2-6 July: Rocky…you fed us well!

Author: Mr A

Location: Rockhampton and St Lawrence Wetlands, Queensland, Australia

We needed to have a couple of days in Rockhampton, or “Rocky” to its friends, and we did leave as friends, as Rocky fed us very well.

It had been a long long run since our last decent meal out, way back in the Flinders in South Australia. TruFusion Indian Bar and Grill just delivered on avery dimension. Service, food quality, ambience.

We started the usual conversation with our waitress “Catherine is dairy intolerant….” and got ready to say “No, gluten intolerance is different”, or to be told that there was only one dish on the menu she could eat as they add cream to everything, which happened twice in South Australia. But no, these guys make all their sauces from scratch and can customise your order. How about that for customer centric?

The menu options were mouth watering and we were both quite emotional. Now this may sound rather over the top, but we have been lucky enough to have dined out pretty regularly in some fabulous places, and the last few months have been such a disappointment in that regard. The owner of this restaurant, Amit, a local guy, came over and had a chat, made us feel valued, and we wish him and his great team all the best. The restaurant is doing really well, and it just shows you there’s still money in offering something special to customers.

The next day Catherine had a hair cut booked (the real reason we were in Rocky!) and I sneaked one in as well, so it‘s our tradition we take ourselves out for a meal with Mrs A looking especially glam. So out we went again, and had great food, and very ordinary service. But you can’t win them all. especially painful as this place was twice the price of TruFusion! Anyway, no matter, we enjoyed the night out.

Hendricks Lane – great food and wine but very poor service
A good hair day

Both evenings we had walked over the river from our campsite in the middle of town to reach our dinner destination. we were super impressed with what has been done along the riverfront. Coloured light shows, buildings lit up, fountains set amongst manicured gardens. Someone on Rocky Council is clearly a mover and a shaker. It felt a bit like Singapore without the visitors!

Rockhampton lit up for the evening

Catherine even managed to find some bird life just wandering around our rather muddy and scruffy campsite.

A Striated Pardalote with a beak full of spider on our campground
A Brahminy Kite flying along the Fitzroy River
Flight of the Australian Ibis – our international readers might see these as exotic, but in Aussie cities they have been dubbed the ‘Bin Chicken’ as the seagulls of our rubbish bins
We didn’t go swimming in the Fitzroy River!

We also called in on an old friend of a friend while we were in town. Our lovely friends back in Sydney, Rosemary and Richard, had asked if we could check in on Rockhampton local, Norman.

Norman has been in this house for over 60 years and is a lifetime resident of Rocky

Now Norman, now in his 80s, kept us entertained with stories of his time in Canada, where he met our friend Richard, and then his travels around Australia. Behind an old face lies a young soul from whom we have so much to learn. As I approach my mid sixties, I take this to heart. People have already started to treat me differently, explaining things that involve “computers” quite carefully, or the other day that a middle aged lady in an information centre said somewhere is a “really long walk” when it was less than 10km. Makes me smile, then makes me sad, all that we miss learning from older people because we have this focus on skin deep youthful beauty.

Rocky might not be on everyone’s tourist route, but we enjoyed its vibe. And we’d like to acknowledge the Darumbal (or Dharumbal) Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of the land that this growing city is now built on. So I would like to correct Queensland Tourism who describe Rockhampton as ”born back in the 1880s”. Quite a few thousand years out. Not a single word mentioned on their whole Rockhampton entry about its pre colonisation history. Very sad to see these omissions continue. We are noticing this more in Queensland than South Australia. I will say no more.

We left Rocky with full bellies and then turned north once again.

We decided on impulse to turn off to wetlands that were signposted, given wetlands and birds are usually besties. And we weren’t wrong. St Lawrence Wetlands was such a beautiful little place. We walked a short distance from our camp and spotted this lot!

The ‘Bin Chicken’ (Australian Ibis) in it’s natural environment
…and apply brakes!

This Brolga was pretty special for us. Just look at this magnificent creature. Quite a bully, flapping off the other smaller birds (so that‘s all of them!).

Brolga – standing tall!
Dancing Brolga
Black Swan
Torresian or Collared Kingfisher
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Beautiful water lilies
A lithe female Red-backed Fairy-wren thinks nothing of standing on a blade of grass in her hunt for insects
Radjah Shelducks
These look pretty but are a poisonous invasive plant, Mother of Millions

We even ran into some other Zone RV owners who had stopped at the park for lunch. We had met them a couple of years ago. Delightful people and we exchanged numbers. We’ve met so many quality people through our Zone ownership. I have often wondered is there something about the characteristic of the product that attracts people we seem to hit it off with? Anyway, we are grateful.

The local general store and petrol station
Not entirely sure why there is a giant crocodile on a boat here….but hey…

So an overnight stop turned into two nights there, and that’s the joy of our lack of agenda. We could be racing up to Cape York along with the literally thousands of other caravaners who we see charging up the Bruce Highway. But we have chosen to take our time to see the road less travelled. It was with relief then that we turned off the madness that was this main highway, and headed for one of our favourite spots in Australia. Over to Catherine for that one.

St Lawrence locals enjoying the last rays of sunshine