After a good night’s sleep we woke to see the free camp area transformed. Although still early, the sun was out and the scene looking over at the bridge over the river from the van was wonderfully peaceful. Some of the vans had already left and the number of cars and tents that seemed to have appeared overnight was quite surprising. There was even a convoy of military vehicles stopped in the rest area. By the time we were packed up and ready to leave the number of cars simply stopping for a cuppa – or to use the toilet facilities – was again, surprising. This is a very popular place!
Our first morning stop wasn’t too far down the highway at Miriam Vale. Although we had stopped there last year we nearly missed the turn to the main street which is not very well signposted at all on the highway. Miriam Vale is a delightful “village” with a friendly looking pub, a couple of coffee shops, some interesting gift shops, good visitor facilities and is overall a great place to stop for travellers. The coffee shop where we enjoyed coffee and non-fattening cakes was full of friendly, chatty travellers so our morning coffee was very enjoyable.
From Miriam Vale we continued due south and stopped for lunch at Gin Gin. Gin Gin has a great free camp on the north end of town which we had a look at last year but couldn’t fit in – so we stayed at the Gin Gin showgrounds. Again, Gin Gin is a traveller friendly town with a good variety of shops, pubs, amenities, an information centre, caravan parking in the middle of town, and more. Ann and I lashed out on the $8.50 roast of the day with vegies and gravy at the Highway Hotel.
The scenery today was varied. Around Gin Gin we experienced more sugar cane fields, although there were also orchards growing various fruits including citrus, mangoes and we believe macadamias. We were also a bit surprised to see some pine forests.
I might also make a quick comment about the Bruce Highway. Last year we made many comments about the state of this highway, most of them in the negative. This year there are still roadworks but it is very obvious that massive works have taken place over the past year or so and the improvements are considerable. The highway has been widened and in some places duplicated, corners and bends made safer, hills flattened, overtaking lanes added and rest stops and pull-overs added and improved. All in all it is a much better and safer driving experience and the various levels of government involved should be congratulated. One can only hope that all the good work going on won’t be destroyed by the next storm or flood!
We drove through Childers without a stop but again, we were here last year and this is a nice little town worth exploring.
From Childers we continued to our final destination today, the Wallace Motel and Caravan Park in Maryborough. Ann had booked a drive-through site which made getting set-up a lot easier. This is a nice park which has been rebuilding after three damaging floods in the last three years. The sites are flat and grassy, we have a concrete slab under the awning, and the facilities are good. TV reception isn’t wonderful here but we do get some channels and we can live without TV anyway – we came prepared with some DVDs just for this situation.
After setting up we went for a walk and visited Aldi for a few supplies. Upon our return to the van we sat outside for a while just relaxing and reading. That was until it started raining a little, which got a little heavier, so we packed up the chairs and retired back into the van. We haven’t heard any more rain on the roof for a while now so hopefully it has blown over and we will have a fine day tomorrow.