We were sad to have to leave Wayne & Judy but excited to embark on the next part of our trip. As we drove south from Sarina, we had little idea where we were going to stay the following couple of nights.
The road to Rockhampton was pretty uninteresting and made for a relatively uneventful drive. Just before reaching the Central Queensland city renowned for its meat production, we veered off left to the coastal town of Yeppoon, situated 38 kilometres north east of Rockhampton. It is the gateway to Great Keppel Island and the wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Glenda had been to Rockhampton a couple of times for work but had never taken the drive to Yeppoon so was keen to see it. We enjoyed lunch and coffee at Flour Café before taking a walk along the main street of town.
The seaside drive to the Keppel Bay Marina at Rosslyn Bay followed by Kinka Beach and the quaint little town of Emu Park was pretty. There was a long walking / running / cycling track parallel to the road which would’ve made for a scenic run had we stuck around. However, with a shortage of accommodation, we made our way back to Rockie and checked into an apartment overlooking the river. That is after stopping at one of the well-known butchers in the area for some local steak.
The riverside path outside our window made for an easy place to run the following morning just as the sun was rising. We even ventured across the rail bridge to the other side of the river, although smoke from the previous day’s backburning nearby had collected in the dip which spoilt it somewhat.
Just before leaving Rockhampton, we checked out Airbnb and booked what looked to be a nice little cabin near Turkey Beach. As this meant we had a fairly short drive for the day, there was plenty of time to go via Gladstone. By pure chance, we uncovered a lookout overlooking the harbour and marina and were surprised at the great job they’d done of developing the area with water and other activities for families and children.
Our other discoveries were a coffee shop – not such a good experience – and a bakery – a fabulous experience with friendly staff and lovely goodies. Armed with lunch ingredients, we headed on to our accommodation as we had organised to check in there by 1pm.
We had been warned about the driveway to the cabin so were not shocked by the steep, corrugated road meandering up the hill. What we didn’t know was how long it was, so it took us a while to make our way to the top. We also missed the building as it was nicely hidden in the bush – perfect once we were there – so navigated more of the potholed road than necessary.
The cabin was much bigger than we’d expected with spectacular views out to sea and inland. We’ve been spoiled by so many good outlooks, but this was certainly one of the most expansive and impressive. A good place to spend the rest of the day and a good part of the following morning before hitting the road again.
To Hervey Bay
After a slow morning enjoying breakfast on the balcony, we set off for Hervey Bay to our home for the next few days. After negotiating the steep driveway, we took a detour to the hamlet of Turkey Beach before hitting the Bruce Highway for our trip south. It was too early for lunch when we arrived at Bororen, but we spent some time checking out a few of the shops before moving on.
Back in the war years, Bororen was noted for its pies. Those on active duty almost considered deserting just to get their hands on a Bororen pie. In the 21st century, it’s still worthwhile pulling over for a break. The locals seem to have gone into competition to create the most unusual establishment with everything from the Big Record – which as the name suggests, sells old LPs – through to the Big Giraffe and the Red Rocket Diner (neither of which sells giraffe or rockets).
We did purchase a fresh pumpkin sourdough loaf made by the owner of the Big Record – and this proved a good investment as the 1kg loaf served us well for the next few days! That said, lunch that day was at a little café on the beach (very wide expanse of sand) in the little seaside village of Toogoom just north of Hervey Bay.
Our time in Hervey Bay was a mix of exciting activity (see Fraser Island), catching up with a friend we hadn’t seen for 15+ years and general exploration. We stayed in Urangan, a coastal suburb famous for its very long pier. Said structure was originally built to facilitate the export of sugar, timber and coal. The pier, served by the extension of the railway line from nearby Pialba, was used for the transfer of cargo between rail and ships. It was built between 1913 and 1917, originally to a length of 1107 metres. The pier was closed in 1985, and 239 metres of it was demolished. However, due to public outcry, 868 metres of the pier was left. By 2009 the last 220-metre section of the pier had been fully restored, so it is now back to its original length of a little over 1km.
We spent a lot of time walking and running along the pier and following the esplanade to the neighbouring suburbs and the marina. Our walk to the Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens about 1.5km away was worth it, particularly for the display in the small Orchid House. We were fortunate has this had opened again recently following Covid closures.
Another notable discovery was the Minimalist Coffee Roasters. Their signature was the piccolo set – 2 4oz piccolos for $3 – which suited us perfectly given our preference for piccolos. They had the most unique coffee machine we’ve ever seen – made in Brisbane with Italian parts – and on our second visit they were busy roasting.
Retracing our steps
We couldn’t resist making our way back to Brisbane via the little town of Goomeri and the village of Maidenwell. Goomeri to visit the artist at her little shop and to stock up on yummy goodies from the amazing bakery and Maidenwell to spend another night at Dreambird Cottage, the special accommodation run by Pete and Deb. An excellent decision!! We merged the two by enjoying the scrumptious chocolate mud muffin on the porch of the cottage overlooking the property. And the cloud cleared enough to reveal the gorgeous full moon as we relaxed in the outdoor spa. We had enough bakery spoils left over to enjoy again for breakfast the following morning.
Back to Brisbane
All good things have to come to an end, so we hit the road for Brisbane. Not that we can complain as we were heading back to Le Moray, the wonderful little apartment overlooking the Brisbane River. A short stop at Wivenhoe Dam revealed the desperate need for rain as water levels were very low. The primary purpose of the dam is the supply of potable water for the Brisbane and Ipswich regions, so hope there’s some rain before we head off into water restrictions.