diesel and repriming it, but to no avail. So we arrived at Dempster’s Caravan and Appliance Repairs, organised by Zone.
We left the van with them and headed off for a much needed grocery shop before we headed inland for a couple of weeks, where we usually find fresh food is a rarer find than a Scotsman’s wallet. I spotted a “Fresh Fruit and Veg” sign on a very down at heel looking shop but decided to pull up on the principle that “anywhere is better than Woolies”. And it sure was! The quality and price was fantastic, and we loaded up big time.It was haircut time for me and with some trepidation I walked into the “Hair Dinkum” salon where “no appointments needed”. For the bargain price of $22’s I was shorn and sent on my way 10 minutes later. Catherine didn’t laugh too hard when she saw me so I took that as a good sign.
We collected the Zone mid afternoon and were told the fault was that the heater was just full of dirt. The exhaust pipes are apparently prone to taking up a lot of dust, and those in the know cover them while travelling in the outback. I’m now in the know.
We only had a short drive out of Bundaberg to our camp for the night – Platypus Park Riverside Retreat. It had been recommended by some other Zoners we had met. We owe them…it was amazing. We were given the code to an electric gate and guided through landscaped gardens by the very amiable host Colin.We parked on his manicured lawn with a view right across the Burnett river. We had power and water if we needed it. There is access to toilets and showers in their guest house. Colin and his wife have created this resort style facility where they host weddings, as well as offering holiday accommodation in a villa.
We settled in for the night watching the sun go down across the river. Magical.
Wednesday 2 May: South Colan to Ceratodus, Queensland
We were up as the dawn broke to head off in a double kayak that is put at the disposal of campers – no extra charge. We pushed off into the Burnett river and headed down a small tributary where Colin said we might see platypus. Well we didn’t see them but we did a multitude of water dragons, looking pretty silly as they do bobbing along on their stumpy legs, then a bright blue azure kingfisher darted in front of us and landed on a branch with one eye on his next breakfast morsel and one eye on us. An Eastern Great Egret stood regally admiring his kingdom, what a majestic bird.As for the platypus, well we saw plenty of bubbles that we imagined was them rooting around in the mud, as they do, but not a glimpse for us. We were happy with the other wildlife on display in this beautiful river.
We had a chat with Colin before we left and he told us a little about how he and his wife Julie had grown the business stage by stage. A really great achievement, and I would encourage anyone who wants a 5 star camping site to head his way. You will pay for it (currently $20 p/person per night), but in return you will have a memorable camp in a beautiful location – and free kayaks!Even our Burmese princess gave the place a big paws up.
But it was time to head out, we weren’t quite sure where we were staying tonight, it was times to head bush and get out of the caravan park booking constraints. We had a fantastic drive up the range into the hills behind Bundaberg, it was really fab scenery and we both experienced this sense of euphoria that we were heading deeper into the country and away from the popular spots on the coast.We diverted off the highway to check out Boolboonda Tunnell, all 192 metres of it – and its claim to fame twofold. Its the longest unsupported tunnel in Australia, and its home to a massive bat colony. Wandering through it was pretty smelly, and those bats were going crazy flying around our heads.We stopped for lunch at a rest area and Tas just couldn’t wait to get out and start bounding around again. What a little energiser cat she is turning into! By late afternoon we found another rest area to camp at just as we turned onto the Barnett Highway, good old WikiCamps. Again Tas was straight out the car and exploring,
There were already several vans there and no sooner had we set up than we were invited over to join three couples for sundowners. Chatting with six total strangers, sharing laughs and learning lots, the sky turning orange and the birds chattering away as they settled down for the night. Yes…we’re in the country and it’s wonderful.