Travel in Covid Times – Keep it Local – Part 1
Seasons greetings to all you lovely people out there – may 2021 bring you all that you wish for! What a year it has been for this planet of ours and for us all. Seemingly one disaster after another and Covid still rampant in many parts of the world.
We feel so privileged to be living in Noosa, Queensland, where life is as normal as it can be in a socially distanced way. We go about our daily lives assuming Covid is somewhere else. But with the current cluster in Sydney growing rapidly as I write, things can change in the blink of an eye.
I have always had the travel bug, it’s just that this year we have had to think differently. At the moment we are not permitted to leave the country and if we did manage to do so there is doubt that we would be able to get back in. Our answer to this has been to invest in a second home on wheels and explore the area closer to home. To this end, Essy, a 26ft long monster, has entered our lives.
With Jacqui’s back pain still insisting that she get up several times in the night, comfort is the main criterian, and comfort we have got. Part of us is horrified to find ourselves in a large motorhome, but it is interesting how age tempers one’s views.
So lets go local
The area just inland from us is known as the hinterland, and is an area that we usually pass through on the way to somewhere else. It contains a number of small towns either in or to the west of our part of the Great Australian Dividing Range. We find that we can’t drive directly to these towns and have to take round about routes to avoid the impassible parts of the range.
Mapleton to Kandanga
We start out in Mapleton and Montville, towns familiar to any of you who have visited us, since they are high on our list of local attractions. This first ridge of the Divide gives spectacular views to the ocean.
We are still in familiar territory as we swing round through Maleny free camping at Little Yabba Creek on our way to Kenilworth. We are now in the Mary River Valley which runs north from here all the way to Fraser Island. It is still rich in small dairy farms producing milk and cheese.
Kenilworth is thriving community which, unfortunately, has become a bit too popular with day visitors from the Sunshine Coast and seems uncomfortabley crowded so we quickly move on, arriving at the free camp in the centre of Kandanga. This is one of a series of so called RV friendly towns, which aim to encourage travellers to stay and spend some money in their community.
There used to be a railway that ran all the way up the Mary Valley, but is now mostly unused save for a short heritage steam driven line for tourists known as the Rattler.
Kandanga to Nanango
After a quick trip to Gympie to get some supplies, we spend the night in Kilkivan (another free camp) and discover that most of the Kilkivan to Kingaroy line has now been converted into a walking/cycling/riding trail which we take advantage of. A flat walk through the country suits us fine.
In Nanango we visit an old friend and she drives us up to the Bunya NP for lunch followed by a walk through the Bunya Pine forest.
Nanango to Wondai
We follow the Rail Trail up to Kingaroy and discover that the showgrounds in these small towns now offer cheap camping so we happily set up on the showground (and race track) in Wondai, which for $20 offered mains power and water. Of course the race track bit didn’t really sink in until 6am the next morning when a horse box arrived and disgorged horses ready for their morning run.
Wondai along with many of the towns in this valley, has a history of mining, timber cutting and farming and is now attracting tourists as other industries decline. We spend the day walking and exploring the town.
The Lockyer valley was one of the main areas that suffered in the catastrophic floods of 2011. The markers below tell the tale.
Travel in Covid Times – Keep it Local – Part 2
Not long after our tour of the Hinterland, we feel that another visit to a favourite spot of ours is called for. So we set out once again for the Girraween NP which is just north of the (still closed at that time) border with New South Wales. We last visited at the start of our road trip of 2018. For the story of that trip see A journey across the wide brown land of Australia.
Girraween is part of the Granite Belt and there is no doubt where the name came from. We walk from the camp ground down through the presently hot and dry river valley. There is a trickle of water still, but the deep pools are very still and enjoyed by those who jump in.
Back home once more
We still find it particulary amazing that we have ended up living in this part of the world. We find that it’s good to get away, but then it’s good to get home again to find out what’s happening in the garden.
May you all be well and happy.