With our premier saying that “Queensland is open to Queenslanders” and encouraging us to support local business, we set out to explore a portion of our 1.853 million km² state.
After six weeks, 6000km and 14 different places to stay, we arrived back in Brisbane exhilarated, educated and exhausted. We had undergone several once in a lifetime experiences, met some amazing people and learned a lot about Queensland – the region and its people. We were particularly struck by the differing ways in which individuals and businesses were responding to the current situation that is Covid.
Range of accommodation
With not having a home, we weren’t already paying for accommodation so didn’t have to double dip (there is some benefit that comes from the uncertainty of being homeless). This gave us some flexibility to look for a wide range of places to stay – sometimes quirky, sometimes extravagant – and most importantly to uncover the places that were open. We did generally find accommodation to be expensive as many establishments had chosen not to reopen until international tourists grace our shores again. This left a shortage of beds, particularly with the influx from interstate prior to the Queensland border closing again.
We started our trip staying in a revamped church just north of Kingaroy in the South Burnett Region of the state. Built in 1912 in nearby Merambi, it had been relocated to a farm and used as a grain shed in the 1960s. It was moved to its current location at Hillview in 1996 and used as a teahouse before being converted to accommodation. The décor was very cleverly done and the views were stunning. Unfortunately, we were there on a very cold night and the fire and single A/C unit did little to warm up the uninsulated structure with its high ceilings.
We remained in the South Burnett region for another few nights but were glad to move to a warm and cosy cottage called Dreambird. The views of the Bunya mountains were lovely, claw foot bath was a treat and the outdoor spa enabled us to view the starlit sky in what we discovered is a renowned area for astronomers.
The most boring and one of the more pricey nights of our trip, particularly as we couldn’t self-cater, was a motel room in Roma. Needless to say, only one photo.
We had struggled to find anything available at Carnarvon Gorge as so much was still closed. But Walter managed to score us a couple of nights in a Takka tent at Takarakka Bush Resort. What they termed an ensuite was an outdoor dunny – but with a shower and basin, it wasn’t too bad. But it was cold!! The shared cooking facilities and pot / utensil hire wasn’t available because of Covid, so we had to resort to tinned food out of disposable plastic bowls. Two nights was enough to enable us to enjoy the walks and move on.
Our converted stable at Longreach was large, self-contained and very comfortable. And even though the outdoor baths were shared with other guests, we did have our own bathroom with a shower. It was directly across the road from the Qantas Founders Museum, giving us a birds eye view of the large red tail of the 747.
Mariners North Apartments in Townsville was one of three apartments we stayed in during our trip and by far the best. So much so that we stayed there twice, even requesting the same apartment number. It was individually decorated and felt like a home. We were even able to entertain friends on the very usable balcony. The views over The Strand and the sound of the water lapping were an added bonus.
Glenda has always said she wanted to stay in an igloo. Given she hates the cold, the domed structure at Trinity Beach north of Cairns, was probably the best way for her to fulfill her dream. It was surprisingly large, nicely decorated and extremely well-equipped.
The group of igloos were the brainchild of Italian architect Dante Bini in 1965. The domes are constructed by inflating a membrane which lifts steel reinforcement bars threaded through the middle and wet concrete into the desired shape by controlling the air pressure inside the membrane. The “Binishells” may be the most eco-friendly building method ever invented because they use air to create their form. The process is fundamentally green because of the highly efficient building casings created, which are also naturally strong and flexible.
The only part of our cabin that had walls was the bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom – toilet, basin and shower – were all open to the sounds, smells and creatures of the rainforest. This meant ensuring that all foodstuffs were kept in a container in a metal cupboard, food waste was kept to a minimum and watching out for snakes when venturing to the bathroom in the middle of night. The frogs in the nearby pond serenaded us to sleep.
Set in a birdlovers paradise alongside a gentle flowing creak, the unique and beautifully hand-crafted Romany-style Gypsy Wagon contained a comfy queen bed, en-suite toilet and basin, table and seats, and kitchenette. It was nestled next to an outdoor area with a hot shower under the stars and a food preparation and cooking area. The outdoor dining & lounge area also had place for a hammock. A snake had visited prior to our stay, but the only remains were its discarded skin.
By far the biggest of the places we stayed, this 3-bedroom wooden structure in the middle of the rainforest was a nature lovers paradise. As part of a wildlife sanctuary, we were immersed in the midst of the animals, birds and other creatures whether within the comfort of the home – including the bathroom – or on the large deck.
Glenda’s brother Wayne and his wife Judy had recently moved to their home atop the hills of Sarina overlooking the waters of the Coral Sea. It was a treat to share their home space with them for a few days. And Walter even had a chance the ride one of the farm toys that he found in the shed.
Our 1-bedroom apartment in Rockhampton had a nice view of the sunset over the river and a kitchen to cook the famous local beef we’d purchased. It was adequate for our 1-night stay.
Our bush cabin near Turkey Beach was a nice surprise, particularly as we’d booked it last minute. It was much larger than we’d expected and although the furnishing was dated, it contained some amazing carved wood pieces. The expansive views were some of the best we’ve ever seen even though there was a lot of low hanging cloud.
Our apartment in Hervey Bay was pretty much as expected from an Oaks property. Clean, well-maintained and a little sterile. Our views of the ocean were fairly limited but it made for a fairly sheltered outdoor area that we could enjoy at all times of the day. And as always, Glenda made the most of the large bath.
For the first half of the trip, Walter was adamant that the tour at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach was his highlight. http://mitchell.news/2020/08/03/outback-queensland-part-1/
That was until the day we saw a Cassowary followed by being so close to another one that we could’ve reached out and touched it. http://mitchell.news/2020/08/20/special-edition-day-of-the-cassowary/
Our day on Fraser Island came close to pipping that at the post. http://mitchell.news/2020/09/01/special-edition-a-day-on-fraser-island/
We’ve decided it’s difficult to compare a rare sighting of a magnificent bird with a testosterone filled day in the sand.