Friday, December 18, 2009

- Round Trip to Brisbane -

Our plan, all along was to reach Brissie in time to fly to Victoria for Christmas, however we had arrived a couple of weeks early and decided to do a trip inland to make the most of our time.

(On Bribie Island looking over to the Glass House Mountains.)

We spent the next morning over on Bribie Island, checking out the beaches & coffee shops overlooking the water. It was a perfect spot to spend the morning. We turned the car around and headed for the hills calling past Kilcoy for fuel and spending lunch on the banks of Somerset Dam. The one thing that always surprises me while travelling is the ever changing countryside. The area around Kilcoy is very dry and the Lake seemed to be extremely low and the constant reminder of water restrictions was present on every town we passed through.

(Relaxing after lunch at Somerset Dam, near Kilcoy.)

We spent a few days hanging out in the quiet country town of Nanango, before heading up to the Peanut growing town of Kingaroy. Kingaroy is quite a big town and the lookout was a perfect place to get a greater view of the surrounding country. We could see all the way to the famous Bunya Mountains... our next destination!

(Kingaroy's Peanut Van, sells fresh local flavoured peanuts....)

In a section of the Great Dividing Range, The Bunya Mountains is home to the Worlds largest forest of Bunya Pines. With an elevation over 1100m above sea level is some areas, the view proved to be magnificent. We took several walks through out the area and were ever cautious of where to park the car as the Bunya Pine grows unique pine cones which can grow to over 10kg!! It was an awesome spot and would be a perfect holiday destination in the winter months with log cabins and B&B's scattered along the edge of the national park.

(The mighty Bunya Pines...)

(A view from one of our walks in the Bunya Mountains.)

(A great action shot of one of the mountain locals.)

We continued down the other side of the range and headed out to visit Muntapa Tunnel. A abandoned railway tunnel, QLD's longest of 287m,which is now home to a colony of Bent Winged Bat's. It was quite interesting to read about the tunnels history with its construction back in 1912 it remained open until 1964. We then took the Erie walk through the full length of the tunnel... it wasn't all that pleasant with the smell of the bats.. to make matters worse i accidentally startled them while taking a picture and we had to quickly get out! Bren wasn't impressed! We returned to Cooyar, enjoying a beer at the local pub before setting up camp.

(The bat's flying out of the tunnel after i accidentally startled them.)

(Bren is unsure he wants to continue...)

(The Cooyar Hotel...)

The following morning we drove the remainder of the way into Toowoombah. Toowoombah is Australia's largest inland - regional city and is perched on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. We spent several hours exploring the city, with its beautiful ornate gardens, spectacular lookouts. We also took a look around the Cobb & Co Museum, home to the National collection of horse-drawn vehicles. The collection was quite amazing with everything in pristine condition and offered a great insight to the past.

(An old Cobb & Co mail carriage.)

That afternoon we drove back towards the coast, pulling into Wivenhoe Dam for the evening. It was a nice shady spot and there were plenty of kangaroos scattered along the banks of the lake. Even better as we practically had it all to ourselves.

(The view from our camp at Lake Wivenhoe.)

The next morning we pushed on through Ipswich and into the hustle & bustle of Brisbane. It was crazy being amongst the city traffic after a week out bush! But eventually we found our way and a place to base ourselves just south of the city.

Brisbane is known as the "River City" with the city built lining the banks of the Brisbane River. We caught a river ferry cat into the city and took in the sights including the botanical gardens.
We spent the remainder of the week exploring the city and surrounds before flying out to Melbourne for Christmas.

(Approaching the Story Bridge, on the Brisbane River City Cat.)

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