Meeting up with friends
Trip Start May 01, 2010
58Trip End Oct 03, 2010
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Where I stayed
Standown Caravan Park, Goomboorian
Thirty kilometres south of Hervey Bay, we stopped at the delightful town of Maryborough where the author of Mary Poppins lived.
Being Sunday, it was easy to find a parking in the centre of town among the lovely old colonial buildings to begin our search for the statue of Mary Poppins that we had read about in the Lonely Planet write up about the town. Maryborough was ‘born in 1847...and is one of Queensland’s oldest towns. Its port was the first shaky step ashore for thousands of 19th century free settlers looking for a better life in the new country.
Heritage and history are Maryborough’s fortes, the pace of yesteryear reflected in its beautifully restored colonial era buildings and gracious Queenslander homes. This big old country town is also the birthplace of PL Travers, creator of everyone’s favourite umbrella-wielding nanny, Mary Poppins.’
We walked around the historic portside and then along the wide Mary River through the well kept attractive riverside park.
The only places open in town were a few restaurants and because we had only just eaten breakfast, we decided to carry on and after half an hours drive we passed a big sign welcoming us to the Sunshine coast. On the way out of town we stopped and took a photo of a big Ned Kelly who was standing on the side of the main road
At midday after driving for just over an hour through the lovely landscape, we drove into the centre of the town of Gympie which is located among a range of hills. One of Gympie’s claims to fame is that their gold in 1866 saved Queensland from near bankruptcy. We decided to take advantage of a senior's coffee at the local McDonalds and found that the Aldis Store next door is closed on Sundays so there was ample room in their car park to pull in and park the caravan. We then phoned Ian Martin who came to meet us at the McDonalds half an hour later.
He hasn’t changed so we easily recognized him even though we haven’t seen him for quite a few years. We went with him in his car to Hope and Rod’s house and met his wife Gill who had stayed behind to get their caravan ready to come with us for a few days in the country. The Rix Homestead is on a two acre block of green grass with a wonderful view across to the hills.
An hour later we were driving down the Tin Can road following the Martin’s caravan. We were soon all set up on our next door sites on a big green grassy field at the Sandown Caravan Park alongside a dam complete with a manmade crocodile and many ducks. There was plenty of room for Honey, their cute poodle, to run around the field chasing her tennis ball. We had four good days together, enjoying the company of Ian and Gill, which just flew by as we didn’t stop talking and eating the entire time. They spoilt us by taking us out every day showing us different places of interest and we had no time to write our travelpod or even write notes to remind us later of what we had seen.
The first morning we woke up bright and early to drive down to Tin Can Bay to see the feeding of some dolphins that visit the beach. About thirty years ago a wounded dolphin came in and after being nursed back to health by the locals, he came back to the beach every morning for a few handfed fish. This began a trend and now the third generation of two or three dolphins come close to the beach each day at about 7.30am for their feed. We were there in good time to wade into the water to get some good photos of these animals and wait till the 8 o’clock feeding.
Before we left the Tin Can Bay boat ramp car park, Mike and Ian did all they could to help some young people having problems with two different backpacker vehicles. The one couple were searching for their radiator cap which had fallen into the engine well while they were checking the water and the other were trying to knock out the dent in the bumper before handing the vehicle back in Gympie from where they were flying home to South America.
It was getting close to midday and time to drive to the pretty holiday resort town of Rainbow Beach to find a place to get some lunch. Later that afternoon Gill and Ian took us with them to see how the building of their new house was progressing. Their house is close to the centre of town on the side of a hill with a great view over the houses below and the hills in the distance. It is a well planned house with huge windows in all the rooms facing town and the countryside in the distance
On our second day, after preparing two curries in the ‘shuttlechef‘, Ian and Gill kindly took us to nearby Noosa which we had heard so much about. We could see why this town is so popular with holiday makers, with the long beautiful beach overlooked by attractive holiday apartments. These apartments are located on the upper floors with restaurants taking up the ground floors with an outlook over the beaches.
The street behind is full of boutique shops alongside upmarket coffee shops and even more restaurants. The weather was just perfect for a walk through the shopping precinct and back along the boardwalk before we found a great little café that produced a really good cup of coffee. We then returned to the caravan park to prepare snacks and cook some rice ready for our guests who arrived about 7pm. The two curries laid the foundation for a lovely evening with Hope, Rod, Barb and Neil who around ten o’clock decided that they were feeling the cold sitting outside and they left to drive back to Gympie.
At ten next morning we were all back together at the Gympie Railway Station for six of us to ride the Scenic Rattler Steam Railway through the Mary Valley to the small town of Imbil.
Ian, Mike and Honey, the poodle, decided to do their own thing and then meet us later for lunch. They didn’t have time for much else, other than visiting the very interesting Gympie Wood museum which has a display of an original woodcutters campsite and machinery and tools of bygone days that was used in the timber industry, before they had to head off to meet up with the rail travellers.
The rest of the group had a great time together in the compartment with the customary leather seats and wood panelled walls. The smell and sound of the beautifully restored old Steam Train brought back many memories for all of us. The scenery through the window while travelling through the green hills of Mary Valley with an abundance of curves, gradients and bridges was spectacular. There were pineapples and macadamia trees growing amongst other crops next to fields with cattle grazing on the lush grass. The first stop on our 80km return trip was at Kandanga Station where the locals set up a market for the train passengers. We enjoyed a cup of tea there and browsed through the stalls and before we knew it, the train whistle blew and the guard shouted ‘All Aboard’! Through more beautiful countryside and just after midday we pulled up at Imbil Railway Station where Mike, Ian and Honey were sitting in the sun on the platform to welcome the train. We had an hour and a half to enjoy lunch in the sunshine at the local pavement café and meander round this small rural town. During this time at the Railway Station they were busy using a large turn table to turn the engine in preparation for the return journey. At half past one the train guard called us to board the train and take our seats for the fun trip back to Gympie.
We were back at the caravan park for afternoon tea after which we all rolled up our sleeves and prepared a great BBQ with Cauliflower cheese, Sautee potatoes, roast Capsicum and fried onions. This was followed by Peaches and Ice Cream. After over indulging once more and more talking, the evening raced by and because it was quite cold we decided to call it a night and made our way into our respective caravans to settle down for the night. We woke to yet another beautiful Queensland day, a breakfast of egg and bacon prepared by master chef Ian before preparing for our onward journey.
Goodbyes were said and with a little sadness we left our old friend Ian and new friend Gill before heading south to Forest Glen where we planned to catch up with Jill Paget who moved here from Perth about a year ago.